News was meant to be free in more senses than one. In the 21st century, news is a big business like any other. Thankfully, the web has arrived with a free voice. It might have been a whimper so far when pitted against television, but the WikiLeaks drama has given it a drill sergeant’s voice. Though WikiLeaks has started a slanging match, one cannot deny that it has also forced us to take a second look at the role of the media in educating the public. Do we trust it at our own peril or do we take it at face value?
There are a few websites that go against the tele-prompted script with progressive journalism. Progressive journalism is about shared knowledge and presenting news free of censorship. Progressive journalism maybe flailing at the windmills of ad-sponsored media blitzkriegs, but it has a huge role to play for raising awareness and triggering debate.
WikiLeaks has opened a can of worms. Can these eight progressive websites open our eyes and make us read news with a more inquisitive eye?
CableSearch is a search engine for leaked documents culled from the recent Cablegate releases by WikiLeaks. All documents are available in the public domain. But more than that, CableSearch positions itself as a tool for investigative journalists who want to research the 250,000 documents released on WikiLeaks for their reports. The site maintains a cable count i.e. the number of public materials available. You can also set up news alerts for receiving notifications when new cables become available (see Directory mention).
An Annenberg Public Policy Center (University of Pennsylvania) initiative, FactCheck aims to debunk the falsehoods and doublespeak that’s part of US politics. The site monitors popular media and verifies the accuracy of the claims made by political personalities and political stakeholders. FactCheck aims to hold politicians accountable for their statements. The site is completely US-centric, but it is also a fine example of an e-enabled initiative to educate the public especially during elections in the US. For instance, the site focuses strongly on political spending and profiles the organizations behind the dollars.
If you are looking for alternative news, this is one news website you should have on your Top 5 list. It can be described as a progressive and liberal news service. AlterNet syndicates news from other newswires and also reports on its own. For instance, the behind the scenes investigative articles in the Investigations section of the site make for a wide-eyed read. Try the 7 Shocking WikiLeaks Revelations if you aren’t in the know about the WikiLeaks furor.
Don’t mind the looks; it started as an email newsletter in 1996. But it has lots of credits when it comes to breaking news that other publishers might balk from publishing. It has notable firsts like the Monica Lewinsky scandal and Prince Harry’s Afghanistan tour of duty. The site is otherwise populated with aggregated headlines from a variety of news sources.
SourceWatch is a wiki that documents PR firms, think tanks, and other front groups that seek to influence public opinion with their spin. The Center for Media and Democracy published resource attempts to act as a central clearing house for the propaganda we are fed by public relations firms through media. Though it is a collaborative wiki that encourages worldwide participation, it adheres to strict publishing guidelines.
A progressive news website that promotes ‘internet activism’ for social good and public awareness; the site is all about grassroots activism and it does so with breaking news and views presented from around the world.
Project Censored looks into the what’s and the why’s of news that didn’t make the front pages for one reason or the other. The non-partisan and non-profit site advocates the credo of free press. Project Censored is all about media ethics and as well as media democracy. Project Censored gathers together an annual list of 25 news stories of social importance that have been overlooked, misreported, under-reported or censored by the news media. The current top slot is held by a story which lets us into the global plans to replace the dollar.
The progressive news website doesn’t try to take the familiar road when it comes to daily news. It digs deeper into the stories of the day and brings insightful commentary that may be controversial and opinionated, but also thought provoking. Of note is the fact that Truthdig won the 2010 Webby Award jury prize for Best Political Blog.
There are many more progressive voices on the web in the form of news websites and political blogs. Let us into your favorites.
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(By) Saikat is a techno-adventurer in a writer’s garb. When he is not scouring the net for tech news, you can catch him on his personal blog ruminating about the positves in our world.