Recently, I read Gene Hyde’s article “Breaking Through the Information Blockade,” which uses the Seattle media revolution as a catalyst to describe the powerful impact of independent media and how it has grown since those days in the late 90s, early 2000s.

What media revolution am I referring to? In 1999, protestors took over the city of Seattle to express their complaints with the decisions of the World Trade Center Organization. Journalists were there too – both mainstream and indy media representatives. Many journalists were concerned with the coverage of the mainstream press, who by and large were not accurately representing the diversity of the protestors. Therefore, they formed the Independent Media Center and registered a website and set up a newsroom with computers, Internet lines, digital editing systems and streaming audio and video. With the help of volunteers, they took to the streets in an effort to give a voice to the heart of the issue – the people.

Indymedia gave the globe a fresh look at news. The best part? They didn’t have to go through a corporate filter. They presented the truth and they did so quickly. You got video, audio, photographs, text reports – all the info was right there and it came from the people who actually know a thing or two about the issue. It came from the citizens.

By 2001, there were 60 independent media outlets in 20 different countries spanning six continents. As you can imagine, there are tons more today just trying to combat the voice of the mainstream press. The article raises the issue of, how can you really trust indy media any more than anyone else? All reporters have their biases and it has always been the job of the consumer to absorb as much information as they can and make educated judgments based on well rounded research. Indy media provides that other voice, that other side. Sure, some are blatantly biased – but they still give the consumer another voice to consider.

The article put the issue so beautifully, so I’ll restate it here: “While Indymedia won’t replace the mainstream press any time soon, they are growing at an impressive rate. They will continue to research their stories, cover issues aggressively, and take time to report on issues shunned by the mainstream press. Indymedias and the communities they represent are a force to contend with, because as the Columbia Journalism Review observed, they’re ‘organized, they’re global, and they’re not going away.'”

Indy media is not going away. They’re only gaining traction. With more and more people getting their news from alternative sources, the more this progressive voice will be heard. They won’t be able to change everyone’s minds, but they can can certainly try.

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