In its four+ years of existence, indymedia has shown that media need not be corporate or full of lies. Instead, it can be both factual and empowering -- a "passionate telling of the truth". Open publishing is at the heart of indymedia's revolution. Anyone and everyone can post the news themselves; there's no need for a "professional" middle-person (i.e., a "reporter"), or for an editor, or for worries about advertiser opinions. Additionally, everyone who reads the site is a potential fact-checker. Though corporate media has a stranglehold on the airwaves, lots of fancy equipment, and tons of money, there are more of us (that is, real people who aren't "journalists") than there are of them; in this way, indymedia truly has the potential to overwhelm corporate media as a source of information and inspiration. |
As more people use the indymedia network, its effectiveness grows. Here in Portland, this local indymedia site is read regularly not only by thousands of citizens, but by the government, the cops, and the corporate media. Though the latter three groups seek to suck it dry for their own dastardly purposes, perhaps the spirit of freedom (and fun) that pervades the site will positively affect some of them, and show them that another world is possible.
An example of the cooperation possible with open publishing flowered on the portland indymedia site in the wake of the shooting of yet another black man by the police. Once the killer, Jason Sery, was named, indymedia readers went to work to find out more about him. They dug up information about his hiring as a cop in Billings, Montana, in 1996, his church membership (and other bad cops who go there), and what an EMT thinks of him. The corporate media has not yet done this digging, and likely has no institutional interest in doing so, unless there's something "sensational" to cover. Unfortunately, the death of another black person is not enough of an excuse for them to flex any of their muscle to do work for the common good. This is their nature; the corporate media is shallow and driven by greed. Those qualities will lead to a worsening world, not a better one.
Additionally, at least three eyewitness accounts of the shooting were posted [ 1 | 2 | 3 ], and a great deal of outrage. Because indymedia allows anonymous and (nearly) instant posting, people can step forward with their stories in the moment and without (as much) fear of retaliation from authorities as a corporate journalist or letter-to-the-editor writer has. This freedom can lead to abuse (i.e., spamming or lying) but the self-regulating nature of the site, through the posting of comments, results in bullshit or untruths being called out by others. The corporate media is not, and could never be, this flexible or vibrant. What indymedia shows is that the world doesn't have to be so hopeless.