Thursday, 11 March 2010

Unions invest in news websites

On 15 March, a news website called Voice of Orange County will be launched, funded partly by a 140,000 dollar contribution from a large union. The initiative follows the example of Progress Illinois and the Vancouver-based, award winning website The Tyee, Hélène Schilders reports in an article in De Nieuwe Reporter. Unions have decided to invest in online media because they think mainstream media are not paying sufficient attention to issues such as conditions of employment, the environment and immigration.
“The union movement wants a platform for those debates because it understands that there will be no social change as long as the media are owned by one corporation, as in the Vancouver region,” David Beers of The Tyee explained.
According to Beers, in the future, more media will be funded by environmental organisations, scientific institutes and conservative businessmen. While this may compromise journalistic independence, Beers argues this will be an improvement compared to the current situation, with large corporations controlling the media.
Schilders describes the new union media as a reincarnation of the situation in America at the late 19th and early 20th Century. At the time, thousands of union newspapers were being published, in a large number of languages.

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