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Bristol Cable: getting readers involved in the production of news

“You buy in, so we can’t sell out.”

That’s one of the taglines the Bristol, England-based local news organization Bristol Cable has adopted recently.

“Basically everywhere is the sentiment that the mainstream media, particularly the tabloid media, is not really serving the needs of the public as a whole,” said Adam Cantwell-Corn, who cofounded the Cable with Alec Saelens and Alon Aviram. “What we need to do is transfer that commonly held opinion into positively framed: Okay, here’s something we can do about it.”

The Cable is a quarterly print magazine with a circulation of around 30,000 and a website that publishes around five pieces a week, both of which are free for anyone to read. Run as a co-operative, the publication takes its direction almost entirely from its 1,800 members, who pay an average of £3 ($4) a month for access to Bristol Cable events and a vote in how the publication operates. Apart from membership fees, the Cable is supported through grant funding, print advertising, and workshop commissions. It’s aiming to hit 3,400 paying members within the next year.

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