"My experience within media conglomerates such as Hearst, Meredith and Chronicle Publishing indicates to me that changing these institutions will be nearly impossible, because the type of change required radically diverges from those corporations' profit expectations . . . real solution is to build an ENTIRELY NEW support structure for quality, relevant reportage." Josh Wilson, in a Media Giraffe Q&A, March 2006.
Josh Wilson (RESUME) is a former mainstream-media writer and online editor who founded and edits NewsDesk.org.
After an early career as a journalist in Washington, D.C., Josh Wilson in 2000 was an arts writer and editor at S.F. Gate, the website of The San Francisco Chronicle.
"Is the kind of job that you keep for the rest of your life -- you get a pension and health insurance for your family," he says now (May, 2006). But he says wasn't able to advance issues that meant something to him and developed doubt about whether he wanted to continue to be a professional critic. He gradually became disillusioned with the quality of news converage by the Chronicle. "Ultimate I stuck my head out and resigned, in 2001."
At the time he wasn't married or in debt. Now he has both.
"But I thought there was a real opportunity stake out some territory for some really high quality, politically independent non-commercial reporting," says Wilson. "I think the mildest thing we can say about the journalism establishment in America right now is it is really underachieving."
In January, 2005, Newsdesk.org garnered 2,500 unique users that month. By October, 2007, the figure was 23,645 unique users.
Why does Wilson keep going? he says he wants to contribute to society, and to the well being of his family and community. "If I'm going to do that kind of work i want it to be about something of consequence." He doesn't see a better world emerging. "So in a way this altruistic impulse is fueld by the fact that it in our best interests as a people to have a better media . . . "I feel there is a responsibility I have as an educated individual to do more than consume, make money and live large."
Read Wilson's AprIl 2006 answers, in his own words, to the Media Giraffe Project query form.
Bias & Objectivity: An Editorial Dilemma
In October, 2007, Wilson supplied this information about Independent Arts & Media:
Independent Arts & Media is a free-speech/civil society organization with a mission to expand civic dialogue by increasing access to independent voices. Indy Arts supports independent media workers, producers, artists and culture-makers, and produces and promotes noncommercial arts and media projects. Our programs are always free or affordable.
Our services include Newsdesk.org, a commercial-free news source covering important but overlooked issues from around the world; Expo for the Artist & Musician, the San Francisco Bay Area's only grassroots connection fair for independent arts and culture; fiscal sponsorship for indie media and arts projects; and diverse dialogue, convening, publishing, and broadcast programs.
Indy Arts has a proven track record of accomplishment. Over the past eight years we've served thousands of individuals through our events and service programs, and many times that through our online services. We've produced more than 160 workshops, published newspapers, co-presented or produced several dozen speaker and panel events, produced almost 200 talk-radio programs broadcast by our radio partner KUSF-FM, and provide fiscal sponsorship to eight distinct projects.
Our journalism service, Newsdesk.org, has published groundbreaking articles on issues that later became front page news, such as the FCC, net neutrality, faith-based politics, Nigeria's oil strife and veterans' health care. News You Might Have Missed, our weekly email newsletter, has been published Wednesdays since February 2002, and draws from dozens of English-language news outlets worldwide.
Rather than concentrate capital and authority in a centralized institution, Indy Arts develops and supports non-hierarchical services and resources that derive from - and directly serve - the experience and needs of the people doing the work and participating in the dialogue.
Ultimately, our concern is the creation of a culture of democratic inclusion and engagement, in which people and communities shape their lives through cultural participation and open discourse.
Independent Arts and Media is run almost entirely by volunteers, and relies on individual donors for the bulk of its operating expenses.