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LOCAL News :: Education : Indymedia : Media

How to use this site: Indymedia workshop held in Fredericksburg

Tonight, at 9pm, a group of people gathered at the University of Mary Washington to discuss the global independent media movement in general as well as how the Richmond Indymedia site in particular works. This article was written live during that workshop.
Participants viewed the two main publishing forms on the Richmond Indymedia site. One for links to articles posted online by the commercial press:


...and one for original articles and announcements:


Sylvia came to the meeting because she is interested in alternative forms of media. She has had no prior experience of the site.

Jacob said he finds the site interesting and has been aware of the site for about five years. He wants to be more involved.

Phillipe has written for the site before, a book review on the IWW last September. Normally uses the DC indymedia site, but thinks he should learn to use the Richmond site more now that he lives deep in the heart of the South.

Manda, Jackie, and James, three facilitated (all three are RVA IMC Editorial Collective members). Manda has been writing for the site and recently joined the collective. She has been promoting use of the site locally. She's interested in seeing the site get more use by people outside Richmond. Jackie is part of the editorial collective, but she does not write for the site. Instead she wants to focus on community outreach. James is typing this article.

The workshop focused on gathering and answering questions from attendees. Suggested topics for discussion included: how to post articles, ideas for topics, critiques of Indymedia, how articles become features in the center column, the history of indymedia in general.

Manda described the DIY activism origins of the Indymedia movement and how the first site arose as part of planning for the 1999 Seattle WTO Protests. That site became a catalyst for others all around the world after the WTO protests got sustained, extended, and very distorted coverage in the corporate media. The Seattle site got 1.5 million hits or more in the days after police attacked protestors. The excitement, outrage, and sense of possibility generated in Seattle helped launch a global movement. There are now 149 sites in 45 countries. The Richmond site was established in October 2000.

Jackie described criticisms of the Indymedia movement that have emerged in the years since the WTO protests. The biggest complaint has been that the audience is too narrow, a self-selected group segregated from the general populace by the digital divide. Another criticism is that the site is too focused on lefty perspectives. "But crazy rightwing people do show up on the site... they just have nothing to say but kill kill kill," Jackie said.

What is needed, Jackie said, is more investigative reporting and informed commentary. She also told the room that there is too much cut-n-paste material from the corporate media.

Jacob emphasized the fact that the sites have a great deal of "protest" reporting and that that might make it difficult for some readers to become writers, feeling that the site is "not for me."

Participants were asked what sort of stories the site should cover. Suggestions were more writing about the living wage campaign at UMW, especially talking with workers here. Another suggestion was the Rappahannock Domestic Violence Center, the local homeless shelter, and local independent shop-keepers. Reviews of films... concerts...

The room agreed to do another workshop early next year, tentatively Jan 25, 2006 @ 9pm in Monroe Hall at the University.

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