Wikipedia's definition of alternative media

“Alternative media are, broadly, those communication media (newspapers, radio, television, movies, Internet, etc.) which are alternatives to the mainstream media, which are owned and controlled by big business and government.

Proponents of alternative media often argue that the mainstream media is heavily biased, criticizing their pretended objectivity as a dissimulation of class biases. Alleged causes of that bias include the political interests of the owners, government influence and profit motive. That criticism comes from observers of all political orientations. The concentration of media ownership, as well as the concentration of the publishing industry are other causes of economical censorship. While sources of alternative media are also frequently highly (and sometimes proudly) biased, the bias tend to be different, hence 'alternative'. Alternative media outlets often engage in advocacy journalism and frequently promote specific political views, often dissident views (or, again paradoxically, views considered “dissident” from whatever the perceived mainstream; contributors to Democratic Underground and Free Republic are diametrically opposed to each other politically, and both are likely to consider themselves dissidents from an oppressive mainstream).

Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky proposed a concrete model for the filtering processes (biases) of mainstream media, especially in the United States, called the propaganda model. They tested this empirically and presented extensive quantified evidence supporting the model. Authors such as Louis Althusser have also written in detail about the problems of the mainstream press, and their writings have inspired the creation of many alternative press efforts. Many current alternative press sources share values on copyright with the open source movement.

The term “alternative” has come under fire for its linguistic connotations of self-marginalization. Many media outlets now prefer the term “independent” over “alternative,” suggesting that the content provided is free from corporate influence, as well as influential beyond a small demographic or audience.

For a medium to be considered “alternative”, it must possess some kind of counter-hegemonic quality. The counter-hegemony should be represented through at least one of the following parameters:

  • Content – what is being “said”
  • Aesthetical form – the way it is being said
  • Intention – the point of success
  • Organizational structure – how the media are being run
  • Process - the relationship between production and consumption of information”
bibliography/ams_alphabetic_order/w/wikipedia_alternative_media.txt · Last modified: 2011/07/09 20:39 (external edit)