A while back I did a story count exploring how much the mainstream media actually writes in comparison to anarchist press and online. So, having done a Freedom revamp with more stuff levered in, and as an exercise to see how online is doing in terms of story count, I thought I'd revisit the subject...
Back in November 2006 in this blog, I did a quick analysis of our media and how it compares to the mainstream in any given fortnight (to accommodate the fact that Freedom comes out that often - look at me ma I'm making the sun orbit the earth - also because it's a handy ten-day cycle of workdays).
The answer was badly. Compared to 92 articles (features, news and briefs included) DAILY in the average mainstream paper, adding up to 900-1000 in a fortnight...
Freedom ran 27-30 stories in the same time, split into:
- one feature,
- two reviews,
- nine main news articles,
- between 15-20 Nibs (news in brief),
- A picture story for the front
Though the long articles were very much so, totalling about 12,000 words in all.
Schnews, as the only thing to come close in terms of regularity (everything else in print being either irregular or quartlery afaik - corrections in the comment section please) was 6,000 words broken up into 14 stories in a fortnight, as follows:
- Two main featured articles
- Two secondary articles
- 10 Nibs
- Cartoon and listings.
Meanwhile online, the Beeb were running 22 stories on the front page alone per day, though I didn't try to estimate how many total - even at that level, we're talking 220 per fortnight. However, I'd estimate on a quick look today there's upwards of 250-300 on the news section of the website, excluding sport, at any one time, though this changes through the day, which would see the beeb romping through 2,500 stories a fortnight, albeit generally short ones.
Libcom was running 50ish stories a fortnight, plus an unknown number of feature/theory articles and a LOT of forum threads.
Indymedia had around 140 promoted stories in the same time (of varying quality and relevance)
Today, the picture is fairly similar for the average newspaper, and for Schnews (good on em they're back with their latest issue as of Friday), but we finally have a new count for Freedom as our sub puts this issue to bed.
3 picture breakouts
14 longer stories
2 features (one main, one a 'basic theory' series we're starting)
Total news/feature story count: 47. The longer articles are still knocking 500 words, but the shorter ones are much briefer and to the point, so in terms of information there's a lot more in there, from a wider range of sources. Still way behind the curve in terms of straight story count, but for your buck, as these tend to be important/obscure stories, it hopefully ain't too bad.
Sub says it looks good btw, and it may well be on time (gasp!)
Online, libcom isn't looking so hot at the moment (though it should be borne in mind they often go through bursts of activity, followed by dry patches and New Year will have seen an inevitable lull for holiday type stuff), with just 12 stories over the fortnight - I should really get back to posting more Freedom stuff on that note...
Indymedia too with 43 promoted topics is way down, presumably for the same reasons.
That's not to say the news-writing isn't out there. Infoshop and indymedia world are pulling in around 100 every ten days at the moment, Anarkismo another 30, around the same level as A-infos. There are a lot of semi-regularly updated sites, and more mainstream sources which require minimal rewriting (eg. the strike announcements on the various union websites, which are PR releases and therefore can be reposted fairly easily just cutting out the more stupid quotes, forum posts which deserve a wider audience etc).
Although there is some crossover of stories, and a lot of them are crap, there's easily enough going on in total, along with the stuff libcom already gets, to make one decent-sized newswire with output to rival the mainstream.
What that would really need is a couple of people who obsessively read the news to volunteer as Libcom's primary news organisers, with their responsibility being to update as often as time allows (I'm sure there are people in the libcom community who could do this, particularly if they're good at deciphering google translations), augmented by a general thing for users that if you're on the forums, and can't find any good threads, stop hitting refresh and write a brief international news item instead. I mean finding international stuff is not hard, just pick a country, and type 'strike' next to it in google news. The chances of you finding nothing at all are slim.
By the time you get back, there may well be something interesting.