New fund launched to nourish grassroots journalism and provide an alternative voice to a media dominated by big money
COMMONSPACE will be one of many new media sites to receive financial help from a fund being launched to aid “the UK’s media revolution”.
The Media Fund (MF) has been launched by new media practitioners across the UK, which has seen a blossoming in recent years, particularly online.
Ventures including Open Democracy, Novara Media, the Radical Film Network, Real Media, Bella Caledonia, Spin Watch, the New Internationalist, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and CommonSpace among many others will benefit from the fund, which allows contributors to direct their money to their chosen project and also introduces them to other alternative news sources.
A statement by the fund organisers reads: “Our media is not fit for purpose. Now more than ever we need an independent, diverse, pluralistic media in this country to focus on issues that are important to all of us, and to hold power to account. To truly achieve this, at least some of our media needs to be free of corporate and government influence.”
The fund will be launched with the monies from a crowdfunding appeal for MF, which will enable the fund to cover initial costs and promotion. The appeal has already garnered half of its £10,000 target.
The MF is designed to operate as a counter balance to the enormous pools of wealth accessible to more traditional media outlets, from state subsidies and private fortunes to advertising and established market positions and readerships.
Recent political developments, such as the independence referendum in Scotland in 2014, which saw only one established national newspaper support a Yes vote, and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour election victories in 2015 and 2016, which have seen the leader of the UK opposition go largely without media support, have underlined the need for a more plural and democratised media landscape.
The UK’s media is also in an acute state of decline, with newspaper circulation falling sharply and the rise of precarious working conditions for journalists and media workers. The retreat of traditional print media has also spurned attempts to renew the media for the digital age.
In November, CommonSpace held a joint public meeting in Glasgow with Manchester based new media venture Real Media to promote support for alternative media across the UK, and to discuss the ways in which the corporate domination of the media can impact the perception of the major political events that have rocked society in recent years.
Picture courtesy of Alexis Gravel
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