Building alt/grassroots media networks to challenge the traditional media
Our current groups doing alt/grassroots media are to limited in there idea of what media could/should be. The is either a naivety or a dishonesty to all the current grassroots/alt media. They act and think they can be “big media” with out controlling the distribution of there content in any real way. This is in no way unusual the mainstream media is continually making this very same mistake. All of them rely on the the #dotcons which nowadays is largely the Facebook algorithm for the there content distribution.
Our current grassroots/alt media have web sites so already have one foot in the openweb, but non of their sites prominently link in any meaningful way to each other. They do podcasts so anther foot in the open web, but all their effort for outreach is inside the #silos such as Apple itunes etc. it's hard to directly blame them, though we should and will, for this sorry state.
So why are we here? On the one hand we have the #fashernista embrace of the #dotcons which most of the current crew built there careers inside. On the other we have the suicidal embrace of #encryptionists complexity and parallel “standardisation” into a pointless/shrinking in to nothingness alt-tech ghetto were our alt-geeks are.
With these issues in mind I have been outreaching to these groups for the last year, and building real working openweb linking tech as part of the #OMN project. This currently is not been getting far past their naivety/self interest/career focused thinking. Fair anufe if that is as far as there imagination/aspiration goes, but this is a clear problem for working alt/progressive/left media that urgently needs to be addressed. I will keep outreaching, if you wont to help with this outreach get in touch.
They link to meany alt-media crews at the end of each story which is nice, but no links on front page yet.
They have no links on the front page to alt media crews. They used to have a linking page inside there site, now I cannot find it? If anyone can find links can they send me a URL please. They are looking like going backwords to a more tredtional 20th centery view of what media is?
They have no links on the front page to other alt-media crews and I cannot find any links inside their site. They have source links in there story's which is not much of a step. This is a clear a failer in alt/grassroots media turms.
I have been talking about the fashernisatas for the last few years, its an idea/group that I have been struggling to work with my whole time in the alt/grassroots. So what is a #fahernista?
A group of individuals who value/push there own individual advancement over the needs of the croup and community, generally they do not realise or see that they are doing this. This has the end affect of diluting and killing off possible alternatives and selling “grassroots” to NGO's and corporatist agenda’s. #fashernista takeing over projects in hand with the geek problem's has lead to endless dead-ends in all alt/grassroots tech. Most recently this has manifested in encrypt everything, bitcoin/blockchain ect. this is a dead end.
The #OMN linking project is basic tech that I have been working on for more than 10 years, in past times the has been more interesting tech/social problems in alt/grassroots media to work on so linking has taken a back seat as its basic stuff. At this stage we only have the basics left. Lets take a first step linking alt/grassroots producers, and build tools to push this into a #rebooted open web to start the needed move out of the #dotcon ghetto's. Lets try as hard as we can to avoid #fahernisa take over of this basic #reboot. #fahernista will set-up parallel projects, raise parallel funding, push these into the traditional media and dominate the #dotcon conversation. Non of this inevitable pointless #fahernista noise should distract from the basics, as it will just flash bang and fad into nothing. Keep the basics going, linking, building. In the long term the rest is noise, distraction, for the conspiracy minded its our very own “false flag”.
Hummm... how to spot drift into the #fahernisat agenda?
The is a strong anti-dote in the #4opens
Looking at the tech and organising of UK alt/grassroots media
How meany sites link to anuther alt/grassroots media sits. from this list of 38 UK sites only 2 link to anuther site.
Many people find it hard to understand the underlining understandings that push projects based on flow and linking such as OMN and openweb. Here is a short list of activish projects.
Is a place for holding/hoarding closed data – this is used by the #dotcons to extract funding form “free users” when mainstream/alt silo projects finish, as 99.9% do, the data varnishes and is lost, and in this the effectiveness of any alt building is diminished. Silos do not use open licensing for content re-use. Just about every alt/grassroots media project is a silo. It's about capturing data. Its obvious that this is a unthought through issue of "churning"
Is an idea that you can be the big one, all the small fashionista websites aspire to be the big one and by doing this they are working to the logic of the #dotcon and working against the logic of the openweb. They are building a project to lock there users into their project. Portal and silo are overlapping (but different) ideas for building web projects. In the mainstream, Apple is a prime example of this working. In the alt/grassroots almost all alt/grassroots media projects are portals. It's about capturing users, just as silos are about capturing data. For a left wing group this looks much like "recreating the Soviet Union" the one party to rule the state.
Are for-profit data silos in the old days working as portals, more recently they are building out siloed networks as a pseudo networked portal. Its both sad and bad that many alt media projects unthinkingly aspire to be #dotcons
Is where ALL the value is on the open web. Without links content has NO VALUE. This is a obvious statement, its hard to understand the the lack of understanding around this simple thing.
Is a grassroots web standard that is still at the base of many of the dotcon world but is being pushed into the background of the openweb by building silos/portals in the grassroots/alt. RSS is like an open LINK with added data, thus adds value to the web. Its a powerful open tool that we still have. An API is like a geek control freak super power of RSS - the problem is in the complexity/control freak bit...
A subculture that is control/obscurity and more recently technical solutions to trust (wraparound right) this has always been a closing force on open projects. This helped to strangle the original successful alt/grassroots media projects and is pushing for the shrinking of the open web.
The unthinking desire for new/innovation/conformity. A wider subculture that churns the growth of alt/grassroots so little can grow beyond seedlings.
Are greedy dispoling of resources both human and money. The liberals that use bureaucratic funding to push out the geek/fashernista agendas over alt/grassroots projects. These are uneasy friends and clear (invisible) enemys.
Is both a technical thing of wires and frequency and an understanding of mutual aid and of “diversity of strategy”. It's native to the openweb and should be at the base of any alt/grassroots media project. In the closed #dotcon the widespread use of A/B testing is a pail controlled shadow of this.
wikipedia is an example of this. It's basic stuff open source project stuff. LINK
Looking at the tech and organising of UK alt/grassroots media. Do sites link to other alt-media projects? Do they support/display openweb standards (RSS)
First DRAFT (please message me with corrections/info)
Has a RSS feed, regular updates, copyright group silo, it has no outside linking
UPDATE: site back online, no visible RSS but can find a hidden one. Its likely copyright and a silo.
(Their website is hacked/down so posted the #failbook link used to have RSS and regular updates. Anyone know what's happening? Update they hope the site is back online soon.)
UPDATE: website back online copyright, no visible RSS feed but you can find ones. Its a a bit of an aggregater but has been suffering from poor spam control. Its pretty much a portal/silo – but could be more.
(They used to have an interesting website for the tec used, but it ended up being just a silo, they look like they are rebooting? Maybe a another silo? we shall see.)
Update they are rebooting as a linking site, lets hope its not a silo.
Has regular good content, RSS, they are a product of the #dotcon social media wave and good at it. Copyright/CC is not stated. The site is a silo with no outside linking
No RSS feed, starting to look a bit “old left” regular updates, no copyright/CC notice. A silo with no external links
The Bristol Cable - Bristol
No visible RSS feed, it kinda probably tries to obey the 4 opens maybe. It's a WP blog site in this it's a media silo with no external links.
Port Talbot Magnet
no visible RSS feed, it mostly fails the 4 opens due to copyright, data and organising. It's a WP blog site, in this it's a media silo with few if any external links.
New Internationalist - based in Oxford
Has RSS feeds, it kinda passes the 4 opens using a CC licence for its content. It links to the visionOntv project.
The Ferret - Scotland, based in Edinburgh
Looks like the old media transitioning to the new media. No visible RSS feed or copyright/CC notice. Is trying to be “open process” looks like a WP site.
Strike! - based in London
looks like a archive of a print mag? Has a RSS feed :)
Positive News - based in London
Dated looking site, hard to read, no RSS feed and a copyright notice. A silo.
Slaney Street - Birmingham
Did not load
Manchester Mule - Manchester
Has RSS feed but last article end of 2015 so not an active site. Probably for fills the 4 opens.
Co-operative News - based in Manchester
Nasty looking site and no RSS, copyrighted, its a silo
No RSS, copyrightish, old looking site.
Marlborough News Online
no RSS, copyright
West Highland Free Press
no RSS, copyright, its a silo.
Star and Cresent - based in Portsmouth
No RSS, no copyright notice? Its a silo.
Morning Star - based in London
Has a RSS feed but its empty, copyright, silo.
Cambria Publishing Co-operative
publishes paper books?
Zed Books - London
paper books and online reading lists, no RSS I can see.
copyright, has a RSS feed, looks bureaucratic open.
Blake House - based in London
no RSS, fashionable calling card website with out content, probably copyright?
Calling card website with out content, no RSS, likely copyright.
Ignite Creative - based in Oxford
Calling card website with out content, no RSS, copyright.
Shedlight Productions - based in Southampton
calling card website with out content, no RSS, copyright.
Steel City Film and Media Co-op - based in Sheffield
its a #failbook page, maybe open?
Trafford Media & Communications - based in Manchester
(mostly a printer, but also do film production)
calling card, no site.
The Community Channel
The granddaddy of NGO media, no RSS feed, likely copyright silo.
Jammu Kashmir TV
it has content, silo?
Has a working RSS feed
Inform My Opinion
Has working RSS feed but it fails in my pod catcher, its a page on a #dotcon?
has RSS feed, copyright, silo?
Half finished calling card site.
Hastings independent press
No RSS, no copyright/CC notice, a silo with no external links.
Copyright, no RSS feed, has some old school widgets which might show external links. Its a local news silo.
Has RSS feed and CC licence, no external links on front page, its a silo but better than most.
Has a RSS feed, its a silo but the is hope for it.
its a blog in the old school sense, has RSS
its a silo with no RSS and no external links
The OMN an easy project for everyone
The OMN an easy project for everyone
Producer groups have to put in minimal effort only puting a linking sidebar on their site and providing a RSS feed into the network.
These can be:
* Tag based content list “you might be interested in this”
* Tag based site link list “blog roll”
* Tag based video player embed “good films”
Optional: a site can add a badge to say its a member of the network.
What do they get out of it?
Google juice from the wide links back to their website and their content.
Clicks and content audience for all sites of the network rather than just their own.
More commenting from cross site conversations in their CMS comment system
On social media (the #dotcons)
They get a wider sharing of their content to work its way round the FB algorithm restrictions.
More “likes” on their #failbook pages to help boost the 3% organic reach.
Well a warm fashernista feeling of being part of something whole/bigger.
A geeky feeling of doing something real geeky.
We join together to push the “undercurrents” up and into the “mainstream”.
Badging the OMN
Is based on the #4opens to get a badge a site has to embed at least one linking embed somewhere (relatively) prominent on their site to become a member of the network. The Badge will link to the OMN project page, maybe this could have a list of OMN sites, as well as hosting the basic project docs.
Gold – 4opens
Silver – 3opens
Bronze - 2opens
We need some one to design these “badges” its up to site owners if/were they use them.
The OMN is a project of the 4opens and the PGA hallmarks.
Where next for grassroots/alt-media?
It's common knowledge that grassroots media is well F**ed and that #failbook and #twitter are the problem not the solution. Where can we go from here? To reboot alt-media (and play a role in rebooting the open web) we need to create an affinity group to cross the geek/political divide that has demolished our once flowing/healthy alt-media networks.
For a moment let's look at broad-brush history, The 20th century alt-media was one of offline social movements, where modern (21st century) alt-media is a product of online social networks - the web. Take a moment to think about our years of failed encryption geek projects on the one hand, and, the constant churning of disappearing media silos on the other. The last 10 years have been a wasteland for both the geek and political.
The original internet/web suceeded because it was a stupidly open design, it had no built-in agenda to the network. Lets compare this ”new” for a moment to the pre-internet, the old wired telephone networks had all the smarts at the exchanges and the phones were dumb, it was a centralised hierarchical network. Where the internet had the smarts at the ends, the computers, and the network itself was dumb – a horizontal network.
This turning on the head of 20th century thinking is important to move out of our current lon- running malaise in alt-media. Am arguing the divide between politicos and geeks is feeding a failed fixation on 20th century thinking in that they both want to build systems (both technical and social) where the smarts are at the centre. In contrast we know that in the 21st century it is more powerful to build “empty” networks that connect the smarts at the edges. The word “empty” here gets a lot of negative responses :) This is the touching of the core problem. Take a moment to re-read and think positive thoughts ;)
An “empty” network is a general-purpose network that connects general purpose computers to general purpose people and community. Yes, the tech we need, like the internet/open web has an agenda but it is not sectarian as #failbook and other #dotcoms are, as are our own much smaller alt-media silos. Instead its “open” and “simple” based on “industrial” standards and open working social ideals. This is obvious, but it needs saying, The “dumb net” is completely ignorant of what the user wants to do – just data in and data out. It's up to the user to decide what the data is. Only “universal languages”, that is data standards, have flow. There is a ridiculous power for change in this obviousness.
It's not hard to re-boot to escape these 10 years of failure, actually it's simple. Though it's not going to happen without a good affinity group who cross the geek/political divide. Message me if you think you have the smarts, skills, tolerance and humility.
Draw a line in the sand
None of the current alt/grassroots media projects link to each other. Message them and ask why and refuse to support them till they do #thecanary #Reelnews #RealMedia #Novaramedia is basic KISS of lefty/radical/progressive thinking.
What's the solution?
The minimum outcome a prominent small sidebar box front screen linking to other alt/grassroots project on each active project. it's a KISS no brainer and a line in the sand for lefty/radical/grassroots.
This can be done manually or as part of a bigger network project such as OMN
An alt media revolution?
Why do all alt/grassroots events have the same speakers
I start to understand why all alt/grassroots events have the same speakers. Looking about you send out invites to everyone who has done it before. To reach out to new people would be taking a risk, would be hard work to hand hold them though the process. The lack of time and resources leaves little focus than to just repeat the past. This is a hard realization and incite into poverty.
Am starting to feel slightly ashamed of not knowing this before. ideas please, we do need to fix this.
"To be honest you should be commended for putting it all together in the first place. No one else is doing it and it's essential. Every form of direct action is worthy and amazing given the world we live in."
"1 a bit of mentoring goes a long way
2 offer expenses and look for some funding - either grant funding or crowdfunded
3 offer speaker training events"
Your idea would work if we had the time and the funding, time is relative but funding for alt/left is tiny and hard to get. Almost all left'ish funding is dispelled in #NGO and #fashernista pointlessness. Ideas for diverting some of this waste might be a start? Actually it is a good time to try this, who is up for it?
Media - why do names matter
Media made and distributed from the lower part of society, made DIY for, from, too, the grassroots. And at its best outreaching beyond.
Media made from an ideologically different perspective to the mainstream (invisible) ideology. And hopefully, though often not, made in a way that can speak outside this narrow idelogical view.
Project that embodied both grassroots and alt-media pushed on a wave of open web. It was VERY successful in its time before being killed by internal ossification of process and the encriptionsts pointlessness. Might be time for a reboot of this project, but maybe something has to lead the way before this can happen.
Is a term that is sometimes picked up by the NGO's and dogmatic control freaks, it tends to be empty and the trademark is owned by a advertising company.
Describes many projects growing out of the UK direct actions movements of the 1990's to the end of the century. A lot of alt/grassroots media projects grow from this spring of energy.
grassroots and alt media are different things though they often overlap in a good way. Indymeda is a project that embody them both but is ossified and needs a reboot to be relevant agen. Radical media needs a scare warning as the history is not good, DIY culture simmers in many small forms, maybe media could bring it back to the centre to make a difference that’s needed in the world?
Problem on the left “the is no alternative”
In grassroots movements
Social media tarts
Capturing the grassroots and building a career in NGO land for them selves from activists movements/agenda’s. They are fine as far as they go, every campaign needs some, but they tend to be competent anufe to unbalance movements towards the “soft”. For them to be useful the need to be a healthy alt to keep this from happening.
Individualism the issue of churning projects with falling outcomes is all that exists, some projects are a bit more together than most if they networked the could be a real start of a alt-media.
In the mainstream
Good will Liberals
Their support for dangerously naive lost course of the soft centre left makes them unbalancing “friends” with out a healthy alt movements will fall over to the “soft”
The Liberal Democrat Party
Its selling out is now obvious. It played the “bad role” of shifting focus away from a real left when needed. Many good will liberals lapped this up till they got a good sound kicking in the teeth during the “alliance years”
The labour party
Is a real left alternative, but it has hard coded DNA in its libryem rules and regulations to foul this out come. And the left in the party has a core “nasty” left who have a long blood soaked wrecking history. The influx of naive “soft” liberalism will be moulded by the bureaucracy on one hand and dispoled by control freaky on the other, this is not a stable mixture for a good outcome. This could be over come by real soughed community but I cant see one.
The Green Party
Has the same issues internally as the labour party, though the top is more soughted. They have a real loon issue to deal with at the grassroots.
The nationalists of all flavourers
Are looking like the ONLY hope of a differences as they push a open loon issue of a sense of belonging agenst the over-wash of globalisation. Not a good outcome but better than the rightwing war happy, poor kicking loons who are the Torys.
A disaster in and a bigger disaster out…
What would alt/grassroots/21centery left look like?
If anyone is interested I would wright a outline of what a few strands of a real alt/grassroots/left network project would look like :)
Hamish sailing away on a lifeboat, this is not a metaphor
love and dispar of alt-grassroots media
To move beyond the current dire/dead end state of alt/grassrots media we need to reboot basic KISS tech that the original open web was based on.
What is alt-media: media that tells story’s about the world we live in and our every day lived lives from a different idealogical perspective to the mainstream media.
What is grassrots media: media from the bottom, made and distributed in a more horizontal way to mainstream media.
To make both of these happen we have to consciously over come a number of blocks on the media production side:
* Liberal media makers who think the mainstream can be “fixed” by individual moral responsibility and hard work.
* The old left and its fixation/pushing of vertical statues, the power games that hold us back have no positive outcome but to rarely build a individual carrear into the mainstream.
* Both of these lead alt/grassrots media to be but a transitory jumping off point for the mainstream, or more normally a run and stumble/falling repation to a normal dead end job or with drowen depression.
Blocks also come from the tech side, some dominant tendency’s:
* Geek/tec culture has a dominating tendency to be a mirror of the old left in its individualistic desire for control, the whole technical fix of encryption as a social solution to state/corporatist control of the open web is a dead end example of this.
* Geeks are are in love with the “new” and they lack a wider social view leading to huge over lapping of tech projects, tech history is lilted with hundreds of tech projects that are badly implemented clones of the fashionable moment after it is well past its use data.
* Geeks do not like to work on the “old” and almost everything that works is “old” thus the pointless churning of the above point. “building on the shoulders of giants” is more like “building on the backs of piggmeys” in most open development.
The whole love affer with the trap of #dotcon's is anuther conected subject. Both sides to this continuing failing are entwined and the solutions over lap:
Humm.. this is the hard part to describe this in a way that makes sense to real people who embed the issues above… KISS ansers coming soon if people show an interest.
Hope filled tributary's feeding fresh water to the polluted mainstream
DRAFT of 3 examples of “working” contemporary alternatives and their malcontent’s.
The Village Butty
A lovely project provided originally by a hard-working individual with small funding and continuing energy. The need, boaters need a warm dry open common place, if their unique contemporary “village” culture is to survive the long term slow and grinding pushing out of CRT and local councils, not to menturn the self inflicted internal sabotage of its own often mad dispoleing crews.
The village butty is a re-booting/rebrinding of the older james's butty for hiar, the early project had burned out then faded due to the the off balance of money making outreach and community value boater use. In the end it alienated both and with a waning of good will and no money coming in the butty was going to be sold. A new younger more energetic crew came in to save the day, with a real crowed funding outreach, boater community lead, the butty was saved.
But the is a denial/unknowing of the need to balance/manage community that is pushing this out of balance to the money making side (fair anufe the failer of this side of the balance was the resion for the need for the reboot). But if this understandable swing reaction is not brought back into balance then the good will of the community side of sustainability balance will be lost and with out this it becomes harder to keep a boat working on the water, aspesheraly in such a small place as London. The boater community provides the couler and direct practical support when needed, as well as its own headaches ;)
This needs a community hart-hart gathering to unblock the constipation that is currently blocking the shit from coming out, a bit of composting will need to be preprepared for this gathering for the resulting smell not to drive people away.
The London Hackspace
One of the few continuing/ongoing “secessess” of alt-DIY organising in the UK. It is not only a fantastic place full of interesting, competent and active people, its organised in a way/model for how grassroots could be expanded out to fill in more social spaces.
Was originally set-up and run by a competent invisible affinity group as the space grew this became an opaque affinity group, with suseass and increasing membership this opaque group became visibly dysfunctional due to dilution and burn out of the original core crew. Affinity organising, while still core, was submerged into bureaucracy, hard rules and angry trolls hitting each other with them filled the online spaces and left the real world space dulled and filled with low level broken.
The space continues and a big smoky flare up and resulting gathering helped to resolve the surface issues, but the underlining fractures have not been addressed to truly sustain the project, lets hope it survives the move to the next premisses and continues to grow and mutate.
The Hive Dalston
This one started well but fell into an ideological clash that became hidden in a smoke screen of personalty politics. The lack of any clear vision made it impossible to resolve as the underlining tensions were blocked from being spoken. One side pushed the other aside and took over sole running of the project, it became a ideologically driven shadow of what it needed to be, in this it moved to being part of the problem rather than part of the solution, making it hard to continue to support the project in any way.
This is not beyond rescue, and the balance between (selfish/stupid) evil and (open/growing) good is still in the air. One solution, a moment of evil, a bit of power politics would put this project back on track, light and dark need each other, some times the devil is right.
To move all these projects on we need to reknit the broken bones of the past.
Some questions came out of the last grassroots media gathering about OMN
Questions and draft answers
in terms of what I don't understand it is what do sites specifically have to do?
* At a basic level very little.
- output an RSS feed of their articles/videos/podcasts (most sites do this already)
- modify/refine their tag embed as needed, if more involved re-tag content items
- there are more complex roles, running an aggregator, for instance. This is an open distributed global job.
* And what help does this network provide.
- publish once and appear on 100's of sites
- much higher viewing numbers by pushing content in front of interested audiences
- posts going “viral” outside of Failbook and Twitter
- HUGE linking of alternative media
- HUGE redundant/distributed backup of all grassroots media OUTSIDE the transient corporate “cloud”. Our history will be much better “archived” than the dotcoms.
- looking into the future: the grassroots builds and helps to define the “semantic web” - that is web03 in dotcom thinking.
- be part of the future not just a trailing edge transitory past.
* I recognise the plan is to open up the internet (i am still unsure what a portal is btw) so people aren't just going through facebook, google and twitter to find streams of information.
- The internet is inherently P2P. Each computer is the equal of every other. In theory your iphone is the same as far as the internet is concerned to the whole of google. it is core radically horizontal.
- This has been reshaped into a client- server internet were you are a small you – big them. This needs describing better.
* I gather from what is written that there is some sort of categorisation that is going on and mutual promotion in this plan for an open Media network and that some people's sites (the aggregators like ourselves) would key to that promotion and categorisation, but I can't really work out how that works, how the media provider benefits, what the media provider has to do, and what does the average unter get and what would it look for them.
- this taging is synched across the OMN thus feed flows will update in (semi) real time.
- the embeds (plugins) and feeds tagging are based on boolean logic, thus you can have + and – and AND etc
- there is a social side to the project (the 4 opens). With tagging there is an etiqette - it's socially acceptable to add tags to re-direct flows rather than remove tags (though mis-tagging can of course be changed). This side needs talking about more.
* I am afraid it sounds like a really good plan, based on evidence and solutions to existing to problems, but it is too vague specifics for me to understand what it is.
- There is a huge hole in the technical knowledge of the media producers. There are social norms against the 4 opens. This project flows against mainstream geek culture.
* Everyone is going to ask
* what do I have to do? how does it help me?
- This is so obvious to me that maybe some one else needs to write this.
* What will it look like?
- on the surfice very little will change, but grassroots media will have the potential to surpass the dotcoms and failing traditional media much like the original indymedia project did in its early days when its page views matched the BBC on big days of action.
* how will it help others?
- Traditional media is practically dead as open media, and grassroots media is hopelessly individualistic, short lived and disconnected to replace this faild traditional media. The social media dotcoms are about social control for private profit – then socal control for political control.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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...
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.
What would a new book on “grassroots media” look like
A thinking allowed DRAFT
Was sitting on me boat roof with a bottle of wine talking to me publisher friend about the video activism book, with a refocuses she would be up for helping to publishing it.
From my point of view it need to be based on the complete lack of current grassroots media.
So needs to start by answering what is grass roots media.
* DIY culture, bit of history
* balancing the wider picture, voices balancing, roots, steams and flowers.
* this means majority but not exclusively from the roots to balance traditional and NGO media.
Building networks (ecosystems) - (the flower medow whole)
* the value of the open web (the soil)
* use and abuse the spiders web of corporate “social media” and hosting (the bugs)
* linking and embedding aggregation (openmedia network project) (the growth)
How dose it differ from:
NGO media/Community media
“new media” and “social media”
[we need to briefly slorter each of these]
Then all the video templates and how to's etc. The body.
Then at the end a chapter on sustainability in the “sharing age”
* monetisation is distributed and DIY (not centralised) sharing gets you distribution its up to you to sought out motorisation if you wont.
Then need a concushern rallying cry that people can/should rebuild a “unbranded” network.
To recap as a old testament biblical epic
Build a alter to the grassroots
Saluter the failings of the past as a blood offerings
Then temple workshops on the “cult” ways
Concluding with a fable on cult responsibility’s
Ending with lift our voices in song to a courus of how the world should be.
The is a possible schizophrenia here were it makes sense to dull the book down to expand the audience to the NGO's and education as they have the cash – but then the would be little difference to the other 3-4 failed pointless books out their facking and selling out “grassroots media” to “publishers”. That would be both sad and bad outcome.
Lets look for a moment at “sanity” in grassroots terms
The are a lot of “insane” people in activism and counter-culture, its what makes it exciting, dynamic and affective. However with everything its a question of balance, lets look at how a movement stagnates, fails or growes and blossems.
A short off the top of head list
NGO'ists push limited bureaucratic thinking over everything, they get into bed with anything that can be shaped to their mind set and is fashionably fundable. They take up mind space and squander resources. The vast majority of “institutional” money goes into this.
Encryptionists – service the paranoid fuckists, they have a strong tendencies to reduce usability and create dangerous fantasises of security and anonymity. The are a lot of these as this has been a dominate way of thinking for the last 5-10 years.
Traditional media panderers have there uses for a companion, but soon start to misshape the movement to mainstream agenda’s – hard not to have this outcome.
Horizontal dotcom'sts try to use our movement to jump start their dotcom, fine if its built with the 4 opens, if its not then distraction if failur and disaster if people use it – so bad outcome both ways.
Insecure and nasty lifestyles are endemic and are attracted like fly's to any successful grassroots project and they are feed by the felandering of the Traditional media panderist – this can easily tip into being a movement death spiral.
Hidden careerist are good for movement building as tend to be the competent ones, but start to drift to NGO and media philanders to build their careerer rather than the grassroots movement.
Paranoid fuckwists are the bedroock of most grassroots campines and in small doses help hold things together, get to many of them in places of responsibility and you have out of control infighting.
Dogmatic liberals are lovely people, but a strong force for blocking sustainable alternatives, its imposable to meditate the breakdowns with a few of these at the core of any counter-culture.
Now for a corresponding “good” list of activist “insanity's”
On this subject it helps to be a bit "mad" to stay in grassroot movement for any leaghnth of time
The hand's off NGO's the is a long (hidden) history of healthy NGO/atavism synergy
The user focused KISS per2per'ists are working on the uphill project of (re)booting the open web.
Traditional media outreach'sts are promoting grassroots media and technology by linking it into traditional media narratives to build the world rather than misshape it.
Horizontal dotcom's are working on “open” federated sustainability rather than closed client server “solutions”
Lifestyles are though opening up in the campaigning lifestyle flow and learning to let go and build healthy connected lives.
Open careerist, are bootstrapping the campaign while bootstrapping themselves, they take the open energy like a trosion horse into the belly of the traditional beast. Some one has to do this...
Secure organising crew is everyone job to keep it carm and focus, and help out with the very real “offline” security and communication that activism needs.
Liberal liberals the calm and the balance of “common sense” that’s needed to keep things from going horribly wrong.
Activism is a dynamic and crazy place full of “insane” people doing fantastic things, its a balancing act to hold it all together, to much of the top and not anufe off the bottom and it quickly slides into something few people wont to be involved in – then disappears with little trace.
Grassroots media - Building affinity
In the last few posts I have looked at a failed organising strategy realmedia gathering, outlined a positive way out of this failer, the focused unconfrunce. But for wider understanding I think the content so far is lacking some background, lets look at an old post http://hamishcampbell.com/en/home/-/blogs/the-21st-centery here I outline how we ACTURLY organise alternatives rather than how we pretend/think/do, this is important for a good outcome.
Grassroots as it's very nature is small, we grow from this smallness like grass, savannah and wide plans, we have loots of entwined grass's making up the whole. From this distributed and federated ecosystem we compete with the monolithic traditional corporate media.
The link above highlights the ways we organise, only 3 have rarely good outcomes:
Open affinity group
Opaque affinity group
Invisible affinity group
The top is the best, the bottom for its limitations still works, the top is the hardiest to hold in place, the middle the longest lived, the bottom the easy fast/transitory root to social change.
With this understanding in mind, how are the all important affinity groups formed?
The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination http://www.labofii.net/ spend most of their time forming such groups
Good squats form them, most successful direct action grows them like weeds.
The can come from workshops like LOII which lead to direct action, or from repeated direct actions. They can come from long term working relationships, affinity springs from people interacting around and in places of action, try to do something together and you will know who you have affinity with.
How would we use this knowledge to kick start the (re)growth of alt-media?
* We don’t organises speaker events with top down platform speakers – this is deadening.
* We don’t organise passive workshops were knowledge is thought one to many.
You seed events, with questions and processes then grow DIY
What we do do is get people to do practical things together were ever possible, most useful outcome happen from chopping vegetables in the kitchen than at a big hall event.
We have go rounds at the beginning, middle and end of every workshop were feasible. This is to bring confidence, but most impotently to allow each other to hear each's voice/sense and sensibility repeatedly over the weekend.
The practical workshops are were the afererty is formed into connections then networks.
Cross fertilisation is needed for grassroots growth this like pixie dust can be liberally sprinkled by thouse who have an art (hart) for it over the weekend.
The weekend will plant seeds, some will grow some will fall on fallow ground, the ones that sprout should be watered with publiserty, conections and funding.
The event should be rinesed and repeted in different areas/diffrent groupings and lifestyes etc.
The whole organic network is then held together by a the 4 open on the web. Do not fall into the trap of failbook at this point.
This is the first time I have seen tredtional media talking about this http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2015/01/26/why-do-managers-hate-agile/
What would re-booting grassroots media look like?
A series of un-conferences - focussed weekend events.
Intro to the event
Un-confrunces are called for a reason and are about a subject, generally with an idea of an outcome.
Invite all the existing groups and most importantly representatives from past groups to tell their stories and outline their ongoing projects. Invite groups from outside the activist/NGO ghetto such as London JAVA and hackspaces and many more etc.
A defining of open industrial standards and federation, a look at peer to peer and client / server.
This intro is to set the atmosphere of the event, to increase group feedback that question these streams in the workshops over the weekend.
When people arrive, a brief over view of the event and goto it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconference Then everyone has their workshop/say.
The event would tend to split into 2 streams, Media Creators (story tellers) and Geeks (tool builders). “We” as the “organiser’s” would continuously gentley push to keep the streams entwined as they both need each other and need an emulsifier to combine for any length of time.
The outcome would be wide, we have a note taker (strait to public wiki) and audio recorder for each session (uploaded soon after)
What I would think important is:
* how to make media so it is part of a flow, rather than for a silo.
* Importance of linking, just getting this working would be a big step forwarded.
* using the corporate dotcoms as dumb pipes – not original sources – build peer pressure here - no sin by only posting to failbook and bird seed world.
* recognition of the problems with the widespread use of WordPress as top sites, fine as a blog/source, disaster as top down centre controled group/campaign site.
* importance of seeing media production as a production of media objects to be shared across the expanding network – not to be held as lost in personal silos or spent purely in the dotcom world.
* recognition of the danger and damage from closed (encrypted) working practices in activism/being pushed by some NGOs. The positive possibility of open working on the open web. Encryption has a limited role, encrypt everything is a clear and present disaster and the people un-reflectively pushing this need reasoning with, then pushing off a cliff ;)
At the end have report backs based on the 4 opens. How do the projects/groups meet these.
* Get everyone to front page link to at least 3 complementary groups.
* Get peopule to review alt-media projects based on the 4 opens to spark off wider social debate.
A list from our perspective on good outcomes:
Put out the (existing) visionOntv video embeds, sign up some more moderators – they are a semi working example of the world we want to create.
Look at the newsflash, linking embed and funding site projects.
Find non-loon geeks to help build out the OMN tools, make links to other projects view the tools and micro formats
nourish a non sectarian single sign in for activism and beyond (look at https://www.grc.com/sqrl/sqrl.htm)
A geek view of this world
https://tent.io/docs is the same project, just too far forward to be adopted, that is its not based on the past so would need to much of a jump to adopt, this is why we use RSS as that steping stone.
http://scripting.com is working from a “single user” perspective on very usable micro formats and standards-based projects. The technology being ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Node.js and RSS) used has good peer to peer strengths.
https://indiewebcamp.com same project but again from the “libertarian” camp, making it of limited use for outreach beyond this camp.
Just about all the parallel projects are about individuals first and groups second. For our more communitarian project we need to tweek/expand these code bases to make them useful. Also there is a strong geek start-from-scratch approach which means that their projects cannot lead any change but could become part of the change as it flows. We need to be the flow, otherwise we are all standing around in puddles – the sate of alt-media today.