The Freedom feedback thread

Just an idea, like.

A fair few of us on here read Freedom, and a few of us write for it (not including me). So I thought it might be an idea to discuss what we like about it, what we'd like to see & so on. A few random thoughts to get things going (hopefully): -

* The last couple of issues have been the best I've seen in a long time.

* I think the idea of starting a "readers' group" or similar is an excellent idea.

* The piece on Incapacity Benefit was very good, and could easily be filletted by groups working around this issue to turn into a leaflet.

* In terms of the way I read the paper, I look at the front page and then always turn to the back & read A sideways look. And not just because I know the guy who writes it. wink

Details here for anyone who doesn't know what I'm on about, or hasn't seen the paper for a while: -

http://www.freedompress.org.uk/freedom/paper.htm

Posted By

the button
Nov 14 2005 12:36

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Rob Ray
Nov 14 2005 13:05

Aw shucks thanks 8).

ftony
Nov 14 2005 13:06

i've only just started to subscribe to it.

it's very well written i think, but it's a shame it's not a decent size. The last issue was about 8 pages and had loads of very obvious gaps. i should stop complaining and start writing i suppose.

a very good read, though.

Also, am i the only one who doesn't find wildcat remotely funny?

the button
Nov 14 2005 13:08
ftony wrote:
am i the only one who doesn't find wildcat remotely funny?

No. No you're not. Always strikes me as a bit of a throwback to the "bad old days."

Steve
Nov 14 2005 13:09
ftony wrote:
Also, am i the only one who doesn't find wildcat remotely funny?

There are many who share that view.

Rob Ray
Nov 14 2005 13:11

Hit and miss. Some of them are very good, others less so. Donald's up for running good ideas for sketches other people come up with btw.

The gaps (if you mean the big white space at the top of the page and the headlining technique) are a stylistic thing, mostly designed to give readers some breathing space. irritating to resource-use concious anarchs, but generally it goes down well as good design with the general public, apparently. Clifford Harper did the base design (bona fide artistic wink).

Nick Durie
Nov 14 2005 13:30

It's improved a lot in the pasty three or four years certainly - most notably in the last two.

I still have major problems with it tho in terms of how it relates to non-anarchists, or even anarchists who aren't hardened politicos with ideological points to defend. It's always struck me that it's trying to be both an internal debating document and a newspaper for the outside world at the same time, which I don't think it's possible to do.

I think for example I have read many a good article aimed at ordinary people in issues where the letters page is filled up with articles on the nature of primitivism and 'green and black' anarchy and how we should all live in caves and live on organicly grown tofu and that. I also found some of the doctrinairism around e.g. the SSP (everyone in the SSP would put anarchists in Stalinist death camps blah blah) put me off a long time ago, and really haven't read it much subsequently.

It's very good to see that Saii's writing for it - haven't a criticism to make of anything I've ever seen Saii write here so imagine his column's quite good.

Steven.
Nov 14 2005 13:50

I haven't read it that regularly since I stopped editing it, but have read a bunch of them. Think there's some really good stuff in there, the international news, and things that you haven't heard about anywhere else. I have noticed quite a sort of top-downish approach (similar to a sort of left-labour pov) on quite a few articles, which concerns me a bit. I made notes at home so I could dig up the articles I'm referring to (some of the Gate Gourmet pieces I have in mind, amongst others).

Yeah Nick focus is a real problem... While I was there at least it wasn't even that much of an issue because you have to work with what you're sent. If you're not sent outward-looking content it ain't gonna be outward-looking (although I think it does seem to be mostly at the moment).

Rob Ray
Nov 14 2005 14:22

Yeah Nick it is pretty much the major problem with freedom, in that it's almost impossible to please everyone. There's two simultaneous problems in that Freedom has always been a 'paper for the movement' - and thus takes enormous flak if it abandons that principle and doesn't let the primmies/greens etc speak at all ('[CENSORSHIP!' They cry...), and also has to be outward looking in order to avoid becoming just another trade mag. Almost impossible to get right, on the whole. We do run a fair bit of stuff I heartily disagree with, at times but I've gotta live with the remit...

On the whole the more general top-down style pieces have been mostly me working to an incredibly short deadine and only having the opportunity to get quotes from press releases (as opposed to anarch sources) I think, as opposed to specific top-down values. We do, at length, run comment if we can find people to do so to supplement the news content (did so with GG in fact).

ftony
Nov 14 2005 16:59

oops, that is SO a thought thread. sorry admin krew embarrassed

Admin edit - topic split to here:

http://libcom.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7038

Rob Ray
Nov 15 2005 07:44

NB// The answer to having the comment section full of stuff you don't like, of course, is to write your own and send it in wink.

ticking_fool
Nov 17 2005 13:12

We had an e-mail at the Liverpool Social Forum a while ago from Freedom asking for local correspondents. We were really shit and didn't really do anything about it (I keep meaning to, but other stuff comes up). Did anything come of that? I've only read a few issues of the paper so I can't really comment on it, but I was wondering if they'd had much luck in broadening the number of writers?

Rob Ray
Nov 19 2005 14:26

This week had quite a good response actually (partly cos of this very thread 8) ) but in general not, unless it's for the comment/feature/review pages (which get alot of leeway in terms of style).

Part of the problem is a lot of ppl lace their newsgathering with comment, which either means it may as well be written from scratch by the time it goes in or it gets chunks cut out of it - we've lost a few writers who got precious about us editing out what they've regarded as the best bits...

I'm not too worried about broadness atm, the comment/feature pages are getting filled without too much bother, what is really lacking is a wide range of newsgatherers who know what they are doing to fill the front four pages (on that subject, the Libcom adaptation of the Freedom style sheet is a good starting point, I've also produced a general guide in pdf to send out where requested which has additional bits on how to structure and knowing the legal stuff).

I have been considering spending one of my sundays down at the office running journalism workshops (a different sunday to the readers' meeting, natch) but not sure how much call for it there would be or if it'd actually persuade people to write.

martinh
Nov 19 2005 17:03

FWIW I think doing some workshops would be a good idea and there are things people can do even if they don't know what or how to write.

Like start threads like this one, or cajole people who can, or put something about what's needed on the Freedom editorial list. (Preferably someone other than Simon who's involved in the editorial group).

It would also help the editors if people here volunteered areas they know about or were injvolved in for news or comment. Perhaps that's another thread? I'll start if you like - interests/knowledge: food, SE London, history, housing.

Union membership Unison (a crap branch even by their standards), work in IT.

Languages read - French; Spanish; can busk italian. Spoken - Spanish, French, Norwegian (rusty)

Time available - bugger all, but call if you're really stuck.

Apols for the typos in this, BTW, I'm using a foreign keyboard confused

Martin

Lazlo_Woodbine
Nov 19 2005 20:22
Saii wrote:
Part of the problem is a lot of ppl lace their newsgathering with comment, which either means it may as well be written from scratch by the time it goes in or it gets chunks cut out of it - we've lost a few writers who got precious about us editing out what they've regarded as the best bits.../quote]

Freedom has a history of suffering because people are precious about every little nuance of the things they want to write -- too many self appointed gurus out there *coughbryanbamfordcough*

not that I'm saying any of the current news gathereres are like that smile

Maybe start a thread about tips for good anarchist journalism? I'm sure the many of us people, including the WSM lot would have stuff to say. Can anyone get kea over to comment?

Fuck it, I'll do it.

LiveFastDiarrea
Nov 20 2005 12:01

i liked the stamp that came on the last edition, lady madonna and the baby jesus.

Rob Ray
Nov 21 2005 12:02

Yeah um... embarrassed

Lazlo_Woodbine
Nov 21 2005 13:51

You mean Freedom uses the STATE and CORPORATIONS to distribute itself eek

the button
Nov 21 2005 14:06
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
You mean Freedom uses the STATE and CORPORATIONS to distribute itself eek

Yeah, man -- they even put your postcode on the envelope & everything.

| @/\/\ |\|0+ @ |\|U/\/\|3£RRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111111111!!!!!!!!! angry

martinh
Nov 29 2005 18:43

Top latest issue, BTW. Good piece on pensions.

One question (is here the right place?) - a friend "sold" me a copy of Labour Briefing on Sunday. Most of it was pretty boring (internal Labour Party stuff is particularly interesting roll eyes )

However, some was good, including Milan Rai on preparing for Prison and Ewa Jasiewicz on social movements in Iraq, plus some reporting from Mark Metcalf. It concerns me that these are people who have contributed to Freedom in the past (and probably are closer to us than the Labour left are) but don't appear in its pages these days. Are there reasons for this?

Regards

Martin

Rob Ray
Nov 29 2005 18:49

Yeah, almost solely to do with not having the time to chase em up basically (having lost a couple of people it's back down to a skeleton crew for the moment). After this last issue (woohoo December off! grin ) might have a bit more time to do so but personally will be more interested in thinking as little as possible about newspapers and news (outside the day job) from then on.

Rob Ray
Nov 29 2005 18:50
Quote:
You mean Freedom uses the STATE and CORPORATIONS to distribute itself

Why'd you think we bang on about the Royal Mail so much wink

Steven.
Nov 29 2005 19:07
martinh wrote:
However, some was good, including Milan Rai on preparing for Prison and Ewa Jasiewicz on social movements in Iraq, plus some reporting from Mark Metcalf. It concerns me that these are people who have contributed to Freedom in the past (and probably are closer to us than the Labour left are) but don't appear in its pages these days. Are there reasons for this?

Alright Martin. Milan Rai - I think Toby the old editor used to request stuff from him sometimes, ditto Mark. As for Ewa, I used to put stuff in she emailed me in these mass email-outs she did, they weren't exclusively for Freedom. Still a lot of them were fucking good, and I'm glad we managed to get them to some more people.

the button
Nov 30 2005 09:29

To echo what martinh said, I thought this last issue was very good indeed -- I thought the front page was particularly effective: a workplace story, a community story & a newsy-type thing on the riots in France.

I tend to get put off by those full-page international news things though -- but maybe that's just me.

I thought Rob Ray's "comment"-page thing about campaign-hopping was spot-on too.

Svartfrosk excellent as always. wink

MalFunction
Nov 30 2005 12:38

greets

re last issue.

suspect a full page on haiti was OTT.

esp as there ddn't seem to be much anarchism in the article?

Rob Ray
Nov 30 2005 12:48

That was probly because he wasn't an anarchist wink.

I was kinda hoping an anarchist with an interest in haiti would do a comment to blow up some of the guy's (blind faith in) UN stuff, but sadly nothing's come through yet neutral.

Length-wise, tis the feature page, that's just how long we give people [would do a shrugging smiley but dunno where one would be].

Rob Ray
Jan 3 2006 18:00

In the spirit of recycling threads, thought I'd use this one to say:

Just a quick intro to the year to let people

know that the next copy deadline is this Friday, and

secondly to apologise for leaving it until this late

on to tell people (my fault, said I'd sort the thing

and then got distracted by holiday stuff).

So yeah, basically if you've got a story you've worked

on/finished in the last week, have a news item you'd

LIKE to be working on this week, or would like to ask

for something to get your teeth into, send us an email

suggestion asap so we can incorporate it into the

layout early on.

Simon.

ps. Oh, while I'm here, quick reminder that there's

gonna be a readers' meeting on the 15th, in the

building in Angel Alley, to get a bit of feedback,

discuss recent issues etc. If anyone on this list can

make it you'll be more than welcome, might be an idea

to wrap up if it's cold though as Freedom doesn't do

winter heating. Directions at www.freedompress.org.uk.

MalFunction
Jan 4 2006 11:03

Hi

quick query

any other subscribers not had a Freedom since the issue dated 26th november 2005?

ftony
Jan 4 2006 12:34

ooo me!

glad i'm not the only one

bloody anarchists

Rob Ray
Jan 4 2006 12:38

Hmm okay, I'll ring round and ask after work, there's been at least one issue since then.

MalFunction
Jan 9 2006 14:27

received the dec 10th issue last saturday.

and no crossword this year - poo!