Bait & Switch

Dan Hind : People’s Media

Hanging around outside Friends House in Euston, London, after the Rebellious Media Conference yesterday, waiting for somebody I know, proved quite a mixed experience.

However, I did get to have a useful chat with Dan Hind, author, and ex-publisher, about his useful idea for the re-democratisation of media, through the public commissioning of journalism.

If anybody in public life is walking on a narrow, wind-buffeted tightrope, it is he. His work is sometimes shunned by the mainstream media, presumably for having too much clarity and sense, or for being a paradigm shift too risky. And coming to the conference to appeal to activists to organise around his emminently sensible, coherent and practical idea was akin to feeding himself to the rabid critical lions – as he must have known there would be quite a number of utterly insane people in the audience, more bizarre than the believers in the Unification Church, who would have interpreted his work as being in support of their daft causes.

As it turned out, I think the event probably did have a minor effect on his state of mind – he was seen wandering almost aimlessly about – looking a little unkempt. Stressors would have included the fact that the William Penn room, where Dan Hind led his workshop, was overheated, and it was impossible to leave the windows open for ventilation because of the traffic noise outside. But a room full of direct activists, I thought. Why couldn’t somebody have organised a Critical Mass on Euston Road over the weekend to keep the noise down to allow the conference some peace ?

Well, anyway, the upshot of my little post-conference chat with Dan Hind was that we mutually recognise that there are some key players in media critique that need to be encouraged to be more proactive and constructive: not only in dissolving aspects of traditional, corrupt power in public communications, but also in building new avenues for investigation and reporting; less-travelled roads that bring honesty and avoid compromise; ways that are more democratic and more inclusive (obviously whilst remaining intolerant of highly dubious religious-cults-without-a-God psychological operations such as the Zeitgeist Movement from the Venus Project).

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