The media is precariously perched on a precipice, and it is still anybody’s guess where it is heading. Media consolidation has run rampant for some time, and there is no indication that the trend will slow down any time soon. Many media conglomerates own companies across numerous industries, and there is every reason to believe these news outlets would have grave reservations about airing any reports that could potentially hurt their profits. The mass media often acts as stenographers for the establishment, and like Fox News, they are anything but “Fair and Balanced”.
But there is hope; independent media is more alive now than it has been since the American Revolution. For the first time almost anyone can distribute his or her story. If you can access the internet, the power of the press is in your hands.
The mainstream media has certainly noticed. Time recently named the collective “you” as Person of the Year. Commercial outlets across the country have set out to capitalize on the economic and influential power of this growing movement that has been coined: “citizen’s media”. It is their desperate wish that the people jump into the company car, but the reality is we don’t need them. We don’t – they know it – and that’s why they are scared.
While some media companies may make a good faith effort to develop sustainable partnerships with the growing community of independent media workers, most companies are seeking to exploit and co-opt this blossoming movement. Oftentimes, these outlets feel the pride of having your work on display should be payment enough. Others offer a small financial sum but demand the creator turn over all rights in perpetuity. These lopsided contracts should not be subscribed to blindly.
So what is my vision for media activism? I envision a sort of ad-hoc union of full and part-time, independent media makers fashioned loosely after the IWW. By joining together, we can create our own sustainable media network. We can also work in concert to apply pressure on commercial ventures seeking to exploit the labor of independent “citizen journalists”, and, by boldly telling the truth and describing the world as we see it, we can become a viable alternative to the corporate media’s lies. We can change the world.
It’s common sense. It’s the “Rise Up Network”. And it’s my vision for media activism. I hope you share it with me.