Free news. The concept seems as normal today as… wait, nothing is free nowadays! (And if you can have it for free, you are probably the product being sold.)
But what if the meaning of free isn’t ” without cost or payment,” but instead this: “not under the control or in the power of another.” I believe that’s the idea behind The Indypendent, an online-based and monthly print newspaper based in New York City founded by the New York City Independent Media Center.
Written and produced by volunteers and journalists, The Indypendent offers a fresh, non-mainstream look into the news that actually involves and interests people. According to its website, the paper explores “how systems of power — economic, political, and social — affect the lives of people locally and globally. “
Its slogan, “a free paper for free people”, adheres a libertarian philosophy to The Indypendent‘s mission, which seems to be the root of its success, as the publication has earned more than 50 awards for excellence in journalism, as well as a strong core of supporters and readers all over the nation.
Assuming this unattached ideology to the way news should be approached and communicated is what makes The Indypendent, a particular and interesting publication, especially in an industry that seems to care more about its commercial interests than its social contract with the people. (Which is not objectivity, according to the renowned philosopher and media critic, Noam Chomsky.)
One of the writers for The Indypendent is Peter Rugh, a self-titled muckraker-at-large, who contributes to other alternative mediums such as VICE and Waging Non-Violence. Rugh’s articles explore a wide range of topics, from the increasing closings of New York City hospitals, the Keystone pipeline controversies, to the wages protests by fast-food workers.
I believe Rugh’s articles are a reflection of the kind of journalism we need to see more of. The ideology than mediums like the ones I mentioned, or the topics that Rugh covers are largely left-leaning, seem ridiculous to me. Journalists should not forget that advocacy journalism can also be fact-based and have a purpose at the same time.
Because if one lives life with a purpose, why would one write something without it?