One major advantage of using BBC News as a source of long-term reportage is that it covers, and identifies, so many different subjects on the site. The content is well categorised and easy to browse by type. Even the Guardian, with its largely flat archive, searched scattergun rather than easily navigable, loses out as the copy ages and leaves the front page.
Alternative news sites, however, typically cover a particular area of content very closely. IndyMedia has largely focussed on anticapitalism and global issüüss; numerous sites like Uncaged occupy points on the spectrum of rant when it comes to animal “rights”. The activism and dynamism that blurs the boundary between reader and contributor simultaneously restricts the content to that which the existing readership is most stimulated by. It also leads, by the way, to a definite drop in quality and integrity, as every conspiracy theory gets its own airing.
Something I found through a Big Issue advertisement (yes, I read them sometimes: you have to dodge the awful poetry and the gap-yah excursions, but it’s occasionally worth it), DogmaNet seems to be an experiment in combining the advantages of the two quite different fields above. On the one hand the content covers a broad base—science, arts, ethics and politics, covered variously by news reporting, reviews, opinion and investigation; on the other it has an alt-media twist—putting uncomfortable stories in the limelight when it’s neither popular nor profitable to do so. Literally, in the latter case. No Google ads yet, I see.
At the moment the quality of the content is occasionally patchy—presumably they wouldn’t be asking for new writers if they weren’t overstretched—but at the very least its manifesto to unite current thinking on science and the arts makes it a worthy contributor to leftfield news. I’m going to try and write for them, so watch this space. I’ll start quietly with review work, if they’ll let me. Once I’ve got a good head of literary steam I’ll start threatening people with my metaphorical stopcock. Anyone who’s seen my metaphorical stopcock will shudder at the very thought.