If you're having trouble viewing this message, open it in a browser window.
This Issue: Alternative Media
We depart from our usual format to present a special issue of Other Voices devoted entirely to alternative media.
It’s not exactly news that the mainstream media –
corporate-owned and state-owned – are biased and anything but reliable.
Their reporting may well contain accurate information, but even when
(some of) their facts are correct, the overall framing and context are
shaped by their ideological function of supporting the capitalist system
of which they are an integral part. More than ever, the mainstream
media are propaganda arms of a power structure fusing corporations and
the neoliberal state.
Changes in the media landscape exacerbate the situation.
Corporate consolidation means that most major media outlets are now
owned by a small number of large corporations, following policies
dictated by head office. The actual number of media are shrinking: for
example, whereas a few decades ago most major cities had competing daily
newspapers, now most cities have only one, and where they have two,
both are often owned by the same company. Corporatization of the media
has also meant significant cutbacks in staffing, resulting inevitably in
reduced coverage, and poor reporting marked by reliance on fewer
sources. Fact checkers, copy editors, and proofreaders have largely gone
the way of the manual typewriter.
It’s no wonder, then, that the mainstream media are widely
distrusted, and even held in contempt, by many people. They are seen,
rightly, as part of the neoliberal system people are increasingly
On the other hand, the Internet has made it possible to
launch a vast number of alternative media projects. These range from
bloggers, tweeters, Facebook commentators, and other self-publishers
active in the social media realm, to major information-rich websites and
media projects with paid staff and professional standards.
However, most of these independent projects face the severe
limitations imposed by not being well-funded corporate media projects.
With the best intentions in the world, it’s impossible to keep providing
high-quality stories about a wide range issues with volunteers, or a
small number of paid staff. The constraints faced by the mainstream
media – understaffing, shrinking revenues – impact the alternative media
to an even greater extent.
And just what are “alternative media”? The rough-and-ready
definition used in selecting media to feature in this issue of Other
Voices is that they are independent and that they are broadly left in
their political orientation, that is, that they offer a left alternative
to the mainstream media.
Of course, all media, mainstream or alternative, right or left, must be read critically.
Alternative media are quite capable of getting things wrong or
publishing nonsense; indeed, they frequently do. They also often
disagree with each other. This can be helpful. Hearing about different
approaches, and thinking about the reasons behind them, helps us
understand things better.
This is true of corporate and state-funded media as well. News media like Al Jazeera, RT, and teleSUR
certainly reflect the biases of their owners (Qatar, Russia, and
several South American governments, respectively), but, because those
biases are different from the mainstream American, British, and Canadian
media, they can and do cover news that the western corporate media
ignore or falsify, and they can be worth checking out as well.
Connexions offers a much more extensive alternative media list on the Connexions website here.
In this newsletter, we present a selection of media from that larger
list. Like anything else, this is a reflection of individual biases;
still, we hope that it helps you to learn about websites and media that
you'll find useful in finding out and understanding what’s happening in
There is no clear dividing line between 'media' websites and
other websites. Many high-quality websites provide information and
analysis. To find more of them, try browsing the Connexions Directory of Groups and Websites.
The Connexions website itself features current content as well as a
massive online library of articles and books going back decades.
Connexions also gives you the ability to find related resources and
background information on almost any topic, via the browseable Subject Index and the Search tool.
Suggestions and feedback are welcome. Please use the contact form
As always, we invite you to share this newsletter with your friends. You can forward this email, or send them the link to the Other Voices home page on the Connexions website at www.connexions.org/Media/CxNewsletter.htm.
If you'd like to subscribe and receive this newsletter by email every two weeks, please use this form.
Your feedback is appreciated - and so are donations to keep us doing what we're doing!
Daily News & Analysis
the best English-language alternative media site. Features hard-hitting
radical journalism, analysis, and opinion. Slogan: “Tells the Facts,
Names the Names.” Worth visiting every weekday to get radical views of
what’s happening in the world. Find them here
Inter Press Service (IPS)
A global news agency. “IPS raises
the voices of the South and civil society.” Non-mainstream news from
around the world. A wide range of stories, and more actual reporting and
news coverage than most alternative media. Left-liberal politics, a bit
light on analysis. Find them here
A site devoted to the cause of
non-intervention. News and analysis about war and imperialism, and those
who oppose them. Find them here
News and information about labour
activities and struggles throughout the world, in more than 30
languages. “Where trade unionists start their day on the net.” Find them here
Bills itself as providing
“independent global news.” Available via satellite television, community
and campus radio, podcast, and on the Internet. Lots of stories and
interviews, but their claim to be “global” is a stretch: Friday’s front
page featured 21 stories, of which 18 where about the U.S. Find them here
News and voices from the developing
world. Brings together the work of bloggers, writers, podcasters, and
videographers. “Shining light on places and people other media often
ignore.” Find them here
News & Analysis Sites of Varying Frequencies
A online journal focusing on capitalism, climate change, and the
ecosocialist alternative. Original articles and opinions pieces as well
as reprints of articles first published elsewhere. “Ecosocialism or
barbarism: there is no third way.” Find them here
An alternative news site based in India. Worldwide scope, with particular emphasis on India. Find them here
Palestinian portal for information about the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. News, commentary, analysis, and reference materials about
Palestine and Israel from a Palestinian perspective. Find them here
An independent research and media site which publishes news
articles, commentary, background research and analysis on a broad range
of topics, focussing on social, economic, strategic, geopolitical and
environmental issues. The quality of the reporting and analysis varies
widely, from solid to crackpot. Find them here
The Intercept was initially launched to provide a platform to report
on the documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The
site’s primary focus is on government surveillance, spying, and police
state tactics. Other issues covered include political corruption,
racism, militarism, and the complicity of the mainstream media. Find
A site maintained by Comunicaciones Aliadas, a non-profit,
non-governmental organization based in Lima, Peru, specializing in the
production of information and analysis about events across Latin America
and the Caribbean with a focus on rights. Find them here
Le Monde Diplomatique
English-language edition of the French monthly newspaper. Lengthy articles on world affairs. Find them here
In-depth articles and analysis. “Pan-African voices for freedom and
justice.” Focus of coverage is especially on Africa, but also features
African perspectives on world issues. Find them here
Sites devoted primarily to news about Canada
News from local media co-operatives dedicated to providing grassroots, democratic coverage. Find them here
Focuses on news and in-depth reports on under-covered Canadian
stories in the area of climate, energy, and related culture, business
and politics. Find them here
Progressive news and analysis with a social-democratic orientation. Find them here
Bills itself as “space for issues, a place to explore political
passions and an opportunity to expand ideas.” Has a sprinkling of
original news stories, but leans heavily to columns, blogs, interviews,
and commentaries rather than original reporting. Left-leaning, but
rarely leans farther left than the NDP. Find them here
A independent daily online magazine covering B.C. and beyond. Find them here
Magazines (Print + Online)
Bi-monthly magazine published by Solidarity, a U.S. socialist group.
Oriented toward movements for social and economic justice; radical,
socialist, feminist, anti-racist in orientation, promoting discussion
among activists, organizers, and scholars on the Left. Find them here
A quarterly magazine + website published by, for and about activists in
the struggle for a better world, covering women's issues, aboriginal
issues, the environment, labour, etc. The website features new stories
on a regular basis. Find them here
Environmental affairs magazine (online + print) covering a wide
range of issues, ranging from the environmental costs of industrial
agriculture, the health effects of toxins, the effects of economic
globalization, and actions by environmentalists and grassroots
communities. Find them here
An American left-wing magazine. Find them here
Monthly print magazine and website, featuring longer analytical articles. Find them here
Research: Information to change the world
features an online library of articles, books, films, news, and
analysis going back more than 40 years. If you want to find out what is
happening around the world and how people are resisting, and how it all
relates to what happened in the past, Connexions offers a large and
well-organized collection of materials (more than 200,000 pages on the
site). The Subject Index and the Search tool enable you to find what you are looking for, plus what you didn’t even know you were looking for. Find us here
We know that the mainstream media
lie and distort on a daily basis. Knowing what exactly is wrong or
distorted isn’t always so easy, though, if you don’t have the time and
knowledge to do in-depth research. That’s where media criticism sites
like Media Lens come in: they do the dirty work of documenting and
rebutting the mainstream media. “MediaLens is a response based on our
conviction that mainstream newspapers and broadcasters provide a
profoundly distorted picture of our world. We are convinced that the
increasingly centralised, corporate nature of the media means that it
acts as a de facto propaganda system for corporate and other
establishment interests.” Find Media Lens here
Using the Media to Get Publicity
A media relations guide for organizers and activists. Topics covered
include: What and who are the media? Who decides whether a story gets
covered? What makes a story newsworthy? The influence of advertising on
media formats. Things which need not be said and things which cannot be
said. Media strategy. Framing your issue and countering the frames of
the dominant media. Deciding on your key message. Hooks to entice or
persuade the media that your story is newsworthy. Find it here
Your support is needed to keep Connexions going
All of the
work of the Connexions project is done by volunteers, but our expenses
include rent, phone and computer costs and technical support, as well as
expenses related to our ongoing project of converting printed archival
materials into digital formats. You can make a one time or regular
monthly contribution through the donate page on the Connexions website.
Many of us have made working for
social justice a lifetime commitment. If you are thinking about leaving
a legacy for social justice that will live on, you might want to
consider leaving a bequest to Connexions in your will. If you'd like to
discuss this option, please contact us: Connexions Archive and Library,
812A Bloor Street West, Suite 201, Toronto, ON M6G 1L9, 416-964-5735 or
see the Bequest page..
Trying to change the world? We can help.
Getting your story across can be an uphill battle when your group is challenging the status quo. Our partner organization SOURCES can help you get your message out. As a SOURCES
member, you have an array of media relation tools at your disposal to
promote your events, books, articles, videos, etc. as well as tools to
get you in contact with those who can help you achieve your goals. The SOURCES news release
service is especially valuable for groups wants to inform the media
(and the public) about their issues. For more information about Sources please click this link.
Follow us on twitter to stay up to date with company news and other information.
Like us on Facebook to keep up with our news, updates and other discussions.
Connexions 2015. Contents are licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution Non-Commercial License. This means you are welcome to share
and republish the contents of this newsletter as long as you credit
Connexions, and as long as you don’t charge for the content.
Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter, is available online here
This issue was edited by Ulli Diemer.
812A Bloor Street West, Suite 201
Toronto ON M6G 1L9 Canada
Enjoy this issue of Other Voices? Want to share with friends and family? Then we encourage you to share this link. All issues of OtherVoices are available on the Connexions website at www.connexions.org/Media/CxNewsletter.htm
If you don’t want to receive emails from us anymore, click here to unsubscribe.