Are keyboards the key to freedom of the press?
Once upon a time, journalism was a working mans job, gathering knowledge in one on one exchanges. There was no media industry until the printing press in 1440. The media industry was funded by advertising. Not surprisingly, corporate advertising began to dominate the media. Due to years of conflict of interest, the propaganda machine currently controls 90% of the media in the US. Most other countries are also confronting similar statistics, the control of the media is being concentrated in the hands a of few. There is a growing sense around the world that the content of the corporate media can not be trusted. One notable reaction is that the public is beginning to turn their attention and trust to other information sources. The reason is summarized nicely in the classic saying, “Don’t piss on my face and tell me it’s raining.” ~Delta Tango.
Wikipedia is a great example of non-profit, citizen journalism. It is a decentralized, volunteer, self organized, collaborative that is edited by networked intelligence and public consensus (opposed to being editing based on corporate self interest). The Wikipedia co-operative model of journalism has created 17 million articles, it is in 270 different languages, and it receives 400million visitors a month. Economic theory says that Wikipedia should not exist. The encyclopedia is based on the principal that everyone has access to information, and that people will contribute what they know in order to help each other learn. It has proven itself to be wildly successful, it is the 5th most popular website on the internet.
The media consists of our: news, opinion, and entertainment information. The centralization, censorship, and control of the media is a major concern. The propaganda machine is trying to stay one step ahead of the revolt. A strategic merging of public relations, marketing and advertising has begun, it will create a very focused powerful propaganda agency. As I write these words governments are working toward enforcing more censorship and less privacy for individuals. It’s… as if they want a full blown totalitarian state….? An open internet, on the other hand, can be used as a powerful tool to combat the forces of media brainwashing. When people are oppressed it is often independent media that will make them aware of their plight or show them how to improve their circumstances. If real freedom can be found through an open, free internet, then an open, free internet also becomes a human rights issue. This is where the digital revolution plays a role in political and social unrest, it marks the beginning of the information age. Collaborative data sharing platforms have made the ‘one to one’, and the ‘many to many’ exchanges of information possible, it has allowed rapid global communications and networking to start shaping modern society.
Turning off the auto pilot and becoming the media is a good step forward if you want to add your voice to the conversation. This new form of journalism is both hyper local and globally collaborative. Start small, read a lot and write a little. Here is a small sample of different styles of media co-ops… for your viewing pleasure.
Collective citizen journalism (volunteer co-operative):
All voices: the first open media website where anyone can report from anywhere. All Voices
Portland Independent Media is a huge hub of sites, and is a great site on its own. Portland Independent Media
Global Voices is a non-profit collective of over 500 bloggers in 30 different languages. It seeks to aggregate, curate, and amplify the global conversation online – shining light on places and people other media often ignore. We work to develop tools, institutions and relationships that will help all voices, everywhere, to be heard. Global Voices Online
A Newspaper co-op:
4 Member The Lens
in Wisconsin Wisconsin Co-op
in Canada Dominion Paper
Recent newspapers that have decided to transition to a co-op business model:
A film festival:
Love & Anarchy is a non-competitive film festival. The festival promotes the artistry of filmmaking, the inventive, visually stunning and controversial new films, revealing the promising talents of tomorrow. The Helsinki International Film Festival Association, is an independent, non-profit organization. This year they had 58,000 admissions. Love & Anarchy
A film markers co-op:
in New York. NY Film Co-op
in San Francisco. Scary Cow Film Co-op
in Germany German Film Co-op
in Los Angeles LA Film Co-op
A printing and publishing co-op:
in Ohio.Co-operative Press
in London Print Co-op
in Canada, USA, UK, Europe Ocean Co-operative
in London Zed Books
A radio station co-op:
the ether The A-Infos Radio Project
in Vancouver BC Radio Co-op
A broadcasting co-op:
The Associated Press The Associated Press
A media co-op:
in Los Angeles LA Indy Media
in New York Homelands
in Canada Canadian Media Co-op
Feeling inspired? Maybe just a little…
Need some legal advice?
The Citizen Media Law Project is a new organization aimed at providing legal training and resources for individuals and organizations involved in citizen media. This is a non-profit, collaborative research site. They study the relationships between the Internet, law, and society. They extend an invite to anyone who wants to contribute.Cyber Law Advice
Getting ready to print? Wait… stop the press! You can pool purchase your supplies here. Press/ Printing Supplies
This is a directory of the co-operative economy, it has a lot of potential. Why not add your local co-ops to the list? Find A Co-op
This is a directory of independent media in Canada Independent Media Canada
Of course if you are really looking for the coolest citizen journalist co-operative on the web… look no further… you found us already… yup, gonzo times is a volunteer co-op! Which means I have the perfect segue to mention that we do accept donations if ever you’re feeling generous and want to slip us a couple bucks, it is always appreciated. > the piggy bank