Five paradoxes about the state of the media

We are living in a time full of threats – and unprecedented possibilities, especially when it comes to the state of the media. Let’s consider five paradoxes, in no particular order.

Is print dead or reviving?

Rumours of the death of print magazines and newspapers have been circulating for years – but many of us are still here. What’s more, we are seeing signs of a renaissance in independent, alternative print magazines and hyperlocal newspapers.

The internet, that great disrupting technology, has prompted print’s decline, cannibalizing the revenue of publishers. After all, why buy news in print when you get it all for free online? The proportion of readers actually prepared to pay for news online (nine per cent) cannot replace those who used to buy print.1

But the internet has also been amazing for media like ours. In the days before the worldwide web, we never imagined that two million people a year would be reading our content and getting our kind of journalism, rooted in social, economic, global and environmental justice. Continue reading

A new model for the future of independent media

It’s a huge day for our colleagues in the New Internationalist office in Oxford UK. That’s where the magazine’s editorial team is based and where New Internationalist books and the famous One World Calendar are produced.

Today they are launching their #factsandheart Community Share Offer. It’s a fascinating new model for the ownership of independent media, and a chance for supporters of the New Internationalist to become co-owners.
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David, Goliath and an Android App

When I was a kid – and gullible enough to take biblical stories literally – I was deeply impressed by the story of David and Goliath. Even now the notion that a shepherd boy with his slingshot and stones could defeat the giant armoured warrior Goliath still resonates in my work in independent media.

But in challenging the distortions and commercial bias of the mainstream media giants, it’s fortunate we have brilliant techie tools to use instead of slingshot and stones.

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Super rewards – crowdfunding finale

There are just days till the New Internationalist digital outreach crowdfunding campaign finishes, so to go out with a flourish we’ve released three super rewards for those who make a new pledge.  Our supporters have done very well – thank you so much – but at just over $8,000 raised so far, we’re still a very long way from the $28,000 we need for full implementation of the project.

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iPad subscription App crowd-funding

Today marks the public launch of the New Internationalist crowd-funding campaign – StartSomeGood.com/indy-media-app – for the design and distribution of our iPad and iPhone subscriptions App and we’d be super-appreciative of your help.

There are so many ways you can help:

Would you grab the opportunity to nurture a young activist?

The future is in good hands.  The Australian Youth Climate Coalition, GetUp, The Oaktree Foundation and many other organizations are supported by crowds of enthusiastic young activists.

The best activism is supported by meticulous research and motivational stories, and that’s exactly the specialty of the New Internationalist magazine.

Can you please help us with a pledge so that we can nurture more young activists?
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How many awards does it take to draw in a subscriber?

How many awards does it take to draw in a subscriber?

Just one more, it seems.

If the New Internationalist magazine were a wine bottle, there’d be so many gold medals that there’d barely be room for the label. And if we were a blockbuster movie, the nominations and award wins would be so numerous, you could melt down the poster to retrieve the gold.

Now I know modesty is golden too, but just occasionally I hope we might be forgiven for sharing the accolades we’ve had from our peers, just so you know you’re not the only one who thinks we’re worth supporting. Here are a few of the awards that I know about:
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Four decades in the life of the world

It was 1978. I was a young whipper-snapper working with Community Aid Abroad (now renamed OXFAM Australia). I’d heard a stirring speech by Peter Adamson on ABC radio, and now I was excited at the prospect of meeting the man in person. I was not disappointed. His towering intellect and his ability to weave a spell-binding story combined to make his visit one of the most memorable of my life.

This remarkable man was the founding editor of the New Internationalist magazine, which had been launched five years earlier, and he was in Australia to inspire people with a vision of progress in human development, and to promote the magazine.

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The slow death of quality resources for schools

When, in 1992, I started to work in publishing for schools in the UK, the future looked bright. The Government had recently introduced a National Curriculum. So, for the first time, publishers could produce textbooks knowing that all schools in the UK would be covering the same subject matter. In the UK, there were around 4,000 secondary schools teaching around 4 million students and since it was the policy of most schools to buy ‘class sets’, there was a large market to target. Provided that publishers found the right format and approach, they could expect sales in their thousands. At the same time, technology was changing. Design was moving from the drawing board to the computer. Printing presses were becoming digitised, lowering costs. For the first time, printing textbooks in colour was becoming affordable even for small publishers.

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