Indymedia UK which was launched two years after indymedia.org has itself under gone massive changes since it underwent a radical decentralization and divided itself into regions. Each of these regions has it's own autonomous collective and in many cases they have spawned new alternative media projects in print, radio, and video.
The G8 period was a powerful example of the strength of the network, a network that has grown significantly in size since the regionalisation of the UK collective. The scale of the network introduces it's own challenges and, as they say, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!". The process of holding together such a large and diverse collective of volunteers has of course led to the occasional conflict and compromise as consensus is sought. Progress can be slow.
Nether-the-less, progress is made and improvements are always being made to the IMC site both at a UK level and within the regions. One example would be the new way in which comments are being handled in an attempt to reduce the perception that indymedia is a discussion forum rather than a news service.
Perhaps the largest visible change recently was the creation of the promoted newswire which was a response to increasing levels of criticism about quality of many of the 'reports' being posted to the wire. This solution was seen as a compromise between increasing the level of hiding (it is indymedia policy not to delete or censor posts) or moving towards greater editorial input.
Other changes in the last few months have included minor enhancements like the support for .3GP files intended for mobile phones. Yet another example is the new pre-publish page which was introduced to help make the publish page less cluttered and easy to use.
The pre-publish page paves the way for the changes you will see within the next month, separate publish pages for different types of media uploads. These will probably include upload pages tailored for the individual needs of video activists, photographers, radio artists etc. It may also address the issue of people who wish to repost articles from elsewhere on the web rather than write their own reports (not what indymedia was intended for).
Indymedia depends on the collective input, good will and cooperation of all the people who use it in order that it continues to be maintained and functional, as well as to ensure that is develops and evolve to changing needs and technologies. Donations are always welcomed, as are your comments and suggestions.
If you want to get more actively involved with the Indymedia network in the UK then join your local collective and get on the lists. If your area doesn't have a regional site or collective (eg. Wales or the West Country) then perhaps you'd like to find people interested in starting one.
One of the current areas of discussion you could engage in is modifications to the topics used to classify articles being posted. What do you think about the current topics? Should we have less or more? should they be merged or got rid of completely and replaced by tag clouds?
Disclaimer: I don't speak for Indymedia UK or the Indymedia Network in general - no one person can.