You can feel the way communication is changing online, because it’s changing all the time and it’s changing us. We conflate change with progress because new is marketed as “improved”. But who’s checking if what’s new is actually better?
The internet feels broken
Flip the script
We’re launching the City Standard because mainstream media is crap. We’re launching the City Standard because new media and digital media has no business model to pay content creators fairly. We’re setting a NEW standard for digital media that dissolves the distinction between author and audience because we fundamentally believe that’s a better way to do things.
Journalism is at breaking point.
Media isn’t free. The wages of content creators have traditionally been paid by advertising dollars – with the filmmakers’, artists’, journalists’ integrity protected (theoretically) from a corporation’s interests by the thick wall that separates creativity from commercialism. But that way of doing business is dying.
Now, brands and corporations are paying to make their own stories. This has left mainstream media brands flailing in the face of falling revenue streams, causing them to increasingly partner directly with companies to make content with corporate messages to plug revenue holes.
The City Standard is the third way. A platform we currently have in Beta, City Standard’s next phase is to incorporate our audience into its development. This platform will become a third space online, where audience and creator can mingle, pitch story ideas and fund worthy projects that would otherwise stay undiscovered.
If a small city is to thrive it needs a narrative. We need to tell the stories that make us want to stick around, otherwise what are we still doing here? We need a media brand that can tell the story of small-time inventors, innovative businesses, the story of our artists and musicians, of farmers and builders without having to justify the cost of telling these stories— of paying film crews, journalists, photographers properly—against a click rate. A small city only has a small number of clicks to give but, as we all know, from little things – big things can grow. We want to set a new standard for what local stories look like – an interactive Netflix for journalism, where audience and creator combine to create deeper insight into issues and how our shared data and in-built feedback loops can create real momentum for change rather than impotent outrage. We also believe that local creatives will entertain the hell out of us, if we can find a way to fund them. Cultural anthropologist and writer Margaret Mead says we should never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. “Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” We are at a stage where good people have to do something, to work together and build consensus around the truth that small is beautiful, that details are divine and civilization requires hard work.
“Civilization is the foundation of every successful culture. It permits us to live in safety, without being crippled by fear. It’s the willingness to discuss our differences, not to fight over them. Civilization is efficient, in that it permits every member of society to contribute at her highest level of utility. And it’s at the heart of morality, because civilization is based on fairness.” – Seth Godin
By contributing to the City Standard you’re putting your hand up as a reasonable person who thinks we can do better and that better doesn’t necessarily mean easier.
In the early 2000s the British newspaper industry was in turmoil. Worst hit were the highest quality – the broadsheets. Many folded into tabloid sizes to combat falling circulation but one brand, The Guardian, forged a new path with their re-design.
The Guardian spent 18-months re-imagining its business from printing, how its newsroom was structured and a complete re-design. In-house creative director Mark Porter engaged Commercial Type to develop an entirely new font for the newspaper.
The City Standard will embark on a similarly ambitious project. It’s our intent to hire the best possible team from within our community of contributors to work with the CityMag design team lead by Lauren Bezzina to develop the City Standard from the ground up. We know Adelaide has the talent, CityMag has the drive and our contributors have the belief that together – we’ll create something better.