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Media Democracy Festival at Goldsmiths (review)

The alt-media gatherings have been suffering from the tyranny of the funders for more years than I care to remember. The is a big problem of the chattering classes in alt-media.


This is a DRAFT over view of the gathering from a working grassroots perspective.


Comments in italics are by me.

=== Festival ===

To help build a movement for#MediaDemocracy we're holding a big Media Democracy Festival at Goldsmiths, University of London on October 17th 2015.

9am - 10am: Arrivals/ registration - Great Hall

== Speakers ==

10am - 11.30am: Great Hall

The day will start with some great speakers setting the scene and explaining why Media Democracy is so important. Confirmed speakers include:

Setting the scene with “big” speakers and panels is a disaster that creates the very thing you should be trying to avoid.

= Aral Balkan =
A designer & social entrepreneur creating independent technologies that protect our fundamental freedoms & democracy.

Flash and fashion is what I see on his website, am shore he is a nice guy but - Have been on his site now for half and hour and I still don’t know what he is building – think this is to do with his strap line - Independence ★ Democracy ★ Design – he is building him self so he can speak at gigs more expensive than this. FAIL

= Natalie Fenton =
Professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, Co-Director of the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre and Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy, a founding member of the Media Reform Coalition and Board Director of Hacked Off.

Agen am sure a lovely person but not building alt-media, she is talking about alt-media in academia speech in articles that are not assessable to “grassroots people” - must admit I asleep trying to reading the PDF's and am probably in one somewhere.

= Kam Sandhu =
A journalist and co-founder of Real Media, an independent news website and aggregator that campaigns for public interest journalism and against mass media distortion. Kam has written and produced several short documentaries, and also founded RealFare, where she spent over two years reporting on the effects of austerity on welfare and inequality before Real Media.

She works hard and is doing outreach grassroots media, but, she is directly responsible for building a portal strait out of the 20th century as her tool for outreach.... if she was talking about this experience it would ad-value – but she won’t be.

= Michelle Stanistreet =

Michelle is the elected general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (UK and Ireland). Michelle worked as a journalist for 10 years at the Sunday Express newspaper as feature writer and books editor.

Just to say I am a member of the NUJ and been to conferences, still occasionally go to branch meetings, more for the free beer and the chance that it might have changed than the union it self. The NUJ and altmedia history is interesting and would be good if she was talking about that directly.

11.30am - 12pm: Break, and the great chair re-arrange, Great Hall

== Open Space Unconference ==

12 - 6pm: Great Hall (with breakout sessions in various classrooms)

The bit that should add value! :)

The bulk of the day will be a self-organising open space unconference facilitated by Johnnie Moore. Everyone will be free to propose a session that answers our central question: How can we create media democracy?

Sessions already lined-up include:

* Drew Rose from Bristol Cable and Danielle Batist from Positive News doing a session on Media Co-ops.

Good background and positive news have done a interesting crowed funding relaunch – did it work?

* Andy Williams from Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and Sam Kinch from Hastings Independent on Community Journalism.

Academics – what do they bring to building in a practical way?

* Jonathan Heawood from IMPRESS and Natalie Fenton from Hacked Off with an update on Leveson and why a recognised press regulator could be good for small publishers.

The more traditional media side of the event

* Mike Flood Page of Open Democracy's OurBeeb will be asking does public service broadcasting have a future?

The more traditional media side of the event

* Matteo Bergamini from Shout Out UK's and Susana Giner from Youth Media Agency on Changing Perceptions of the Youth in the Media.

NGO's are rarely about media, more about social work, will this be talked about?

* Open Democracy's Adam Ramsay on How Climate Change is Reported in the Media.

Traditional media agen

* Richard Hering from visionOntv on How to Build the Citizen TV Revolution.

A altmedia project that needs a re-boot to escape sliding into a NGO world, am involved in this one.

* Bectu Writers, Producers and Directors branch members Chester Yang and Marcus Relton on their plans for a progressive internet TV station in partnership with the trade unions.

The is a long abortive history to this subject – have they/will they address it?

* Gail Bradbrook from Compassionate Revolution on collective acts of civil disobedience and media reform, looking at the legal side of sabotaging the media, brainstorming cheerful subversive actions.

A local NGO'sh media project?

= Film =

Alongside the open space they'll be screenings of related documentaries including:

The Fourth Estate with a Q&A with Director Lee Salter

El Diario de Agustin (Agustin's Newspaper), with a Q&A hosted by Alborada.

Plus:

10 minute summary presentations running on a loop from Centre for Investigative Journalism:

The Centre for Investigative Journalism – An introduction to the organisation

Data Stories - Using data to find, write and explain news stories, from Excel to SQL

Interactive Storytelling - The cutting edge of innovation in digital narrative methods

Advanced Online Research - Tips and tricks for getting the most out of the internet

The FOIA: Problems and pitfalls - Getting the most out of your requests.

Information Security – Keeping your communication secure

Company Accounts – ‘Follow The Money’ investigations into illicit finance

= Workshops =

Half hour taster sessions run by the Centre for Investigative Journalism.

15:00-15:30

Data Stories - Using data to find, write and explain news stories, from Excel to SQL, led by Juliet Ferguson.

Might be interesting, but about producing media.

15:30-16:00

The FOIA: Problems and pitfalls - Getting the most out of your requests, led by Sid Ryan.

Useful basic stuff – but with out working alt-media what good is content?

16:00-16:30

Interactive Storytelling - The cutting edge of innovation in digital narrative methods, led by Marina Calland.

The problem is in the basics – not the cutting edge...

16:30-17:00

Information Security – Keeping your communication secure, led by Tom Sanderson.

This is a subject that needs a open descusern – were this will likely be a closed presentation?

== Party (and live crowdfunding) ==

6pm - late.

Live crowdfunding of media projects, spoken word, live music, and DJs. In the evening we're partnering with Filanthropy to organise a party from 6pm - late in the Student Union. This will include the opportunity for 3 projects to pitch to the room and invite pledges of financial and other support from the crowd (who will be able to decide which projects get £5 of their ticket money, plus anything else they feel inspired to contribute).

If you've got a media project that could really do with £500-1000 to help get you started then APPLY NOW http://s.coop/mediaform for your chance to pitch to the room!

= LIVE BAND: United Vibrations =
We're very pleased that incredible local band and festival favourites United Vibrations will be joining us for the party.

= SPOKEN WORD: Anthony Anaxagorou, Deanna Rodger and Potent Whisper =
These amazing wordsmiths will be kicking the party off with their inspirational lyrics and wordplay.

== Who's coming to the Media Democracy Festival? ==

We've already got loads of great projects and groups signed up to participate, including:

Real Media - an aggregator of independent news

Good project but needs to move out of 20th century thinking, think they might manage this and could become a core of a rejuvenated alt-media.

Hacked Off - the campaign for a free and accountable press

Trying to save the mainstream media needs to be done but its a loseing battle – and a distraction if this is the main option.

Consented - "a multi-media platform for those who aren’t accurately represented by the mainstream"

its another wordpress blog I have not heard or seen – could be useful as a part of a wider network but vanishing pointless isolated.

Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom - for a more accountable, freer and diverse media.

Trying to save the mainstream media needs to be done but its a loseing battle – and a distraction if this is the main option.

Positive News - the world’s first publication dedicated to reporting positive developments, recently transformed into the first a global media co-op.

Interested to find out what they have been upto.

Bristol Cable - a media co-operative – created and owned by people in Bristol who run free events, a multimedia website and a free quarterly print newspaper.

A local media portal - could be useful as a part of a wider network but vanishing pointless isolated.

The Centre for Investigative Journalism - Investigative journalism, critical inquiry, and in-depth reporting and research.

Takes up a lot of NGO'ish funding to help prop up the falling moral standards of traditional media – some one has to do it. But with out an alternative....

The IMPRESS Project - for independent self-regulation of the press - and looking set to become the first recognised press regulator under the Royal Charter that came out of the Leveson inquiry

Some one has to do it but were is the alt?

People's Assembly Against Austerity - bring together campaigns against cuts and privatisation with trade unionists in a movement for social justice.

A functionally closed silo group filled with bureaucratic infighting and power politics – more part of the problem than part of the solution

Permaculture Magazine - an independent reader supported magazine all about practical solutions for self-reliance.

Posh people doing things posh people do – nice if you can afford the lifestyle. Could be a “healthy part” of an alt – if the was one.  

visionOntv - who aim for the widest possible distribution of video for social change.

Has some interesting offshoots and what’s left of its video embeds are an actual functioning alt-media even if most of the tech is half broken. Am involve in this one http://openworlds.info/

Hastings Independent - the local non-profit community newspaper for Hastings & St Leonards on Sea

Could be part of a alt-media network if the was one.

Radical Film Network - a network for which those involved in radical film culture to work together and support its development, growth and sustainability.

Nice people doing nice things, but with the closeting of alts its rearguard and academic.

Shout Out UK - an independent news network that, via journalism, film and events, aims to show young people that politics has a direct impact on everything you do in life.

A 20 century portal I have not heard or seen, could become part of an alt.

Youth Media Agency - the National home for UK Youth Media: raising the profile of, and supporting, over 300 exciting media platforms.

Its NGO with not much going for it as far as my glance at their site sees.

Through the Cracks - a news website devoted to coverage of reporting, storytelling and news startups made possible with the use of crowdfunding.

Its a dotcom silo that will fad into irrelevance.

Alborada - a UK based magazine, events and documentary producer covering Latin America

Could be part of building an alt?

London Socialist Film Co-op - arranges screenings where people can see films and take part in a panel discussion.

I like their side bar link, but have never been to one of their screenings.

Inform My Opinion - a podcast series on various social, political, economic, environmental subjects and activism (mainly in London), featuring voices of people who are well-informed and those who want to speak.

Small, they have a RSS feed so could be part of an alt.

Let Me Look TV - broadcasting videos they like or have produced (mostly activism stuff), and helping others broadcast their material too.

Can only find social media...

Stop the War Coaltion - Stop the War was founded in September 2001 in the weeks following 9/11, when George W. Bush announced the "war on terror". Stop the War has since been dedicated to preventing and ending the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.

Mouldy chestnuts come to mind, closed and bureaucratic.

Goldsmiths Deptartment of Media and Communications

Goldsmiths Student Union

== Media Democracy Meetups ==

In the run up to the Festival we've been hosting a monthly Media Democracy Meetup in London

If you think Media Moguls and Press Barons have too much power and influence in our society, want to protect and democratise the BBC, would love to see media co-ops in every community or just work as an independent journalist, photographer or film maker, then this Meetup is for you.

We want all the various threads/ groups working on some part of Media Democracy to talk to each other more and hopefully become a rich tapestry and the beginnings of a power movement for Media Democracy in the UK.

Come along to meet more Media Activists, help organise the Festival and feed into our forthcoming Media Activism Toolkit. See also our related Media Democracy Facebook group.

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