Mediamouse.org Redesigned

Mediamouse.org has been redesigned. Along with the changes to the actual site, we’re also launching a new advertising and outreach effort.

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Over the past two weeks, Mediamouse.org–Grand Rapids’ first and largest independent news and media website–has been redesigned. While we are continuing to work on the site and make small tweaks here and there, this work is for the most part completed. Over the past eight years, we believe that Mediamouse.org has served an important role in providing news, analysis, and networking for those interested in social change, those looking for an anecdote to the local corporate media, and for progressive and left groups organizing in Grand Rapids and West Michigan.

Some of the recent changes that will help us grow and continue to serve in this capacity include:

Improved Searching – With several years of articles covering a wide variety of events and issues that have happened in Grand Rapids, we have made some changes to make it easier to find old articles.

Improved Interaction – We have added the capacity to rate articles and make comments. We hope that this will help us solicit feedback and become more responsive to the movements that we support. Additionally, we hope that it invites further discussion and interaction between readers.

Email Subscriptions – We are starting a bi-weekly email newsletter and have also implemented a service that allows folks to subscribe to daily email summaries containing all of the articles that have been posted on any given day.

We will be making additional changes in the coming weeks and continuing to refine some of the functionality. However, our primary goal over the next several months is going to be increasing the readership and relevancy of Mediamouse.org. While a lot of folks know about Mediamouse.org–primarily in the context of being a place to find out about protests–we have generally not done any advertising or outreach over the past several years. We’re going to work on this–consider this email a start.

That said, we continue to invite participation from those visiting Mediamouse.org. Submit events, submit articles, suggest stories, or let us know your thoughts on the work we are doing. We appreciate comments, suggestions, criticism, and the opportunity to dialog. While Mediamouse.org is only a website, we believe it is a tool–one of many–that can be used effectively to promote radical social change.

Love and Rage,

– Mediamouse.org

http://www.mediamouse.org

PS – As we move forward, we appreciate any help that folks can offer us in advertising. For some ideas–including posters and links to our profiles on various social networking websites–visit:

http://www.mediamouse.org/contribute/promote.php

PPS – Please pass this announcement along to folks that might be interested. Thanks!

New Media Mouse Events Mailing List for Grand Rapids Social Change Events

Media Mouse has launched a new events mailing list that will promote protests, films, lectures, and other events pertaining to social change in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. The list, building on the old People’s Alliance for Justice and Change mailing list, already has several hundred subscribers.

Media Mouse has developed a new events mailing list in order to better promote events relating to efforts for social change in Grand Rapids. The mailing list will be sent out once per week (Sunday nights) and will feature events listed in Media Mouse’s revamped online events list. The restructured online events listing now features the capacity to list cost contact people for events, websites for additional information, and movie links for trailers. Moreover, the mailing list is incorporating the more than 500 subscribers to the People’s Alliance for Justice and Change weekly email update. That list, built largely from people who signed up at various protests and teach-ins related to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, has not been well publicized over the last two years and its value as a means of informing people has consequently been limited. Similarly, with the People’s Alliance for Justice and Change being inactive since 2003, it made sense to integrate that list with the Media Mouse list, which will allow people to subscribe via the web and offers organizers a valuable means of promoting their events to both those on the email list as well as Media Mouse’s readership of several thousand visitors each month.

To sign up for the list, use the enter your email address below and click the “submit” button:

Commentary: Sins of Omission: How Journalism Kisses Corporate Booty

Media Mouse has posted Jeff Smith’s latest column for Recoil Magazine. This month Jeff examines how contemporary journalism fairs to challenge those in power:

Several years ago I was at a meeting where GR Press editor Mike Lloyd was the guest speaker. He said something that has stuck with me for a long time, “the mission of the Press is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.” Now I ask you, when does the GR Press take rich people to task? Yeah, sure there are examples when rich people get caught in “scandalous” behavior, but it is pretty rare to see a serious critique of people in power.

Read More: Sins of Omission: How Journalism Kisses Corporate Booty

Book Reviews: Tragedy & Farce: How the American Media Sells Wars, Spins Elections, and Destroy Democracy and Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World

New reviews of John Nichols’ and Robert McChesney’s Tragedy & Farce: How the American Media Sells Wars, Spins Elections, and Destroy Democracy and Noam Chomsky’s Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World have been posted in the book review section of the site.

Commentary: Free Speech isn’t Free: Reflections on the First Amendment in the age of Media Barons

Jeff Smith’s latest column for Recoil, “Free Speech isn’t Free: Reflections on the First Amendment in the age of Media Barons” has been posted in the commentary section of the site.

An excerpt from his column:

Now we are in the 21st century with all this technology, the internet, chat rooms, desk top publishing, etc…so why even discuss free speech? Isn’t that a given? Several decades ago media scholar A. J. Liebling told us “freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.” Now, Liebling was writing in an era when newspaper barons with names like Hearst and Luce ruled the land, but today the media landscape is a bit different. Not only is there more consolidation of media ownership, but media ownership has consolidated across medium lines. News and entertainment ownership has merged as well as movie companies joining forces with internet conglomerates. So, while it is true that you can stand on the street corner and say pretty much whatever you want, the challenge of the 1st Amendment today is who is going to hear you?

Read more from “Free Speech isn’t Free: Reflections on the First Amendment in the age of Media Barons”

Reviews: Critical Mass: Bicycling’s Defiant Celebration and The War Within: America’s Battle over Vietnam

Reviews of Critical Mass: Bicycling’s Defiant Celebration and The War Within: America’s Battle over Vietnam have been posted in the book reviews section of the site. While both titles are older than the books we typically review, they both offer valuable organizing ideas that could be used in Grand Rapids, and consequently, are worth reading.

Demonstration Tomorrow Outside Ehlers’ Office

An organizer from the Alaska Coaliton has issued a call for a demonstration against a budget reconciliation bill that may open the Artic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling:

Come out to a demonstration at the Federal Building tomorrow at 11:30 to save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Medicare/Medicaid, and college tuition assistance. The upcoming budget reconciliation threatens to open the Refuge and make drastic cuts to many crucial social programs. We must not let it pass!

Representative Ehlers constitutes a crucial vote against the upcoming reconciliation bill, and we must let him know that his constituents care! We just need to balance out the extreme pressure he is under from the administration and House leadership so he can do the right thing!

Tomorrow, we will spend about an hour outside the Federal Building raising visibility and talking with people. Then, we’ll head into his office to drop off a stack of postcards and letters! It’s going to make a huge impression on the staff.

Those who cannot attend the demonstration can send a letter to their Senators and Representative using an online form from the Wilderness Society.

WZZM 13 Announces KKK Rally

In a news report Wednesday night, WZZM 13 announced an April rally by the Ku Klux Klan that will be held on the capitol steps in Lansing. The short 91-word report had little news value and essentially functioned as an advertisement for the Klan and a way of dismissing anti-Klan demonstrators by portraying them as militants that fought with police in 1994 and cost the city of Lansing $200,000 security costs to protect the Klan. The article did not mention the date of the rally, and while there is no need to give the Klan space to promote its event, it shows the overall failure of WZZM 13 to provide adequate reporting on the issue.

While WZZM 13 did not do a substantive story on the rally, the story could have been framed in a way that would have contributed to residents’ understanding of racism in the Michigan area. For example, WZZM could have made connections between the Klan rally and recent activity by other white supremacist groups, such as the National Alliance (1, 2) and the National Socialist Movement, both of which have distributed racist flyers in the Grand Rapids area in the past few years. Moreover, while protestors at the 1994 KKK rally were portrayed in a negative light, the WZZM 13 story could have mentioned that the KKK is almost always protested and frequently disrupted when it holds rallies in Michigan despite brutal attacks by police protecting the Klan. Additionally the WZZM 13 story could have mentioned that while groups such as the KKK and other white supremacist groups have a particularly visible form of racism, institutional racism affects far more people.