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The Bristol Cable

Building a new model for media

The Cable is not your average newspaper.

In 2014, a small group of volunteers decided to do something about the failures of corporately-owned local media. Through organising and crowdfunding with local communities, the Bristol Cable was born.

Today the Cable is 100% owned by thousands of local people. We produce quality local journalism in print and online, free to access for all.

Together, we hold power to account through groundbreaking investigations, we campaign for change, and we amplify marginalised voices. We are rooted in local communities, but part of a global movement to reinvent local media.

We are not-for-profit, led by our members, and we don’t accept corporate advertising.

We’re trying to build an alternative to the unprecedented crisis in trust and viability faced by journalism.

This is only made possible by people like you, who chip in what they can to build a new model for media. You can join from as little as a few pounds a month.

What we do

Owned and led by members

The Cable is 100% owned by thousands of local people: Bristol Cable members. 

Every member is a democratic shareholder, and can help steer the co-operative forward. For example, by voting on editorial campaigns, standing for election to our board of non-executive directors, prioritising our resources or strategic focus, and helping us grapple with key issues facing the organisation. Members form a core part of our financial sustainability, and help drive us towards a goal of being wholly funded by member contributions.

We use pioneering methods of in-person and digital engagement to put the public at the centre of public interest journalism, such as our Annual General Meeting’s or local elections Citizen’s Agenda.

Because members buy in, the Cable can never sell out. 

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Engaging communities and amplifying voices

With trust in journalism consistently at rock bottom, we get out there and engage with a wide range of communities to build relationships that inform and improve our journalism. This includes communities that are often marginalised or discriminated against in the media. 

We regularly run programmes aimed at skilling up people in journalism, such as Media Lab, our pioneering free training course run in partnership with the Centre for Investigative Journalism, and our Early Career Journalist paid placements. 

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Transparency and funding

The Cable is committed to financial and organisational transparency.

Starting with just a few grand raised through a crowdfunder, as of June 2021 more than 2,600 people are Bristol Cable members. Income raised from membership and other small streams such as advertising, regulated by an ethical advertising charter, accounts for 37% of our income. 

As we work towards sustainability, we have been supported by philanthropic foundations, who respect our absolute editorial independence and recognise our attempt to build a new model for journalism.

Philanthropic supporters:

2021, August: £23,350 from Lankelly Chase to develop our Community Relationship Management system.

2020, February: £41,143 from Nesta Future News Pilot Fund to develop our community engagement practices and tools.

2020, January: £350,000 core funding from Luminate (formerly the Omidyar Network) over three years.

2018: £5,000 from the Centre for Investigative Journalism for Media Lab 2018.

2018, January: £200,000 from the Omidyar Network over two years for core funding.

2017, November: £150,000 plus £35,000 match-funding from the Reva and David Logan Foundation over three years for core funding.

2017, February: £6,500 from Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust for police surveillance campaign.

2015, November: £80,000 from Reva and David Logan Foundation over two years for core funding.

2015, August: £6,500 from Nesta for audience analysis project.

2015, March: £5,000 from Moondance Foundation, for Media Lab 2017.

2014, April: £1,500 from Lush for core funding.

2014, April: £3,300 raised in a crowdfunding campaign.

2013, August: £1,500 from Co-ops UK for core funding.

Infographic summary of our finances presented to the 2019 AGM

Infographic summary of our finances presented to the 2018 AGM

Annual Financial Report 2020/21

Annual Financial Report 2019/20

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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