Sunday, April 20, 2008

The New Mexico Independent

marjorie says...

Mikaela and Maggie asked me several times last week if I was going to tell m-pyre readers about a new project I'm involved with. Knowing me the way they do, it didn't surprise them that I said probably not, because I figure people can make the connections on their own. Plus, I'm kind of shy (yes, it's true! Maggie told me I was weird. that is true also).

Not to mention, the New Mexico Independent is going to emerge as an important voice in the landscape of the state all on its own. But, I've changed my mind. I think you all will want to know about and read the Independent starting right now. You can watch the Director, David Alire Garcia, and the News Editor, Trip Jennings, discuss the site here.

The majority of the staff are long-time journalists who many of you will recognize. Matt from FBIHOP is a fellow blogger on the team, and Heath Hausseman is also there. Heath is a journalist who is reporting online these days from his own website...he's a bit of a pioneer in the state in so far as he jumped from the print world to the web, and showed the potential for "real journalism" in an online format. Heath wrote a blog discussing the launch of the New Mexico Independent, its mission, and his own participation here. He's correct, of course, when he identified me as openly progressive. At the same time, I'm a reluctant Democrat -- something you can verify repeatedly in the archives of m-pyre, my occasional hyperbole aside. In an ideal world, there would be more than two parties, because two can't begin to really reflect the diversity of opinion and subject position found in the United States. Those of us who join in order to participate in primaries often end up feeling co-opted. I figure this is the case on both sides of the equation. A recent post I wrote about Clinton and Obama gets across well my perspective in this regard. Ultimately, when it comes to structure and accountability in government, our issues transcend the party system. I largely agree with the saying that the two parties are simply different sides of the same coin.

When it comes to politics, the distinction between "progressive" and "Democrat" is an important one to make. When one's politics become largely centered around the unending cycle of electoral campaigns, the horse-race can obscure the real issues at hand. This is very clearly playing out right now between Clinton and Obama, with a willing media feeding the spectacle. On the other hand, I've often found that being progressive doesn't preclude being in agreement with Republicans. Hess Yntema's tenure on the Albuquerque City Council comes to mind for me as the best example. I agreed with Hess plenty.

Print media is consolidating and downsizing, and I figure that's largely due to the for-profit subscription/advertising based model not being able to figure out how to make an online jump. We saw this painfully just a few months ago with the demise of the Tribune. The Independent is a project of the Center for Independent Media, a non-profit seeking to forge a new path in media creation online, and it couldn't come at a better time.

The media is an essential part of what makes a democracy function. Like any project, the NMI will continually evolve. I think your perspectives on what we write (here on m-pyre as well as what I write for the NMI) add important depth and quality to the issues at hand, as well as the deeper question of diversity of voices. I hope you will all participate--after all, one of the things that make the online world vibrant is that you can.