Journalist Mark Taylor-Canfield interviews independent presidential candidate Rocky Anderson in Seattle.
(image by Mark Taylor-Canfield)
Independent media networks can produce content at 1/10th or less of the cost of major corporate news agencies. Traditional ideas about newspaper/magazine publishing, and television/radio broadcasting are being thrown out of the window. All of these terms need revision in the new world of multimedia.
After all, what do you call media that is mostly accessed through a "smart phone" or more accurately, a "hand held mobile device"? We need new definitions...
Independent media in the US has been struggling for many years to sustain itself in a corporate dominated marketplace. The progressive radio network Air America, and Al Gore's project Current TV both met a similar sad fate due to lack of funding.
In spite of this recent downward trend, independent media producers and networks are popping up all across the nation online. Thom Hartmann, Amy Goodman's Democracy Now!, Free Speech TV and other DIY programs have been pioneers in sustainable independent media with their unique approach to innovative news coverage. The truth is, current technology allows any potential broadcaster or blogger to go multimedia and interactive. Live streaming video and audio is now available to every US consumer.
This is the New Media. New independent programs and networks are now possible due to recent breakthroughs in communications software and social networking platforms. Air America veteran broadcaster Nicole Sandler has created a totally original media network online called Radio Or Not (radioornot.com).
Unfortunately, most consultants in the radio and TV industries are lagging far behind the times. They are still wedded to the old paradigms which have controlled access to US media in the past. The giant old dinosaurs (major networks) are too slow and clumsy to ride the current wave of innovation spreading across the world wide web.
With the loss of so many independent and progressive radio voices over the last few years, Clear Channel and Cumulus have been able to dominate the radio airwaves and control the political dialogue. Due to the large number mega corporate mergers we've witnessed over the last decade, the nation's political and cultural diversity have suffered. The ownership of the US media is now in the hands of a few multinational conglomerates.
The concept of net neutrality is now on the chopping block as the Federal Communications Commission continues to cow tow to corporate media interests.
By the way, the US is currently ranked 46th in the world in terms of media/press freedom by Reporters Without Borders... The corporate control of US media has resulted in less investigative journalism. (http://rsf.org)
It is incumbent upon us all to support and promote independent media sources. Tell your friends and family! Host a listening/viewing party. Donate to the folks who are working for media democracy.
In the face of almost insurmountable competition from well funded news agencies and media networks, independent US media must survive. In order for democracy to work, the populace must have free and easy access to more information.
We must all do our part to reinvigorate the US media and provide platforms for original independent voices to thrive.
Here are some links to independent media:
http://fsrn.org http://democracynow.org http://thomhartmann.com http://freespeech.org http://indiemediaweekly.com http://radioornot.com http://xray.fm http://filterfreeradio http://weactradio.com http://mikemalloy.com http://normangoldman.com http://revolutionradionetwork.com
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