Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Alternative Media (Guest Post)

This is a guest post from Anthony Fox, the former editor of No Agenda News.

I've been seeing some terrible stories about Scientology in the news recently and pretty much every one of them leaves me wondering, "What do the Scientologist's have to say about this?"

The mainstream media quite often leaves me, and many others, with unanswered questions. The alternative media came into existence as an attempt to answer those questions.

As the mainstream media becomes more and more connected to big corporations; promoting the corporate agenda at the expense of the individuals, small businesses and organizations; the alternative media grows in response.

So what is the alternative media?


Alternative media are media (newspapers, radio, television, movies, Internet, etc.) which are alternatives to the business or government-owned mass media. Proponents of alternative media argue that the mainstream media are biased. While sources of alternative media can also be biased (sometimes proudly so), proponents claim that the bias is significantly different than that of the mainstream media, hence these media provide an "alternative" viewpoint. As such,advocacy journalism tends to be a component of many alternative outlets.

Because the term "alternative" has connotations of self-marginalization, some media outlets now prefer the term "independent" over "alternative".
Most, if not all, alternative media does at least some reporting on media bias, as it is the reason alternative media exists.

I saw what I believed was media bias in the reporting on Scientology. So I did a piece on it 'Attacking Scientology' and a follow up 'Attacking Scientology Revisited' where I relate my experiences with the 'Anonymous' group after posting the original piece. I did these articles, not because I'm a member of the Church of Scientology (I'm not) or because I think Scientologists need to be defended. I did them because it was an opportunity to take a shot at the corporate owned media. And if you read the articles, you'll see, I hate bullies.

My name is Anthony Fox and I am the former editor of No Agenda News. I'm a member of the alternative media.

This is what I want:

I want you to find alternative media blogs.

I want you to subscribe to those blogs.

I want you to leave comments on those blogs.

I want you to tell other people about those blogs.

I want you to create links to those blogs on other websites, blogs, and forums.

I say these things, not only because they are true for me, but because they are true for all bloggers. And, bloggers are the foundation of the alternative media today. If you want your story to be reported in the alternative media, bloggers are the key. Scratch their backs and they may scratch yours.

Here's how you can use this:

I want you to find alternative media blogs. - Where do you find alternative media blogs? There are a number of excellent blogs and websites that aggregate the content of other blogs. The majority of the content on No Agenda News, when I was editor, was aggregated. I also had a list, called a blog roll, on the right hand side of the blog which was composed largely of sites that do aggregation. Follow a site that does aggregation and when you see a story that appeals to you, track it back to the authors personal blog.

Find author's that write about things that matter to you and are relevant to the type of stories you want to suggest they look into.

I want you to subscribe to those blogs. - Subscribe to a site that aggregates the kind of stories that interest you and subscribe to the personal blogs of the authors that write those stories. This requires a newsreader. I recommend Google Reader it's the most popular and it's what I use. You'll need to find the RSS feed to the blog you're trying to subscribe to, you may see an icon similar to this RSS Feed Icon or a link that says 'RSS' or 'Atom Posts' or any of dozens of other possibilities. If it's too hard to figure out, move on to the next blog.

I want you to leave comments on those blogs. - If the author has a lot of people commenting you probably will want to find another blog. The author may not moderate their comments, which means they don't read much of them, and you want to stand out as someone who takes a particular interest in their work.

Don't leave comments anonymously. I probably don't need to say that here, huh?

It's important to leave comments that show you read and understood what the author was writing about. This might seem obvious, but apparently, it's not to most people who leave comments. If your comments are relevant to the post it will be noticed.

While you do want to engage the author, you don't want to seem desperate and lonely. If you get into a conversation with the author don't change the topic when that one is exhausted, wait for their next post and discuss that.

Keep in mind your goal is to develop a relationship with the author. Don't twist their arm or spam them.

I want you to tell other people about those blogs. - Tell people about the amazing article you read and let the author know. It wouldn't hurt to set up an account on one of the social bookmarking or social news sites: StumbleUpon, Delicious, Reddit etc. (I'm assuming you're already on Twitter, Facebook, Buzz or something similar. You are, aren't you?)

I want you to create links to those blogs on other websites, blogs, and forums. - Links are a way for people to find the authors blog and they also help the blogs SEO (search engine optimization) which makes the blog more likely to be found by people searching for the content contained in the blog. With this also, let the author know.

Forums are also good places to meet and engage bloggers. No Agenda Forum and Above Top Secret are forums I follow for alternative news, though I am sure there are many others. I suggest following them in your newsreader.
I hope this information is useful and gets used. I really would like to hear what the Scientologists have to say for themselves.

(Grahame's Note: When Anthony left No Agenda News and it became a reviews blog I updated this post to refer to "alternative media blogs" instead of specifically No Agenda. I attempted to alter the content of the post as little as possible so tell me if I didn't achieve that.)


joancasilo said...

The Center for Media Research has released a study by Vertical Response that shows just where many of these ‘Main Street’ players are going with their online dollars. The big winners: e-mail and social media. With only 3.8% of small business folks NOT planning on using e-mail marketing and with social media carrying the perception of being free (which they so rudely discover it is far from free) this should make some in the banner and search crowd a little wary.

ThetaWorks said...


This link to the Forum appears to be down.

Pat R.

Grahame said...

I'll pass it on to Anthony