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Culture politics social media

Constant state of destabilisation

I have been frustrated as much as anyone with our main-stream media. It has been brewing for some time but has been exascerbated by the whole Brexit shambles. Plus, more recently, the government response to CoVid19. We need a strong fourth estate to understand and challenge the presenters of government policy. Some fools have become impatient and suggested the media has been disloyal to Britain: “they should get behind the government during the pandemic.”

The shape-shifting non-linear world

Watch “Adam Curtis – Oh Dear”

And these views, too:

George Monbiot on the power of “think tanks”
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/01/no-10-lobby-groups-democracy-policy-exchange

Rafael Behr on How Twitter Poisoned Politics
https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/how-twitter-poisoned-politics

I have followed Peter Jukes [new tab] on Twitter he is co-founder and executive editor at Byline Times [website in new tab] which is certainly an interesting source. This item reports on how journalism has changed and the impact of the lobby system: The Treachery of the Scribes

There is also an item on their impact here…

Selecting different sources

A tweet from John_Cotter, not someome I know:
“My tip if you wish to maintain a sense of something like normality is to consume media from other countries. If you don’t speak other languages, try other English-speaking countries. What is happening in the UK, England especially, isn’t normal. It’s important to understand that.”

I agree with this. For example, I follow @dwnews @nytimesworld @Iceland_Review

The New York Times [new tab] also sends out daily emails, without cost, which covers a different perspective on important news items from around the world. Mind you, the online subscription is super-value at 50p per week.

We have a voucher subsciption to “The i” daily paper which I pick up from the local shop and it is part of my daily exercise. It also grants access to the online version. Website: https://inews.co.uk/ It’s about the right length for keeping up with the wider-range of news without having to feel guilty about ignoring longer articles in the bigger dailies. (Actually there is only The Guardian that I would touch.) It has good coverage of the telly and music reviews – and Marg also does the puzzles. It also, in terms of reaching other sources, often reprints articles from The Spectator and The Economist.

I have followed quite a few individual journalists, columnists and commentators from the BBC, ITV and the newspapers but they now tweet so often (using unnamed sources) and are so keen to tell you what is about to be announced it gets very tedious. There are individuals who take a very different line, such as George Monbiot [new tab], and they are worth following for that reason.

For proper investigative journalism on education I recommend WarwickMansell and, if you need to follow policy, please subscribe to his site at www.underuncovered.co.uk His DMs are open for stories, too.

I have a regular email newsletter from US-based The Intercept www.theintercept.com [new tab]

The Intercept is an award-winning news organization dedicated to holding the powerful accountable through fearless, adversarial journalism. Its in-depth investigations and unflinching analysis focus on politics, war, surveillance, corruption, the environment, technology, criminal justice, the media, and more. The Intercept gives its journalists the editorial freedom and legal support they need to expose corruption and injustice wherever they find it.
EBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar provided the funding to launch The Intercept and continues to support it through First Look Media Works, a nonprofit organization.

https://theintercept.com/about/

Longer reads

I recommend Byline Times as mentioned above. It’s £29 per year for full digital access.

Confusingly, there appears to be a vaguely connected series of local Bylines emerging such as Kent Bylines: “Kent-based Citizen Journalism – views from the Garden of England and the Gateway to Europe.” Also at https://kentbylines.co.uk/ “Kent Bylines is a regional online newspaper that supports citizen journalism. Our aim is to publish well-written, fact-based articles and opinion pieces on subjects that are of interest to people in Kent and beyond. In doing so, we seek to demonstrate democracy in action by giving a voice to local people and holding our elected representatives to account.”
We will have to see how this transpires.

A good source on twitter is Open Democracy and website.
“openDemocracy is an independent global media platform covering world affairs, ideas and culture. We seek to challenge power and encourage democratic debate”. Open Democracy includes specific campaigns.

I love the idea behind @Tortoise (on twitter) “We’re building a different type of newsroom: slower, wiser news without all the noise.” The website is www.tortoisemedia.com/. 30-day free trial and then subscription £10pcm (and deals) for online events, long reads and podcasts. Their free newsletter is called “Sensemaker”.

For a longer and more considered read, I follow @Prospect_UK and after three free issues I have subscribed to the magazine for a year. I find the fixed format of magazines makes them very same-y after a while and I need a change.

Politics

It’s all political, isn’t it? Politicians, one only I would recommend, for clarity and perspective: @Caroline Lucas “Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, former leader and co-leader of @TheGreenParty, Mum” and I am not a member. It provides a good commentary, not just self-promotion.

Culture

I also follow a bundle of organisations involved in my interests such as the environment, art, folk music and golf – but you will have to chase your own by preference. Or a future post.

Friends

And, finally, people I know. I value that my twitter use started with former colleagues and friends. (Indeed, my FB is exclusively people I know in real life.) Too many to mention here. With many I have enjoyed their insights into their family and work. But all part of that wider view.

In 2009 I wrote a few blogposts (on Blogger) about Twitter including “What I have learned from Twitter” [definitely a new tab]. Here I write of my four purposes in using twitter – and being saturated by following 50 accounts. Really!

I will continue to seek news reports with perspectives from other countries. And different perspectives in our own country.

Suggestions welcome.

By Angus Willson

Angus Willson is editor of this site and author of this blogpost.

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