HB: What other independent news organizations have most influenced your work?
RK: Commondreams accepted the first article I sent them, then ignored the next ten. As a reasonably successful freelance writer in the print world, I was accustomed to at least getting rejection letters. But online, being ignored is the usual. I made sure that when we built opednews.com, we designed it so all article submitters DO get responses-- rejections or acceptances, even notification if an article is promoted to headline or top of column status.
Other sites that have inspired opednews.com include: dailykos.com, mydd.com , counterpunch.com, thenation.com , tompaine.com, buzzflash.com, consortiumnews.com , Josh Marshall's talkingpointsmemo.com , truthout.org, rawstory.com, whatreallyhappened.com , myspace.com, facebook.com
Unlike most progressive sites, we're working to build our site to tap many of the web 2.0 functions you see on social networking sites.
HB: What else is OpEdNews doing?
RK: OpEdNews is a non-profit organization designed to support local and international news. We have "inside pages" for every county in the US, every country in the world, every province in Canada, and we can add locales easily. We regularly have articles dealing with Waziristan, Pakistan, the Congo, Yemen, Bangladesh, Nepal, Ramallah, and many other locations. Our goal is to support alternative media everywhere, with local specificity and pages.
We also have an exceptional system for organizing our content, with unique cloud tag control panels for all levels of our directory and for every article.
We're always happy to welcome new writers, diarists and commenters to our community. You don't have to be famous, but you do have to write well and bring up new ideas or angles on contemporary issues.
RK: In the new media, people who comment on articles in the space below the article are an essential, integral part of the journalistic process. I will often publish a writer who I disagree with, who I may even doubt some claims because I believe that on OpEdNews, the community will fill in the gaps, dispute claims, and correct inaccuracies. WE are the media. That is a huge difference between media that are top-down, and who present a product that cannot be commented upon.
Getting legitimate criticism is part of the new media. You have to deal with it. I think, overall, it's great for journalism and getting to the truth and all the nuances of issues and stories. My philosophy is that a story doesn't have to be complete, doesn't have to cover all the bases, because we have thousands of members who can fill them in. After a lot of discussions, I've come to the conclusion that OpEdNews is, among high traffic sites, the most open and least censored site, in terms of the wide range of issues allowed to be discussed on the web.
We are seeking grant funding from foundations for general support and for several projects involving building an extremely high quality media that is peer reviewed, and also a social networking media site for students.