The New Media Activists: Hijacking Journalism or Pioneering it?

Hijacking Journalism or Pioneering it


| November 13, 2000


The New Media Activists:Hijacking Journalism or Pioneering it?

Here come the new media activists, with their video cameras, laptops, microphones and mobiles, feeding online for up-to-the-minute 'news.' But can their marginal coverage be anything more than empowering propaganda to bolster protest? In the latest issue of the radical British magazineRed Pepper, Andrew Wasley asks major alternative media players about the prospects of 'indymedia' gaining credibility among readers and journalists.

While some, like producer Peter MacDonald, worry about these 'so-called journalists broadcasting or writing material which is clearly not impartial--blatant attempts at hijacking the issues to suit radical aims,' others argue that to compare it to a biased corporate media is ridiculous. 'All mainstream media news has an agenda which is strictly adhered to,' commented journalist Jim Carey; 'the biggest factor being the reliance on commercial advertising for survival, which itself compromises the impartiality claims.'

Whether journalists take it seriously or not, people are paying attention. When the Seattle WTO protests broke last year, the very first Independent Media Center website received an estimated 1.5 million hits, with over 500 people involved in running the operation. Now Indymedia Centers are springing up all over the globe.

Many respect this new journalism merely for trying something new. 'Alternative media needs to operate in an alternative way,' says Undercurrent's Paul O'Connor, 'rejecting supposed notions of accountability and impartiality--and directly challenging the corporate media.'
--Amanda Luker
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Related: Seattle Independent Media Center