Friday, February 29, 2008

Interview about alternative media

> To whom it may concern,
> I am a Spanish freelance
> journalist who is working on an article on how alternative media and
> user generated content news organisations give minorities a voice
> which corporate media sometimes chooses to ignore. I am planning to
> publish in The Big Issue. I am writing this article driven by the
> desire to look for solution to an imbalanced media which shadows
> minorities. It would be great to hear what you have to say on this
> issue.
> Do you think that ethnic minorities, victims of violence or corruption
> and other social groups feel that the media is falling to give them a
> voice?

I assume you mean the mainstream media? The alternative media has grown strong over the last 10 years and now campaigners, or any minorities can spread their message wide and coherently. A decade ago Undercurrents videos of a protest against a roadbuilding scheme would gain an audience of around 10,000 by distributing VHS video tapes, now with the internet we reach 160,000 with DVD quality downloads. The videos are then shown to various communities. Very exciting stuff. Many people are (slowly in some cases) that the mainstream media is losing much of it's power. Following narrow corporate agendas has alienated the public who are seeking real news and stories. Campaigners have a voice within the growing alternative media such as undercurrents video, indymedia,schnews and other outlets.

> Is the public interested in development stories and that of human
> suffering? Why?
Yes they are but usually only if presented in a way that the public feel they can make a difference. Usually the angle the mainstream media portrays is of victims. The mainstream may say that Homeless people deserve our sympathy and persuade us to give them some money but rarely challenges the reasons why so many people are on the streets in the first place. Alternative media tends to highlight the people actively out there changing the system. Setting up social centres in disused buildings, community cafes, cheap quality food coops etc. When the public sees the issue framed through this lens, people become interested in development stories.

> How can we make those stories more appealing to the general public?
AS i said above, involve people in a real way, not in handouts. This is why direct action empowers people. We all need inspiration and the corporate owned media translate that into buying products. Undercurrents view our mission to kick down the facade of the corporate owned media and opening up a new world where people feel involved in democracy ad feel they can make a difference.

> Do you think that news organisations based on user generated content,
> such as Indymedia, are effective in portraying reality and
> representing minorities? Why and how?

User content is by the people for the people. We are not restricted to one viewpoint. Indymedia can have 40 reports of the same event from different angle. No mainstream media can touch that insight. Undercurrents videos made by hundreds of different British people resonate around the world with different cultures and nationalities. We give a platform for the views which rarely get heard in the mainstream. But the mainstream does have its place and user content helps build up a movement which then the mainstream media picks up on(we generally find it s 3 years for important issues to filter through the mainstream net).

> Is citizen journalism a good solution to get people to see the reality
> of what is going on? Or do you think there is need for more editorial
> control?

Citizen journalism works so well because anyone can be a reporter. If you want to report about something you understand, then you already are one step ahead of most corporate media journalists. Seeing reality is about engaging with the world to explore different perspectives than your own. Undercurrents has been supporting people to become citizen journalists for nearly 15 years now. Many of the people we have trained are now active within their own community media but others are working within Sky news, Channel 4, BBC and others. So shaping reality is about positoning yourself to shape the system around you.
I am a strong supporter of peer editorial control. Experience counts for a lot and quality is important if we expect the wider public to hear views from the grassroots. There are many alternative media jouranalists working and supporting new talent to tell their stories. Long may it continue.

Undercurents is now involved in creating Vision On Tv- a new channel for spreading news of activism, inspiration, social change and environmental issues. We aim to launch in Summer but people can download our video player and try it out on

Paul O'Connor

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tell the army to get on their bikes!

What do you do when television doesn't inspire you?

Set up an alternative is what Undercurrents, an award winning media charity, has
done. Entitled VisionOnTV, the new channel of videos can be watched on the
internet for free. One of the new series includes an A-Z of Bushcraft. The
short videos are presented by experienced Bushcrafter, Andrew Price. Topics
covered include water filtration, shelter building, edible wild plants, as well
as knife & axe handling.

Bushcraft lovers have 2 options on VisionOnTV. You can either download a
dedicated video player which allows you to subscribe to a plethora of
programmes for free. Choose from a worldwide selection of documentaries about
low impact houses, peak oil, and other environmental topics.

The second option is to copy and paste the Java code on your website or blog.
This will simply embed the Bushcraft video player into your website/Blog.
Everytime a new Bushcraft show is published, it will automatically appear in
your website/blog. No downloading required.

This service hopes to remain totally free as Undercurrents are seeking a sponser
so if you want to join the media revolution, please log on for more details to

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Police - Your Freindly Guides

Film-maker Darren Pollard was clearing up flood rubbish from his fron garden when he noticed the police harassing a youth opposite his house. Darren retrieved his camera and this is what he filmed!

Friday, February 15, 2008

End of Oil job

Plan B; for a sustainable energy future

Coordinator Job Opportunity

Plan B is a campaign for an end to UK development aid for the oil industry.

We work with environment and development NGOs to push for a phase out of the
international development aid currently enjoyed by oil companies. Aid that
accelerates climate change doesn't help any of us.

Decentralised renewable energy can support energy producing communities while the
oil industry often leaves poverty, conflict and pollution in its wake.

We are looking for a dynamic campaigner to take the Plan B campaign forward. We are
looking for someone with a keen interest in climate change and international
development issues, who maintains a critical stance on corporations.

The position will be based in London, available to UK residents, and will initially
be for 6 months (April - September 2008).

Please apply by e-mail or post to reach us by close of business 3rd March. You will
find more details on the website. Any CVs should be 3 pages A4 maximum.

Interviews will be held in London on Friday the 14th March.

Ian Williams

Plan B
The Environment Centre,
Swansea SA1 1RY

Thursday, February 14, 2008

'The Age Of Stupid'


'The Age Of Stupid' (formerly known as Crude) is the unmissable new
climate change documentary for the big screen from Franny Armstrong,
the director of 'McLibel', and John Battsek, the producer of the
Oscar-winning 'One Day In September'.

'The Age of Stupid' mixes documentary footage, drama and cutting-edge
animation, and stars Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite as an old man
living in the devastated world of 2055. As he watches 'archive'
footage from 2007, he asks himself: Why didn't we stop climate change
when we had the chance?


After three years on the project, we're almost at the finishing line:
247 hours of documentary footage (from New Orleans, India, the Alps,
the Niger Delta and Cornwall) are in the can. We've composed the
orchestral score, completed most of the animation and edited a
90-minute rough cut. We're aiming to launch The Age of Stupid at the
Cannes Film Festival (fingers crossed) in May 2008, followed by
international cinema release in early summer.

The film is "crowd-funded". Meaning we raised the cash from
independent contributors. This is mostly to give it the best chance
of reaching a mainstream multiplex audience, but also to avoid having
studio executives telling us to tone it down. All of director Franny
Armstrong's films have been made outside the traditional studio
system, yet they have sold successfully to TV & cinema companies
worldwide and have been watched by more than 53 million people.
McLibel was recently featured as one of only two UK films in the
BFI's 'Ten Documentaries Which Changed The World' series.

The first £325,000 of the budget for The Age of Stupid was raised by
selling 'shares' to people who care about climate change. These
investors all own a percentage of the film - as do the crew, who are
working for massively reduced rates. If the film makes as much money
as Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 - admittedly the biggest grossing
documentary of all time - an initial £500 investment would recoup
about £60,000. But whatever the film's box office, every investor in
The Age of Stupid will know that they have supported a film that will
hopefully be a significant landmark in the ongoing battle against
climate change. You get the warm fuzzy feeling either way.

We've raised £325k so far and are now hoping to raise the final £65k.
The minimum investment is £2.5k and donations are also most welcome.

For more information about the film:

For more information about funding:


There's a preview screening of the film for any potential investors
on Monday Feb 25. It will be held in Central London - location TBC.
Contact Lizzie to reserve a seat: > or 07789 862 011.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bike2Oz - cycling from England to Australia

Can you Fund our bike 2 australia films?

Imagine one day getting on your bike in the UK and not stopping until you pedaled to Australia. Now, imagine you wanted to tell that story. We are Undercurrents, an award winning charity, hoping to produce an online video series about the young British couple that successfully cycled from Oxford to Sydney via Pakistan, India, Iran and Malaysia. We are seeking a sponsor to support us in making a series of videos about their 18 month epic adventure. The couple filmed their entire trip and we would like to offer a company the unique opportunity to promote their business and also support our charity.

In 2007, the number people in the UK watching videos online jumped by 28% to 21 million. Would you like to reach this new exciting audience? Each episode of Bike2Oz will be distributed for free to video-sharing sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Myspace, and iTunes.

As the effects of global warming become more apparent, a train conductor and a teacher shunned aviation and set out to see the world while contributing as little damage as possible to the environment. The audience for Bike2Oz will be mostly young and environmentally conscious, interested in cycling, adventure and travel. Each online episode will be 7 minutes in length. We are aiming to gain an audience of 750,000. Please be one of them.

Details of their epic adventure can be viewed here.

If you can help to make their story a reality, please contact us.
Paul O’Connor
01792 455900 or 07973 298359

Alien captured on CCTV

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Technology and our society

Some thoughts upon our new Internet TV channel, Vision On Tv

Technology has a fundamental shaping influence on our society – with the new digital commons and the impending death of DRM our current corporate structures are in crisis. How do you sell commodities in a world were information just wants to be free and information is the most desirable commodity. How is a society based on people paying for items mass-produced and mass consumed going to pay its way when such items are affectively free?

The current online boom in advertising is but a stop gap – it is based on the belief that people will pay for the products somewhere down the line. When most “goods” are digital this is looking increasingly unlikely – people may choiose to support a product or organisation – but they no longer are bound by the cash transaction to access the commodity.

Films, video and computer games are all just data

We are moving into a new society in the developed world, were the goods that people desire are increasingly virtual – thus fundamentally free of cost – of course people will still expect to have the practical things of life, including cars and houses, jet planes and restaurants – but these are not value added items – they are largely fixed on how much economic growth can happen. The huge growth in the last 20 years has been in services and the biggest jump over the last decade has been online in the virtual economy.

However this virtual economy has a very different manifestation than the old physical economy. Can this technological change lead to a corresponding positive social change?

Hamish from undercurrents is here in Geneva

Monday, February 04, 2008

For wet afternoons

Pledge to support a video about cycling to Oz

Pledge “Bike2Oz”

"I will produce an online video about cycling to Australia from the Uk. but only if 10 other people will donate £50."

Deadline to sign up by: 1st March 2008
10 people needed

Overview: Each episode of Bike2Oz will be distributed for free to video-sharing sites such as YouTube, ITunes,Googlevideo, BlipTv, Myspace, Veoh and at least 4 other popular websites. The series will also be distributed to subscribers via a number of online TV channels.

More about Bike2Oz
As the effects of global warming become more apparent, a train conductor and a teacher set out to see the world while contributing as little damage as possible to the environment. The couple cycled the entire 18 month route on Dawes Super Galaxy bikes.

Photographs and details of their epic adventure can be viewed here

Please support our project and inspire people to get on their bikes!

Full details here

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Banksy- Street artist in action.

Out on the streets with political graffiti artist Banksy. See him painting his Mona Lisa holding a bazooka. Hear the artists views about his work.