The Canary will be closed on Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 January 2024. This is because, as it’s a new year, we’re getting a new-look website. On 14 January www.thecanary.co will not be working at all for a period of time. Here’s what’s happening – plus some thoughts on our adverts that have prompted responses from readers.
The Canary: a new website on the way
Our current website runs on an old package that doesn’t make for the fastest or most user-friendly experience for our readers. It also makes it more difficult to work with from our point of view. So, with the help of some experts who have experience in highly successful independent media, we’re updating the entire site.
It’s probably going to look like the biggest change since the Canary last altered the site in 2018. In fact, it’s actually going to be bigger. We’re going to be working off a whole, new “theme” – binning the one we’ve had for most of our existence. As Elementor wrote:
A website theme is a foundation for a site’s complete design. A website theme manages the front-end design, establishing the overall appearance and functionality by managing its front-end design.
Themes determine all design components: page layouts, backgrounds, color palettes, headers and footers, positioning, sizing, and typography.
This should all make for a faster experience, an increased ease of reading, and better interaction with other sites and software we all use on the internet – from Google, to Twitter, via Facebook.
This means that the site will need some down time. We hope it will just be for 14 January – but there will be glitches to iron out, hence we’re closing for two days.
Meanwhile, the Canary has had a lot of comments about the advertising we have been running – including sponsored articles.
About our adverts
Let’s cut to the chase. Much of the independent media landscape is in dire straits at present. The class war (dressed up by politicians as a ‘cost of living crisis’) had directly impacted most outlets – because the public simply cannot afford to support them in the ways they used to. Remember Galdem? Evolve Politics? Unity News? These outlets have either folded or drastically reduced their content.
At the Canary, we tried different approaches: bringing in new writers, changing what we write about, increasing our video content, and engaging much more with our subscribers – including exclusive weekly content, and much faster responses to their emails. We also ditched all our corporate advertising.
Sadly, this has not been enough to sustain the Canary‘s current funding model – coupled with huge debts we inherited from previous directors. So, we’ve had to revert back to advertising and sponsored content – something the Canary has used in the past.
This will not be changing, because otherwise the Canary will no longer exist. We’re already going through another period of huge change, and currently we’re trying to keep our outlet alive. So, this means adverts and sponsored content will be on the site. However, we’re aware that the advert-style articles on gambling have not been appreciated by some readers.
So, we’re going to be working with a new partner who will be looking at the kind of content we display on the site. We’re also aware the adverts are intrusive. Again, with the new site we’re looking at how these can be best-placed to lessen their impact.
We’re not middle class, so unfortunately this is how it is
Independent media is generally the preserve of the middle classes – you only have to look at the most successful outlets to realise that. At the Canary, we cannot afford to work for free from our council houses and slum landlord-owned properties. Most of us don’t have well-off families or partners who can prop us up. Nor do we have other business ventures to keep us afloat.
So, unless people want the Canary to be the actual one in the coalmine – dying a death as a warning over independent media’s collapse – then readers will have to tolerate what are capitalist adverts. Sometimes, you have to dance with the devil – and if taking money off it as well means we can help bring about its demise, then sobeit.
Capitalists effectively paying for the Canary to rally against capitalism seems like a pretty decent idea to us. We hope you will understand that too.
So, a new website is coming and our adverts will look less intrusive. There will be more changes coming in the next few months – so, stay posted, and thanks for the ongoing support.
Featured image via Unsplash