Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Media Channel considering shutting down

Over the last 10 years, I've found a lot of good stories through the Media Channel website. I've often referred you to their stuff, which I've usually found to be solid reporting. In today's world, trying to be non-partisan gets you branded as "Liberal" but that's just the way it goes.

But after 10 years, it looks like the site may be about to wrap up. That would be a shame but not unexpected, as the note I've received today points out. I'm reprinting it here, just in case any of you decide maybe you'd like to support their work. It may not be the end of the line - but it sure sounds that way.

Here's what arrived in my inbox this morning:

Declaring Victory and Leaving? It May Be Time To Say Goodbye…

We believe in the mission of MediaChannel. We believe in its value and so does a growing audience that regularly reads and sends editorial input. Many of you have responded to our fundraising appeals and kept us alive, but just barely.

We officially launched this media network on February 1, 2000, the anniversary of the student sit-ins that sparked the civil rights movement. We believe in the work we post - the media news, our blogs and our daily features. They are substantive, global, and offer a service that is often unique. No one else is really doing what we are, going way beyond just bashing or ridiculing political enemies. ("Oh, did you see what Glenn Beck is now saying?" Yuk!)

Over the years, we have upgraded our look, added videos, as well as interactive social media features. We have traveled the world to represent our work, in part because of invitations from colleagues, from Kazakhstan to Qatar to South Africa, who respect what we do.

We have been on top of the issues, and often ahead of the curve, aggregating content and taking a stand on war and peace, media reform, and economic crises. We have sacrificed a lot to keep MediaChannel going -- and we are not sorry we did.


But that is apparently not enough. It's not just about content, but marketing, positioning, politics and funding. The media environment has changed. Highly partisan news and commentary gets funded; work like ours, alas, does not. Maybe the partisan stuff just fits the spirit of these polarized and combative times more than more reasoned and probing stories.

Journalism is not just disappearing in the mainstream or giving way to tabloid news and propaganda, it's missing in the blogosphere too. Perhaps its just unfashionable, perhaps its only the loudest voices, and only the celebrity writers who people want to read because they have more visibility or the capacity to piss us off even more.

We have been reduced to frequent appeals to readers who, understandably, tire of being solicited too often, and not just by us, but by every independent media site struggling to survive. We understand why folks turn away, especially in this economic climate.


So we are being forced to conclude that it may be time to declare victory and phase MediaChannel out. If we do, we will do it with pride of what we have accomplished overt the last decade.

On the other hand, it's never over until it is.

There is a small hope that other media sites that share our values may agree to some kind of consolidation, or a merger. Perhaps we can save ourselves if we work together. We know that collaboration is one of those values everyone supports in principle, but it's hard to give up our competitive instincts.

Your ideas and financial support are welcome and needed.

We have been fighting for years to keep going and are now thinking about other options and initiatives if we cannot. Clearly, we are better hell raisers than fundraisers. Our costs are not that high, but there are costs, for a Webmaster, technology, distribution etc.. One deep pockets funder could write a check to keep us going, but we can't count on it. And it doesn't look like we can count solely on our readers either. Perhaps we have gone to "the well" one time too many times. We are sure those who never wished us well, the hackers and wreckers will celebrate. So what?

As we consider the options, we would like you to consider ideas, contacts, connections and interest you may have to help sustain our work or tell us that its time to move on.

We need help in reaching out for partners, a merger, or sale. [Email dissector@mediachannel.org for suggestions.]

A recent grant we received was earmarked for a youth oriented channel, not for general institutional support.

Back in 2000, we never thought we would still be online in 2010 or that you would be with us. We are grateful for the help we have had and will have more to say about that when and if we have to.

Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of MediaChannel.org

February is our anniversary. Its also a leap year month, So, in that spirit, we will leap into the future one way or another by offering the best of our work and providing some time to see what, if anything, can be done.

You can make a tax-deductible donation online here, or by sending a check made out to:

The Global Center
575 8th Ave., #2200
New York, NY 10018
(Please write "For MediaChannel" on the memo line of your check.)

Thank you,

- Danny Schechter, Rory O'Connor, David DeGraw

Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org


1 comment:

Che' Gorilla said...

For all the rhetoric about being unbiased media, I noticed the author only fired a shot on the starboard side, completely ignoring a veritable flotilla of targets off to port.

Which supports my own belief that journalists are NEVER unbiased. It's not possible. The reason the so-called mainstream, self-proclaimed "unbiased" media is losing audience is because it is becoming increasingly apparent that they are no such thing.

Air America believed it spoke the whole truth and nothing but the truth. People disagreed. They went bankrupt.

When people don't believe what you are telling them, they are unlikely to contribute to your fund drive. Meanwhile unabashedly conservative media outlets are having a boom year. The reason I most hear from the "mainstream" is that most people are dumber than a box of rocks and we should silence conservative news and commentary so they can be taught the "correct" version of the news and current events.

I suppose even George Soros and his ilk don't have enough cash to prop up everyone. Too bad too. I like to listen to liberal media once in a while, just to make sure I'm hearing them properly.

I really am sorry to see the site go. You guys on the left need to really open up those wallets and give! I don't think Obama's stash has enough left in it either.

Sorry, I keep doing that and it's not nice. I apologize. Hope they're successful in their fund-raising campaign. We need honest diverse voices out there.