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Challenging the status quo with renewed vigour

Village is now eleven years old and has been published by Ormond Quay Publications since 2008. From its foundation in 2004, Village has been one of the few local publications that systematically criticised the thrust of the direction of the economy and society. The twenty-year reigning economic orthodoxies have finally been thrown out even if policy-makers and, depressingly, many voters are playing catch-up. A leftist analysis could not be more timely as we risk repeating our past recklessnesses. Mores are changing, though short-termism and materialism remain ascendant in Ireland. Village Magazine does not dance to the ephemeral thrum of pragmatism, it stands for transcendent principles. Its motifs are equality of out-come, sustainability and accountability and because these ideas are timeless it has no intention of changing or confounding them. It promotes in its columns, as a badge in every edition makes clear, the fair distribution of resources, welfare, respect and opportunity in society by: the analysis and investigation of inequalities, unsustainable development, corruption, and the media’s role in their perpetuation; and by acute cultural analysis.

In historical and international terms its analysis is mainstream radical left. For example egalitarians will favour high taxes to fund services, and will be broadly in favour of property taxes, whatever the mood of campaigners ‘on the ground’. It embraces controversy and attempts to take on the powerful and the furtive. This edition reprises many such articles: including features on Ansbacher, Donegal Planning, Denis O’Brien and the legal profession.

Village aims to be ideological, investigative, news-breaking and even, without pretentiousness, culturally challenging. It assumes the best and the most of its readers. It aims to be sharp. Humour is not entirely beyond it. It blithely excludes certain pre-occupations including sport, weather, sex and road news. There is a stringent editorial filter. Neo-liberal, intolerant or ad hoc worldviews are typically relegated to the humour pages, or to well-flagged opinion pieces. But mostly Village aims to be inclusive. It is a forum for perspectives and voices not easily found elsewhere, including those of community activists, social-sector employees, environmentalists and NGOs generally.

It aspires to the highest standards of journalism including hard-mindedness, risk-taking, bravery, constancy and – which is unusual in contemporary media, elegance. There is a danger of preaching to converts and Village makes a special effort not to rant or succumb to lazy prolix. We ask our contributors to address the principal arguments levied against them by their ideological and practical antagonists. And the aim certainly is not to be self-righteous or unforgiving.

It will always be a battle for a magazine like Village that eschews a glossy approach and that does not champion the commercial.

There is renewed energy and time for expansion of this magazine’s ambition and impact.

We are aware that Village is dense but, in the era of ISIS, climate change and runaway inequality, we do not really apologise for the intensity of the information. We aim to make many of our articles evidence-rich one-stop-shops for the issues covered.

We are now changing the design, that has been largely undisturbed for seven years to make it more user-friendly. This will take a number of editions to complete. The design is intended to be logical and clear; and to set off strong images. We have swapped a yellow-and-black theme for the red masthead. We include more infographics and ‘cheat sheets’, a new curved font, more use of full-page photos. We will publish more long-format articles. We hope more ads will leaven the effect of denseness. The website will be reinvigorated and its design mirror the print version’s.

We will not be changing the substance or the editorial direction of the magazine. We will continue to publish articles that are issues rather than personality focused and avoid trite click bait, trivia, gossip and cheap objectifying images of semi-clad women (and men).

We will market Village as “challenging” since that is important and a rarity. It will be styled Ireland’s only political and cultural magazine. We are grateful for your support over the years and welcome ideas on how we can improve. And Village wishes a Happy Christmas to all its readers!