Thanet Star

Thanet writers charity (re)launches website

A writer based charity from Thanet has relaunched their website to cater for all creatives in Thanet.

After voting through a subtle name change from Thanet Creative Writers to Thanet Creative, the charity says we feel that the new name better encompasses the fact that we are a charity that cares about poets and other forms of creative expression too.

The new website, which is very similar to the old one is part of a social network for creative writers, poets, and authors.

In the past, they said, we've had a problem with mean people cyber-squatting names we should be using and trying to cause people to confuse them for us. We hope that this name change will end all that and clarify what we care about - being creative. No one has time for all this childish drama.

The new website, also called Thanet Creative, is free to sign up to and accept submissions from all members.

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Jon Snow's speech shows why Thanet needs bloggers

Jon Snow has said that the media elite has lost touch. They dropped the ball, but we can pick it up.

Of all of the words spoken, written, or broadcast this week, a fifty-minute oration stands out. A speech made by Jon Snow. Not the Game of Throne character but the anchor of ITNís Channel 4 News.

Jon Snow was in Edinburgh giving the 2017 MacTaggart Lecture at an annual Television Festival.

Snow spoke truth to power. He asked serious questions of journalism. He highlighted the need to connect the elite with the truth of the wider community, the forgotten, the marginalised, the "bottom end of society".

There is a massive disconnect between the wealthy and the less-well off. This disconnect gives voice to the wealthy and hides the poor from view. Local newspaper services have all but died and taken that voice with them.

Sure, The Isle of Thanet News has popped up. It is run by the ex-editor of our one remaining "local paper". Something anyone of us could have done, if only we knew how.

It's not the technology - we all have access to that.

Even here there is a disconnect where those with the connections, the training, the skills, they are in too high demand elsewhere.

The way I see it, we have few options.

  • Remain voiceless and just suffer the consiquences
  • Hope that the media elite decide that Thanet worth talking about again
  • Wait for someone to freely offer up the knowledge of how to run a true local news hub
  • Create one anyway by simple virtue of critical mass - enough people, enough blogs, working at once.
  • Allow rumour and disnformation to run rampant...

Surely the only answer from our side of the fence is to create a critical mass of blogs. Sure, any given blog will probably be a bit poor, or published irregularly, or only occasionally interesting.

Together though, we might get the attention of the national papers.

We've done it before.

There is a whole list of free places we could be blogging from. There a few blogs still talking about Thanet. Not as many as there once was, but some.

Jon Snow may well be right that the media elite has lost touch with us. He might be right that they need to try harder. But waiting for a hand out is not our only option.

Clips from Jon Snow's speech, understandably, did the rounds on social media but the whole thing is worth 50 minutes of your time.

Jon Snow said:

Like my fellow journalists, I have spent many hours around Grenfell. I have come to know a number of the survivors, and I speak to them regularly by phone or e-mail.

So casually written off as nameless migrants, scroungers, illegals, and the rest. Actually, and it should be no shock to us, the tower was full of talent. Not least the wonderful and talented Khadija Saye, who died with her mother, on the verge of a major breakthrough as an artist.

He also said:

We the media report the lack of diversity in other walks of life, but our own record is nothing like good enough.

The Sutton Trust has revealed this year that just under 80% of top editors were educated at private schools or grammar schools. Compare that with the 88% of the British public now in comprehensives.

Itís why I want to urge anyone and everyone in this room with the power to do it: give individuals who work with and for you the space to do something, anything, in the wider community we are here to communicate with.

We have the technology to create that space for ourselves. We have the freedom if we are willing to take it.

If you still feel that you need permission to be part of changing the world, you will wait until the end of time.

Go and make waves.

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The lights are still on

When I started Thanet Star my intention was to shine a light on the parts of Thanet where the media and the council did not want a light to shine.

Somewhere along the way, I forgot that. I forgot that through the efforts of Thanet Star and other blogs like it lies and corruption have been exposed. That the truth was given time in the spotlight instead of spin and deceit.

It was Thanet Star that broke the news that outgoing Chief Executive Richard Samuels Pocketed over £230,000 plus an inflated pension at a time when front line staff were taking pay cuts or losing their jobs altogether.

It feels in many ways now, that the lights are being switched off one by one right when we need them most.

When the last newspaper in Thanet seems content to back an agenda, not in our interest. An agenda that seems to mostly consist of selling out to the backer with the deepest pockets. The question must be asked - who will shine a light on the truth now?

When the news breaking blogs seem to be vanishing, who will ask the hard questions now?

When I started Thanet Star my intention was to shine a light where darkness was preferred. I had forgotten that. I'd lost track of the very reason for maintaining this blog in a maelstrom of other projects.

I cannot undo that those with a destructively negative attitude have chosen to put me through a crucible. What I can do is make a choice. I choose to stand back up.

I choose to shine a light.

I don't know if I can inspire others to do likewise. Maybe that's not my purpose. What I do know is that as long as I am able, I will ask the tough questions.

If the mainstream media will not hold our leaders to account then we must do it for them.

This light is still burning.

The lights are still on

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Disillusioned with the Thanet I love

I have a confession to make. I love Thanet and believe that it is worth far more effort than I have given it. Even so, I have become disillusioned.

In my lifetime, I have poured endless hours into community projects in Thanet. Sometimes as a supporter, sometimes as the one being supported. That's just who I am.

Sometimes my efforts have been met with joy, praise, and thanks. That's nice but it is not why I do what I do. I do it because it needs doing and I can help with the doing.

Sometimes, more often than I care to admit, I am met with indifference. I can cope with indifference - it is not nice but it is just a fact of life.

Sometimes, just occasionally, I am actively opposed. That's hard but I can live with that. It is just the way things have always been in Thanet. Especially in politics - I knew that going in.

Lately, however, I have been met with something I never expected - lies. Not the silly, school-yard lies wherein someone suggests that you are overly friendly with sheep or have two heads. No, these lies were created not to hurt but to inspire passionate hate.

I'd shrug it off if this was a political thing. I've had far worse said about me by one or two nasty Tories (now all UKIP, funnily enough). This isn't a politics thing.

This TDC level tribalism and hate is taking place in what should be a hobby - something done just for fun. Every now and then, while organising a party, a free event, or a poetry night I stumble upon a pocket of white-hot anger over... Over what? I really don't know. All I know is that someone (or a few someones) has been spreading poison.

I must admit that things have been quite for a while. There have been no fresh incidents for a month or two. Maybe this time it really is over. I thought that before only for someone I once admired to assault me with more verbal abuse than I would have thought possible from a mature human being.

Just to be safe, there are pubs and venues I dare not go to. Events I avoid. Not because I fear violence but because I simply could not face any more of this nonsense.

It is tiring in a way that goes beyond words. This BS has reached every blog, every club, and every charity I am involved with. It traces back to the same few names every time.

That's why I have not been writing for Thanet Star. It why there are groups on Facebook where I no longer actively contribute. Forums where I am never seen. And, as I mentioned, pubs I avoid.

This crap has soured things for me. I am disillusioned with the Thanet I love. After all, it is very hard to fearlessly and dedicatedly write about Thanet's issues when there is petty crap nipping at your heals all the time.

I don't write Thanet Star because I get paid to (I don't turn a profit from this blog); I write because I love Thanet.

It's one thing to disagree with me. Heck, I actively encourage you to express opinions that differ from mine. However, it is another thing to relentless attack me on a personal level.

For now, the bullies have won. But one day I shall return.

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Now somewhat mobile friendly

Yesterday, to no fanfare whatsoever, Thanet Star updated its design which includes a mobile friendly look.

The changes for Desktop users are fairly minimal. I've simplified the top area and moved the search bar. The bigger changes (and the ones that took the most time) are for tablets and mobiles.

I also found some older static pages (policy and so forth) that used a very, very old theme. I've updated those too.

I've tested our new design as much as I know how and it looks like even tiny screens should be able to have a much better experience. Let me know if anything looks off to you.

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Byte Sized

Mentions

We got a mention in 5 ways to blog from Thanet now.

Blogs
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Creatives

Thanet Creative have a new webiste and a new name

Blogs
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Local Art

Local Artist, John Wooster-Brown has a new website.

Blogs
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Like to write?

If you love to write then the Thanet Creative Writers blog might be the ideal place to connect with your nearest writer group.

Blogs
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Hyper-localism

For those interested in blogging local news in and arround the UK this BBC article from last year is sure to be of interest.

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Matt Thanet used to be rich in blogs. Name one thing that they achieved ?
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