(APN) ATLANTA - November 23, 2006, marks the one year anniversary of the founding of Atlanta Progressive News (APN). To commemorate this occasion, Matthew Cardinale, Founder of APN, has issued the following letter to our readers:
Hey everybody! It's been one year of APN! Can you believe it? We really have come a long way. I want to thank you for your readership. Our readers are such an important part of what we do and we always enjoy hearing from you.
It has all gone by so fast, so this is really the first time I've had the opportunity to communicate with you about our vision for progressive, independent news in Atlanta, and our plans to offer a viable news alternative for the people of Atlanta.
November 23, 2005, is the date I bought the website name and hosting package for www.atlantaprogressivenews.com
As a lot of you know already, I was still staying at a hotel in Atlanta when I started the website. I had just moved to Atlanta with my 3 cats after evacuating from New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Some excellent accounts of our story were written for Southern Voice and Atlanta Magazine.
What attracted me to Atlanta? Well, I had already wanted to start a progressive newspaper. And I knew I wanted to live in the South. And, Texas was out of the question, so that really left Atlanta. I also really wanted to work with US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney to help highlight the work she has been doing.
I spoke with friends at the National Coalition for the Homeless including my friend Anita Beaty at the Task Force for the Homeless about whether Atlanta had a progressive newspaper or whether it could benefit from one. Atlanta certainly needed progressive media, they told me.
I found it hard to believe, actually, that such a large metropolitan city, mostly a left-leaning city, with such a deep, rich history in the Civil Rights Movement, would not have a progressive newspaper.
To be sure, Creative Loafing doesn't count, despite their occasional somewhat leftist political piece. Creative Loafing is kind of like a LA Weekly or a Gambit Weekly-focusing mostly on entertainment and the arts-and so that's not really what I had in mind anyway.
The point of Atlanta Progressive News is to speak to issues of major importance to working families. We have a list of progressive editorial principles, or causes, that we believe our coverage should advance. These include universal health care, living wages, a clean environment, elections integrity, affordable housing, and peace. And these are like, to me, the most basic things. I really never thought of our principles as radical, or as anything other than common sense.
When I got here and started to study what media was available, I was like, oh no, honey, these people need more options!
In the past year, we have been blessed with over 1.5 million hits on the website, 108 original news articles, and over a dozen op-eds.
We have printed two quarterly print editions and are about 2 weeks away from launching our third print edition.
We have a team of wonderful staff writers who help cover local and national progressive news, including the prolific Betty Clermont and Jonathan Springston, who were both recently promoted to Senior Staff Writers; as well as staff writers Susan Keith, Robert Soloway, Sarah Epting, Douglas Hartley, and Kristina Cates.
Our print edition is currently available in five bookstores.
But, here's some really exciting news: We are about to unveil newspaper boxes and wire racks in private and public spaces in Atlanta.
That means, over the next year we'll be working to become a lot more visible, with a much greater circulation.
We're all very proud of our reporting over the last year.
Our stories have been mentioned in The Christian Science Monitor, The Zimbabwe Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, New York Amsterdam News, The Advocate Magazine, Southern Voice Magazine, Atlanta Magazine, Atlanta Latino Magazine, The Mighty Great Speckled Bird, The Rock River Times, The San Luis Obispo Tribune online edition, The Progressive Magazine online edition, The San Francisco Bay View online edition, The Free Press online edition, as well as copious websites.
Websites which have mentioned, reprinted, or linked to our work include: Buzzflash, RawStory, Truthout, Wonkette, BradBlog, OpEdNews, InformationClearingHouse, Znet, CommonDreams, Scoop in New Zealand, Stuff in New Zealand, Political Affairs, NewsMax, Free Market News Network, OhMyNews, the Neal Boortz website, RealClearPolitics, PoliticalWire, Uruknet, CollectiveBellaciao, InfoShop, GuerillaNewsNetwork, TPMCafe, Barking Moonbat Early Warning System, TownHall, Lucianne, AmericanDaily, ChronWatch, MensNewsDaily, NewsByUs, NationalLedger, CommonVoice, BlackNews, AmericanChronicle, AllHeadlineNews, GlobalResearch, ConspiracyPlanet, CrisisPapers, and OnlineJournal.
I have the pleasure of appearing each week, every Thursday now, at a few minutes after 12pm on WRFG 89.3 FM Atlanta, on Adam Shapiro's "Current Events" radio show. Almost all of our writers have been on as well to talk about their stories.
What's nice about the radio shows is, we get to talk about certain parts of our stories in more depth, or in an analytical way, because Adam will ask us questions to help move the stories forward. I encourage everyone to listen to Adam's show every week.
Now, I want to talk about the purpose of progressive news. I have some ideas about the importance of progressive news, and I know so many of us just "know" it's important. Well, I think we need to start putting these thoughts into words and be deliberate about this conversation.
That's part of the reason we love hearing from our readers. When someone tells us that they feel informed, or inspired, or that they've thought about something in a new way, that really means the whole world to us. And it gives us examples of the outcomes of our work.
Coming from an activist background, I was able to see the need for progressive media. Because corporate media is not inclined to cover the substance of the issues activists are addressing, activists tend to feel they need to put on a big show [ie- the biggest rally ever; big name stars; civil disobedience; advocacy with a gimmick] in order to get any attention.
So, that's why the solution is: to create independent, progressive media.
Now, this does two things. First of all, it gets the news out there, and it requires less dramaturgy on the part of advocacy people. Secondly, it shifts the media ecosystem, and that's the other thing we are doing.
You see, corporate media doesn't want to be "seen" as advancing any progressive causes by their corporate sponsors.
But, if news agencies like Atlanta Progressive News go ahead and cover issues, events, happenings anyway, then the corporate media can feel more comfy and cozy covering said issues, events, and happenings, because, after all, in this instance, they wouldn't be creating news, they would just be reporting something people already knew.
I think media is THE most important issue facing Americans today.
And the reason I use such strong language about it, is media isn't really AN issue, the way health care or housing are issues. Media is THE issue that makes all the other issues possible.
Also, on a democratic theory level, media is very important; it is one of the key agents of political socialization for young people and adults.
And if we're ever going to successfully empower the poor people in this country, those who have disproportionately selected themselves out of the voting process, then they need to know they can have information they can trust, and that's relevant to them.
No recent event made it more apparent the corporate media was skewing reality, than the lead up to the US Invasion of Iraq.
And then you had the advent of electronic voting.
That's really around the time you saw the beginning proliferation of independent news, run by mostly volunteers, on the Internet. GoogleNews also helped put independent media, of all kinds, on equal footing with the corporate giants.
And I said, hey, this is working well nationally. We can do this in cities! Originally, the city for my newspaper was going to be New Orleans. Now, it's Atlanta. APN is one of the things Atlanta got as a result of the diaspora and the great migration of 2005.
As many of you know, APN was originally conceived as a street newspaper which was to be sold by homeless people in public places. We decided that that was just too much to manage, and we really want to be able to reach lots of people.
So, starting with the next issue, APN is going to be free!
However, we've been honored to be accepted to the North American Street Newspaper Association (NASNA) as an Associate Member, because of our commitment to ending homelessness, and we are now a member of the Street News Service.
I could talk about each and every story we've written, but I have to say some of our favorite accomplishments have included covering Conyers's impeachment review legislation far before the corporate media knew it existed; covering elections problems here in Georgia while the AJC did know it existed and chose to ignore; and bringing light to issues of housing and homelessness.
We also have been pleased to often be the only media at many progressive protests to help share with others what y'all advocates have been doing. In that sense, we've been like the community newspaper of the larger progressive community.
Thank you to our current sponsors-who have taken out advertisements--for making this next issue possible: The Task Force for the Homeless, The Emergence Network, Especially for Women Massage Therapy, The First Iconium Baptist Church, The Georgia Green Party, Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition-Atlanta, Atlanta Women's Action for New Directions, Apres Diem Restaurant in Midtown, Mayors for Peace Campaign, and WRFG Radio.
Other sponsors/advertisers over the last year include US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Angela Moore for Secretary of State, Carlotta Harrell for Secretary of Education, the North Carolina Impeachment Rally, and RuthE Levy for State Senate.
We also want to acknowledge the generous support of many of our donors who have helped get us to where we are. We received $745 in 28 personal donations since this Summer.
We will have a Fall fundraiser soon and y'all will be the first to know. The point of this fundraiser will be to purchase new newspaper boxes and wire racks to distribute our next issues of APN throughout Atlanta. Every dollar goes towards creating a distribution infrastructure to help us reach more people with the news we're already producing.
I've really enjoyed the last year. To think, I only knew 2 people living in Atlanta when I came to Atlanta a year ago! Everyone has made me and the APN Team feel welcome and that there is a niche for us. We appreciate having the opportunity to be a trusted source of progressive news for you.
I hope next year we'll have even more great successes to discuss.
About the author:
Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor and National Correspondent for Atlanta Progressive News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article may be reprinted in full at no cost where Atlanta Progressive News is credited.