Thursday, April 25, 2013

If you value independent journalism

To the left is a donation button linked to PayPal Secure Payments. An explanation of why
you're asked to use it follows. Note: any amounts not expended directly in furthering this
project will be returned to contributors July 31, pro rata.

A number of bloggers plan a blog aggregation website featuring regular commentary about many issues important to British Columbia. Writers will maintain independent sites but there will be a single internet entry for readers to review abstracts, then make a choice to be linked, or not, to originating blogs for the complete articles.

In addition, original and cooperative publishing will occur as the effort evolves. We will promote vigorous exchanges but feature wise, witty and mannerly discussions. At least, most of the time.

We also intend to provide research assistance and training resources to encourage and improve independent journalism. Another goal is to help beginners start in the world of blogging.

To achieve this goal and ensure the website remains free of advertising or commercial sponsors, we must address start-up costs that include programming and internet hosting and communication services. That’s how readers can help. A number have already contributed but without further assistance, we cannot develop a product as fine as it can be.

Additionally, if you can volunteer technical or professional services to assist in the start up, send me an email and explain what those could be. We'll be looking for a graphic artists, web designers and a lawyer with media experience.

Many bloggers receive no revenues from published work and independence is reflected in their writing. We think a broad range of opinions deserve to be heard and we want to bring you the best.

Recommend this post


  1. Hmm... the blogosphere rises, while the Vancouver Sun sinks. I wonder if there's a connection?

  2. While this may seem a worthwhile idea, your private blogger collective is self-selective and that carries an inherent bias. You and some of your pal bloggers have refused to review certain stories, seemingly because you have an ideology and/or bias -- no reason given. That's just what the mainstream media does. So, you'll need to assure some of us that you're not just another collection of left-leaning anti-Liberal, pro-NDP types first before I'd consider sending you money. I'm not a right-winger, but allegiance to any political party these days gives me a case of the hives. I just don't see you being anything more than the opposite of the Vancouver Sun, just a miniature version, like The Tyee. And like The Tyee, your political bias shows too much, even though you Norm do an excellent job of covering broader issues. Just my two cents' worth.

    1. First, there are a number of reasons why I might not cover certain stories. It may not interest me or I might not be able to find trustworthy sources. Over time, I've put effort into stories, even had them partly written, but been stymied by conflicting or incomplete information. However, I offer full refunds at my Northern Insight blog if you are unsatisfied. Frankly, writers choose what to write, readers choose what to read.

      The aggregation website is different. Some great independent writers have been asked to volunteer their time and the response has been wonderful. Names will be revealed as we proceed. The aim is to create a forum for nearly any writer to find an audience, regardless of subject matter (it could be humour, travel, arts, etc.) or where political contributors sit on the left to right spectrum. I use the L/R terms even though they're not particularly valid descriptors.

      Is it left-wing or right-wing to want government to operate with unwavering ethics and maximum transparency? If you want efficient administrators using best practices free of self-interest, which side of the spectrum does that place you?

      If you believe the able bodied should be self-sufficient but the incapacitated should be protected by reasonable social programs; lefty or righty? I believe libertarians and statists should be able to debate respectfully about their ideals.

      The aggregator would work best by being a broad entry point for readers looking to find ideas of all sorts to examine. But remember, it would be a series of portals to independent sites; readers would choose to go through doors or not.

      However, I will not be party to a site that promotes would-be demagogues ranting outrageously. So, there will be a set of standards developed by experienced, probably retired, journalists. We want to encourage and promote good writing and debate; not promote one point of view.

      An important element will be training offered to new bloggers. One key skill is the ability to research and observe, to find documents and verification, to apply logic. Then there are the writing skills; some are innate, some are learned. This is where experienced bloggers can be very helpful to novices.

      In the end though, your support is purely voluntary. One person told me today that he didn't have technical skills to contribute to get this operating so instead, he'd contribute ideas from a reader's point of view and make a modest financial payment.

  3. Count me in (Check your PayPal account)!

  4. This excellent site, and many others, is not about 'right' and "left' articulates 'right' and 'wrong'.
    These blogs collect data and commentary from a wide group of sources, and draw the threads together in a powerful and non-partsan way.
    Nothing could be more important than revealing the truth, and exposing blatant propoganda, regardless of the political affiliation.
    I sincerely hope that we see a growing number of independent journalists, politicians and businesses in the coming months/years.
    Contributing what we can to efforts like this make the job of holding our elected officials and corporate pirates accountable so much easier.
    Thank you Norm! Much appreciated.

    1. Sincere thanks. It is apparent that traditional media is growing ever more incapable of objective analysis of important issues. Instead, we get fluff.

      Today, Vancouver Sun publishes an extended piece about Christy Clark that is little more than a friendly puff piece, that could have been written by one of her sycophantic followers rather than a professional journalist. The reporter is capable of more but one wonders if he is allowed to do more.

      It's going to get worse too. Four corporate media groups, Shaw/Global/Corus/Cancom, Rogers, Quebecor/Sun/TVA/Videotron/Canoe and BCE/Bell divide more than $50 billions of revenues each year. They achieved their economic power mostly within government regulated environments. They effectively hold shared monopolies that will divide a trillion dollars over 20 years.

      By enforcing competition laws, the federal government could change the landscape to the great benefit of consumers. But they won't because the relationship between governments and large business groups is symbiotic. Advantages flow in both directions.

      Accordingly, citizens must seek new methods of information exchange. Don't expect the Shaws, Rogers or Peladeaus, or their minions and wannabes, to do any serious reporting on the public interest.

      What we're talking about here would be like a thimbleful beside an ocean of misinformation.

      But, it might be the only course we have to create a forum for the open exchange of opinion and information.

  5. "I had also come to some conclusions about my profession. I had a strong distaste for the myths that most journalists seemed to believe about their importance. I had found journalists motivated more by vanity than by a lust for public service, and they tended to be childishly susceptible to flattery from men of power. So far as they believed they were free to write what they wanted, and that they were the first line among defenders of freedom of expression, I thought they were suffering from a massive occupational delusion. I had concluded that freedom lies only with the rich men who own the media, who hire sycophants to do their bidding.
    The idea of journalists being better informed than your average citizen is a big part of the myth. A daily newspaper, written by these supposedly super-informed people, gives at best a sketchy view of what is really happening; and that view is fatally deformed by the interests of the media owners, and by the intimate relationship that journalists maintain with men of power. In addition, I knew that journalists do not have the influence they pretend to have. The media at large do have a huge influence in setting the political and social agenda, and they form one of the main barriers to improvements in the quality of human life. But individual workers within the media have limited influence on anything, in my experience. My opinion of the profession I practiced had become, then, slightly anarchistic."

    1. Forgot to include a link to his progressive provocative blog, which may just be one of the oldest continuing examples of blogging (bitchin' no punches pulled since 1996!):



This is an archive only of items published before April 22, 2016. These and newer articles are available at:

If you read an article at this blogger site, you can comment on it at the new site.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.