Subject: A message from Northern Indymedia

Greetings from Northern Indymedia

This is an open letter to grassroots activists in the North of England from the Northern Indymedia collective, also known as IMC (or the Independent Media Centre of) Northern England. You have received this email either because you have previously had contact with Leeds/Bradford or York Indymedia or you have been recommended to us as a group we would like to help provide independent media coverage for. We’re sorry if you get it more than once. Please help us to distribute this email to any others you feel may find it of interest.

What is Indymedia supposed to be?

For those who are unsure of what the Indymedia project is, here’s a very brief run-down.

Indymedia was founded in Seattle in 1999 to provide independent and accurate coverage for activists who would be protesting at the WTO summit. The failings of the mainstream media were as obvious then as now – vested interests with elite groups, corporate ownership and corrupt professional journalism meant that groups such as yours may never have their campaigns represented in an accurate way if at all.

By using open publishing newswires where anyone can easily publish their news and collectively run, non-heirarchical local media centres, Indymedia has spread across the world and is now in it’s tenth year of providing a media voice for activists.

In this country, there are many IMC’s (independent media centres) across the country, organised into what is called the United Kollectives (UK). This was an experimental way for local activist news to reach a national audience and so inspire others to take action. The closest UK IMC’s to your group were until recently IMC Leeds/Bradford and IMC York, which have now merged into IMC Northern.

What have been the limitations of IMC-UK?

Northern IMC have asked ourselves why so many of the radical actions and initiatives we hear about through our friends go unreported on imc-uk, of which our old website was part. More to the point, we asked lots of local activists like yourselves. Despite its achievements, not many of you were happy with the way imc-uk works and we’ve listened to a great deal of criticism and ideas for how it could be better, along with the many things you like and and would like to see made more prominent.

These are the things that you said you wanted, but didn’t get from our current site within imc-uk:

Some of us have put a lot of effort into trying to get these things to work within the existing imc-uk structure (we even hosted a meeting for the UK indymedia network last October). Unfortunately we’ve not been able to make much progress, because there isn’t a functioning collective process. It’s not a decision we’ve taken lightly, but we’ve decided that the time has come to set up our own autonomous IMC that can deliver what you want. This is a route that’s already been taken by imc-scotland, imc-bristol and imc-london.

How we’re going to change things

To re-establish trust and participation in the Indymedia project in this region is a serious challenge. Thankfully, much of the hard work has already been done. For the last year, the newly reformed imc Leeds/Bradford collective have been working to build an effective media centre which can provide coverage for groups such as yours.

Through regular meetings, skillshares and outreach work talking to various groups in this region, we have reached a point where we can begin to take more confident steps in a positive direction. Primarily, this means moving away from the UK and all the baggage it carries, towards a truly autonomous independent media centre which puts the local activists and groups we provide coverage for at the very heart of the process at every stage. We are reorganising ourselves as “IMC Northern,” a deliberately vague term so as to include anyone in tiny areas as much as in the big cities in the region. By “tagging” your articles when you publish in our newswire you will be able to provide your locality, no matter how remote, with your own local newswire alongside regional and global news, with your own web address to direct people to.

The new site we are building will allow campaign groups to have their own area of the site to collaborate on news articles and events announcements. It will be easy to upload photos and videos to the site of actions and posters for events. Also, we will always be open in our process and ready to listen to any ways we can improve our coverage.

How you can help

Above everything else, the most important part of this process is you. We are sending this email to invite you to get involved (as an individual or a group) and help to build a resource which is to the benefit of all grassroots activists in our region, whether campaigning for animal liberation, radical social change, anti-capitalism, anti-racism, disability rights, climate activism, anti-militarism or anything else which will make our world a better place. We exist solely to give you a louder voice.

The main way you can help us is by writing reports for the newswire of actions and campaigns you are involved in, no matter how small. We are particularly interested in giving a voice to those who wouldn’t get any coverage elsewhere.

Also, we are a collective and so if you would like to get more directly involved with imc Northern (all of the current members are activists with other campaigns as well) there are a number of ways you can do this. You will find our main collaboration tools at and you could join our low volume mailing list at The best way by far though is to come to our meetings which are advertised on our site and on the mailing list. We are commited to hold meetings all over our region so if your group would like to host one, please contact us via the mailing list.

And finally…

To end on a very practical note, we are happy to announce the Northern Indymedia Art Uncompetition. We’d like people to send us graphics we could use on the new site, particularly a logo and a banner (those are the bits at the top of each page). For the logo, we’d like it to reflect a positive aspect of northern culture married with the “(((i)))” symbol. For the banner, it might be a collage of photos from actions (help yourself from the old website), an original piece of graphic art, or whatever you want really. It’s an uncompetition because nobody loses – everyone’s ideas will be valued – and as everything submitted to us has to be free for others to re-use, we might end up with a mash-up of different submissions. Send your ideas to the email address below.

In solidarity

IMC Northern (publicly archived collaboration list) (private list, only for confidential stuff)