Rebuilding Independent Media for Democracy

CMC Newsletter for March 20, 2016

We just sent out our first newsletter! Did you miss it? Well, no worries, we’re reposting it here! But don’t miss out on everything that’s going on at the Citizen Media Center. Subscribe to our mailing list RIGHT HERE!

News for March 20, 2016

We Citizen Media Center mailing list! We’ve got a fairly ambitious agenda for our first year, which makes me incredibly excited and nervous at the same time. You see, the Citizen Media Center has been a long time in the making and the stakes are pretty high.

Traditional journalism – especially hard-nosed, investigative journalism – has been decimated by the closures of newsrooms, the challenges posed by the Internet, and the consolidation of media outlets in the hands of a few corporations. While the rise of new media, blogs, and citizen media activists has helped fill the gap, the new models of journalism are not sustainable. Some of today’s most gifted and fearless reporters and writers are barely making it materially from paycheck to paycheck. Just check out the state of the profession as told by Dale Maharidge in a recent issue of The Nation. We agree with Maharidge that “it’s clear that the loss of a combined several hundred thousand years of experience from newsrooms across the country is hurting American democracy.”


Perhaps even worse for American democracy is that aspiring young journalists are entering a profession facing the prospect of years of free-lance work, squeezing in their journalism between two or three jobs. Not only are we losing veteran talent and experience, we are risking the loss of the next generation of truth-tellers, muckrakers, and storytellers. This is especially true on the local and regional level.

The Citizen Media Center is attempting to dive in head-first to create sustainable models of independent journalism and public-interest storytelling. We want to do this by working with individuals and community organizations who know that democracy and social justice require a fiercely independent and healthy media. As I said, we have ambitious goals. It can be daunting at times, but we keep on reminding ourselves: If not now, when? If not us, who?

These next couple of months will be crucial for the CMC and we want to call on you to publicize the Citizen Media Center through social media and help us raise enough funds in our first year keep us sustainable. We don’t have billionaire backers, but we can make a huge difference by digging in and getting to work.

You can help support our work right now by making a tax-deductible donation to the Citizen Media Center RIGHT HERE. With the help of our fiscal sponsors at Humanitarian Social Innovations, we will be able to raise some significant resources in order to build on the programming we already have planned for 2016. Check out some examples of what we’re up to below!


Top Projects

  • In MARCH we began supporting a new media radio project that hopes to serve as a model for delivering homegrown citizen media to a broad audience.
  • We will provide at least three “Election 2016” fellowships to independent, citizen journalists who want to plan on covering this election season from perspectives underrepresented in traditional media. DETAILS.
  • We are compiling a list of Pennsylvania-based citizen media blogs and independent media projects to include in the first of its kind Citizen Media Wire to help aggregate the best content from around the Commonwealth. DETAILS.

Major Fundraising Goals

We have some ambitious goals for 2016. We hope to raise at least $10,000 by this summer so that we can expand our operations and programming. Our fundraiser will help us:

  • Open our Citizen Media Center office space in downtown Kutztown, PA. Our Citizen Media Center space will serve as our main office, our new media training lab, and a citizen media gallery for art shows, workshops, and community events.
  • Provide PAID INTERNSHIPS for students looking to get hands on experience in independent citizen media.
  • Hold our first Summer Summit to gather with key community-based organizations to help plan our programming for 2017.


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