Village Magazine Relaunch (2008): Editorial Intent

Editorial November 2008
Since the last edition of Village, in August 2008, the global economy has teetered. 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. If it did not necessarily predict the at least temporary rout of capitalism then surely it would not have been surprised by it. The new Village takes up where the previous one was suspended.
If times are hard they are at least interesting. The twenty-year reigning economic orthodoxies have finally been thrown out. A leftist analysis could not be more timely. Mores are changing. We have a black US President with vision and intelligence; probably the best combination of temperament and intellect ever to fill the office. In Ireland the government has learnt a hard lesson that picking on the weak or on easy targets can backfire. Fianna Fáil seems to be in the market for progressive politics. Our cover story focuses on the contrasts between the heads of government and the political cultures in the two countries.
Village Magazine will not dance to the ephemeral thrum of pragmatism, it will stand proudly for transcendent principles. It will promote in its columns 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.
It will embrace controversy and take on the powerful and the furtive. In this edition we offer a reward for information about the funding of Libertas now, as Colm MacEochaidh, whose idea this reward was, notes one of the most powerful, mysterious forces in not just Irish but European politics.
Village will be left-wing, investigative. news-breaking and even, without pretentiousness, culturally challenging. It will assume the best and the most of its readers. It will be sharp. Humour should not be beyond it. Its design is intended to be logical and clear; and to set off strong images. Its sections are colour-coded.
It will aim to engage its readers through a web-site and blog, letters page, right of reply, full corrections page and a noticeboard. These will be manifest in our second issue. It will also be responsive to the perceived public reaction to it, though it is not its intention to appeal to everyone. It will blithely exclude certain pre-occupations including sport, weather, sex and road news. Neo-liberal, intolerant or ad hoc worldviews will typically be relegated to the humour pages. But mostly it aims to be inclusive. It will be a forum for perspectives not easily found elsewhere, including those of community activists, social-sector employees and environmentalists.
It will aspire 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 will make a special effort not to rant or succumb to lazy prolix. Nor will it 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. Village was never profitable. It is the intention of all concerned that that will change. This will be a formidable challenge in the current economic straits. As a gesture to emphasise this difficulty we decided not to solicit advertising for this issue. It probably would have cost more than their value, to garner the ads. But the truth is that it is a fair and necessary discipline for the magazine that it should be profitable. We will welcome it in our next edition.
I am delighted that Vincent Browne, Village’s former editor and surely one of Ireland’s best journalists, has agreed to contribute a regular column and I am grateful to him for his help in reviving the magazine. We are pleased too to have a large contribution from Frank Connolly in our first edition.
Village Magazine will be published twice before the end of January. If it proves viable it will continue monthly from March.


Michael Smith

November 2008