Despite the storm clouds over dot-com land, some wonderful things are happening in cyberspace these days. The real action is no longer in the corporate suites and New Media sweatshops. It’s in the world of the dot-orgs—the Web sites of artists, activists, social observers, and journalists who are using the Internet not to make a quick buck, but rather to build a positive future. Here are a few sites worth scrolling through (including some dot-coms of note):
A project of the Environmental Defense Fund, this simple site helps you send faxes and e-mails to members of Congress and other decision makers on behalf of dozens of national and local environmental groups.
This companion Web site to Alternative Medicine magazine has a directory of more than 19,000 alternative medicine practitioners in the United States and Canada—searchable by zip and area code.
Arts and Letters Daily
The preeminent literary Web log, Arts and Letters Daily consistently turns up unexpected gems from out-of-the-ordinary sources among its daily offerings of articles, book reviews, and editorials.
One of my personal favorites, this monthly e-zine of heady, left-leaning political and cultural commentary sparkles with wry wit.
Common Dreams News Center
Pulling from both wire services and a plethora of progressive magazines and Web sites, Common Dreams is one of the best online sources for alternative news and views.
Environmental News Network
This Idaho-based site began in 1991 as the monthly print magazine Environmental News Briefing before going online in 1993. It has since grown to be one of the most comprehensive environmental sites on the Web, with daily news features and audio and video programs.
A project of the San Francisco –based Tides Foundation, eGrants makes life easier for people who care about the environment and social justice but don’t know what groups to give money to. With a few clicks, you can use its "issue funds" to contribute money to fight global warming and homelessness, and for other concerns, which eGrants then redistributes to a variety of effective organizations.
New York activist and radical historian Leslie Kaufmann’s regular column consistently delivers insightful analysis of America’s growing protest movements—from opposition to corporate globalization to the underreported protests at George W. Bush’s inauguration.
Independent Media Center
Beginning with the 1999 WTO meeting in Seattle, the independent media center has used the Web to revolutionize live coverage of political protests. Similar projects have sprung up from Prague to Melbourne to Chiapas.
Killing the Buddha
This witty religion Web zine uses humor to draw readers into subjects of deep spiritual import.
Launched last year by former ABC News producer Danny Schechter, this global media and democracy supersite has pulled together nearly 600 affiliate publications and nonprofit media-issues groups from around the world. Together, they provide incisive, independent analysis of everything from the U.S. election to the battle for control of Czech public TV.
New Pages Weblog
Casey Hill’s comprehensive alternative press ‘blog is updated weekly with an impressive array of links to Web sites and articles on independent book and magazine publishing.
Pacific News Service
In addition to its two monthly print magazines—YO! (Youth Outlook) and The Beat Within, a zine of writing and artwork by incarcerated youth—PNS publishes the progressive news Webzine Jinn Magazine (www.pacificnews.org/jinn) and the New California Media site (www.ncmonline.com), a comprehensive interethnic news site with news and commentary about community, business, health, demographics, politics, and global affairs.
This funny, literate sports zine out of Chicago aims to "take sports back from the loudmouthed, cynical, corporate sports media."
Associated with Z magazine, this site carries a wealth of commentary on breaking news from the likes of Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Edward Said.
What's missing from this list? If you know of a Web site that's doing things right, join us in the Media conference: cafe.utne.com