Wick Communications

Occupied Wall Street Journal

In Media on 13 Oct 2011 at 3:18 pm

Courtesy: breakingcopy.com

If there is one thing I certainly wouldn’t have predicted from the ongoing Occupy Wall Street movement it would have been the advent of a newspaper house organ. I sure didn’t see that coming, but come it did.

Three things occur to me.

First of all, I want to say it looks pretty amazing. It’s run by the professionals who publish The Indypendent free newspaper in New York. The design is terrific, the stories that I’ve read so far are well written.

Secondly, it’s very interesting that the so-called “99 percent” interested in a new kind of democracy are turning to the very media that fueled our 350-year-old kind of democracy – the community newspaper. Here’s what Occupy Wall Street Journal co-founder Arun Gupta told New York Times reporter David Carr: “A newspaper is tactile, engages all of the senses, and leads to more immersive reading than what people might do online.”

Feel free to smile now. Keep smiling and read that demonstrator Christopher Guerra told Carr, “A website will come and go, but this could be here 100 years from now if the mold doesn’t get to it … People say that newspapers are dying, but there is something about the physical properties, the fact that when you hold it in your hands, you end up with ink on them, that serves as a reminder that all of this is real.” …

OK, OK, settle down. Time for a reality check.

The new newspaper was funded by hundreds of largely small donations through the online enterprise incubator known as Kickstarter. If I understand correctly, the founders burned through about $75,000 to produce tens of thousands of the first two issues. There is no business plan that I’m aware of and I can imagine it would be tricky to sell advertising to a publication extolling the virtues of an anti-establishment, post-capitalistic culture.

And while it definitely serves a community, I don’t think it can rightly be considered a newspaper in the traditional sense. Many good newspapers come from a particular worldview. Mine does. The Wall Street Journal certainly does. But few eschew entirely any effort at objectivity. I get that Occupy Wall Street Journal aims to provide balance for what organizers see as a corporate-controlled media landscape that gives the movement short shrift. There is a place for that, certainly. Just don’t confuse that effort with what we do.

I’m thrilled that the movement’s vanguard understands the power of newspapers. I am amazed by the quality of the effort. I’m excited to see what happens next.



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