New News Is Good News

EVEN REGULAR viewers of the network news can be forgiven for
mixing up Tom Rather with Dan Brokaw?or is it Peter Brokaw? And
cable broadcasters, with the exception of the right-wing Fox
network, aren?t much different. They serve up mostly a bland menu
of homogenous infotainment for their affluent viewers and
advertisers. But two new digital television networks could help
break the monotony.

?People need alternatives to get the news out, and to receive
the news,? says Peter Armstrong, a 20-year veteran of the BBC who
helped launch OneWorld TV, a membership-based digital network
spanning more than 40 countries. Created in 2002 as a Web-based
network of 1,250 nongovernment organizations concerned with human
rights and sustainable development, One World links to a global
news force of reporters and producers that covers everything from
child gold miners in Burkina Faso to the latest on climate change.
A collaborative broadcast venture, the OneWorld network invites
participants to add footage to existing stories on various topics
from around the world.

?Think of it in terms of Scrabble,? says Armstrong. ?You can add
on to what others have done.?

San Francisco?based WorldLink TV is also using digital
technology to tell stories you won?t see or hear on the evening
news. Their mission is to connect American viewers with people at
the center of current world events. Mosaic, for instance,
is a poignant compilation of news highlights from 13 Middle Eastern
countries, including Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq.

?We feel we are telling a counter-narrative to what Americans
are bombarded with,? WorldLink?s David Michaelis has said, ?thus
exposing viewers to a powerful alternative interpretation of . . .
political and cultural affairs.?

None of this would be possible without satellites, fiber optics,
and an advanced digital technology that can deliver programming
from anywhere in the world to your TV or PC. Or without a network
of willing reporters and producers with video cameras, Internet
access, and an eye for a great story.

WorldLink and OneWorld TV also rely on viewer contributions,
member fees, and foundation grants, so advertisers can?t interfere
with news coverage. These fledgling networks won?t be replacing Dan
Jennings anytime soon, but they are working toward dethroning the
traditional journalistic gatekeepers and offering viewers new
options in their search for different perspectives on the

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