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Free community-owned quarterly Bristol Cable receives £100k investment grant

Quarterly magazine the Bristol Cable has received a £100,000 grant for two years from investment firm the Omidyar Network.

The community-owned title was launched in 2014 by three university friends and publishes a free quarterly magazine along with running local events and media training sessions.

It currently has 1,900 contributing members and a “small team” of paid contributors and claims its mission is to support independent media.

In a message to readers on its website, the Cable said: “This is a credit to all of you who have turned this big idea from a few bullet points on a piece of paper into the small, yet pioneering member-led organisation it is today”.

The Omidayar network has been a frequent investor in journalism. It has previously given money to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism and other UK organisations including activism group Open Data Manchester.

A spokesperson from the network said: “The Cable’s ethos and practice is driven by a determination to turn readers from consumers into producers and owners of their media.

“This relationship is a radical departure from the traditional model of local news media.”

The Bristol Cable has said it will retain its full independence, with the second year of funding dependent on the goals of increasing membership, improving member engagement and publishing more investigative journalism.

It said it will be hiring a community media coordinator and will also be investing in developing an online platform “to make it easier for members to contribute, discuss, and make decisions about our media”.

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