It all started out as a joke on Twitter, after a particularly gruelling day of dealing with more spin and nonsense from ‘journalists’ who should really know better. But then it turned into a genuine quest to find a more appropriate name for this truly shoddy intake of wannabe hacks occupying column inches in the online and offline media of Britain.
We need a new collective noun for this pathetic crop of hacks currently occupying our media. How about: an embarrassment of journalists?
— Kerry-Anne Mendoza (@TheMendozaWoman) September 20, 2016
You guys really didn’t hold back:
a 'for-fuck's-sake' of journalists?
— Aleez 🌹🚩 (@Saaket9000) September 22, 2016
Anthropologist David Graeber got involved with some expert suggestions:
a travesty of journalists? A buncombe of journalists? a cheese-plate of hacks? A corruption?
— David Graeber (@davidgraeber) September 20, 2016
The Editor of Vox Political Mike Sivier and disability activist Rick Burgess worked some wonders around the theme of hacks:
No, because you and I are journalists. How about "A humiliation of hacks"?
— Mike Sivier (@MidWalesMike) September 20, 2016
a Chomsky of Hacks.
— Rick B (@TenPercent) September 20, 2016
But one Twitter user seemed to nail the whole problem in one truly sublime sequence of characters. Prepare for the mic drop…
@georgegalloway maybe a jukebox of journalists? You pay your money and get the tune you want..
— Cesspit Pete (@Peter__Jackson) September 20, 2016
Well done, Peter Jackson!
Despite countless suggestions, this one was impossible to top. Although I am still partial to ‘a mildew of Murdochs’, or ‘a slurry of journalists’.
Forging an alternative
The Media Reform Coalition published a report last year entitled: “Who owns the UK media?” It found that the UK media is dominated by a handful of corporations. Just seven corporations own 71% of the entire media establishment. This has narrowed the terms of acceptable debate in our media to an intolerably small space, where anyone outside of that sliver is deemed mad, bad and dangerous.
But at the same time, incredible new media organisations like Novara Media, Media Diversified, Media Lens, Evolve Politics, CommonSpace, Bella Caledonia, Real Media, and many others are taking the fight to the establishment. They have been ably assisted by an array of skilled and committed bloggers like Vox Political, Another Angry Voice, Pride’s Purge, and Politics and Insights (Kitty S Jones), to name but a few.
There is a widespread hunger for a school of journalism which does not rely on the establishment, or replicate its mistakes; that tells truth to power and speaks in a human voice; that wears its opinions openly and distinguishes them from arguments of fact.
This is why The Canary exists. We lay out our mission in our Values section, for all to see. We believe a free, fair and fearless media is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, because for democracy to work, it requires informed consent from its citizens. We intend to help generate that informed consent by providing our readers with high-quality, well-researched and incisive journalism.
We are as flawed and imperfect as any group of individuals. But someone needs to start this fight, and those who’ve got involved have seen their work rewarded with millions of new, switched on, and passionate readers. As I have said before, it has felt as if during the last decade, we have all been witnessing the demise of politics, the welfare state, the NHS, and the media in gradually escalating horror. We have been looking over our shoulder to the hills, asking: ‘Where is the cavalry?’
But the cavalry isn’t coming. We are the cavalry. Parents, teachers, plumbers, engineers, scientists, junior doctors, sick and disabled people, people of colour, students, working and non-working people, activists – and it is the responsibility of the new media to promote those voices where the established media has failed.
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The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
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