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The moral principles of independent publishers

The perilous future of the Australian Independent Media Network should be a wake up call to those of us hungry for an alternative to main stream media. But The AIMN’s travail — a funding shortfall — is a phenomenon besetting all media.

Advertisers are abandoning metropolitan daily and regional newspapers and ditching local radio and television, in favour of a slew of multinational online outlets.

So apart from contributing our intellectual endeavours and kicking in a few dollars to keep The AIMN and other outlets afloat, how can independent publishers survive?

It is worth examining the history of a singular aspect of journalism which for years, have kept readers coming back to their favourite medium.

The Walkley Awards is Australia’s equivalent of the U.S. Pulitzer Prize. Both are regarded as the gold standard for journalism and its affiliated efforts. Like it or not advertisers are attracted to media that employ award winners. This is because a coveted Walkley helps the financial bottom line. There is no harm in this as long as editorial and advertising keep their distance within the corporate media enterprise. At least this is how it used to be, but the old order is long gone. As long as revenue streams flow, people are employed, but in times of scarcity such as now, workers join dole queues.

Despite the best efforts of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, thousands of journalists and allied staff are heading for  the scrap heap. And yet writers keep writing, and their work, thankfully, picked up by outlets such as the The AIMN.

Most scribes and photographers adhere to a code of ethics, but browse a tabloid – print or digital – and it is obvious those ethics have all but vanished.

So to paraphrase V.I. Lenin, ‘what is to be done?’

I would like to see some kind of loose alliance of independent publishers such as Michael and Carol Taylor, coalescing upon a new, independent award system which extols the output of journalists’ now writing for small, but significant new media outlets.

Dennis Atkins, Michael Pascoe, Paul Bongiorno, Elizabeth Farrelly, John Birmingham Samantha Maiden, and many others — some Walkley Award winners — have for whatever reason, abandoned the Murdoch/ Nine News cesspits.

Along with the AIM there are publishers with increasingly familiar mastheads such as the New Daily, The Guardian, The Conversation, The National Times, Crikey, Independent Australia, The Monthly and so on. Some are big, others small, but all appear committed to the ethos articulated in the MEAA’s Code of Ethics.

Journalists search, disclose, record, question, entertain, comment and remember. They inform citizens and animate democracy. They scrutinise power, but also exercise it, and should be responsible and accountable.

So chip-in to your independent publisher. Organise GoFundMe pages, or crowd fund them. Pay for their services. Read their journalists and organise boycotts of the Usual Suspects. Support the A.B.C. and S.B.S. And tell your local State and Federal Member to be more critical of mainstream media, and to avail themselves of writers and journalists who adhere to a set of moral principles that govern their behaviour as scribes.

When English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote in 1839, “the pen is mightier than the sword,” he meant that communication — particularly written language or advocacy of an independent press — is more effective than violence.

In this day and age I shudder to think of a future without independent publishers and fearless advocates such as The AIM Network.

Henry Johnston is a Sydney-based author. His latest book, The Last Voyage of Aratus is on sale here.

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

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4 comments

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  1. Kathryn

    There can be absolutely no doubt that independent newspapers and media outlets, such as AIMN, which are NOT associated with the corrupt and totally malignant Murdoch Dynasty, provide a very valuable, essential service to our democracy. Independent media – when it operates free of any outside influence from government(s) and the capitalistic agenda and self-serving greed motivated within the corporate sector – is essential in providing factual (hopefully impartial) reporting that is not corrupted by political influence or skewed by ingrained prejudice or religious dogma.

    AIMN provides a venue where ordinary Australians can present their independent views, vent their frustrations against what they consider to be inhumane, undemocratic or unfair policies that go against the best wishes of our nation and its people and provide a different opinion that may – or may not – be shared by its readers.

    Independent media encourages discerning people to think critically and form their own opinions. Independent media and alternative media sources (like AIMN) offer Australians a viable CHOICE, a realistic and intelligent option to the destructive, ultra-conservative, white, anglo-saxon views, capitalistic agenda and excesses of right-wing-extremists (within the LNP/Murdoch/IPA Alliance) that the Murdoch Monopoly forces upon us! The Murdoch press is not only guilty of the lies, politically biased, character-assassinating, racist and misogynistic slander it spews out on a daily basis (in the appalling gutter press such as “The Daily Terrorgraph”, “The un-Australian”, “Herald Sun” etc) and from the malignant shock-jocks on 2GB and the atrocious Sky News – it is GUILTY for what it does NOT report! The Murdoch/IPA Alliance NEVER revealing the increasing level of blatant nepotism, the ongoing corruption and relentless rorting, lies and broken promises by their mates in the LNP, a morally bankrupt government that is – without any doubt – the WORST most degenerate government in living memory.

  2. David Stakes

    Alot of people dont even know the AIMN even exists, so there is the problem laid bare.

  3. Michael Taylor

    David, it’s not from lack of trying.

    There are a few things though we’ve yet to try to expand our reach.

  4. RosemaryJ36

    Have set up monthly donation. Hope enough others do the same.

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