Editorial change

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Django
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Apr 22 2009 09:42
Editorial change

Just read in the most recent Freedom I got that the editorial group is changing over and on Ian Bone's blog that this means an overhaul for the paper. If it does mean big change its a shame, as Freedom over the past 18 months or so has been excellent. Bone's comments that "Freedom has seemed to inhabit a strange parallel universe to the rest of the anarchist movement but now there’s every opportunity for it to become the paper our movement badly needs" are pretty unfair. So props to the departing editors!

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Apr 23 2009 07:28

yeah mad props. it's been really good recently, the last couple of issues have taken a real dip in quality though I feel, a shame.

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Apr 23 2009 09:45
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Freedom has seemed to inhabit a strange parallel universe to the rest of the anarchist movement

he says that like it's a bad thing

I think freedom has vastly improved over the last year or so and that 'strange parallel universe' is something quite a lot of anarchists always seem hesitant to confront. it's called real life.

nastyned
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Apr 23 2009 09:57

I haven't read Freedom for a while. I may get up to London for May day so I'll see if I can pick up a copy then.

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Apr 23 2009 14:39
oisleep wrote:
Quote:
Freedom has seemed to inhabit a strange parallel universe to the rest of the anarchist movement

he says that like it's a bad thing

I think freedom has vastly improved over the last year or so and that 'strange parallel universe' is something quite a lot of anarchists always seem hesitant to confront. it's called real life.

That's exactly what I was thinking..

vanilla.ice.baby
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Apr 27 2009 09:59

Ian is not entirely accurate in his claim.

There has been an ongoing process of handover between the previous editorial team and the current one, which is entirely amicable - while there will be some structural changes in the way Freedom is produced, and there will no doubt be some changes in contributors (I intend to become a more active contributor, but thats because I have more time at the moment).

It is safe to say that the leading member of the new team is keen to continue the editorial direction that started under Rob Ray.

And I would ask that anyone who wants to help it continue to be a relevent class struggle news based publication to contribute articles whenever they can.

To sum up, I think the political emphasis will remain unchanged while the production will hopefully continue to improve.

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May 16 2009 11:31

is the latest issue the first one under the new editorial team?

it does seem to have been ian boneified, and i think it's worse off for it

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May 16 2009 12:16

Yes I agree. I don't think it has much to do with Ian Bone but most of the content appeared to be the kind of self-referential stuff put out by most of the "movement".

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May 16 2009 13:21

yep, didn't mean that it had anything (directly) to do with ian bone himself, just seems to have had its emphasis changed somewhat, from a paper that could be held up as something that attempts to communicate with normal people outside the ghetto (and therefore quite useful) to one that seems to be turning in on itself and orientating itself inwards, at a time more than ever when it should be doing the opposite

Freedom Newspaper
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May 16 2009 13:50

Since the change over of editorship there has been articles on: Prisme factory occupation in Dundee, house repossessions, Canadian workers occupation, general strike in France, public sector pay dispute, Visteon occupation (3 articles so far on the Visteon dispute including front cover article and interview with the workers in next edition), anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, Glasgow school occupation, Rossport pipeline, Lewisham school occupation.

People may disagree but the G20 and Mayday do feature as important political and media events - so much so the pickets down at Visteon factory in Enfield were as keen to ask about what happened at the G20 as we were keen to talk about the occupation. We, as anarchists and editors of the paper, have had first hand access and involvement with the G20, as well as with the up and coming anarchist movement conference, as such they have featured heavily in the last couple of issues.

The only obvious structural changes we've made so far is to dispense with specific public sector/business pages, although naturally such issues will feature as and when they become newsworthy. We are also attempting to reflect what is happening within the anarchist movement as it stands today. This will hopefully mean more and more original source material from people active in anarchist politics.

Everybody at Freedom has nothing but praise in the way Rob Ray took hold of the Freedom and developed it into a tight and professional newspaper. There is however much that is yet to be done. Most obviously: who is the paper for and how many people read it?

The 2 specific goals we have set ourselves are: 1) expand the circulation, 2) become a relevant voice of anarchist ideas and activities in the UK.
These are hefty ambitons, and like the bookshop, set to be long term projects.

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May 16 2009 19:13

"Freedom newspaper", if I'm right, there are now two editors of freedom? Coffee machine from here and someone else who I'm not sure has ever posted on libcom. Is this freedom newspaper username your collective identity, or was that post by one of you? I mean it might be that you just let yourself logged in with a different username, but I think for openness and clarity it would be easier if people stuck to there individual usernames where possible.

On the Visteon workers being as keen to ask anarchists about the G20 as we were to ask them about their occupation, that doesn't echo with my experience. I was down there a fair few times, spoke to a bunch of different workers, gave a few interviews, participated in a couple of supporters group meetings with workers, etc, and I wasn't once asked anything about the G20 or May Day, nor did I see workers asking anyone else about it. Maybe you could expand a bit on what you meant by that, and how it occurred?

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May 17 2009 11:54

Give them a bit of time to sort themselves out in terms of content. Not only was it a pretty quick changeover, and it takes a while to get your head around a new system, it's also a pretty difficult job to fill 16 pages every fortnight if you're not used to it.

We're talking about a really tight turnaround time for a small collective doing a fairly hefty amount of work (and who are also pretty busy with other projects), so it would be something of a surprise if the first few issues didn't rely heavily on their mates' writing and stuff they have a particular knowledge of.

The risk is that because of this pressure and lack of resources/training, it'll end up running an anarchisty roundup of mainstream news and internal movement stuff rather than finding its own investigative/class-wide angles, but I'm sure Andy and Dean are hoping to go further than that with it, and I'm certainly willing to stay involved in a less prominent role on that basis.

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May 18 2009 14:16
Steven. wrote:
On the Visteon workers being as keen to ask anarchists about the G20 as we were to ask them about their occupation, that doesn't echo with my experience. I was down there a fair few times, spoke to a bunch of different workers, gave a few interviews, participated in a couple of supporters group meetings with workers, etc, and I wasn't once asked anything about the G20 or May Day, nor did I see workers asking anyone else about it. Maybe you could expand a bit on what you meant by that, and how it occurred?

Not wanting to de-rail the topic (I've not seen new Freedom yet), this was our experience in Belfast too Steven. - I was only up 5 or 6 times, Deezer and Notch a few times more, and I don't think any of us were asked about the G20 stuff, although there was obviously some interest in the various school occupations and stuff like that, and there was a lot of Visteon/Ford crew at MayDay march here.

raw
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May 18 2009 18:10
Choccy wrote:
Steven. wrote:
On the Visteon workers being as keen to ask anarchists about the G20 as we were to ask them about their occupation, that doesn't echo with my experience. I was down there a fair few times, spoke to a bunch of different workers, gave a few interviews, participated in a couple of supporters group meetings with workers, etc, and I wasn't once asked anything about the G20 or May Day, nor did I see workers asking anyone else about it. Maybe you could expand a bit on what you meant by that, and how it occurred?

Not wanting to de-rail the topic (I've not seen new Freedom yet), this was our experience in Belfast too Steven. - I was only up 5 or 6 times, Deezer and Notch a few times more, and I don't think any of us were asked about the G20 stuff, although there was obviously some interest in the various school occupations and stuff like that, and there was a lot of Visteon/Ford crew at MayDay march here.

More likely Enfield asking about G20 because Enfield is in London, no?

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May 18 2009 19:16

I gather people traveled from all over to go to G20 though, and it was all over the newspapers, and that's kinda why it's a big deal and everyone went on about it.
Actually, Steven's post is the one that says Enfield workers he spoke to didn't ask about it, probably make more sense to reply to his, given that's who i was replying to.
[apologies for de-rail]

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May 19 2009 18:54

Slightly off-topic but your proof reader needs a kick up the arse:

Freedom page 5, In Brief,SUBMARINE WATCH wrote:

the people of Portsmouth and Plymouth may feel they have got the better end of the deal given the recent spate of leeks from the UK's submarines

wink

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May 19 2009 19:28

praise to the rinky-dink sound system

we won the war at G20, but lost the peace

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May 19 2009 19:30

The summer's going to be a hot one

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May 27 2009 18:26

Got to say, the drop in quality is definitely noticeable after another few issues.

Two thirds of a page per issue devoted to Ian Bone? No thanks.

The amount of actual reportage seems to have dropped too. There's much less good investigative writing from an anarchist perspective and much more unconvincing agitprop. For example, I don't know what the Swine Flu article on the front of 70:9 is supposed to be about. If its trying to show theres a link between the spread of swine flu and capitalism, or that an anarchist society could do better, theres an argument missing. And whats with all this new class war-style swearing in articles?

Its lost the professionalism and outward-looking approach which made it such a worthwhile project until recently. I mean, a report from Whitechapel Anarchist Group on the front page?

I know running a regular paper is a difficult job. Recent issues haven't been all bad by any means. I'm sure that feedback from subscribers will be welcome. However, there may be far less subscribers around the country if Freedom continues to run articles with titles like 'Local news for local people' on the front page about central London.

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May 27 2009 21:39

you can do international pages for Leveller
serious

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May 27 2009 22:31

yep, it is a different country after all

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May 28 2009 06:58
weeler wrote:
I think what we really need to know is how are the International pages doing without me?

mexico

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May 29 2009 06:36
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i'm a journalist
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888
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May 29 2009 07:43

.

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May 29 2009 08:03

But writing for tabloids does?

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flaneur
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May 29 2009 08:41

Hack comes to mind.

Rich nonetheless to spout the odds about what is and isn't journalism.

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flaneur
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May 29 2009 09:12

Writing for tabloids makes you no more of a journalist than writing for Freedom.

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flaneur
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May 29 2009 09:38

The confusion is probably arising from the conflation of tabloid writing and journalism though.

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May 29 2009 09:53
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If someone writes a for freedom, and calls themself a journalist, then they are mentally ill.

Depends on what they're writing, I'd say alot of the work of say, weeler, Louis Further (once edited a bit) and svartfrosk over the last while has qualified them to call themselves journalists far more than say, Richard Littlejohn's rants, even though he's extremely highly paid to do what he does.

Personally I make a distinction in my own head between a 'reporter/sub' (ie. paid to regurgitate a master narrative provided for them from elsewhere) and a 'journalist' (ie. someone who produces trustworthy news which has involved robust, independent research). But that's pretty much just my own interpretation.

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May 29 2009 10:47

Mm plus there's things you can do with a more broadsheet approach that you can't with a tabloid, most notably going into depth. Most news can (and should) be explained pretty quickly, which is what tabloids do best.

Sometimes though with a complex topic requiring a lot of explanation, you need something a bit chunkier. Tabloids can do that up to a point with the wonderful invention known as the factbox, but eventually if you want the guts of what's going on, you simply need to give it more room.

Often the problem which faces left publications in general is we take on a lot of the latter, if only because we're explaining our politics and position the whole time. Part of what I was doing with Freedom was stripping out that aspect other than in the features/comment, both because after the first time it becomes turgid repetition, and because mostly, if you've researched it right, people will come to the conclusion you want while appreciating the lack of preaching.

Caiman del Barrio
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May 29 2009 11:28

Gotta say I agree with the general consensus on here regarding Freedom's quality of late. Presentation is really important here, with its new shape you need to think long and hard about the content of pages 1, 3 and 5 cos they're the ones browsers will look at first. I think one issue had G20, Ian Bone, G20 on those pages which basically meant I wasn't prepared to distribute it. Sorry.