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posted by Dopefish on Tuesday February 18 2014, @12:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the freedom-is-not-free dept.

combatserver writes:

"While The Guardian and The New York Times reported on the NSA targeting of data leaked by popular mobile apps, independent sources produced highly-detailed articles--accompanied by source material--that paint a much broader picture of NSA capabilities and intent. Recent restrictions imposed on journalists--a result of corporate influence, editorial decisions, and threats against journalists--combined with the ease of establishing a website, might be driving a new era in journalism.

The Intercept recently announced a shift towards independent reporting with the creation of their own news outlet, free of the constraints imposed on journalists by 'Big Media' and governments. Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill have joined forces to provide the world with an alternative, perhaps blazing a path towards a fundamental change in how news is reported and distributed. SoylentNews can play a significant role in this shift towards journalistic freedom--we share many common core-ideals, and can give voice to independent news sources.

The Big Question: How will 'Big Media' and governments react to this shift in journalism?"

 
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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by girlwhowaspluggedout on Tuesday February 18 2014, @12:59PM

    by girlwhowaspluggedout (1223) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @12:59PM (#1568)

    IMO, the problem isn't the platform but the paycheck. Thanks to the intarwebs, most people can publish whatever their heart desires and reach, at least potentially, a global audience. But the crucial difference between this publishing platform and the platform that "Big Media" provides is the fact that the latter pays its writers and editors to produce content.

    Unless you are payed for your publication, or have a trust fund or enjoy some such lucky-bastard type felicitous circumstances, you cannot make a living from it. If you wish to be truly free from the influence of business or government, then government subsidies and donations from the support-my-cause-in-exchange-for-my-money rich are out of the question.

    Professional as you may be, this type of publication will necessarily be nothing more than a hobby or a part time gig for you, since most of the time you have to work on securing a paycheck. The only option you have is, what, advertising? I don't see ads on the Intercept's website. Perhaps that will change later on. I'd like to see someone who isn't already gainfully employed as a journalist succeed in such an endeavor.

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Sir Garlon on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:21PM

    by Sir Garlon (1264) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:21PM (#1576)

    Also, there's less accountability when journalists are just setting up their own shop because no one is going to tell Famous, Independent Journalist "your methods have slipped and you can't print this story till you check your facts." The next thing you know, they'll be pandering to an audience and accepting kickbacks from their corporate sponsors just like Big Media do now. Just because because Big Media is untrustworthy, it does not follow that "independent" media are trustworthy.

    --
    [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
    • (Score: 1) by HiThere on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:40PM

      by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:40PM (#1890) Journal

      If both of two sources are untrustworthy, then go with the one that gives a wider spread of opinion. And don't trust *it*, either. Just because I think vitamins are over-hyped, that doesn't mean I think they're useless.

      --
      Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RobotMonster on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:21PM

    by RobotMonster (130) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:21PM (#1577) Journal

    In Australia "big media" has been in a steep decline; the traditional print empires are losing money hand-over-fist, despite their attempts to move online. Their traditional advertising revenue has been gutted, and their internet advertising is pale in comparison. One of the large media empires (I forget which), suffered a $100 million reduction in print advertising revenue last year, while only making around $5 million via online advertising.

    This has resulted in mass staff reductions at all the traditional serious newspapers where paid journalism used to happen; now many of their "journalists" are essentially working-from-home for peanuts, just grabbing stuff off the internet; a bunch of this is even being done from New Zealand, where they can get away with paying people even less...

    The business model that used to pay for quality journalism is failing badly, at least in Australia.

    • (Score: 1) by monster on Tuesday February 18 2014, @04:47PM

      by monster (1260) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @04:47PM (#1696) Journal

      It doesn't have to be that way. Many times, the "big media" execs are just funneling the cash reserves of the company to other ventures, so when they take a hit in viewership or income, they are too depleted to survive and laments of "Internet is killing journalism!" follow, but are not deserved. Any healthy company can be brought to the ground by bad management, even without market forces against it.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:18PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:18PM (#1645)

    The Intercept looks like a single focus news site, like Groklaw. I suspect the people doing this aren't getting paid, as you mention, but someone is probably picking up the tab for web site hosting and other expenses. They might be around for a few years and stir up trouble like Groklaw did.

  • (Score: 1) by dmc on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:33AM

    by dmc (188) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:33AM (#2188)

    "
    IMO, the problem isn't the platform but the paycheck. Thanks to the intarwebs, most people can publish whatever their heart desires and reach, at least potentially, a global audience. But the crucial difference between this publishing platform and the platform that "Big Media" provides is the fact that the latter pays its writers and editors to produce content.
    "

    My theory is this isn't actually so much of a problem. Perhaps post-intrawebs, we simply don't benefit from keeping the journalism industry as it was. Perhaps 90% of the historical journalism industry can be more than adequately replaced by individual unpaid 'hobbyist' journalists. How many news sites like this one and slashdot that accept user submissions and have 10,000+ users exist? If even 1% of those spend just 1 hour a week doing hobbyist level journalism, that might be most of what a large percentage of society need. Sure, it's good to have some well-funded next-gen Woodward-and-Bernsteins that can afford to do real time and resource consuming primary research. But I'm not even sure much of that is really necessary in a world where you have an occasional Deep Throat or Edward Snowden spill dirty secrets to a global audience of hobbyist journalists. And for the mainstream stuff, it makes perfect sense to have things like weather reports and daily crime reports simply available online where hobbyists can digest the raw data into replacements for their traditional newspaper counterparts.

    But that said, we do need to spend more time focusing on how people can make a living in the radically new and still changing information age. Myself, I'd like to see a future world where technological advance allows the majority of traditional jobs to become obsolete, and the resulting minority of jobs split amongst more workers that work for their paycheck fewer hours a week. I think historically before technological advance, the idea of working 60 hours a week to obtain a fairly meager existence was normal. At some point we decided that 40 hours/week was more reasonable. I think it would be awesome (and actually likely possible) if someday in the not so distant future most of society could 'make a living' only working 20 hours a week at a grocery store or fast food restaurant or as an entertainer, and then spend another 20 unpaid hours a week on hobbies such as journalism or non-saleable artistry etc. That's my positive vision for the future. I may not live to see it, but I do believe if we grow up as a human race it is entirely possible.