Indymedia and Indybay History
The Indymedia project was started in late November of 1999, to allow participants in the anti-globalization movement to report on the protests against the WTO meeting that took place in Seattle, Washington, and to act as an alternative media source. By 2002, there were 89 local IMCs around the world spread between 31 countries (plus the West Bank) and 6 continents. By January 2006, the Indymedia network had grown to what is now over 150 Indymedia outlets around the world. The country with the most IMCs is the United States with 60, followed by Italy with 15.
IMCs produce print, audio, photo, and video journalism, but are most well known for their open publishing newswires: internet weblog sites where anyone with internet access can publish information. The content of an IMC is determined by its participants, both the users who post content, and members of the local Indymedia collective who administer the site.
The origins of IMCs themselves came out of protests against biases in corporate media reporting. The first IMC node, attached as it was to the Seattle anti-corporate globalization protests, was seen by activists as an alternative news source to that of the corporate media, which they accused of only showing violence and confrontation, and portraying all protesters in a negative fashion. Many of those who helped start the first site had been involved in previous attempts at Indymedia like sites in previous years. CounterMedia was one such site that formed to cover the Democratic National Convention in 1996. A-Infos and Infoshop were anarchist centric news sites that allowed user involvement. The “alt” usenet groups also provided an Indymedia like experience even before web browsers became widespread.
Local IMC collectives are expected to be open and inclusive of individuals from a variety of different local revolutionary, left-wing, anarchist, communist and other anti-capitalist stances, whether or not these have any definite political philosophy, so that even those without internet access can participate both in content creation and in content consumption. Editorial policies, locally chosen by any Indymedia collective, generally involve removing articles which the Indymedia editors believe promote racism, sexism, hate speech, and homophobia.
The overall Indymedia network is decentralized to the extent that the local IMCs operate independently once they are authenticated into the IMC network. Local IMC collectives vary widely in their openness, editorial policies and coverage of different issues Along with the local collectives are IMC websites operating along particular themes, such as printed media or biotechnology. Along with contributing their own media, core organizers maintain IMC's open publishing infrastructure, enabling different people throughout the internet to publish their news. IMC editing is done by a system of layered admin which contributors apply to join for each site, by participating on open email lists and attending open meetings.
PDF Interview With Jeff Perlstein About Indymedia's Founding
Indybay started in 2000 and was initially closely tied to Media Alliance, a San Francisco based media resource and advocacy center for media workers, non-profit organizations, and social justice activists. One early Indybay project was a page exposing bad landlords. Another event that helped pull in many early Indybay volunteers was the National Association of Broadcasters(NAB) Conference that took place in September 2000 in San Francisco. Indybay soon broadened its coverage. Local labor struggles, forest activism in Northern California and police brutality were quickly a focus of the early site.
After 2001, Indybay developed more of a focus on antiwar protests and immigration issues. In 2002 new pages were added focusing on LGBT issues, Women's Rights, Local Electoral Issues and specific international conflicts. Animal Liberation was added as a page a year later. In 2004 Regional Pages were added and the Central Valley became a page partly run by its own collective. Santa Cruz started as its own separate site in 2001, but integrated
with Indybay in 2006 as an autonomous editorial collective. Local reporters also regularly post from the South Bay, the North Bay and the North Coast.
List of Indybay Topic Pages
Animal Liberation, Anti-War, Arts + Action, Drug War, Education, En Español, Environment, Global Justice, Government, Health/Housing, Immigrant, Media, Labor, LGBTI / Queer, Police State, Racial Justice and Womyn
List of Indybay Region Pages
North Coast, Central Valley, North Bay, East Bay, South Bay, San Francisco, Peninsula, Santa Cruz, California, US, and International
List of Indybay International Pages
Americas, Haiti, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan
(Slideshow with audio, presented at LA Indymedia 10-Year Anniversary, November 2009)
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