MediaChannel Close To Shuttering, Sends Plea To Readers

meee1.jpgIt’s been 10 years since nonprofit network MediaChannel launched with the help of Globalvision New Media to provide commentary and political discourse about international information networks. But like many other publicly-supported entities in the past two years, MediaChannel has run out of resources and is in dire need of financial support.

Today, founders Danny Schechter and Rory O’Connor made a plea to their readers: without an immediate influx of funds, MediaChannel will be shuttered, and soon. The “open letter” that went out today read:

“Clearly, we are better hell raisers than fundraisers…One deep pockets funder could write a check to keep us going, but we can’t count on it. And it doesn’t look like we can count solely on our readers either.”

If you’d like to prove them wrong, read the letter below and learn how to help keep the independent media group alive.


Declaring Victory and Leaving?
It May Be Time To Say Goodbye…

We believe in the mission of MediaChannel. We believe in its value and so does a growing audience that regularly reads and sends editorial input. Many of you have responded to our fundraising appeals and kept us alive, but just barely.

We officially launched this media network on February 1, 2000, the anniversary of the student sit-ins that sparked the civil rights movement. We believe in the work we post – the media news, our blogs and our daily features. They are substantive, global, and offer a service that is often unique. No one else is really doing what we are, going way beyond just bashing or ridiculing political enemies. (“Oh, did you see what Glenn Beck is now saying?” Yuk!)

Over the years, we have upgraded our look, added videos, as well as interactive social media features. We have traveled the world to represent our work, in part because of invitations from colleagues, from Kazakhstan to Qatar to South Africa, who respect what we do.

We have been on top of the issues, and often ahead of the curve, aggregating content and taking a stand on war and peace, media reform, and economic crises. We have sacrificed a lot to keep MediaChannel going — and we are not sorry we did.

NOT ENOUGH

But that is apparently not enough. It’s not just about content, but marketing, positioning, politics and funding. The media environment has changed. Highly partisan news and commentary gets funded; work like ours, alas, does not. Maybe the partisan stuff just fits the spirit of these polarized and combative times more than more reasoned and probing stories.

Journalism is not just disappearing in the mainstream or giving way to tabloid news and propaganda, it’s missing in the blogosphere too. Perhaps its just unfashionable, perhaps its only the loudest voices, and only the celebrity writers who people want to read because they have more visibility or the capacity to piss us off even more.

We have been reduced to frequent appeals to readers who, understandably, tire of being solicited too often, and not just by us, but by every independent media site struggling to survive. We understand why folks turn away, especially in this economic climate.

NOTHING LASTS FOREVER

So we are being forced to conclude that it may be time to declare victory and phase MediaChannel out. If we do, we will do it with pride of what we have accomplished overt the last decade.

On the other hand, it’s never over until it is.

There is a small hope that other media sites that share our values may agree to some kind of consolidation, or a merger. Perhaps we can save ourselves if we work together. We know that collaboration is one of those values everyone supports in principle, but it’s hard to give up our competitive instincts.

Your ideas and financial support are welcome and needed.

We have been fighting for years to keep going and are now thinking about other options and initiatives if we cannot. Clearly, we are better hell raisers than fundraisers. Our costs are not that high, but there are costs, for a Webmaster, technology, distribution etc.. One deep pockets funder could write a check to keep us going, but we can’t count on it. And it doesn’t look like we can count solely on our readers either. Perhaps we have gone to “the well” one time too many times. We are sure those who never wished us well, the hackers and wreckers will celebrate. So what?

As we consider the options, we would like you to consider ideas, contacts, connections and interest you may have to help sustain our work or tell us that its time to move on.

We need help in reaching out for partners, a merger, or sale. [Email dissector@mediachannel.org for suggestions.]

A recent grant we received was earmarked for a youth oriented channel, not for general institutional support.

Back in 2000, we never thought we would still be online in 2010 or that you would be with us. We are grateful for the help we have had and will have more to say about that when and if we have to.

Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of MediaChannel.org

February is our anniversary. Its also a leap year month, So, in that spirit, we will leap into the future one way or another by offering the best of our work and providing some time to see what, if anything, can be done.

You can make a tax-deductible donation online here, or by sending a check made out to:

The Global Center
575 8th Ave., #2200
New York, NY 10018
(Please write “For MediaChannel” on the memo line of your check.)

Thank you,

– Danny Schechter, Rory O’Connor, David DeGraw