I've been trying to tell various officials at indymedia for months about proper distribution of news content ...
First, make sure you know network from media:
the network is technical (network ops, bandwidth)
the media is news, everything else
There is currently a problem with indymedia's network model. It is a flawed network model because it is blocking important news media like the controversial 9/11 discoveries. All the indymedias I know exclusively RELY on their own central group of administrators and Web designers. When I say central I mean geographically central as in local people.
This is OK because local people establish themselves, get known and become trusted. The problem is when that central group of people form agendas to keep other people or news out because they can or think it's OK.
Understanding better how that works means understanding who takes responsibility for writing policy for an indymedia site. This goes beyond process.indymedia.org and Web design. Who lets who make what actions on a given indymedia site, like posting content? In base terms it's ownership and operations; in legal terms: clear ownership and future security. these things apply to both 501[c]3s and for-profits.
Who is posting articles to the site, like portland.*, sf.*, seattle.* and nyc.*? Where are the agreements and charters about policy for doing this? Who is affiliated with who or what organization(s) and where & when do they meet? How are policy decisions reached and set? The reader should think of this as a form of accountability. If the policies, charters, agreements, what have you are publicly available it means indymedia WANTS other prospective activists to audit indymedia's activities. Those who need to know should see openly where the flow is coming from and where the flow is going to.
Need to know and flow? What's that? Anyone who has established themselves in a community with time and effort is going to have the best shot at engendering trust and becoming a part of something like indymedia. The flow is the logistics and operations of indymedia (this includes aspects of administration, finance and function) a small percentage of activists have intimate knowledge with.
Hopefully with network decentralization and opensource computer security being practical and cost-efficient those intimacy or familiarity levels will accomodate increasing activist participation and demand. Personally one day I hope to earn portland.indymedia's trust and be able to assist them with improving their network operations. One word: wireless.
Our argument to indymedia has always been to use central trust metrics (local, regional control) but distributed in terms of availability of local content. Why can't we have a NW.Portland.Indymedia.Org or
NW-Glisan.Portland.Indymedia.Org or something even more specific to improve and facilitate the AVAILABILITY of LOCAL NEWS? Progressive systems administrators know the above examples are possible using redundant DNS and dynamic hosting, so what are we waiting for? More local, accurate timely neighborhood news is what we want, not limits or censure for any reason.
Currently the central administrators at portland.* indymedia and respective regions CONTROL access to network and media on in and out indymedia newsfeeds now. Maybe in the future agreements can be drafted to stipulate how more dynamic, adaptable and ultimately sustainable methods of news content can be delivered, posted and archived. The agreements have to be signed by indymedia and participants and executed or "given the go" by a third party reviewer/mediator who's looked over the agreement and can see it's fair for all sides in the trade.
I do mean trade, btw. Content subscription and on-demand news delivery will soon be revenue-generating for-profit enterprises. This will work best with distributed processing models and opensource back-end systems forcing compliance and demanding open standards and interoperability for doing SIMPLE things like DOCUMENT REVIEW, POSTING DOCUMENTS and MIRRORING them for archival protection.
Peace, --Nick Winlund ( firstname.lastname@example.org)