John Harris

Journalist & Author

Bristol Cable founders: ‘We’re holding people to account for their actions’

How three friends from university found themselves building a community-powered newspaper to take on flaccid content

In 2011, Alec Saelens, Adam Cantwell and Alon Aviram were undergraduates at Sussex University. Involved in student politics but well aware of its limited horizons, they began discussing the state of the media, and what to do about it. “We were talking about a leftwing tabloid,” says Cantwell, “and then something more sophisticated than that … and then we were getting near the end of university, and it was like, ‘what are we going to do?’”

Aviram, now 25, moved to Bristol “looking for a city where I could have some sort of quality of life”, and his two friends followed suit. In between low-end jobs in catering – which, to keep themselves afloat, they still do – the three began the journey that would lead to the first issue of the Bristol Cable: a quarterly newspaper-cum-magazine and online outlet its inventors see as a forward-looking answer to the hollowed-out state of local and city media. The sixth issue has just been published, and 20,000 free copies are being distributed from more than 600 points across Bristol. About 15 volunteers run the operation day-to-day, though the roll-call of contributors exceeds 60.

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