We are troubled by your soft curiosity
But delighted to be anti everything you were taught
– Parquet Courts
Welcome to the second edition of Nine Twenty Magazine.
The political and cultural ground on which we stand in the UK, and abroad, has taken some seismic shocks since our last edition.
A whopping Tory majority gained in the general election and the UK’s formal departure from the EU come to mind first, but we also saw U.S. forces withdraw from Kurdish-administered northern Syria, where a war still rages on, and watched as Donald Trump’s impeachment trial came and went.
Catalonia’s independence leaders were jailed for nearly 100 years; protests across the world from Hong Kong to Chile and Lebanon intensified, and in the UK a general election was rife with misinformation, epitomised by the Conservative party creating a fake fact-checking site.
The speed at which these events are covered, digested and then abandoned seems to get faster with every passing month, leaving a trail of disaffected and unsatisfied people in its wake asking ‘why, and how?’.
As a result, the ability to properly hold governments and powerful people to account is dwindling when the spotlight shifts from topic to topic at a dizzying speed.
The press industry, which should be a diverse expression of the free press, is controlled by only three companies – News UK, Daily Mail Group, and Reach. Together, they dominate 83% of the market.
All of these companies are owned by billionaires. It is a troublesome time.
As we were writing this article, one week before this edition was released, we were looking for examples of how flawed the British media is – which was one of the reasons we created Nine Twenty Magazine – and the first thing we saw on Twitter that day summed it all up so neatly.
Around five million people will have read those front page stories of Boris Johnson getting married and having another child, and will have fallen a little bit further under the ‘charm’ of the UK Prime Minister.
Even The Observer, a supposed stalwart of left-wing publications, gave this non-story front page coverage, equal to that of Johnson’s former employer, The Times.
This is not how it was ever supposed to be.
In the UK, we have slept-walked into a constitutional crisis in the Brexit debacle, enabled by a media system which celebrates the powerful instead of checking and balancing them.
We have entered a realm where thinking critically and questioning what we see is a rare and devalued commodity.
Movements towards populism and anti-immigration stances, alongside increased inequality and poverty, has been rebranded as a fault of anything but our own current economic system.
Racism and xenophobia are being legitmised by the political class across the spectrum, from the left to the right, which is giving strength to the nastiest and most divisive parts of our society.
The traditional working class has been totally eroded, and replaced by millions of low paid, atomised, exploited workers now in the service sector, in outsourced contracting firms without union representation, or in bogus self-employed jobs.
With five years of a Tory government ahead and a departure from the EU human rights act, the average person living in the UK is in a perilous position – we need to hear the voices and stories of those people now more than ever, and we can’t rely on the Telegraph or the Daily Mail to do it.
At Nine Twenty Magazine, we are a one stop shop for the disaffected and disillusioned.
There is no thematic or political object that ties it all together – this is our strength.
We’re not attempting to be a member of the left-wing media vanguard, nor are we trying to innovate the industry.
We are aiming for the eye, with a critical and thoughtful space for current affairs analysis and social commentary that plans to stick with a topic when the rest of the world has moved on.
Nine Twenty Magazine is slow journalism. It’s thoughtful journalism. We take stock of the bigger picture and investigate our articles carefully.
We provide stories in context and, at the moment, we do not need to be more than that.
For now, we’re five people who have the opportunity to say something when it needs to be said.
And an opportunity to experiment and learn new skills – podcast production to open source investigations; video editing to website development; image sourcing to copy-proofing; and a collective approach to problem solving.
So. Come on in, enjoy our second edition, and if you have something you want to say, let us know.
– Nine Twenty Magazine