April 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Andrew Breitbart videos, seen in class, were shocking. Breitbart used video editing to falsely represent ACORN workers as traffickers bringing young women into the US as part of a prostitution trade. Furthermore, mainstream media believed, and followed the story, painting ACORN workers as perpetrators.  However, in reality they were actually the reason the prostitution trade was exposed. It is strange how many people believed such a fantastically wild story, just because it was presented in the media. This shows the power of the media, and how it can easily create false news.  Even reputable outlets like the New York Times failed to uncover the truth. The New York Times is well trusted, well read, and influential. If such a hoax could end up in this paper, it’s clear to see how easily the public can become misinformed due to poor journalism work.

Regardless, I find it encouraging that, as discussed in class, independent mediums are now the news outlets that seem to be most reliable. It is bizarre, nonetheless, that mainstream media often picks up on inaccurate independent media stories rather than the independent media stories that are the well researched, accurate accounts of events, circumstances, and situations.

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All Things Considered

April 12, 2011 Leave a comment

The popular non profit news organization, NPR (National Public Radio), has a program called ‘All Things Considered’ which presents feature stories on often ‘offbeat’ topics. 

I found Monday’s story particularly interesting, and relevant to  independent artists.

The story was called, “Beyond Cute Babies: How to Make Money on YouTube.”   (Click on the NPR icon to check it out!)    ————–>

YouTube is a great platform for anyone looking to promote their craft. Furthermore, this story shows how individuals can use the site to make profits. While the story focuses mostly on people who have created ‘how to’ guides, this does not mean, of course, that this is all people can do on the site. With a bit of imagination, YouTube might be a valuable tool for the future of independent artists and journalists looking to publicize their work, gain followers, and make money.

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Invisible People

April 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Earlier this week I was introduced to the invisible people blog. This blog represents how an independent journalist can use online media to cultivate creativity, social activism, and awareness.

The website documents the lives of various homeless people across the country.

the founder of the blog aims, “to give the invisible a voice.”

The interviews he presents are informative, yet unobtrusive. In just a few minutes, the journalist captures the stories of individuals our society often avoids, and lacks respect for.

The blog is emotional and inspiring.  It sheds light on the reality of homelessness in America, while also demonstrating the power of an independent journalist with an online media platform, strong communication skills, and a message they’re dedicated to spread.

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March 30, 2011 Leave a comment

I watched “The Story of Bottled Water” in one of my classes earlier this week. It was presented on “The Story of Stuff” website, sponsored by Allegheny College.

Click below to check it out:

The website hosts advocacy work created by journalists that are offbeat, and fun to watch. More importantly, they’re informative and on rather important topics.. (like the environment and health!)

The video’s on each topic incorporate statistics and quotes form experts, and a human narrator living in a cartoon world. As the narrator speaks, images and graphs appear, which help visualize everything she’s saying.

This website exemplifies how the power of technology facilitates distribution of news in ways that are innovative and appealing. If someone is reading a newspaper, and they see an article on bottled water, for example, they might make assumptions that the article is uninteresting. Yet, if information from that article is presented in an unexpected and out of the ordinary way, people might be more receptive to it.

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Starving Journalists

March 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Independent journalists need more than motivation and talent to make money. They need fans. Journalists, like other artists, dedicate a great amount of energy and time into their work, yet are often left struggling financially. Making a living doing what one loves is a desire for many, but a reality for few.

But it is possible! According to Kevin Kelly, author of An Internet Pioneer on how Independent producer/artists can survive. (Check out his article here.) Kelly explains how artists, such as independent journalists, don’t just need fans, they need 1000, true, true, fans. The fans who buy every new work, the fans who fly across states for the artist, and the fans who support the artist’s projects before they’ve even been released.  If an artist has 1000 true fans, he claims, then their work will provide them with enough money to keep them doing what they do.

But how does someone find these 1000 true fans? As someone mentioned in class, sometimes even the truest fans just don’t have enough money to fully support their artist. What if the artist’s biggest fan base is broke college students? Even with admiration, respect, and a strong following, this artist’s salary will likely remain well under profitable. Many artists love their work so much, they often say they don’t mind struggling for a living. the phrase ‘starving artist’ isn’t exactly new.  However the phrase ‘starving journalist’ is. People always have, and always will, rely on journalists for pressing news on topics like health, politics, and global activities.

However, a journalist today is nothing like the typewriting, New York Times aspiring, well secured journalist of the past. Decades ago a journalist working at The New York Times would receive a great salary with benefits. Today, the big conglomerates are suffering, especially compared to the success of many independent media organizations. Yet, because independent outlets rely on their own sources of revenue, even successful, many of these organizations cannot pay their workers well.

It seems that regardless of fans, popularity, or dedication, many underground artist and independent journalists probably won’t become billionaires. However, if they can find enough fans with enough money they should be able to happily pursue their passions while still eating three good meals a day.

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The Revolution

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

The Revolution lasted only two and a half years and it’s circulation never reached 3,000.

This is irrelevant, and no indication of failure. Roger Streitmatter, author of Voices of Revolution, explains how advocacy leaders of social justice who push boundaries and radical ideas will never be immediately heard and respected. Thoughts, patterns, beliefs, and societal behaviors are ingrained within every culture, and have formed over decades.  Cultivating change is a grueling, tedious process often met with hate and prejudices from critics. Elizabeth C. Stanton and Susan B. Anthony challenged these critics with passion and skill. They used the abolitionist movement as a blueprint for how to approach the Women’s Rights Movement.

This meant creating a communication network, and so, in 1868, they founded The Revolution. Streitmatter writes, “the first generation of advocacy editors demonstrated that theirs would be a brand of journalism so dedicated to effecting social change that they would not limit their activities to merely printing newspapers. For them, journalism was not a professional calling for its own sake abut a means to reach people with ideas, a way to organize and propaganda for a cause” (56.) Stanton and Anthony’s work is admirable. As a woman aspiring to be a journalist, I see many of the issues they wrote about are still present today. I admire their effort and passion. Their paper may not have lasted long, but it’s legacy still continues. The issues they wrote about in the 1860’s are still a foundation for feminist ideals today. Fighting for equality and an evolving society is not easy, but independent media provides journalists with a platform for doing so.

Mainstream media may attack the smaller organizations, but these attacks result in publicity, and as Stanton and Anthony demonstrated, publicity creates awareness. Stanton and Anthony, as two women in a man’s world, could have easily been ignored, but they caught the eye of mainstream press, and were ridiculed. Today we see other independent journalists in similar situations. The founder of WikiLeaks has had criticism, but the criticisms have gained him more public awareness, and more readership.

(By clicking this link you can check out the WikeLeaks website: )

As you said in class, quoting Gandhi, “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

This is especially relevant to indie media journalists who want to serve the public, and want to make a difference.

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Gimme Shelter

February 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Gimme Shelter, directed by Albert Maysles, demonstrates how independent media has power to discover and present information in a way that mainstream media often does not.  Maysles captures raw footage of the Rolling Stones, specifically of one of their shows which was crashed by Hells Angels. The Angels killed and injured many of the concert goers.

The documentary captures candid footage of Mick Jagger’s reaction to the violence. While the film is not done using strong cinematic technique, that is mostly irrelevant.

The movie effectively shows the emotions of Rolling Stone fans, and of the Rolling Stone’s themselves.  The vibe of the 1960’s peacefulness coming to an end is an undercurrent theme presented by Maysle’s unique filming. Unrestricted by any major enterprise, Maysle was was able to have complete freedom as a creative director. He could release the film, despite the controversy surrounding the concert that was infamously overshadowed by the violence of Hells Angels.

Because Maysle did not follow traditional film making methods, Gimme Shelter was captivating, unpredictable, and refreshingly more unique, possibly due to lack of technique, from the average Hollywood film.

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