| ||organisation: IMI, Independent Media Institute|
type of activity: media network for human rights abuse prevention & non-partisan journalism
what: AlterNet is a program of the Independent Media Institute (IMI), a non-profit non-partisan organisation dedicated to strengthening and supporting independent journalism, and to improving the public's access to independent information sources. The organisation believes democracy is enhanced and public debate broadened when more voices are heard and more points of view are made available.
In addition to AlterNet, IMI has three other programs: AlterNet Syndication, a content service for the independent press; WireTap, an online magazine for socially conscious youth, and the SPIN Project, which trains grassroots and advocacy groups in communication skills.
IMI supports deeper public understanding of all types of social diversity and promotes the highest standards of professional journalism as they relate to coverage of diversity. It develops and employs tools, training methods and practical reporting initiatives to that end.
aim & methods: AlterNet is a highly acclaimed Internet information source that provides readers with crucial facts and passionate opinions they can't find anywhere else. Since its inception in 1998, AlterNet has grown dramatically to keep pace with the public demand for independent news and now provides free online content to over 1.5 million readers every month.
Without qualified editors to evaluate material and make it easier for users to find and act upon it, the public interest information people want and need will continue to be marginalised. AlterNet is doing something about information overload and corporate media irresponsibility. Its website is designed to serve as your ‘online helper’, leading individuals, policy professionals and journalists alike to sources for information and insight. There is a word for this role. It is an ‘infomediary’.
By publishing grassroots success stories and inspirational narratives alongside hard-hitting critiques of policies, investigative reports and expert analysis, AlterNet emphasises workable solutions to aggravating problems. Its editorial mix underscores a commitment to fairness, equity and global stewardship, and to making connections across generational, ethnic and issue lines. Such media coverage can play a central role in reducing irrational prejudices, avoiding the inflammation of conflict, and confronting extremist political agendas. Such media coverage can provide a critical bulwark against the escalation of ethnic, nationalist, and religious conflicts.
activities: IMI organises a variety of events, ranging from training workshops and practical reporting projects, to conferences of journalism academics and long-term media monitoring programmes.
Drawing on extensive research and professional media experience, IMI works with local partner organisations (media organisations, journalists, journalism educators, NGOs and governments) to develop the most appropriate tools, training, and hands-on reporting programs to improve reporting and media diversity in each area. Cross-ethnic reporting projects, media training for minority NGO groups, reporting diversity curricula for journalism schools: these and other initiatives reflect IMI’s practical approach to create both immediate and longer-term change.
getting involved: reading the articles on AlterNet should not be separate from responding to them, and for this reason readers are encouraged to share their opinions through the Discussion Forums, an online area for commentary, debate and lively discussion. AlterNet asks that you discuss ideas and issues in a thoughtful, civil manner.