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Date: 09/06/2017

The latest wearable technology, Snapchat Spectacles (see picture), and a chance to try out a Virtual Reality drive around Hereford’s new relief road featured at a seminar on the future of the County’s communications.

Over 50 delegates attended the Priorities for Media in Herefordshire event at Herefordshire’s Business Solutions Centre on 25th May, which focussed on the challenges and opportunities for the digital media and communications sector in Herefordshire and the Marches.  

Cllr David Harlow, Herefordshire Council Cabinet Member for Economy welcomed delegates, which included representatives from Marches LEP, H&W Chamber and Herefordshire Council, and thanked Rural Media for producing the programme. He also thanked University of Wolverhampton for hosting the event and Herefordshire Council for providing the networking lunch.  The keynote presentation was given by Martin Head, Director of Content and Digital Communities at the Corsham Institute.

Cllr Harlow said, “This seminar is very timely as it coincides with the launch of Herefordshire’s new economic vision, Invest Herefordshire, and the development of a cultural strategy for the County.” 

He went on to say, “Our local economy will only grow if we build a modern and inclusive digital communications network with access to the skills to create compelling, high impact content." 

Delegates heard from a range of business leaders, academics and producers on the importance of the creative industries to the County’s economy and wellbeing.  Speakers included Peter John, Editor of Hereford Times; Shaun Moore, Group News Editor, Sunshine Radio; Lauren Rogers, Editor, Herefordshire Live; and Emma Meese, Director, Cardiff University Centre for Community Journalism.

High on the agenda were ways in which the Herefordshire and the Marches could retain and attract young talent and address the rapidly growing digital skills deficit.  Creative apprenticeships, new further and higher education courses, closer links between Colleges and media businesses, and support to young creative business start ups were all explored.  There was support for an agency which could strengthen the links between local media producers and digital marketers and businesses and service providers, and long with a call for improved use of data to map and develop cultural economy.