Our journalism needs your support! Become a member
The Bristol Cable

A goodbye for now from Adam, a Cable co-founder

Parting words after over 8 years of working at the forefront of community-owned media.

Co-op Community

My favourite image of the Bristol Cable is an A4 sheet stuck up in a shop on Stapleton Road in 2014. It promoted a series of free workshops and events hosted all over the city, and was the first time the Cable was out in the wild. In between long hours working in hospitality, Alon Aviram and I had been hatching an idea from our front room in Easton, and now it was taking shape: an investigation into the exploitation of hospitality workers would become the Cable’s first front page. And with it the worker cooperative and community membership model the Cable has pioneered.

Two years later in 2016, I saw that the same poster was still up in the shop. We had encountered our share of haters and doubters of various stripes, but the Cable was still there too. Along with a small team of people volunteering their time, dozens of others in the city and beyond had given advice and goodwill – often in response to unsolicited emails, door knocks and phone calls. Massive thanks to you all. Its been humbling to have so much support, including from critical friends.

Since then, a lot has changed in Bristol and in the wider world. Some for the better. But in many ways so much of what drove us then has stayed fundamentally the same – anger at  political choices following the financial crash and the cynicism of so much of the media.

But there is also hope. And a commitment to a new way of organising and producing media, the information and ideas that help us understand and shape the world. 

Almost 2,800 members back that vision today, because quality media isn’t a luxury. Its presence is crucial for taking on the big issues we face, within our communities, our city and more widely.

That’s the standard we have set for ourselves. The Cable hasn’t, and maybe never will reach that ideal. There have been mistakes and shortcomings – personally, editorially and organisationally. But that comes with the territory of having a go.

And having a go we are. In a sector marked by a perpetual crisis of financial viability and widespread public disdain, the Cable stands as a example of how things can be different. 

We still have a long way to go. But the tangible and intangible impact is something I am massively proud of. Our journalism has prompted change to local policies on debt collection and scrutiny of developers, sparked criminal and human rights court cases, been cited in parliament and provided ammunition for successful campaigns such as fossil fuel divestment. We’ve also committed to platforming and amplifying voices and ideas that are too often ignored or discriminated against in the media. 

Free to access, to everyone. 

Thousands of members provide the financial base and an active community of support to make it happen. Only with them can the Cable embody its principles of 100% community ownership, totally free from advertiser influence and not beholden to corporate shareholders. Because if we don’t pay to support journalism, someone else will buy it – and with it, influence and power.

We have worked to shift the media landscape in Bristol and model an alternative, and the word has spread beyond. We now drive and are driven by a thriving eco-system of new and better ways of doing journalism. It says as much about the need for change in the media industry as it does about the Cable, but the emails and phone calls come in weekly –  from communities in other cities, journalists, researchers and policy makers all over the world. How can they do what we’re doing? Can we help them set up a Cable in their town? What needs to change to support quality media?

Most people want to talk about the journalism side. Vital, of course. But the Cable’s origins can actually be found in the principles of community organising, and a seriousness about running a proper operation from the beginning. If we are to build credible alternatives to the worst of the mainstream, this is as essential as journalism itself. That means investing in people and processes, necessary to outlast any individual. 

So with that, I’m stepping down from a team that will continue doing great work. I’ll be taking my place among thousands of other members in Bristol, as an equal co-owner of a new model for media. We need it! 

Thank you,

Adam

Because of Cable members, we’re able to remain independent, publishing the stories that the 2,800 Bristolians that own it think are important. It’s because of Cable members that we don’t have to be constrained by what’s in the interests of an international media corporation, or cater to the interests of companies advertising with us. But to continue doing this, we need more members.

Join now

Comments

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

Colston 4 judgement: ’The government is tearing up our protest rights’

The Colston Four were acquitted earlier this year after tearing down the Colston statue. But a Court of Appeal judgement means protesters will be less likely to receive similar protections in future.

Listen: Old Market (REMIXED) by Tom Marshman

Your Bristol Life is a new series of five podcasts shining a light on underrepresented aspects of Bristol's history. This BCfm series was made with the Bristol Cable, Bristol History Podcast and In The Dark.

Residents question why fire alarms didn’t sound after deadly tower block blaze

A man fell to his death trying to escape the flames and eight people were rushed to hospital after a fire broke out at Twinnell House in Easton.

This week in Bristol: How is Bristol doing on reducing carbon emissions and inequality?

In the news this week, carbon emissions and unemployment in Bristol have fallen significantly in the last 10 years, but other measures of social inequality...

Council in the spotlight amid mounting calls for inquiry into surveillance of SEND parents’ social media

'Explosive' questions likely at scrutiny meeting next week, opposition councillors warn, as inspectors prepare to reassess Bristol’s struggling special education needs and disabilities services.

People of Bristol to be consulted on future of housebuilding in the next 20 years

In November, Bristolians will be invited to have their say on the local plan, which sets out how the city will grow over two decades.

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