The Meteor is a not-for-profit, independent media project – an alternative, radical, community-based publication for the people of Manchester. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor the Manchester Mule, The Meteor has spent the last two years reporting on issues affecting Manchester’s communities whilst building our core team and connecting with a network of citizens who care deeply about Manchester and its people.
Our stories and investigations have covered local issues which sometimes have global reach, including homelessness, the housing crisis, offshore ownership of property, climate justice, refugee/asylum issues and property development in the city centre.
Up until now, we have been working from living rooms, cafes and libraries, relying on the dedication and passion of our volunteers and a little funding.
Despite this, over the last 2 years we have:
- Published over 250 stories for our website and 3 printed special editions
- Worked with over 30 contributors
- Provided free training and creative workshops for more than 70 community members
- Engaged and listened to over 200 individuals through holding our events and attending others’ across the city
- Connected and collaborated with over 100 community groups and campaigns through our work
We have held listening stalls at community fun days, club nights, shopping centres and festivals to find out what issues people want to see and whose voices they want to be represented in their local media. We have set up a voting system for selecting topics for paid commissions when we get funding for our content, and hold regular open editorial meetings where groups and individuals can share the work they are doing and the issues they care about with our team.
We are already working hard to open up local media to the community it serves and setting up a media co-op is our next step in making this work truly sustainable.
Why a media co-op?
Traditional media is in crisis. A shrinking number of corporations control more and more of our media as they try to survive the Digital Revolution. Journalists are laid off and titles closed, as the media corporations protect their bottom line and shareholder payouts. This relentless attrition of the press results in the reduction of high-quality public interest journalism and a “democratic deficit", as identified in the Cairncross Review.
We believe the time is right to challenge the dominant form of media ownership in Manchester and seize the opportunity present in this crisis to provide a democratic media that will best serve the interests of the communities we report to.
The seven co-operative principles, that give every co-op a sound ethical foundation, are a good fit for The Meteor and Manchester, a city that has a strong history in fighting for a fairer and more socially just world.
Last year we held a public meeting to find out what people thought of our idea to set up a media co-op in Manchester and begin an ongoing conversation about what a media co-op for Manchester might look like. Since then our team of volunteers have explored governance models and legal structures, developed a business plan, secured support from Co-ops UK and mentoring from the Bristol Cable and collected membership pledges from our supporters.
As we move into the final phase of our incorporation as a media co-op we want YOU to join us to turn all of these plans into a reality.
We will use the money to
- Cover the costs of incorporation
- Fund further investigative journalism
- Update the website to accommodate membership system
- Pay for shared office space in city centre, which will provide a meeting place for our contributors and public events
- Provide community journalism training
We held a public event on the 4 July, Independence Day for Manchester’s media: The Meteor media co-op: a democratic media for Manchester, to discuss these issues with the community. The event went well with lots of people attending, some excellent entertainment, and plenty of feedback about our plans from the attendees - you can read all about it here.
Our online membership system for the co-op is not set up yet, when it is we will inform all contributors to this crowd funder of how to access it. Until then you can pledge to join the co-op here.
All supporters of this crowdfunder will be invited to a public event where we will share the progress we have made.