portland indymedia exists "for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth". The Indymedia movement sprang out of the WTO Protests in Seattle in Nov. 1999 as a way for real people to share their news without a corporate filter. Indymedia activists recognized then what is even more clear now: that mainstream media is owned and controlled by the same forces that build bombs and make wars, that cut down trees and slice off mountaintops, that kill animals and genetically alter plants, and that perpretrate and profit from racism, sexism, homophobia, and all other forms of oppression. That is, corporate media does not merely empower the repression and lies of the status-quo; it is part and parcel of the status quo itself. The need for Indymedia is greater than it has ever been. |
Five years after Indyemdia's launch, over 160 Independent Media Centers are set up around the globe. Each has taken its own approach to the Indymedia concept. For example, here in Cascadia, the portland indymedia website has operated for over two years on the concept that center-column features should not be the sole territory of a small, exclusive group of writer/editors who carefully massage and vet each word, as happens at most IMC sites. Instead, center-column stories on the portland site are always created from stories posted to the open publishing newswire. These articles are featured word-for-word, with no editing or "correction". "Editing is lying," the Beats claimed. Maybe. But surely having someone else edit your work runs the risk of destroying it. That is avoided on the portland indymedia website.
The portland indymedia website has definitely succeeded in terms of providing an outlet for "radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of the truth". The amount of original content on the portland site is much higher than on many other IMC sites. Local stories have been broken here, important events have been announced (and even organized), and vital ideas discussed. Still, success always leaves room for improvement, and hence the portland indymedia website will now experience an essential next step in its evolution.
Since Saturday, Nov. 20, a new criteria for composting articles has appeared in the site's editorial policy. Now, portland indymedia worker drones reserve the right to hide any newswire articles that are "reposted from corporate media outlets". These, and other hidden articles, can be found in the compost bin.
Naturally, some people will complain about this. One could draw the metaphor of addicts having their fix taken away, except that the drug in this case, Corporate Media, is just a few clicks away, somewhere else on the internet. At least for the time being. The goal for Indymdia, and for many other activist projects, is to be part of creating sustainable, alternative methods and communities that will eventually make destructive, mainstream institutions and corporations irrelevant. "Uno otro mundo es posible", they call out from the Global South. Indeed, another world is possible, but making real breaks from the current one are necessary if we are to succeed. As long as people lean, crutch-like, on the corporate media, that much less energy is going into the creation of a truly alternative media.
Indymedia was never intended to be a one-stop-source for all news. Without the poison of corporate media, the portland indymedia website will now have a much better signal-to-noise ratio, and will perform better as a media source for the creation (not reposting) of "radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth" (which the corporate media doesn't publish, anyway).
To help clarify, here is a list of examples of the types of articles that are original and non-corporate. This is not an exhaustive list, but it should hit most of it:
The last one is the greyest area. Certainly, the Oregonian, KOIN, CNN, New York Times, etc. are corporate. CounterPunch.org, on the other hand, is decidedly non-corporate, with no advertisements except for books by their own featured writers. So a Jeffrey St. Clair article would remain on the newswire if someone reposted it. It's doubtful it would be featured to the center column, since CounterPunch already reaches a large audience, but it wouldn't be composted. The gray area between is where things will have to be worked out over time on a case-by-case basis until some clearer philosophy can emerge from practice.
- your report from any event (local or not), including but not limited to: protests, lectures, meetings, community gatherings. (Can be audio/video/photographic in nature; text not necessary though some words are needed to anchor a center-column feature, if that's what you're going for.)
- your analysis of any current issue whether local, national or global.
- your review/critique of a book, movie, tv show, newspaper/magazine article.
- announcements/calls-to-action, for events or campaigns ("come to this protest" or "please write letters to these people re. this subject")
- press releases from activist organizations or parties (i.e., the latest from Hanford Watch, the Green Party, any forest defense effort, political prisoner support)
- original articles like any of the above REPOSTED from other non-corporate sources: other indymedia sites, other altnernative news sources (KBOO, the Alliance, Portland Communique, the Peaceworker, or national/global equivalents), zines, personal blogs. So, REPOSTS ARE OKAY, just not from corporate media.
To end this essay, here are some thoughts about corporate media from one of the pdx worker drones. It's a bit flippant in tone, but spot on with the points it makes.
I get sooooooooooo bored of reading through a bunch of boooooorrrrrrrring corporate media reposts just to find one thing that is original and relevant. Corporate media articles are fucking boring. They all come from a perspective of "the norm", "business-as-usual", etc. Even when they are a sensational piece, the voice behind them is always this sort of emotionless robot that is just reinforcing the status quo. Corporate media does not challenge my perception of reality. It does not inspire me to do anything. It just puts me to sleep. -----
[C]orporate media is a filter. It is a normality filter through which the public is made to view the world. The whole idea of "non-biased," or "objective" journalism goes against the very nature of what it is to be humyn. By attempting to look at things in a null-emotional state, we only desensitize ourselves to things toward which we would do better to be sensitive. They are trying to put us to sleep, to lure us into complacency. Humyns have invented a monster called "the system". It is composed of many organs, including the various corporations that exist, the governmental structures that we use (or more appropriately, that "use us"). If it is a plant, then the philosophy and process of capitalism is its photosynthesis. The corporate media structure is one of the tools that this unemotional monster uses to keep us humyns programmed into the sort of emotions that it can use to manipulate us. The only way we can overcome this manipulation is by refusing to view the world through its filter. I read somewhere that advertising works on you even if you are aware of its influence, and in fact that false sense of being "in on the joke" and therefore immune to its psychological manipulations is one of the factors marketing geniuses rely upon to succeed with their ads. And as we all know, corporate media is just another form of advertisement.
By getting rid of corporate media on our site, we are not "filtering out" a voice, we are ridding ourselves or a filter imposed on us by the hundreds/thousands of misguided fools who repeatedly spam us with corporate bullshit. An AWFUL lot of the corporate shit on PDXIMC is cross-posted garbage shit about some boring goddamned thing that was important to some individual 3000 fucking miles away who wants to feel special, so they repost the shit to every open-publishing site that will take their crap. Whatever. Sorry, not meaning to be mean, but fuck that.
I'm not saying I'll never repost, as on occasion I have, for example I transcribed a few 2600 articles here and there in the past. But that's shit you can't get anywhere else online, and their publication is "user-written", meaning that they take article content from readers who send it in. In my opinion, that quallifies them as open-publishing. I think in the future though, I will take the effort to write my own article and cite info from theirs rather than regurgitate it. I digress. Whatever.
Other pdx indymedia worker drones will hopefully chime in on this post, to fill the picture out more completely. i am merely workerbee #6082, only one drone in the busy hive. :)