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“The Media” v media vs. the media / by Candace Clement

From the first I heard of it, my favorite thing about The Media was their URL: fvckthemedia. Dot com.

Flawless. I mean, maybe I was just not hip enough to get the vowel replacement thing, but to me it was perfectly symbolic of my own feelings about the Media (and this time I mean the Media in the grander sense and not in the website sense). “Fuck” by itself was too aggressive, or defeated, or direct. “Fvck” was something else all together – sly and playful. An in-joke. Sarcastically earnest.

I spend most of my waking hours with media (this time I mean all media, so lowercase “m,” please). Because I love it and can never get enough.

Give me music and magazines. Give me alt-weeklies and lengthy polemics on Tumblr. Give me low-power radio, zines, and binge-watching TV show marathons. Please don’t ever stop: Rookie, NPR, The Cool TV, WTF with Marc Maron.

So I could never abide a straight up “fuck” the media. But “fvck” the media, yes – this works.

Because for all my love of media, I have an entirely different feeling about The media. The media being that thing that is larger than all of us and encompasses the whole world of radio, television, magazines, newspapers and movies. It’s a tangled mess that’s everywhere, staring at us on billboards stretched over highways and from inside our phones. And taken as a system, it is one that fails us far more than it succeeds.

I’m talking about all the stereotypes and the racist sexist

shit talk. The sheer imbalance of power when you look at who is in control. The ongoing push towards corporate control and profits over all the interests of the people. The bland and the safe, as determined by those in power.

Actually, I take it back. Fuck that thing. No “v” necessary.

+ + +

You want to control a group of people? Take away their ability to communicate.

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

This is why you see governments shutting down the Internet and the cell networks in totalitarian regimes at the first sign of revolt.

There are a lot of problems with the world we inherited from the generations that proceeded us. Thinking about them can be paralyzing. Where do you start? How do you make any dent in these massive issues? It’s enough to drive an empathic person far from political engagement.

But our ability to communicate about these things is what creates change. The revolution may not be televised, but without that ability to connect it would

never come at all.

As a young, politically activated person, I believed that everyone should have access to the tools needed to communicate. All people should be able to create art, tell stories, come together, debate problems and work towards solutions. I wanted to stop the WTO and find something beyond the homogenized culture that raised me in the suburbs.

I got involved in media activism in 2005 when I helped build a community radio station in western MA with the support of people from all around the country. While I had showed up to the weekly meetings with the hopes of getting a slot on the schedule for a music program, I was quickly brought into every aspect of the station’s operations. I learned how to solder wires, serve on a board of directors and train others to host shows and produce PSAs. It was here that I was first truly exposed to the history of independent radio in the U.S. and the broader media reform movement. The following year I started working with Free Press – a national, non-profit organization that fights for our rights to connect and communicate. And there are a lot of fights to be had.

With every great technological advancement in the media, a cycle repeats. It comes on the scene and we believe again and again that it will be a tool for the people. But each time, the powerful few work their magic to regain control. It’s a system that creates gatekeepers: one company, one person, one voice has the microphone and broadcast tower.

From radio to television to cable TV, the promise of a . . .

On turning one / by Liz Pelly and
Faye Orlove

A year ago we launched The Media. I remember getting off work a little before midnight and realizing I had just enough time to bike over to Liz’s house so we could press “upload” together. We were drinking hard cider and taking pictures of each other for future history books, all while whispering so as to not wake up Noah and Emily. A few minutes after midnight, we uploaded the site to our server like Matt showed us. We looked at each other and laughed, 50% due to exhaustion and 50% due to OMG WUT DID WE JUST DO. Within a few hours, we’d acquired about a thousand followers on Twitter and a couple hundred dollars in donations. I was out pedicabbing the next morning when I learned that the site had so many visitors it shut down. I must have told every one of my rides that day about it. It felt so momentous I included that . . .

Interviews with some of our favorite independent publications / by Chris Lee

It’s been one year since The Phoenix closed, eight years since I moved to Boston, and six months since I moved away.

When Liz and Faye first brought up the idea of starting an ad-free alt-weekly, I felt totally present in the process, knowing full-well that it was going to be really difficult and really fun—and knowing, also, that they were capable and weird enough to make The Media real. I was on board, then, not just because I’d trusted their considerable talents, but because I’d trusted our existing friendships, thinking back on bike rides, shared meals, and large, cheap bottles of wine.

Not that much has changed in . . .


The Media Manifesto p.2
"We're on each other's team."

by Andrea Manica
Scroll. Click. Squish.

by Katie Alice Greer
An interview with Philadelphia zine-writer Zu Muzeyyen.

of Allison Crutchfield and Ali Koehler
Super special rendition of "Stand Next to Me."

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