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The Backporch Revolutionary
The Daily Spin
The Fifth Estate
Citizens for Media Literacy
The Journal Of Common Sense
| NC WARN
NCOSH Health & Safety News
Northern Hemisphere Live
Youth Voice Radio
The Trumpet of Conscience
You care about a fair economy, a humanly decent culture, a healthy ecology, and a just society.
You may feel left out when you pick up an ordinary newspaper, or listen to or watch the news on radio or TV, because those sources don't really support those cares.
But this month we have a special section devoted to North Carolina's grassroots-based, politically progressive media - all of whom care about those goals above.
Inside, they'll tell you what they do and why, and - something only the grassroots media can really do - they'll tell you how to get involved.
Since 1986, the PESTicide EDucation project has worked to promote needed controls on toxic pesticides to protect public health and the environment through watchdogging of public officials, advocacy of better rules and laws, and promotion of safer alternatives. It is the major activity of the non-profit public interest environmental group the Agricultural Resources Center. ARC/PESTed is based in the Triangle, with offices in Carrboro and Raleigh; it works with rural and urban individuals and communities throughout the state. An independent organization with our own volunteer board of directors, we are members of the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides and the national grassroots network Beyond Pesticides.
ARC has accomplished a great deal, bringing pesticide issues to the fore in the face of a massive pesticide manufacturer and user campaign to confuse the public, promote toxic products as safe, and maintain a façade rather than the reality of serious regulatory oversight. We publish PESTed NEWS and brochures, fact sheets and commentaries to inform people of issues and alternatives.
We at ARC/PESTed know that with a little information, individuals can substantially reduce their own exposures to toxic pesticides, and they can ask the questions and start the process which reduces them for others in their homes, schools, work places and parks. We look forward to better networking with The Prism.
Erick Umstead, Research Director
Allen Spalt, Director
The Backporch Revolutionary
The Backporch Revolutionary is an informal, semi-literate journal with a critical eye on politics and the media from a local perspective.
There is no explicit mission to the magazine, other than to provide a forum for some of the ideas we'd like to see in print, and a place where more in-depth critical theory would not be out of place with discussions of culture, historicism, and unapologetic satire.
As the name implies, there is a certain "armchair radical" tone to the 'zine. We are currently beginning work on our sophomore issue, to be printed in early spring. Submissions are welcomed.
Education of the public - for example through our newsletter - is our organization's major task because of the restrictive nature of forces which circumscribe the media of the U.S. The mainstream media engages in self-delusion, seemingly believing that a 'free' press is also an 'open' press. The information which reaches readers in this country passes through a filter which is controlled by individuals who decide for "us," the public, exactly what is to be that portion of world events which will make the news.
Our newsletter is part of that struggle to educate for justice: we strive to have high quality analysis and summaries of events affecting Central America in its pages, rather than just meeting reminders.
The Carolina Interfaith Task Force on Central America (CITCA) was founded in April, 1982, as a response to the suffering of the poor and disenfranchised people of Central America; throughout these 15 years, CITCA has been at the forefront of the struggle for equity and peace in that region. From the beginning it was CITCA's policy to "be there," to know first hand how life is being lived by the poor and oppressed.
Neither CITCA nor WFP are political action agencies, rather we work for justice, equity, and peace through eductation: mutual education of those who support us, of others who will listen, and of those officials in Washington who represent us. Our direct education is carried out not only through newsletters but through conferences, retreats, seminars, and guided tours to El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Cuba, Haiti, Over 300 North Carolinians have visited one or more of these nations under the sponsorship of CITCA or WFP, and the drumbeat continues.
To break through the walls which have been constructed to curtail free and open distribution of news and opinion we need organizations like CITCA, Witness for Peace, and The Prism. We are in it together; we would not work so hard if we did not believe that our future depends on what we are doing! (-Joe W. Straley, Facilitator of Chapel Hill/Carrboro CITCA.)
The Daily Spin
News of all kinds saturates the World Wide Web. You can get sports scores from ESPN, hop over to the Washington Post for some mainstream news, or read about the latest computer industry news at Techweb. There are plenty of alternative news sites - the Center for Defense Information, the Institute for Global Communications and thousands of others.
The Daily Spin attempts to distill some of the Web's vast supply of information into a usable format. Every weekday it presents a few brief news items, often hyperlinking to additional information. Every 'issue' of The Daily Spin is stored in an online database, allowing readers to search for additional information on a specific topic, or to read the news from any date since the first publication.
The site began life last summer as a daily commentary on election news - it was first published on July 22, Bob Dole's birthday. It takes a cynical look at American politics, focusing on governmental folly and corruption, and uniquely American examples of injustice. Recently it has taken a more global view, with coverage of international labor and environmental issues.
Perhaps you've heard of "intelligent agents," computer programs created to filter the information you desire from the noise of the Internet? The Daily Spin, though human operated, fits that description well.
The Fifth Estate
For years, the press has been labeled as "the fourth estate," a term referring to its role as gatekeeper of information and watchdog of political powerbrokers. And for years, the traditional press did a more or less admirable job maintaining its position as the public's check on the balance of power in a democratic system. But times have changed, as we have seen here in the Triangle. Locally owned, tenacious and independent presses are being absorbed by a national media oligarchy which too often is more interested in profits than in providing an open forum for community concerns.
In response to these trends we created our online publication, The Fifth Estate. A few months ago a group of UNC students saw too many ideas, concerns and potential solutions to many of our community's ills being ignored by print and broadcast media. We recognized the truth in the statement that the power of the press belongs to those who own one.
Our intention is to provide a reason for everyone in our community to get online and then work with educational and civic activist groups such as RTPNet to ensure public access to the vast amount of empowering information which can be found online. Being online has allowed us to reach thousands of readers at a fraction of the cost we would bear if we were to print on dead trees instead of electrons.
Our staff writes original articles, and we publish every Wednesday. We don't try to hide behind a facade of bylines and the guise of objectivity. We are not Emerson's "transparent eyeball," but human beings who are affected by what we see and in turn hope to affect the world around us.
On our site anyone can become a publisher. In newspapers - be they main stream or counterculture - there is simply not enough room to print every letter to the editor that is received. In the ethereal world of 5e, space is not an issue. Anyone with Web access can take part in the exchange of ideas on our site. Ridiculous and intelligent notions share the same space in our forum, and we'd have it no other way.
Visit our media co-op sometime and let our readers know what's on your mind.
Citizens for Media Literacy
Citizens for Media Literacy is a non-profit, public-interest organization, based in Asheville, NC, linking media literacy with the concepts and practices of citizenship.
Our activities include lobbying for media literacy in the schools and in the home, promoting citizens' responsibility for free speech rights, providing assistance to citizen activists and journalists on issues related to the Freedom of Information Act and Open Records Laws, encouraging public access to the media environment especially via Cable TV, and publishing media analysis and criticism.
CML sponsors conferences and symposia and publishes a newsletter entitled The New Citizen.
[The foregoing information was adapted from Citizens for Media Literacy's internet home page, located via the Mountain Area Information Network at the URL http://www.main.nc.us. According to the CML web page, The New Citizen was last produced in 1995.]
The Orange County Greens is an affiliate of The Greens/Green Party USA, and is committed to a broad-ranging strategy toward political and social change. Green politics is organized around the principles of social justice, grassroots democracy, ecology, and non-violence.
As most Prism readers are aware, the Orange County Greens are a very active political organization in Orange County. We do a lot of work around local elections, electing Greens to office and providing support to progressive candidates. We work on a wide range of local issues including economics, transportation, energy, housing, and solid waste. We also work on some state-wide issues and are Orange County's NCAD (North Carolina Alliance for Democracy) affiliate, working for campaign finance and ballot access reform. Occasionally, we work on national issues such as NAFTA/GATT, anti-militarism, and energy policy.
Our newsletter is published monthly as a service to our members. It gives updates on the various issues that the Greens are working on. It also provides background on Greens endorsements. We try to inform our members of upcoming events that will be of interest.
This month, Mark Marcoplos is taking over production of the Greens newsletter. Mark plans to expand the newsletter giving more background on the important issues with which the Greens are engaged. Anyone interested in receiving a sample copy or getting on the mailing list can contact Mark at 933-5562 or firstname.lastname@example.org (be sure to leave your mailing address).
We also plan to have the newsletter available at our website which should be ready by the time you read this.
Greensboro's a city big enough to encourage a million-dollar dream but tight enough to keep you hustling for every last nickel and dime of it. That's the story of the Greensboro Gazette big agenda, small pockets. In a town where anyone to the left of Bill Clinton is considered to be a card-carrying member of the lunatic fringe, the Gazette stuck out like Rush Limbaugh bumper sticker at a N.O.W. rally.
The big mystery: how did a working-class gumshoe like myself (Daniel Bayer) get mixed up with agit-prop publisher Andy Rogers and femme-fatale Bridget Everett? (And no, they didn't lure me in with cocaine and hookers - they couldn't have afforded them anyway.) It's simple, really. I saw a need, and, selflessly disregarding my own personal safety, sat on my ass - until Tim Hopkins 'volunteered' me to fill that need. Not bad for a guy whose last assignment was reviewing a K-Tel album for his high school newspaper. ("Metal Maniacs, Vol. 2," as I recall.)
Supersleuths Scott Trent and Chris Hammond helped blow the lid off some of the biggest cases in the 'boro: the K-Mart Workers' Struggle; the Kwame Cannon conspiracy (a nonviolent burglar sentenced to life in prison), and Jefferson Pilot corporation's Land Use Legal Limbo.
Me? I was the bag man, running around trying to drum up the dough to keep the operation in the black and the papers on the street. But the news and fishwrap business is a dog-eat-dog racket, and baby, we were a chihuahua sandwich. Pretty soon, after about one year, the only paper we had left was the cancellation slip for our post office box, and so it was exit, stage left, for the Greensboro Gazette.
[And so ends, friends, this thrilling chapter of the Greensboro Gazette's tawdry tales. But does the story end? Tune in to next month's Prism, and find out. - Ed.]
The Journal Of Common Sense
The Journal of Common Sense is a bi-monthly publication that provides a different perspective on current state policy issues - welfare reform, worker safety issues, hog farm regulations, and gay and lesbian rights - and expose issues that have been ignored by policy makers and the media, such as the dramatic lack of funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in the state. It features in-depth articles written by progressive activists and citizens and the latest inside information about how state government works.
The Common Sense Foundation is dedicated to expanding the public policy debate in North Carolina to include voices and views of those traditionally locked out of that debategays and lesbians, low-wage workers, the poor, and people of color. Common Sense fights to change that debate both in the Journal, in our regular columns in more than 50 newspapers statewide, and offering a progressive perspective through our radio commentary and growing presence in print and broadcast news, and through directly training activists to represent their concerns to the government and the media. We also publish the Left Legislative Update, a weekly review of NC government activities, available for $75/yr ($50 for Common Sense members).
Contact our office at (919) 821-9270, write us at P.O. Box 10808, Raleigh, NC 27605, or e-mail us at email@example.com.
Justice Speaks is the monthly newspaper of the community-based workers' organization, Black Workers for Justice. It seeks to be Black workers' voice and outlet for issues and struggles affecting workers in general, Black workers in particular, and the Black Freedom Movement.
There is a regular column, "And Ain't I A Woman?" sponsored by BWFJ's Women's Commission. Other sections include "Trade Union & Shop Floor Struggles," "Black Political Power," "On the Liberation Front" (the international section) and "Our Way of Life" (culture), and each section is meant to help workers and oppressed peoples organize against their oppression and exploitation.
This paper does not reflect a corporate philosophy.
Reach us at (919) 977-8162, or fax us at (919) 446-1274. Subscriptions are $10/year for individuals, $15 for institutions.
In 1996, the U.S. media were forced to begin to address the burgeoning body of scientific evidence linking human health damage to toxic and radioactive poisons which have been spewed into all corners of the earth's biosphere during the past 50 years. But polluting industry is retaliating aggressively through their public relations/media machines, using junk science and well-paid 'consultitutes' (such as ABC's John Stossel) to muddy an ever crystallizing issue - which is that to the wonders of technological advances there is an ominous side effect which has been poorly attended to: chemical soups of extremely potent human-made compounds are not only in our air and water. They are also bio-concentrating in the food chain and, thus, in the bodies of the general population worldwide, where they can cause a wide range of illnesses even in miniscule doses.
Corporate polluters largely control the debate, thwarting the democratic process which depends on an accurately and sufficiently informed populace. But NC WARN fully believes in participatory democracy, and that by informing North Carolina residents with our newsletter and other materials, we can help create open public discussion on issues of pollution and health. The result is greater public involvement which will gradually lead to the society making decisions which insist that industry employ the available and viable pollution prevention technologies which will be protective of our health - and which are good for jobs and the economy.
NCOSH Health & Safety News
The North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Project (NCOSH) publishes The NCOSH Health & Safety News each quarter. The newsletter focuses on activities related to workplace safety around the state and country, with particular emphasis on legislative developments. It's aimed at the two principal groups of NCOSH members: (1) health and safety advocates and professionals, and (2) union officers and members and other workers who are addressing safety issues on the shop floor.
The newsletter is the primary form of communication from NCOSH to its members and contributors, and it is used to reinforce any contacts made by NCOSH to individuals who are identified as potential activists for worker rights and safety.
To ask about our newsletter or about joining NCOSH, call (919) 286-9249.
Northern Hemisphere Live
Tune in to WXYC (89.3) FM early on a Sunday evening and you may catch Northern Hemisphere Live, a live call-in talk show that covers the ground between literature and conspiracy, morality and government. NHL has a staff of about a dozen students (mostly) and a few ex-students who labor every week to air the live, call-in talk show on WXYC. The station is also run by students and volunteers, broadcasting from a small studio in the student union and a transmitter atop a water tower on south campus. Before last August, NHL was hosted by two volunteer DJs at WXYC, Bill Burton and Todd Morman. Bill, Todd, and anyone who dialed 962-8989 to reach the studio, had sprawling conversations about evolution, government, morality and anything else people wanted to talk about. NHL now is a different beast entirely; it has become more issue oriented, with entire shows having been dedicated to exploring UNC's intellectual climate, or Cuban politics and culture, or the writings of Alice Walker. Community issues and politics are also a big part of NHL.
If you are interested in appearing on NHL, or if you have a topic you'd like the show to cover, contact Ethan at 962-7768.
Preparation X is a quasi-quarterly newsprinted 'zine, written mostly for the Triangle area (and the Triad), but our topics are applicable to the whole country. We tend to focus on cultural/media/social issues that are related to our age group (young adult to high school). We don't like pandering to the crowd or pigeonholing ("you Gen-Xers") them. We print up about 5000 copies and give them away for free.
We've been at this for a little more than a year. We have a constant stable of two or three writers (which we are trying to increase) and two editors.
Prep X differs from commercially available papers and magazines in our subject matter. Our writers are personally involved in their articles, giving their personal take on a subject. We usually critique the media in some form or another, or we could write about common life experiences (pre-teen sex stories, for example). We don't write about things from press releases like 98% of commercial magazines do. Neither do we write about bands and new movies and new filmmakers. Too many other magazines already do, so we leave that to them.
We try and stimulate thought - uncovering the hidden machinery that drives society and laughing at its shoddy craftsmanship.
If we are to "change the world for the better," we'll definitely have to change our way of thinking. However, "for the better" means many different things to many different people. Even my co-editor Todd Morman and I don't share the same views.
Youth Voice Radio
Media - television, radio, and print - is for the most part, adult-created but youth-targeted. Youth Voice Radio inverts this trend of young people as passive recipients of information and transforms the role of youth to that of creators and active transmitters. We use radio as a means to challenge mainstream media by creating a space for the stories and voices of young people.
Based out of the old WDNC & WDCG studios in downtown Durham, Youth Voice Radio is a non-profit digital production studio and leadership development program which aims to support and promote young people's ideas, actions, and involvement in their communities using live radio shows and pre-produced pieces as a means of showing/telling the many ways that young people are strengths in their communities.
Commentary, public service announcements, weekly news reports, and interviews create forums through which young people's thoughts can not only be expressed, but heard by a larger audience. Our show can be heard every week on WXDU, 88.7 & 103.5 Saturdays from 10:00-11:00am. The show is a mix of live and pre-recorded materials ranging from music by local high school bands, poetry, in studio interviews, reviews, and commentaries all written and produced by local high school students.
Youth Voice Radio can also be heard every Friday at 6:00 pm on WXDU for a wrap-up of the week's news from a youth perspective.
To get involved:
If you're a young musician, send us a clean copy of your music on cassette or CD with the name of the band and the name of the songs clearly marked and we'll put it on our show. We may even ask you to come in and do a couple "un-plugged" songs live on the show.
Get involved with organizing a future benefit concert. We always need help with booking bands, posting flyers, working the door, selling T-shirts, and cleaning up afterwards.
Call and find out when the next meeting is and show up. Bring people you think would be interested and meet folks already involved.
Sign-up for a two-hour training in the production studio and learn how to record your own creative pieces, free-style and spoken word, commentaries, and interviews.
Check-out a piece of our portable recorders and go out into the community to gather sound-bites, interviews, and information for a story you'd like to cover.
Volunteer to help out in the office working on the newsletter, fixing up the studio, creating flyers, and training people in the studio.
Youth Voice Radio is located at 138 E. Chapel Hill St. In Downtown Durham across the street from the Omni Hotel. Call 919/688-0332 for more information. We can also be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rural Southern Voice for Peace was born in the Western North Carolina mountains in 1981. Herb and Marnie Walters, veterans of the 1960s civil rights and anti-nuclear movements, then teaching at the Arthur Morgan School in the Celo Land Trust Community, were deeply concerned because "the arms race was growing, citizens' civil rights were being eroded, the destruction of the environment was picking up momentum, and the rich were getting richer while the poor got poorer." They wanted to find ways for themselves and other people living in rural areas, feeling isolated and powerless to influence anything, to connect with each other, to be involved with these, and to make a difference.
So they started a newsletter to circulate in the rural South and named it Rural Southern Voice for Peace. Sixteen years later, RSVP is a networking organization with an expanded mission and hundreds of members throughout the southeastern United States, the rest of the nation, and the world.
Herb and Marnie's newsletter has become our networking journal, now called Voices. The Rural Networking and Training Program that Herb initiated in 1983 to provide organizing assistance and training in the Southeast now does so nationally and internationally and is known as The Listening Project Voices, published quarterly, reports on Listening Projects in their various stages of progress and also provides a forum for grassroots activists everywhere to share their experiences and ideas through the written word. Our focus has enlarged within the last several years from stories mainly about the rural South to contributions from all over the world, as it has become very clear that everything is indeed connected, that what we do here affects them there, and vice versa. We all need one another, working together across national borders so that life can be better for everybody.
Voices invites and welcomes contributions, especially personal stories informally written. The "networking" in our name means that every article, invormation entry, and calendar item has a contact name, address, phone #, fax#, or E-mail, so that you can get in touch with any source which matches your concern.
Contact RSVP: 704-675-5933 or e-mail: email@example.com
Trumpet of Conscience
Trumpet of Conscience is a community newspaper published quarterly in Durham. Trumpet is primarily concerned with developing leadership in the struggle for civil rights, affirmative action, and labor organization, and it focuses on issues of particular concern to Durham citizens. It was founded in 1986 by activist Sam Reed, who has been a labor and civil rights activist since the 1930s.
Trumpet of Conscience is dedicated to keeping the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., alive. By organizing to fight for opportunities, and organizing to fight injustice, it aims to advance the interests of the working majority and break free of the present domination of a small, wealthy minority. In particular, Trumpet focuses on the close connections between the struggle against racism and discrimination and the struggle for labor rights and the economic well-being of working people.
"We are part of the struggle for centuries of the common people against oppression," Reed said in a recent interview with the journal Southern Exposure. "We try to be an example of the importance of bringing people together." The further the goal of bringing people together, Trumpet also sponsors periodic gatherings to discuss important issues and to encourage the development of progressive leadership with a commitment to working people. For several years, it has sponsored an annual Labor Day gathering to bring together local politicians, activists, and citizens.
Like The Prism, Trumpet of Conscience is staffed by volunteers and distributed for free (though subscriptions are encouraged to make regular contributions to fund the publication).
Trumpet of Conscience may be reached by mail at P.O. Box 3354, Durham, NC 27702, or by phone at 490-6923.
HA! is a new women's zine whose debut issue will be available mid February. HA! submissions range from articles, opinions, feminist critiques, humor, poetry, pop cutural commentary, rants, reviews, photos, drawings, cartoons, action alerts, women's health and resources, etc.
HA! is organized, funded and published by the Lilith Collective and is intended as a venue for women's voices and self-expression, as well as a forum for feminist issues. The collective members recognize the multiplicity of feminisms based on the diversity of women, their experiences and their varied struggles.
The collective is named after the first woman, Adam's original partner in Eden, made of dirt as he was; his equal. She has since been demonized and largely written out of the Western Christian Canon. She represents rebellion, sexual freedom and "the neglected and rejected aspects of the Great Goddess."
We welcome you to read HA!, subscribe, submit and come to our next benefit! Contact us at: 942-8211; PO Box 1282, Carrboro, NC 27510; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.unc.edu/~cherylt. Look for us at Internationalist Books and other hip and groovy sites in the triangle.
"Upfront" airs from 7 to 8 pm every Monday night on WSHA (Shaw University Radio), 88.9 FM. My name is Tim Snell, and I am the host of the show.
"Upfront" is aimed to educate the public on all sorts of topics which are often not covered very well by the mainstream media. For example, during a discussion of how welfare "reform" would affect recipients in our state we talked with Shirley McClain of the NC Hunger Network and Barbara Earls of NC Fair Share.
On issues like the environment I have aired discussions with groups like the Sierra Club or the Surfriders.
I have found that other stations and programs do not tend to cover these kinds of issues, at least not from these kinds of perspectives from such groups of people and organizations. That's why I work so hard to bring them to "Upfront."
I am always happy to hear about more people and organizations doing good work for the community. I'd also like to hear more comments, and a great way to do that is to call me during the show at our call-in number, (919) 546-8430 in Raleigh.
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