BREAKING THE GRIP OF THE RIGHT WING PRESS Our politics have been contaminated by our press for too long. Relentless smearing and shaming of minority groups and the endless spreading of fear have been the dominant messages for many years.

But the tabloids grip is loosening as scandals have exposed their corrupt practices and online media has depleted their sales. The effect of the Milly Dowler case and the exposure of the Suns lies over Hillsborough have left them a toxic brand.

The idea that a handful of billionaires would control your access to information, would have huge influence and would boast of their political clout winning elections will seem absurd to future generations. It’s simplistic to think that replacing broken media models will be a quick or easy process – and the process of manipulation is far more complex and insidious now (as the Cambridge Analytica case shows) than it was a few years ago. But we can accelerate this process by backing alternatives – like Bella and other projects.

CREATING NEW CONTENT Bella and other blogs have develop over the years – but our key aim now is to grow our readership and reach new audiences. If we don’t do that we get caught in the trap of talking endlessly to ourselves within our own bubble. Too many sites are guilty of that with an endless circular discussion agreeing with each other and confirming what we already believe.  It’s an exercise in pointlessness. To reach new audiences we need new forms and new content. To create these, whether they’re artwork or visual or audio we need the financial resources to do this. People want to watch film and they will share film and visual images 100x more than even the best written article. This doesn’t mean moving away from the written word – it means adding additional content to the site to create something that doesn’t currently exist in Scotland.

NEW VOICES Our new media needs to be different in style and structure as well as ownership. We are committed to creating a platform for new ideas and new voices and breaking the cosey consensus that develops between the media and the politicians. We need to expand beyond just the constitutional political debate and showcase cultural work that will inspire and motivate people. Much of the blogosphere (terrible word) has become narrower and narrower and angrier and angrier in recent months and that’s turning people away in droves.

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