After 105 posts, 18,000 views and various meetings, ‘The Last Round’ is on the verge of celebrating its first birthday. With a budget that hungers for shoestrings, and an editorial team that has consistently delivered above and beyond its size, we have managed to give a voice to QUB staff and students as they resist cuts to jobs and student places, publish the analysis and opinion of campaigners struggling to #Repealthe8th in the South, as well as those fighting draconian abortion laws here in the North.
Our contributors have taken advantage of the space made available by us to talk about the concerns they have on issues ranging from climate change to the commercialisation of Pride, providing a space to activists about issues of austerity, liberation and social justice is something that will always be at the core of what we do and continues to be a key focus as we approach hitting our first birthday.
We’ve learned a lot and we’ve made new friends in our struggle to create a broad, independent left-wing publication in Belfast that speaks to those developing a new interest in left-wing, progressive politics as well as more experienced activists. We still have much to learn, but this feels like a good time to take note of what we have achieved and, of course, what we plan to do next.
“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”
Expand our team!
The Last Round launched publicly last October with a tiny team of just two editors. We’re hard as nails but very quickly became overwhelmed with the need to diversify content as we built a pool of contributors. We subsequently drafted in a Diversity Editor who, to her credit, has played a huge role in maintaining the balance of our contributors with a range of LGBTQ and Women voices contributing to material that is key to their struggles but also in other subject areas as well.
We now find ourselves at an impasse, the publication still requires a lot of work. We need to develop a financial model to fund new equipment, contributor pay and upgrading the website. We also need more heads in our editorial collective. This means we can create a stronger stream of content that covers more issues than ever before. This post is a very naked appeal for readers to consider stepping up at this crucial juncture and help us in building a better, stronger publication. We are looking for three people to join us in encouraging more contributors to write for us, developing new content (maybe we miss things!) and organising the occasional offline event.
Time to come clean, our ‘Five Pint Plan‘ was very fucking ambitious. We’ve recruited a Diversity Editor and developed some new content ideas like ‘Belfast Regulars’, but we haven’t fulfilled a huge portion of that plan. This calls for another ambitious plan!
We are looking into creating audio and video casts, the way we digest news is changing and we should change with it. We want to create diverse content that engages you across as many platforms as possible. If performance art on Royal Avenue increases your interest in Corbyn’s Labour, we’ll fucking consider debasing ourselves to tell that story.
Our Culture content, especially our politics-driven content, is growing in popularity and we want to expand it as far as possible. We know that our audience contains more than a fair share of Mark Kermodes that didn’t get the chance to study Film, we want to give you the space to develop these critiques of themes in popular TV, film, music and literature even further.
Money, Money, Money!
We need to raise it on a consistent and sustainable basis. We love our contributors and they work they have done in submitting the product of their cranial labour. We also love the readers who have stepped up to help us in other ways – you’re awesome and you know who you are!
But it is long past time for us to repay the favour – advertising doesn’t work as a funding model, what with all you wankers and your adblocking shenanigans…don’t worry, we use Adblock all the time too. We are going to redouble our efforts to build a financial base that can pay contributors for their time, get us the equipment we need and develop the website you deserve. For now, we are looking at one time donations through PayPal, but we will be continuing to work on this.
We haven’t achieved half the things we really should have known we couldn’t do in a year, but this has been an amazing journey. With your help and continued support, we can continue on this amazing journey and make it even better for everyone involved.
‘The Last Round’ is as much yours, as it is ours. Our mission to create a lasting, left-wing publication in Belfast needs your help. Get involved today!