A new online news source was launched last night. Another one? Well, yes, but this one has personal significance as I’ve been one of its editors and I contributed a piece on how Post-Brexit Britain is dealing with plastic waste.
In brief, East Anglia Bylines is part of the Byline network of news sources generated by citizens’ journalism – that is, anyone can write for them. The editors have professional experience as do quite a few of the writers. All have been working laboriously for months now to get this polished up and off the ground. What makes this publication different from other online news sources is that it represents the region of East Anglia in England, its writers, its perspectives. These perspectives include national and world news, recognising that international is local.
This publication has emerged in response to the times we live in, where democracies are being threatened by populist leaders while the earth faces a catastrophic climate emergency. As people feel that they are not being heard on these issues, local news outlets, which used to give citizens a voice, are also dwindling. These presses have been subsumed or destroyed by larger corporate advertiser-led publishing houses.
The Byline network is non profit and independent. I’ll close with the words of its editors: …’we seek to demonstrate democracy in action by giving a voice to local people and holding our elected representatives to account. This is made possible by our independence – both from government control and from the influence of corporate interests. Our political stance is progressive and internationalist. Our objective is to be part of the debate at a regional and national level.’
I’m hopeful that this isn’t yet another one and that this publication will encourage others to follow its lead in locally-based citizens’ journalism.