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.
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.
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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