ThisCantBeHappening.net, a website founded by journalist Dave Lindorff back in 2004 as a quixotic one-man effort to afflict the powerful, is expanding, beginning May 1st, to become a news collective, featuring Lindorff and three other journalist colleagues: John Grant, Linn Washington and Charles M. "Chuck" Young.
All four members of this crew share a profound frustration with the shallowness and fawning complicity of the establishment corporate media (and with the establishment not-for-profit media too), and a desire to tell it like it is.
It is our hope that the 15,000 readers who have been regularly following ThisCantBeHappening.net while it was just Dave's lonely project will tell their friends and contacts to check out the new expanded version of the site. It is our hope too that the many readers who have generously contributed financial support for the journalistic efforts of ThisCantBeHappening.net to date will be joined by many, many others so that we four can really devote our efforts to getting out the truth about America's wars, about the corrupt economic system we live in, about the racism, sexism and other kinds of discrimination and bias that permeate this society, about the ongoing commodification of culture, and about the steady assault on freedom--all stories and issues that are being ignored or papered over by the mass media.
While all four of us will be reporting on the stories that we as individuals find important, each one of us is taking on a certain beat. Grant, a Vietnam War veteran, accomplished journalist, photographer and filmmaker, will have the war & peace beat. Lindorff who studied business and economics journalism at Columbia U. as a Knight-Bagehot Fellow, will be reporting on national politics, economics and healthcare, Washington, a veteran Philadelphia journalist, will cover the courts and the law and also race issues, and Young will cover culture and what he rather mysteriously calls the "Chuck" beat.
Check it all out starting this May 1 at www.thiscantbehappening.net
Here is some more detailed information about each of us on this leaderless staff, in alphabetical order:
JOHN GRANT is a writer/photographer living just outside Philadelphia's city limits. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and has published both fiction and non-fiction. Starting in the 1980s, he traveled to Central America and other places as a documentary photographer for publication and for exhibits of his own large prints. He shot and edited an 80-minute documentary film called Second Time Around about a seriously wounded Vietnam veteran who chose to live and work in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 35 years after his first tour there. He has been to Iraq twice during the war, once as an observer critical of the war and once as a cameraman on a documentary film. A Vietnam War veteran himself, for 25 years John has been an active member of Veterans For Peace. For 11 years, he was president of the Philadelphia VFP chapter. He has taught documentary photography at Widener and Drexel Universities and for nine years has taught creative writing to inmates in the Philadelphia Prison.
Award-winning investigative reporter DAVE LINDORFF has been raking the journalistic muck now for 38 years, since he started out covering goings-on of three small towns at the mouth of the Connecticut River for the Middletown Press in 1972. A regular columnist for Counterpunch, he has also written for such diverse and seemingly mutually exclusive publications as BusinessWeek, the Nation, Extra!, Treasury & Risk, and Rolling Stone. In the late 1970s, he co-founded an award-winning alternative weekly, the Los Angeles Vanguard, and later ran a bureau covering Los Angeles County government for the Los Angeles Daily News. In the mid-'90s he spent several years as a correspondent in Hong Kong and China for Businessweek.
Co-author, along with Barbara Olshansky, of The Case for Impeachment: Legal Arguments for Removing President George W. Bush from Office (St. Martin's Press, June 2006 and paperback 2007), he is also the author of three earlier books: This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the Disintegration of American Democracy (Common Courage Press, 2004), Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For Profit Hospital Chains (Bantam, 1992), an investigative report on the for-profit hospital industry, and Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal (Common Courage Press, 2003).
Lindorff opted for a journalism career late in his final semester at Wesleyan University, where he had majored in Chinese language, when, on a whim, he signed up for a journalism class offered by the editor of the local paper, the Middletown Press. Doing a homework assignment--a report on a routine truck crash--he stumbled upon a secret underground office for the Middletown city government to use in the event of nuclear war, set up behind a blast door under a new fire department building. Appalled at the sight of labeled desks for officials like "tax collector," "assessor," and "welfare director" in this subterranean vault, he wrote a story about the discovery, received an A, and promptly decided, "This is the job for me!" He's been reporting on the madness ever since.
In addition to writing, Lindorff is a folk musician (guitar, washtub base and saw). You can hear some of his music-making on his myspace page.
While not yet old enough to collect Social Security, LINN WASHINGTON JR. has been in the news business long enough to have seen both the introduction of computers into newsrooms and the current strangling of the news media, not by the Internet but at the hands of greedy investors whose snatching of financial resources out of otherwise profitable news operations has crippled news gathering. Washington grew up in Pittsburgh, where his skill sets of writing and competitive swimming did not mesh with the rabid football focus of his hometown. Not being able to dance didn't help. Washington ended a two-state/three-school college sojourn at Temple University. Too broke to return to Pittsburgh after graduation, he stayed in Philadelphia working in newspapers. Journalism was not quite the mega-salaried career he had envisioned, but it's a career that has provided extraordinary experiences, insights and travel. A columnist for the historic Philadelphia Tribune, the nation's oldest African-American owned newspaper, Washington is also Associate Professor of Journalism at Temple, where he co-directs the Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab that sends J-students into neighborhoods in search of stories the local establishment media ignore. In addition to his Temple degrees, Washington holds a law degree from the Yale University.
Charles M. Young