Help us to Keep The Lights On for another decade! Back the Cable
The Bristol Cable

Shaping local media for 2020 at our fifth birthday AGM

Cable members came along to elect our directors, decide how to grow our membership and reach more people with our media.

Cable Community News

The Bristol Cable is a co-operative, owned by over 2,000 people locally. The biggest meeting of our year is our AGM – a hands-on event where members make big decisions about the co-op’s direction and celebrate what we’re doing together. We grapple with strategy and eat lots of Jeevans samosas. 

This year was also our fifth birthday, so it was also a chance to look back at how far we’ve come. 

Grappling with the big questions. Photo: Chelsey Cliff

Five years ago, the Bristol Cable started with a one-page call out for like-minded volunteers posted in shops and community notice boards across the city.

Then came a long period of voluntary work out of Bristol living rooms to put the Cable together, running community trainings and distributing papers for free across the city. More and more people joined up as members to help the Cable get off the ground. It was a labour of love, born out of concern at the state of the mainstream media, the loss of local publications and a desire to tell fresh stories.

Today, we are a thriving co-op with nine members of staff, 2,000+ members and many more readers across the city. We’re pioneering a new model for publicly-owned media that is accountable to the communities it serves. We’ve had a big impact in Bristol through investigations and reporting on air pollution, modern day slavery, surveillance, drugs, local debt collection and discrimination, to name a few.

Can’t see video? Watch here
Can’t see this? Watch it here

Members having a say

Every Cable member can have a direct say in our direction and how our money is spent.

The AGM this year was our biggest yet, with lots of new members coming through the doors and joining in for the first time. We also included a chance to feed-in online, meaning those who couldn’t make it out on Monday night were able to vote for directors and add their thoughts on key decisions.

This year, members reflected on the question of how we can grow our membership. We need to bring more people in and generate more income from member contributions. At the same time, we don’t want money to be a big barrier to anyone joining the Cable, or reading our journalism. 

To draw out these dilemmas, we talked about what membership at the Bristol Cable should mean.

Members’ decisions were clear. Through discussion and voting, members reaffirmed that Cable journalism needs to stay free to access and membership should be kept affordable to nearly everyone at £1/month for minimum contributions. However, it was also stressed that we should ask those who can pay more to do so!

Here’s what some members had to say on why they voted to keep our journalism free to access for everyone:

“Because people can’t participate in politics fully if they don’t have access to good media, and economically disenfranchised people need to be able to have more of a say in society.”

“I think it would exclude lots of people on low incomes to start charging. I haven’t bought a weekend paper for years since working in a zero hours contract.”

Members also took a decision about our editorial priority – should we invest in video journalism or deep community journalism? It’s not a simple either/or equation, but we do have limited resources and need to reach a decision about what to prioritise.

Members came out strongly to prioritise community journalism. This will allow us to do deeper, collaborative work with communities in Bristol to make sure that people are involved in shaping their media and telling stories about issues which affect them. 

Member votes: more video or community journalism

Finally, no Cable AGM is complete without an extra helping of co-op democracy. So we elected four new directors to our board, who oversee the staff team’s activities across the year. Welcome Leila, Grant, Abdi and Alain!

Directors Yuliya and Roseanna announce the 2019 election results. Photo: Chelsey Cliff

The coordinator team would like to take this opportunity to once again express our gratitude for the invaluable work performed by the directors who stepped down. And a massive thanks to the candidates who applied but failed to secure enough votes – we had lots of fantastic candidates this year and it was a tight race.

Thanks to all who came to the AGM, as well as those who took part in decision making online. There is no blueprint about what we’re doing together, and it’s only through members’ wisdom and contributions that we are still here, building a new model of media that is owned by the people!

Join 2,500 Cable members redefining local media

Your support will help the Cable grow, deepening our connections in the city and investigating the issues that matter most in our communities.

Join now

What makes us different?


Report a comment. Comments are moderated according to our Comment Policy.

Post a comment

Mark if this comment is from the author of the article

By posting a comment you agree to our Comment Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related content

A look back at our 2021 AGM

Not your average media shareholder meeting.

This is how Cable members are building a media owned by communities not corporations

The annual general meeting 2020 was a media shareholders event like no other

Cable members continue to shape a new media for Bristol

One hundred Bristol Cable members crammed in to the co-operative’s annual general meeting, proving once again that media in the public interest must be led...

Help the Cable get the most out of the 2018 AGM

Members needed to help us build towards a great evening of co-operative media

We need a public good when times are bad

Communities and public services are suffering, the political landscape is in tumult and you can’t go five minutes without hearing somebody shout ‘fake news’.

Annual General Meeting “fun” shocker!

VOTING RESULTS INCLUDED. On Wednesday 5th April, 104 Cable members crowded into the Malcolm X centre in St Pauls for the Bristol Cable AGM 2017.

Join our newsletter

Get the essential stories you won’t find anywhere else

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter to get our weekly round-up direct to your inbox every Saturday

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning