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Radiobubble: a case of an alternative media in austerity-ridden Greece


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Presentation at the 22nd International Conference of Europeanists, Paris 8-1

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Radiobubble: a case of an alternative media in austerity-ridden Greece

  1. 1. ! @Radiobubble ! a case of an alternative media in austerity-ridden Greece! Nikos Smyrnaios Université de Toulouse 22nd International Conference of Europeanists   ICTs, (digital) media, and anti-austerity protests panel
  2. 2. The context Greece’s private media landscape is problematic: - Strong ties to big business & political parties - Poor in original & quality content - Populist in news Since the outburst of the crisis in 2010: - severe cut-offs & wave of lay-offs of journalists -  vigorous defence of extreme austerity Very fertile ground for developing alternative media
  3. 3. The research question What are the social, political and technological logics that underpin alternative online media in Austerity-ridden Greece ? Case study
  4. 4. The method Interviews with founders and members Participant observation Study of content, website and internal documents Study of Twitter hashtags Period: 2008-2015
  5. 5. The beginnings (2007-9) Creation of one of the first webradios in Greece by a team of media veterans fed up with MSM & friends Combination of: Live broadcast/podcast/written content Pro journalists/pro radio producers/amateur grassroots journalists/bloggers/geeks Remarkable events: 1st participatory interview of a political leader (Tsipras) in January 2008 Live coverage of December 2008 riots in Athens Books publishing, 3 500 radio shows
  6. 6. Creation of a physical space (a café bar) alongside to the digital space of Radiobubble A place where “avatars” meet & socialize Hundreds of different people “drop by” to make radio shows, organize, debate, drink Open 15h/day in the heart of flaming Athens for intellectuals, journalists, activists, geeks & other Indignados movement starts/ thousands take the squares / police repression is violent, political context instable=> extreme austerity The “phygital” (2010-13)
  7. 7. Advertising/sponsoring don’t work while costs rise Revenue comes from drinks, crowdfunding &… Hackademy (social enterprise): community members teach social media & grassroots journalism techniques & theory Twitter is the “nervous system” of the community Rise of #rbnews, the most popular news hashgtag in Greece with a self regulated code of deontology Big impact outside Greece: NYT piece, collaboration with The Guardian, multilingual content production
  8. 8. In the end of 2012 financial problems aggravate, “no one has any money in Greece” The Indignados movement is violently supressed Political & personal tensions accumulate especially between activist veterans & newbies Money that was invested & lost causes litigations The community splits in 2013, those who stay organize in an association and pay a fee “project fork: happens when developers take a copy of source code and starts developing a distinct software”
  9. 9. Maturity (2014-5) The community is smaller but more coherent The studio moves in a theatre (free of charge) Phygital is dead & golden age behind but… Creation of that collaborates to The Migrant Files project that won European Press Prize In 2014 & 2015 some members join Syriza’s campaigns, later even the government, others don’t Social trajectories diverge: immigration, unemployment, retreat etc.
  10. 10. Conclusions The political & social context turned a “new media venture” into an activist hub Life, joy, tragedy & journalism interweaved. Difficult to say where the frontiers were Austerity drama generated a wave of new, independent, non-hierarchical politicised media Radiobubble, Unfollow, The Press Project, Ert Open They played a central role in the emancipatory process that takes place in Greece