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10 independent media groups

Ecologist

19th June, 2009

Seek out campaigns, context and investigations that you're unlikely to find in the mass media in our pick of the best independent publications

Editorial that can’t be bought is priceless, and such publications deserve your support

Think about the term ‘mass media’, and the monoculture of news, stories and events it represents. Pretty much everything we know – or think we know – about the world outside our own family or neighbourhood comes to us via our exposure to newspapers, news magazines, radio and TV.

It is a lifeline of sorts, yet readers are deserting the mainstream media in droves. They read freesheets on the bus or tube then toss them on the ground to be swept up with all the rest of society’s rubbish. If the media moguls want to understand this desertion they need look no further than the way ‘news’ has devalued itself by going for lowest common denominator stories that focus on celebrity and tittle-tattle, and those tell you what, but not how or the why. Devoid of context and depth, our news providers have become largely devoid of value.

Independent publications traditionally struggle with small markets and smaller revenues. But editorial that can’t be bought is priceless, and such publications deserve your support arguably more than any big daily, since here is where you find the real news (indeed, here is where journalists from newspapers and TV trawl for stories they can’t find themselves). Here is where you find campaigns, context and investigations that would otherwise be spiked because they offend potential advertisers and stockists.

These publications need your support… and you need theirs to help make sense of the ever-more complex information we all require to move confidently into the future.


Huffington Post

US website and forum for political webloggers, launched in 2005 as a liberal alternative to right-wing news sites and to ‘redress media bias’, and now ranked by the Observer as the world’s most powerful blog. As well as commentary and news coverage, it recently announced major funding for a new not-for-profit investigative journalism arm.
www.huffingtonpost.com

AlterNet
Liberal news website run by the Independent Media Institute, whose mission is ‘inspire citizen action and advocacy on the environment, human rights and civil liberties, social justice, media, and healthcare issues’. Free original journalism, critiques, opinion and a collection of the best of the other independent news sites.
www.alternet.org

Common Dreams
Progressive anti-war US news website launched in 1997 by political activists Craig Brown and Linda Newhouser, ‘to inform, to inspire, to ignite change for the common good’. With more than a million readers every month, its contributors have included Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Michael Moore and Harold Pinter.
www.commondreams.org

Corporate Watch
Independent Oxford-based research and publishing group that aims to expose the truth about large corporations, to reveal their detrimental effect on society and to combat corporate crime and power, both economic and political. Its reports and company profiles across all sectors offer invaluable insight into the inner workings of multinationals.
www.corporatewatch.org.uk

Worldwatch Institute
Washington-based research organisation with a global focus, founded in 1974 by Lester Brown. Worldwatch monitors and disseminates data on health, population, water issues, biodiversity, governance and environmental security, providing information and analysis that focuses on the challenges of climate change, resource degradation and population growth.
www.worldwatch.org

GM Watch
Founded and edited by Jonathan Matthews, this website has been at the forefront of the battle against GM since 1998, exposing the false science behind genetic engineering and the ‘hype, propaganda and spin’ peddled by its proponents. The original site recently suffered a series of crippling cyber attacks, but is now in the process of being rebuilt.
www.gmwatch.eu

Independent Media Center
Born out of the WTO protests in 1999, IMC compiles reports from independent journalists and media organisations to offer alternative, non-biased, noncorporate news coverage and ‘radical, accurate and passionate tellings of truth’. Through print, audio, photo and video, its open publishing ethos allows anyone to publish news from their own perspective.
www.indymedia.org

Lobby Watch
An offshoot of GM Watch, Lobby Watch tracks and reports on ‘deceptive PR’ in the genetic engineering debate, the ‘independent’ third parties’ – politicians, scientists, organisations – promoting GM foods. Its searchable online database of companies and lobbyists allows you to join the corporate and political dots.
www.lobbywatch.org

Karen
Winner of the EMAP Best Lifestyle Fanzine Award 2005, Karen is both a critique and comic condemnation of glossy lifestyle magazines and culture. ‘Made out of the ordinary’ by designer Karen Lubbock, the articles, interviews and quotes concern commonplace issues – bunions, butchers and moles – but create something profound.
www.karenmagazine.com

Mother Jones
A non-profit news organisation that prides itself on ‘smart, fearless journalism’. Mother Jones has a bimonthly national magazine and a website that features up-to-date news items and investigative reporting on politics, current affairs, environment and health.
www.motherjones.com

Ecologist Online
Our new website will continue to campaign vigorously on environmental issues by publishing in-depth analyses, campaign updates, advice on greener living, insightful comments and opinions, as well as maintaining one of the world’s most extensive ecological archives. Daily news will keep you up-to-date with the most important green (or un-green) happenings.
www.theecologist.org

 

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