Indymedia's Fifth Birthday - New Structures Adopted, Your Help Wanted!
indymedia ireland |
feature Sunday November 26, 2006 03:50 by 1 of IMC - Indymedia Ireland Website Collective
Five Years Old: A Lot Done and A Lot More To Do
After a long process the Indymedia Ireland Internet Collective would like to announce the new changes that it has made to its operating structures and processes and we hope this will now usher in a new era for the future of the Indymedia Ireland website.
Indymedia Ireland has come a long way since it first launched back in October/November 2001
. We have been growing steadily in the number of stories, readers and contributors since then. We have covered many events and have been first with many stories that eventually broke through onto the national and even international scene.
Every day, the website gets half a million hits. About 300,000 different people read the site each month. Lots of voices outside the corporate consensus are given a voice here and nowhere else.
As the site has grown, the Indymedia Ireland Internet Collective has grown too, suffering the usual growing pains of any organisation. In our case we have always tried to stick to our original objectives to be democratic, transparent and encourage participation and at the same time to try to adhere to the Global Indymedia Principles of Unity
. Two years ago, we adopted a list of editorial guidelines
to help us make objective editorial decisions. Now, we have agreed a number of structural changes, in order to make things run smoother and to make it easier for new people to get involved.
For this to work, and for us to keep on growing, we need your help.
It's that time of the year again when our bills are due, so we need donations to keep the website running. Our costs are very low; all we need is a couple of thousand euros a year to pay our hosting charges - all our members are volunteers and we put thousands of hours of unpaid labour into keeping things going. So, please, help us out by donating to our fundraising drive. Half of the money that we raise will be sent to Africa to assist in the set up of an Indymedia centre in Nairobi, Kenya
, to coincide with the World Social Forum which will take place there in January 2007.
As well, make sure to check out the lists
where people are working in the background on Indymedia - editing, making and planning independent media. Don't Hate the Media, Be the Media.
The Strains and Stresses of Growth
In five years, with a total budget of a few thousand euro, we have grown from nothing into a major online news source in Ireland. Needless to say it has not been easy, but over time we have adopted various structures and guidelines for running and managing the site and the editorial guidelines for determining what could not be posted. It was quickly realised in the beginning that having no guidelines resulted in an onslaught of spam, cut & paste stories and generally negative behaviour, all of which resulted in a site that was of little value and drowned out those that wanted to write genuine news reports. Hence our editorial guidelines were created and have evolved slowly since.
Meanwhile the management of the site has become more complex, time consuming, and to some degree more specialised. Whilst the original aims of encouraging participation were still crucial objectives to ensure the continuation and viability of Indymedia Ireland into the future, there was a loss of clarity as to the exact mechanism to achieve this. At the same time the confusion of roles and demarcations led to a period of indecision. The result was a stalling in the growth of the supporting structures of Indymedia Ireland and an inability to be more widely inclusive especially of the diverse range of people and talents out there that go to make Indymedia Ireland what it is today.
Time for Solutions
To resolve all these various problems, a conference of sorts was proposed for Indymedia. A series of two meetings were proposed some months ago, with the idea that the first would discuss issues, problems and most importantly solutions. The first meeting was held on Sept 16th 2006 (Minutes can be found here). The interval period was used to accept proposals, and these were voted and agreed upon at the 2nd meeting on Sat 7th Oct (Meeting Minutes).
The Solution - New Structures and Guidelines
The outcome of these two meetings is that a new Constitution and a new set of email List Guidelines have been agreed and voted upon. These are now in effect and the transitional programme to migrate to all our new structures and new ways of working are well under way.
The constitution outlines the goals and principles of the Indymedia Ireland Internet Collect (IIIC) and crucially defines the new working groups and their roles and the membership and rights of people and the procedure for joining the IIIC. The constitution also describes decision making and that members must adhere to the new email List Guidelines.
Rather than summarize the contents of these documents any further, we provide the links to them where readers are encouraged to read them along with some of the additional links on how to join and make proposals.
We hope that the new structures in place will enable Indymedia Ireland to grow further, breaking new ground in reporting the news from the front lines of democracy. As many people know and realise the role of the media in a democracy is central but at the same time the structure of that media is important too. An undemocratic, unaccountable, centralised hierarchical media which automatically concentrates power at the top and to the very few is incapable of carrying out its role of enabling democracy. It is itself a clone of the structure of power. Hopefully Indymedia, with its more democratic, transparent and participatory structure, is more in line with the society it hopes to enable. This would be a democratic society where the people have a say rather than an opportunity to tick a few boxes on a multi-choice list once every four years after an extensive and sophisticated modern marketing and PR campaign.
Join the Media Revolution
As Indymedia Ireland continues to grow, so will it's influence. It will go from being a mere annoyance to a thorn in the side of those who hold power in some form or another. We therefore encourage everyone who is part of Indymedia Ireland in some way, whether that be by being a member of the collective, on the mailing lists, a contributor of stories or comments or in fact a reader and a voice for us out amongst wider society, to get more involved and spread the message further so that we cannot be easily eliminated.
You don't need any great skills to get involved, we are looking for help in just about every area. From helping to write the features for the front pages, to letting under-represented groups know about indymedia, we want your help. We can provide training and all sorts of other advice and assistance to those who want to get involved. See our guide to how you can help indymedia
for more information.
Finally the Indymedia Ireland Internet Collective would like to thank all those people who have contributed over the years and brought us the news for without that we would not have become what we are and we would not have achieved what we have so far. Through these efforts, many including ourselves have been inspired and it looks promising for the future.