From this course I’ve greatly expanded my knowledge of what separates independent media from the mainstream giants. The main themes of holding corporations and the government accountable, being transparent with one’s audience, and holding oneself accountable in the wake of controversy stand out as some of the major differences between the two. There’s also the monetary aspect, where an outlet’s source of revenue greatly determines how reliable they are as a whole.
Another major take-away has been the politicization of American media, in how other countries are mostly transparent with their biases, whereas American outlets follow this pretense of “centrism.” CNN follows a general trend of trying to remain in the center of all major issues by inviting guests from both sides of the aisle, but fail to ever truly get to the bottom of any major issue.
In preparation of an upcoming (fictional) independent media outlet pitch it’s important to take note of the most important aspects of any journalistic start-up.
- Finding a niche market that is either being under-reported on, or that does not have any reporting done on it. If a possible market is waiting to be explored, find it and cover it.
- Have more than one source of revenue. Depending on one source, like a corporation or wealthy backer, could spell disaster down the line in the form of that person/group controlling content.
- Believe in the power of crowdsourcing. Once a loyal readership has been established an indy can possibly rely on them as a solid form of income while also keeping a steady base. This is seen in the cases of The Young Turks and DemocracyNow! amongst many others.
- Exist on more than one platform. In this day and age consumers like content that is multi-platform in order to cater to different needs. Using TYT as an example, they have a website, a live stream on YouTube, and a subscriber-only podcast. This ensures viewers have access at all times to their content, which allows viewers to feel a sense of inclusiveness with what’s going on.
These are the main take-aways from both the readings and course discussions about the topic. While I am not currently sure how far my pitch will go in terms of application (as my long-term goal is to launch a start-up of my own one day), but the lessons I’ve learned from this course have definitely taught me much about what to expect of the industry going forward.