New Media Questions

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The ‘new media’ gets some stick for not working under the same ‘constraints’ and ‘rigour’ as the traditional press. We think this is funny given the culture, (mal) practices and track record of much of the mainstream media. Here’s some guidelines and thoughts on what we’re doing and answering some of the recurring questions….

Are you Journalists?

Journalists write daily (de jure). We will publish daily, but go beyond the day-to-day grind of the media agenda rather than speculating about the latest hype, scare, or breaking news story.

We won’t be writing about Katie Hopkins.

Bella prioritises real-life over ‘now’; and is looking for new ways of reporting and telling stories (who reports ? Who is reported on?).

We don’t want to follow the daily news agenda, or, like many indy Scot sites regurgitate the already-published. We are more interested in setting an agenda than following one pre-set to other people’s world-view.

Bias

Truth is elusive, but facts less so. We will value facts and fact checking but be open about our political agenda. Correspondents are human and create and frame what they see and report on.

Priorities

Most press and media outlets have their own priorities. Sometimes these are conscious, sometimes these are cultural, sometimes these are commercially driven. Ours are explicitly political; we believe that we need to have control of our own affairs. We believe in a Scottish democracy. We believe in a Scottish republic. Only independence delivers these things. This is about democracy not nationalism. This is about Raploch not Bannockburn.

A Platform for the Excluded

One of the most lasting lessons of the indy referendum experience was the breakout of young people speaking up and engaging in politics for the very first time. All of the old myths and clichés about young people and disengagement and apathy were blown away. We want to make sure there’s a space for people to get training and opportunities to be published, without patronising people by not maintaining a high quality.

We’ve repeatedly pointed to the fact that the entire edifice of the media is a platform for Mass Mysogyny. Bella will have a 50:50 gender balance in its editorial team and strive to give a platform, a voice and encouragement to more woman.

The referendum was about class and power. One of the most impactful sources of strength was the uprising of working class communities throughout Scotland. These new realities need to be reflected in the pages of any indy media forum.

A Participative Media

Bella wants to establish a meaningful relationship with its readers. A one directional, one-to-many relationship between a publication and its readership is a model from yesterday. This is about peer-to-peer education, grassroots and sharing information, and collective story-telling.

How New is New?

Bella does not pretend to be a substitute for existing, ‘mainstream’ media; but a supplement, filling a gap in the current news landscape by looking beyond and behind the daily news grind. We aim to be an addition rather than a replacement.

It’s new because it’s open. This is just about reclaiming the media from the rich.

Does ‘Citizens Media’ Mean You Don’t Pay people?

Sometimes, yes. But you don’t pay someone when they give you a gift. We have lots of contacts with people, who want to volunteer their thoughts, their time, their writing for free, because they are passionate and they don’t think of it in these terms or because they have income from elsewhere because they are learning.

We are adding to that some budget to pay writers but in reality we don’t have the financial backing yet to leap to paying everybody. So it’s a balancing act.

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To make a donation and support our work please go here. Thank you.

 



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9 replies

  1. On fact checking: All media outlets claim to have checked their facts, and have done so in some form.

    How about this, just an idea.

    Bellacaldeonia checks its facts, and the source/s of every fact published on a Bella article is hyperlinked…leading to the primary source. I think this is a kind of peer-reviewing-but of journalism.

    That way, whatever political angle or speculation Bella has, no one can accuse it, or the movement in general, of mincing facts with fiction. Because the can go and make up their minds themselves by the objective information provided. By doing this, it means Bella and those who write for Bella will also have to use primary sources…or they don’t always have to but it will naturally become a given that those journalists who use primary sources will be far more trusted than the secondary ones.

    This is something NO media outlet, that I know of has done as of yet; of course not. Who owns them? That tells you how much they have to lose.

    There’s more about this from the long suffering Julian Assange. He calls it Scientific Journalism.

    “Yes, and I think things like, you know I have been pushing this idea of scientific journalism that things must be precisely cited the original source or as much of it as possibly available should be put in the public domain so that people can look at it, just like in science so that you can test to see whether the conclusion comes from the experimental data. Otherwise you probably just made it up. You could have just made it up. And in fact that is what happens all the time people just make it up. And they make it up to such a degree that we are led to war. I mean most… Most wars in the 20th century have started as a result of lies. Amplified and spread by the mainstream press. And you go, well that is a horrible circumstance, that is terrible that all these wars start with lies. And I say no, this is a tremendous opportunity, because it means that populations basically don’t like wars and they have to be lied into it. And that means we can be truthed into peace. And so that is the extremely optimistic thing.”

    http://wikileaks.org/Transcript-Meeting-Assange-Schmidt#1074

    • I’m sure most folks who write an article here usually add links to any sources they have used. Only if someone is writing, say an ’emotional’ article e.g. why I became pro-independence. But I may be wrong.

      • I’m talking about primary source data. Me including my quote from , say, the Daily Mail saying ‘iraq will launch wmds in 45 mins’ is not primary source data, although it does indeed source the source (sorry, blast from the past there). Including state dept documents that say this threat is not as imminent as we all are made to believe by MSM is primary source data. Including raw, unedited interviews in links, whereas we only include a clip or two on the main page, is primary source data. Greenwald using the docs Snowden uncovered to publish a story each month or so for The Intercept, explaining them in detail and coming back to them, whilst being free to add own speculation since the evidence is all there anyway, is primary source data. In fact, that is an ideal kind of model for what i’m talking about. The Intercept is great, you should check it out.

        And yes, i agree with you on Opinion columns, one can’t include sources for their emotions. 🙂

  2. Good on you guys. The mainstream media is driven by the agendas of its masters and very often its own agendas, with one brave, noteworthy and dignified exception – The Sunday Herald. I now rely heavily on the new on-line media and the Sunday Herald. This is most definitely the way to go and it is very uplifting to know that this is all taking place, by the grace of diligent and informed people, rather than the prehistoric hacks we have been used to in the past. The MSM in general are merely a tool to mislead the general populace in order to cover up and deflect from the misdeeds of the ultra rich and ruling classes.

    We are generally waking up to the fact that there is no democracy in the UK, but with hope against fear, we are moving inexorably towards democracy in Scotland. I agree – dealing with facts is important, instead of conjecture, and in some cases with the MSM there has been downright lying.

  3. I wish to say well done for your balanced reporting, even tho it might not always have been appreciated. Can I also add, thank goodness your staying away from all that celebrity pap of MSM
    Keep up good work AYE.
    I have donated, may not have been much as I’m not a well off pensioner lol

  4. To support the comments above.
    I have always understood that newspapers had two roles
    1. To report the facts
    2. To give option.
    The two should be clearly kept separate. Sadly few newspapers now keep to this principle.
    Please Bella re-establish this principle

  5. I think that Bella Caledonia, in its many years of existence, has carved out its own sphere of indy reportage, which supplements other resources such as the ‘NEWS’ type reporting as seen in Newsnet Scotland, or indeed the near forensic, hard edged, filleting of the main stream media and unionist politicians, as served up by the excellent Wings over Scotland. In that context, I look forward to more of what has already been achieved, and if the platform can be extended, in terms of reach and channels, so much the better.

    Whilst there is a place in some instances for journalism with citations – for example in Wings, where every single article is fully referenced throughout – I’m not convinced such an approach is necessary with the Bella Caledonia style of opinion, critique, analysis and discussion. In many ways, Bella is the Sunday supplement to indy reporting, with lengthier, more informed opinion pieces and political/cultural analysis, not possible when adhering to a pure ‘NEWS” style agenda.

    Bella Caledonia does what it does, well.

  6. Bella being something of a news junkie and dismayed by MSM I now extensively use the internet to source my facts. Increasingly via Twitter but ONLY from trustworthy sources. In many cases I follow reporters who have moved from one news outlet to another but still maintain their integrity.
    Especially valuable for specific topics are other independant twitter accounts that are good news aggregators and filters to remove the noise from the signal.
    For breaking news on any given topic they remain unsurpassed as MSM is, belatedly starting to realise.
    IMHO – in the UK- the Guardian is ahead of the curve on this. The American HuffPo seems to be struggling after an initial strong start. Perhaps a function of too much noise!

    Synthesis I would suggest that you use twitter to build up a network of citizen journalists with a Scotland wide coverage. Twitter messages for ‘telegrams from the front’ dispatches using a communal twitlonger or pastebin account for longer articles.
    No sense in reiinventing the wheel.

    Then feed this ‘local’ network into your own news platform.

    For news south of the border and international news: the various twitter accounts of the Guardian and even the (ahem) Daily Mail could be fed into your daily news platform. Here your editorial team would pick appropriate news items out of the feed; add a (spun) sub header and the link to the relevant page.

    For comment and analysis on global issues I would add the following to your trawl:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/
    http://www.truth-out.org/
    http://www.theatlantic.com/
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/
    http://www.slate.com/

    Naturally most of the content is USA centric however occasional articles have merit.
    (As an aside: their respective layouts may also provide inspiration when Bella expands its online presence.)

    I would suggest that your news site also provide links to the repeat service of Channel 4 News and the rolling coverage of AJE (Al Jaz. Eng.). The latter is becoming more than a little biased wrt certain ME affairs but overall the quality of reportage remains high. Naturally your own independant video news platform (once in place) would have pride of place.
    Finally I assume there is a live feed from Holyrood -when in session- with a similar feed from the Mother of Parliaments (sarcasm) could provide a useful contrast as to the two syles of governance.
    Hope this is of use.

  7. ” The referendum was about class and power “. If that’s all you think it was about then be careful about the likes of me.

    I’m fairly certain I was in the van for the last couple of years in terms of chapping on doors, leafleting, manning stalls as well as arguing the case with all and sundry, and finally contributing pretty generously.

    I happen to be ” upper middle class ” and in the lucky position to be of an age and with income to do these things. I did them though in the name of social justice, rather than in ” class and power “. I am also happy with Swinney’s new tax system announced yesterday, which will impact negatively for me, but be for the greater good.

    My ” class ” tends to pronounce the “t” in Scotland, rather than using the glottal stop. We count for something and you should be careful about what you wish for.

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