On May 18th as part of the Left Forum a session was held on the future of alternative media in Ireland with the goal of facilitating how existing alternative media practitioners and groups might support each other and work together in the future.
About 25 attended the media session, including people involved with Look Left, Rabble, Liberty, Dublin Community Television and various websites and blogs. There were also some researchers in attendance from DublinCityUniversity, NUI Maynooth, NUI Cork and TrinityCollege. A number of people not yet involved in alternative/community media also attended. The meeting was very much grounded in what could be achievable in the short to medium term with a realisation of available resources.
Much of the discussion centred around the idea of an ‘aggregator’ or ‘clearing house’ website, which might collate the work being published by the various groups and publications onto a centralised website, which might attract a wider audience. The Journal.ie and Broadsheet.ie were cited as examples from the mainstream. There was much discussion on the practicalities of such a venture and the possibilities for funding and staff.
A second area of discussion was one of the need for space, especially as relevant to production of an aggregator site. It was reported that Look Left is in the process of obtaining office space. A third area of discussion, also related to space, was for the possibility of organising training in various areas of media production. A final area of discussion focused on the need to take part in a ‘a site of struggle’ approach to public service broadcasting, intervening in discussions around RTE and the new broadcasting bill as well as the use of state assets, such as the mast network and the UHF spectrum.
The meeting agreed to establish three working groups, one into researching the possibilities of an ‘aggregator’ website, one to look at the area of training and a third to advance the aim of intervening in discussions around RTE and other state assets. The three groups will be reporting back with proposals.
Some participants will be meeting again during the Ourmedia alternative/community media conference being held in Dublin on the 24th and 25th of June.