It’s time to transform the media. Are you in?

An image representing the mainstream media
Steve Topple

There’s a media revolution happening, in case you missed it. And we all need to get involved.

A real media revolution

In 2016, the Media Fund began. It is a collective of independent news outlets. The idea is a straightforward one: ordinary people become members and donate on a monthly basis to support the outlets.

The money gets divided up, with small portions going to the donation software host and the Media Fund itself. Then, the fund splits the rest between the outlets and a “Project Fund“. This goes towards specific projects the outlets have pitched. And the members vote on which projects they want to see happen.

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Now, the Media Fund is on a membership drive. And it’s because we’re at a moment in time where real media transformation could happen. So The Canary caught up with the Media Fund’s communication secretary Kallum Pembro to discuss old media, independent media, and a gap that’s appearing between the two.

A “struggling and inadequate mainstream”

The Media Fund’s drive for support is ongoing; but also goes from strength to strength. In May, the group launched its ‘News Clubs’, where debates with a panel of guests take place up and down the UK. It also has its own news service, delivering alerts on major global events with the real stories behind them.

But as Pembro told The Canary, all this comes at a time when traditional news outlets (the ‘mainstream media’) have left a space that needs filling:

We are always pushing for new members. The Media Fund is an ongoing crowdfunder for quality, independent media. So the more supporters we have, the better we can help independent media grow. The independent media sector has a real opportunity right now to take over the space vacated by the struggling and inadequate mainstream. If we can raise the funds, then we can transform the UK media landscape.

A distorted old media?

A transformation in UK media is sorely needed. For example, a recent report by the Media Reform Coalition (MRC) highlighted the failings of the mainstream media. As The Canary previously reported, the MRC said that media coverage of antisemitism in the Labour Party had been ‘misleading’, ‘distorted’ and ‘inaccurate’. It added:

we identified myriad inaccuracies and distortions in online and television news

This is just one example of the failings of the mainstream media. But is the problem an endemic one? Pembro is not sure, telling The Canary:

We are all for plurality in the media. The Guardian has its shortcomings, but the problem really comes from the distinct lack of Guardian-sized independent media platforms. With support through organisations like The Media Fund, independent media organisations could act as a really effective counter-balance to the monoculture we see out there. We need a media that is capable of reporting on the issues that really matter to people across the country, and the independent media is fast becoming just that.

But independent media is facing its own problems.

Facing a backlash

As The Canary reported, Facebook has been accused of shutting down websites that are critical of governments. Its algorithm changes have also hit most media outlets. Pembro said this situation is “very concerning”:

This is the start of a very dangerous power play on behalf of a company that has too much control over the media we come across. We think eventually independent media will need to move away from platforms like Facebook… In the first place, it’s important that independent media organisations work together to come up with a strategy to tackle this. The Media Fund sees itself as doing that – bringing independent media organisations together to form strong working relationships.

Independent media is on a knife-edge. It has the opportunity to radically transform the media landscape forever, but it can only do that with your help. So support the Media Fund – and also outlets outside it like The Canary. Because these organisations can be part of the change you want to see.

Get Involved!

– Support the Media Fund.

– Learn more about the ongoing media revolution, and join The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.

Featured image via geralt – pixabay

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