Indymedia to close unless you get involved

Tagged as: indymedia
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Published by group: GroupNotts Indymedia

Following a lot of discussion in our meetings, the Nottingham Indymedia collective has decided to disable publishing on the site from 31st January. The dwindling input into this site from local activists and groups has left us wondering whether the effort that goes into maintaining the site is still needed and wanted.

We will hold a public meeting on 18th February, 7.30pm at the Sumac Centre, Nottingham, to discuss the future of Indymedia in the region. We welcome anyone with any interest in the current Nottingham Indymedia site or independent media in general to come with ideas and energy. What happens next will be very dependent on what happens in that meeting.

Some members of the current collective have been doing what we do for the whole of the 7.5 years that this site has been in existence. We’ve had fun and achieved a lot. Now it’s up to you.

Some background

Nottingham Indymedia is being used less and less frequently. Because we don’t log IPs, we have no idea how many users are accessing the site, but we can get some measure of how much it is used by counting the number of items on the newswire and the number of comments we attract. In 2012 users published 302 articles, zines, tumbles and other media, 171 events and 276 comments. This compares to 522 newswire items, 172 events and 523 comments in 2011 and 624 newswire items, 226 events and 953 comments in 2010. Year on year the amount of content on the site is decreasing. We had a particularly slow final quarter of 2012. Only 46 newswire items were published compared with 149 in 2011 and 190 in 2012.

This decreased usage of the site has led the collective to question whether our site is still useful to our community and whether that community still exists. Technologically, Indymedia platforms built by volunteer activist coders, have been far surpassed by corporate web giants with armies of well-paid staff. Their more flexible, better maintained and constantly updated platforms, like Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, are more attractive to the casual observer, especially as they have managed to achieve hegemony over the online world. It often seems like everyone’s on Facebook so it seems to make sense to many to put their content there, where they have a wider potential audience than on a small, local Indymedia site. Many young political activists now have grown up never questioning the internet giants. They have no memories of the times before the internet was enclosed. To such people the Nottingham Indymedia site may seem inflexible, unattractive and difficult to use. And why post there if their friends aren’t going to see it?

But we know that not everyone thinks this way. There are many who understand the dangers of putting politically subversive content in the hands of corporations who log your details and have working agreements with police forces and governments. There are those who do want to create a community that questions the authorities and works for social, environmental and economic justice. But maybe that community has moved on – creating links between struggles through Twitter curation and aggregating newsfeeds. Perhaps using social media whilst remaining anonymous through the use of Tor and VPNs has become the new frontier for activists.

Perhaps most disappointing of all is the possibility that we are experiencing a downturn in struggle that is unprecedented in recent years. Certainly Nottingham seems a quieter place in terms of radical activity than it has been for some time.

We have discussed all of these possibilities but we are limited by our viewpoint – we have all been committed to the Indymedia project and see the reasons why it is important and useful. That’s why we need users of the site and non-users from the communities who we think ought to be users to tell us what needs to be done. Is the technology insufficient, is it the fact that other platforms have more users, is it that there’s nothing going on to report on or is it something completely different that we haven’t thought of?

Why close?

We are sure that many similar issues have arisen for other local Indymedia sites that have decided to make drastic changes in recent times. In July, Northern Indymedia made a callout for new volunteers citing dwindling activity as a reason. Then in October London Indymedia announced that they were to close, saying that “this Indymedia project is for many reasons no longer the one which we think is tactically useful to put our energy into”.

The crux of the matter is that while being involved in the kind of transparent, accountable and open media collectives that form the Indymedia network takes time and effort. We are all volunteers and have to balance the rest of the commitments that make up our lives with what we do to keep sites going and creating content. When lots of users are generating lots of great stuff that inspires us and keeps the site going. When there is little going on we question the usefulness of what we are doing and put more energy elsewhere. Then the site starts getting neglected and users go elsewhere creating a vicious cycle.

We have tried outreach via callouts for support on the site, holding workshops and most recently sending mailouts to hundreds of grassroots community groups across the East Midlands about what they can get out of the site. None of this activity seems to have stimulated more interest in the site. So we thought we’d try something more drastic.

We have decided to, perhaps temporarily, disable publishing on this site as a clear demonstration of what will be lost unless there is new energy in the project. If no one notices then it’s clear that we aren’t needed any more and we can move on to something else. If people still think the site is worth maintaining then we welcome them to join us and get involved in the future of independent media in Nottingham and the East Midlands.

Comments

Things need to change

I definitely think Notts IMC has changed things for the better in Nottingham over the past 8 years or so but things have been winding down for a long time now.

I think what's happened is that the collective responsibility for the project has been lost. The radical community expects the indy collective to keep the site up and running and dutifully report on all their activities when it should be about DIY and people creating their own content. In the age of cameraphones everywhere it should be easier than ever before for people to write something for indy but hardly anyone does.

Is it because we haven't done enough work explaining the dangers of the corporate internet? Is it because we've alienated people from the site? It's hard to know so I'd really appreciate it if as many people who've had anything to do with the site as possible came along on 18th Feb to talk with us.

Saw it coming

I'm sorry to say that the writing has been on the wall for all British based Indymedia sites for some time. London and Northern faced up to their decline a little while ago and now its the same for us here. The UK site will continue because the Mods there live in a bubble of self delusion that blocks them from the real world however that site is now also ignore by most. For some reason Indymedia Bristol seems to be thriving, which is good but confusing. Perhaps they can offer suggestions ?

Please stick to Nottingham

This article is about Nottingham Indymedia, a site independent of UK Indymedia. Please do not use this thread as an opportunity to have a pop at another site that has nothing to do with us.

Maybe Notts should take a new name?

I've only just been made aware of all the above reading this thread.

If all that is true, and 'Indymedia' nationally is fucked and discredited, maybe the local site should re-launch as something else? 'Notts Open News' or something (off the top of my head).

I for one would miss it massively if it folded.

I am looking forward to the meeting on 18th Feb.

There are bigger issues than the name

Although I agree the 'indymedia' name is forever tainted in the UK I don't think a simple name change to the newswire here will save it. The issues to me are detailed here:

1 - Lack of volunteers, I was involved with the Northern site in a minor capacity and we saw the decline over time of people prepared to get involved. I understand that is a problem here as well. People just don't see Indy as 'part of their world'

2 - Alternative news sources, like it or not the current activist generation sees facebook and twitter as their communication method of choice, let's face it, it is faster, easier to use and directed at the people they care about.

3 - Reputation, we must face up to what outsiders think of Indymedia. The views here of the students in my university are telling:
"Takes too long to post stuff"
"Looks old fashioned"
"Too much crap to wade through"
"Obsessed with Israel"
"911 truther site"
"No good on a mobile"

Sorry to say but I think that Notts should follow London and archive the site with new publishing disabled. Indymedia in the UK was a great project for a few years but its time has passed.
Thanks to everyone who made it happen.

We're stil alive in Oxford

We're still alive in Oxford, at quite a low ebb, but alive and with a functional collective and list.

We've got 90% of a new web site ready to launch, and are currently actively looking for collaborators and content writers. We're running a monthly film screening, which has been running for nearly 2 year and is quite popular.

We do intend to relaunch, having become a fully fledged IMC last year, with an altered approach and a wide reach on our content. We're still discussing the details of this.

So, although I think there's been lots of changes, and that Indymedia has been slow to respond to new technologies and new ways of communicating on-line, often encumbered with process and politics that have meant quite a slow response, and although I know this was noticeable as far back as about 2005/2006, I think there's legs in the old project yet!

So if the Notts folk feel this is what they need to do, then that's cool, and perhaps doing so will allow something new and greater to grow out of Notts, but I'm still happy that the rest of us that are left are happy to soldier on.

And big up to the Bristol folks for keeping it real down there. Must be the cider...

AS
OxIMC d00d

http://oxford.indymedia.org.uk
http://films.oximc.org.uk

Title?

P.S. The title of the article "Indymedia to close" gave me a shock, perhaps the admins could tweak it to say that Notts is closing, not the whole of Indy?

Best wishes and well done

It is hard decision for the IMC to make. I would only like to add that over the years I have added hundreds if not thousands of links to Nottingham Indymedia article and events from many websites I have been involved with. I think this has been an important function. The information is stable and functional and the ability to add photographs and video greatly enhances the reporting and promoting of events that is time consuming for other site admins to do. The features and the photography have been particularly impressive, and the groups functionality allowing editing and collating of articles from organisations is very user friendly. The IMC should be congratulated for the immense effort they have put in to create an independent newswire for Nottingham and Notts. All I can think is it will be very important to make sure reporting happens elsewhere if Notts IMC is unable to continue. Thanks again, whatever is decided long term.

Interesting comments over at Bristol Indy

http://bristol.indymedia.org/article/712632

Seems like something worth considering ?

alternative social media

If people are finding it easier or more useful to get information from social media, then maybe its worth looking at better alternatives than corporate controlled facebook and twitter.

For example diaspora, has come on a lot in the last year. The software is open source. It's decentralized, you can choose a host AKA pod, see http://podupti.me/

intro at http://diasporial.com/tutorials

too parochial perhaps?

I would be very sad to see this site fold. I've learnt quite a lot from it in the couple of years I've been using it - about Notts Occupy, for example, Morton Hall, a terrific anarchist event in Lincoln 18 months ago and Babs Tucker more recently. As I live in Grantham I wouldn't have learnt about this stuff any other way.

So no matter what you guys decide to do, well done on what you've done so far. Top job.

Possible improvements...?

Possibly the most useful area of the site is the events guide - stuff relating to what people are doing. As far as news is concerned I see the point in focusing on Nottingham-based issues, but it might help to have an area for wider national and international issues too. The message board on Media Lens, for example, is really great and gets loads of activity about all sorts of different stuff. I don't know if you could do it, but something like that might help.

Best wishes
to all of you at Indymedia. Well done.

hrrrm

An unsigned account of a meeting in an undisclosed location with undisclosed attendees and a plan to be updated at an unspecified later date in an unspecified forum?

Not exactly oozing credibility from all pores at once, is it?

It's really time to end this. No one in Indymedia is forced to ally with Mayday. There are those who have, and those who haven't.

Time to turn back to the real topic, which is whether Indymedia serves its purpose locally in 2013, how it can be changed if it doesn't, and whether the effort to change is of sufficient benefit. If there really is nothing left to Indymedia in UK but regional infighting and a national collective interested only in maintaining its power, and struggling appallingly on the Jewish question, then recognize it. But if there is reason to believe that Indy really does perform a unique and valued service to Notts, and the community supports it, then it's time to plan for the future.

Save Nottingham Indy Media

Hi i wish it to be saved and am very much willing to get involved. I un fortunatly cannot make it to tonights meeting please email me on hannahbyrne2011@gmail.com

support (& bury your hatchet)

As someone asked, this thread is about Notts Indymedia only.

It's hard to resist the temptation to reply to all the sectarian bullshit about it nationally that's been put up here by people clearly involved (very much from one side only) and still grinding a boring and tired axe!

Enough to say, I think UK Indymedia and local ones are all great and very much needed. There are issues relating to the newer generation's use of social media instead, and how to deal with that to get it more used and relevant once again. There are of course questions about the role of independent media at a time when there's fuck all grassroots activism to support (as well as all other 'support' roles).

I have faith in you to solve these issues, if new volunteers come forwards. Good luck from a supportive (& safe!) distance.

how was the meeting?

Very sorry I didn't make it last night....

I hope there was a good turn out and plenty of energy.

Please let us know what's happening!

Positive meeting

The meeting was very positive - well attended and with lots of new energy to keep the site going. We will be announcing the relaunch of Notts Indy soon.