May 2023 Update
Hello, and welcome to another Better Media monthly update. I’m Rowan, the Better Media Campaign Co-ordinator, here to report on what has been a pretty exciting month! You can read the last update here.
As you’ll know if you’ve read one of these before, Better Media’s work runs in four main strands:
- Acting as a link between trade unions and the media reform movement
- Amplifying and participating in campaigns around media policy
- Supporting and promoting community media outlets
- Collating and platforming resources relating to media reform
Usually I cover all four of these areas in each update, but this time round I’m just going to look at the first two, as my work this month has been dominated by two major projects. I’ll get right into it, if I May…
Linking with trade unions
Last month I made reference to an upcoming meeting with a trade union branch that I had been preparing for. That meeting was with the Unite National Publishing and Media Branch (NPMB), it took place this month, and it was a great success!
Our predecessor, the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (CPBF), launched at the 1979 TUC Congress and over the subsequent decades set a powerful precedent for close collaboration between the major trade unions and the media reform movement. In recent years, those connections have drifted somewhat, so it was really encouraging to have this meeting with the NPMB to discuss the work of media reform, past and present. NPMB Chair Marc Wadsworth, who has an inspiring history of anti-racist activism and independent journalist work, shared some stories with us of his work with the CPBF in the ’80s and ’90s. He also provided the below image of an excellent 1994 CPBF poster showcasing networks of media ownership – a fantastic piece of the movement’s history!
After hearing about our work over the past year, the NPMB agreed in principle to officially affiliate to Better Media, and to provide us with a very generous annual donation, contingent on our checking in with them each year. We are currently working through the practicalities of this – as always, you can see all the details of our finances on our OpenCollective page.
Since the meeting we have been following up with contacts made through the NPMB and elsewhere, and we hope to be developing similar connections with other parts of Unite and with the NUJ over the summer. It’s rewarding work – I’m glad that we’re able to play our part in reviving this long tradition of collaboration.
Amplifying policy campaigns
The second major project occupying my time this month has been developing responses to two policy consultations: Ofcom’s review of its Impact Assessment policy, and the DCMS call for input to the pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Media Bill.
Many thanks and full credit to Rob Watson, Better Media member and host of Decentred Media, who led on this work, coordinating both the consultation that developed our position and the drafting of the response itself. Thanks also to colleagues at the Voice of the Listener and Viewer and the Media Reform Coalition, who we worked in collaboration with during this process.
Last week I published summaries of our two responses to these consultations. You can read them and find links to the full submissions here:
If all goes well, we may be invited to submit further evidence on these consultations going forward – look out for further news on this in future updates.
That’s all for this month! I’ll be back in June with another update. As always you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org – my working hours are Thursdays, 8.45-4.30.
Better Media Campaign Co-ordinator