The Alternative

6 Feb

I believe that most people are altruistic rather than selfish. But the majority of people are persuaded that there is no alternative to a completely free market economy where the weak are allowed to sink into deeper and deeper poverty. And the majority of this influence comes from the drip fed poison of the popular press. What is needed is an alternative source of news, one that reflects reality.

Why?

The British press is almost universally not just dire but largely owned and operated in order to promote the interests of the owners. News has become a commodity to include within the propaganda and the bread and circuses, not the reason the newspaper exists. When the killer of Jo Cox was convicted The Daily Mail mentioned this on Page 28. The entire tone is to say that there is no alternative to the current neo-liberal economics, (and the Alt-con political agenda). And pity anyone known to the public who dares to poke their head above the parapet and tell these mighty organs of the press that there is an alternative. They will be demonised y the press. Politicians are in the pockets of Murdoch, Desmond, and Rothermere. They jump when they are told to. Politics has become a revolving door that allows the greasiest and least principled to move seamlessly from government to lucrative but almost non-existent jobs for major companies whose interests they are supposed to foster. Lobbying has become a billion pound industry. The very rich get ever richer and the rest of us are lucky to be treading water.

There are many problems to be solved, but none of them can be solved unless we can persuade the majority that there is a genuine alternative. The only way to do this is to provide real information together with incisive comment and genuinely entertaining content.

Format

The Alternative is to be an online newspaper, a sort of journalistic Wikipedia. To get into print is expensive and probably ineffective in either the short or long term. The world has moved into social media and the Internet. There are already many sites offering good information about a variety of topics, but the information is scattered among a sea of shit. On these specialist topics, such as science or economics it is possible to find properly written and peer reviewed pieces. What is lacking is an overall umbrella organisation, or brand, in which these can be viewed, somewhere internet readers can dip into find out about one issue and then click on a link to some other topic that interests them, but which has the same values and adherence to truth. This brand needs to provide an overall style sheet for all of these pages and an identifiable loo and feel. The way to drive visitors to the site is initially by way of entertainment or infotainment.

Target Audience

This should be as wide as possible, anyone who is altruistic and inquisitive. The largest audience might be the under thirties, but pensioners should be able to find just as much of interest as everyone else. It should also be international and liberally minded. It should be for people who have curiosity and are open minded.

Organization

This needs to be a cooperative, but with a guiding committee. Anyone who shows Stalinist tendencies is to be instantly ejected from the committee. Members should be gathered from all ‘departments’, such as journalism, factual information, technical and financial. It is not to be run by accountants, but with their advice.

People

Invitations to be sent to people who already have a web presence on their particular subject. The incentive is to drive traffic to their own sites. If these contributors can agree with the Statement of Intent and follow the guidelines on legality (and, to a very limited degree, taste), then they can contribute. The initial push is to find entertaining peices to grab attention. The primary drive is for numbers. The agreements to link to specialist areas need to be in place, but building an audience needs to be done through those in the public eye. Comedians who also have some journalistic experience, such as Mark Steele and Mark Thomas would be especially welcome, but visual impact is also vital, so artists and film makers need to have their place at the top table, as are music makers. There should be puzzles, not just crosswords and sudoku but those especially suited to playing online. There is no shortages of writers, artists, comedians and other creative types who are much more liberal than conservative. There are right-wing comedians, such as Jim Davidson, but if anyone thinks they are funny, then  that person is probably not within the target audience.

Finance

If sufficient traffic can be driven to the site then advertising revenue will follow as sure as eggs is eggs. Money from this advertising to be distributed according to page hits. A proportion of the money made to be invested in community based projects and international aid – the proportion negotiable by the contributer.

Statement of Intent

To tell the truth or as near o the truth as can be inferred from the best and latest evidence. To be entertaining. To build bridges rather than walls. To provide an alternative to the neo-liberal / Alt-Con establishment and the press they own. To provide an umbrella organisation to allow creative and liberal thinkers to shift perception about what issues are important so that these real issues can be discussed, addressed and solved instead of being ignored in favour of non-stories. (This is up for grabs, and suggestions for a better statement in the fewest words is not only welcome but vital).

Here are some statements which you may or may not agree with. Please ad to the list, and I will try to distil it down to a few phrases.

Be plain spoken

Avoid timidity – speak out

Campaign for justice

Be outward looking and open

Be intolerant of intolerance

Avoid the leftist trap of power struggles, splitting and vitriol.

Avoid dogma and knee-jerk reactions

Work for the best for the majority without assuming that you always know better.

Above all, be well-intentioned

If you have any suggestions as to who should be invited to joind

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