Editor's Note: A recent study by the Pew Research Center suggested that nonprofit news outlets tend to be "ideological or partisan in nature." The Media Consortium, a collaborative network of independent, frequently nonprofit media outlets (of which YES! Magazine is a member) offered this response.
The Media Consortium, a national network of independent media outlets, represents the new landscape in journalism that a recent Pew Report attempts to describe. If the twentieth century was defined largely by corporate media, the twenty-first century media sector that our Consortium represents comprises outlets that are fiercely independent, committed to accuracy in reporting, and dedicated to making the world a better place.
What model of journalism do these independent outlets embrace? It is not the so-called objective journalism of the past. As a number of historians have pointed out, objectivity was itself an ideology rather than a practice. Instead of rising above the political fray, corporate media, responding to their shareholders, have not hesitated to push their market interests in the political arena, as we see so clearly in the cozy relationships News Corporation owners and employees built with prime minsters, police, and the British political establishment.
Independent media are not responsible to the market. Whether organized as for-profits with diverse revenue streams or as nonprofits, independent media are mission-driven. We serve our audiences. By reflecting our audiences’ concerns (which may be nonpartisan or partisan, left or right), independent media ensure that the public will have access to a diversity of views. That is why the health of an independent press is so critical for a democracy.
Independent media cover issues that are critical to people’s health, well-being, and political rights but that are not on the mainstream media’s radar. And, unlike the corporate media with its cud-chewed content, the independent media is unafraid to tell the full story even when doing so threatens the market or those in power.
We care most about getting at the real story. We are not predictable. We do not pretend to give both sides equal time. And our sector is growing because, increasingly, we provide the kind of media the American public wants.
The media can, as we know, promote fear, hatred, and extremism. Can they also lead us to greater civility and more productive debate?
First Amendment expert David Saldana: Why Canada has one and the U.S. doesn't.