Over Memorial Day weekend, I went to Ashland, Oregon, with another portland indymedia volunteer to meet with local activists about indymedia and how easy it is to get involved. What we found was an already established media collective at Southern Oregon University sporting the indymedia ((i)) logo over their door and in their newspaper, Soapbox. Turns out they've been there for going-on two years, as long as portland indymedia has been in existence !!
The new issue of Soapbox had just come out, and an article entitled "IMC POD" discussed the idea of regional indymedia "pods", a concept that was introduced in a portland indymedia newswire post back in April. The folks we met with were not only hard-working media activists who were already familiar with ideals of indymedia, they also understood the time and effort required to encourage an open, active indymedia project. "The prospects of having regular Southern Oregon coverage of a comprehensive nature, even our own IMC web page linked to the Oregon page, as part of the global network, are exciting to contemplate, but would require an unprecedented level of mutal aid and cooperation between local progressive elements," reads the article, written by one of the people we met. That sums it up pretty well! Soapbox is not online yet, and the editors we spoke to hope that affiliation with portland indymedia could help accomplish that. Sounds like a great idea to me!
While in Ashland, we taught some of the media collective folks how to upload features to the website. They've already been posting to the newswire, and had been thrilled when these stories became center-column features. We figured it made sense to cut out the "middle-men". So these folks are now part of the editorial team and will be working from Ashland. One of them has already uploaded a feature, and I for one am looking forward to more Rogue Valley news!
A priority for the Ashland indymedia folks is to get people posting to the newswire. They plan to promote the site with quarter-sheets and other tried-and-true DIY methods. Indeed, that's the key to the success of any indymedia site -- whether people are posting to it or not. Feature-editors, fundraisers, even techies aren't what make for an active IMC; it's the community that does that, by publishing their stories, doing an end-run around the corporate media, and taking their words, photos, audio, and video directly to the people. The result, when it works, is grassroots, real journalism.
"Objective" "balanced" "non-biased" reporting has never existed. That's a lie the NY Times tells you so they can keep themselves and their corporate cronies rich. If you want the truth, listen to the passionate voices. They're the ones who mean what they say, and indymedia is a great place to hear them, uncensored and straight-up.
portland indymedia volunteers encourage everyone around the state to become more involved with this website. At least a couple of us love to travel, and we'll come to your town, or meet you somewhere between, if you want to talk about establishing a "pod". Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to start that conversation. In the meantime, post to the open publishing newswire and get your story up here now!