For more than 30 years, Project Censored has searched out the most important undercovered stories of the year. Those stories tend to follow the standard wisdom: “real news” is about what's going wrong in the world. But the upcoming edition of Project Censored's annual compilation of stories that have been ignored by the mainstream media includes a new feature.
Drawing on the work of YES! and other sources, Kate Sims has contributed a chapter to 'Censored 2008' that tells 10 stories of hope and progress—a sample of a new form of journalism that looks for the places where real change for the better is already underway.
We're honored to present a preview of that chapter. For the rest of the story, watch for the September 2007 release of Censored 2008.
We are told that the world—especially the world outside U.S. borders—is a scary, confusing, incurable mess. We don't know—or we forget—that social movements can create change with surprising speed. History shows us that, while efforts to change can seem ponderous (and maddeningly slow), once a critical mass is reached, large positive, even revolutionary changes can be made with startling rapidity. What is scoffed at as fringe and radical one moment, can be embraced by the mainstream as within the bounds of “rational debate” the next. Writer David Korten says that these positive changes have the potential to bring about a deep cultural transformation he calls “The Great Turning”—the title of his most recent book (May 2006).
So, is it necessary that good investigative journalism act only as an alarm bell, warning citizens of current or potential threats to our security and liberty?
Likewise, is it good journalism to narrowly reflect the perspective of those in charge, consigning grassroots leaders, social movement organizers, and cultural trend setters to the back of the media bus? With such behavior, it is little wonder that the mainstream was caught by surprise when the city of Seattle was virtually shut down during the WTO summit in 1999—they simply hadn't known there was a story there.
Can hard-hitting journalism also apprise us of the actions that rejuvenate our political health, the people who are building positive movements in a negative world, the events that allow global citizens to build more powerful coalitions?
Perhaps the best “censored” news is a theme that runs through every issues of YES! The big secret is that, throughout the world, there are millions of people actively engaged in moving toward the formation of just and peaceful societies. Yes, there are extremists in every country who will take advantage of desperate and bitter situations (and that includes every country). And increasing economic insecurity and violence tends to move people in the direction of extremism and various forms of fundamentalism (religious and secular).
But increasingly (and encouragingly), people are rediscovering their power and right to live in dignity, and taking on the urgent questions of our time—how to end poverty, how to build peaceful and just societies, how to live within the carrying capacities of our environment. While our most powerful leaders are at a loss in the face of these historic challenges—or are too corrupted by corporate money and bankrupt policies to provide real leadership—social movements, grassroots leaders, organizations at every level from the local to the global, are moving ahead with solutions. And they are joining forces.
Kate Sims is a staff researcher with Project Censored: The News that Didn't Make the News.
Buy 'Censored 2008' here.