Some tips, with attitude, for news junkies and progressive activists who aren’t fulfilled — or served — by the old, corporatist media, its dumbed down reporting, its ridiculous and usually wrong punditry and, especially in Oklahoma, its conservative bias and unfair practices. Producers of alternative media need your support!!
1. Read (or listen/watch) diverse media sources
Seems pretty obvious, but unfortunately it needs saying: You need to read/listen to/watch your local alternative media. If you consume corporate news sources, fine, we’ll try not to judge, but you are not getting a full range of information and analysis there, and you know it. You read it, then complain about it. But next day, there you go again. Quit your bitching and change your habits. Branch out!
First, find out where these outlets are (we provide a list to get you started), then bookmark those sites/blogs/channels and visit regularly. If you can’t be trusted to click, you can always …
2. Subscribe to non-corporate media
Most blogs and news sites, and any respectable podcast or video channel, have some kind of email list or RSS feed you can subscribe to (here’s ours: Email | RSS). Do it! Don’t know how to listen to podcasts on that fancy iPad you bought? Seriously, that’s your excuse? If you can buy an iPad, you can take 10 minutes to Google and learn how to get an app and subscribe to RSS. Or you can get yourself down to the Apple store and have them to do it for you. Because, for a thousand bucks, that’s the least they can do for you!
Or, in the case of an alternative publication in printed format, you can subscribe the good old fashioned way – or mix it up with a print AND digital subscription, so you’ve got all the access possibilities covered.
3. Share links to alternative media
Once you are enjoying the fruits of your local progressive news/opinion sources, don’t be shy, tell your friends on social media, help them get connected and better informed. You are interested in making a more progressive, informed and active community/state, right? This is a way that you can do that every single day of the year, unlike voting or citizen lobbying.
If a story is covered by both corporate and alternative media, which one are you sharing? Hopefully the latter, not the former.
Check your own news feed now — what percentage of alternative media sources show up there? What’s that say about your commitment to progressive change?
4. Buy through advertising links
Many of these sites have ads or links via which you can make purchases from online retailers where you are shopping anyway. With no additional charge, you can use that link to access the retailer’s site, and it it will result in a small percentage of the purchase being sent to the hardworking site owner where the ad appeared. Major online retailers like Amazon and hundreds of others make these advertising arrangements with website owners, and over time, such referral fees can produce a significant added income.
Or, if there are ads for local vendors, like restaurants, garages, professional services, etc. patronize those businesses and let them know where you got the referral. Or, get pro-active and ask your favorite local businesses to advertise on your favorite alternative news sites.
Finally, if there are no ads on a site you visit regularly and get real value from, hit the donate button once in a while. Even a small amount says, “Keep up the good work!”
5. Send Story Tips
If you, or a business or organization you work with, are making news, or you just happen upon an interesting story or some incident that needs investigation, contact that progressive reporter whose work you follow. Give them a scoop, or some special insight that gives them an edge over the corporate media.
So those are just some of the many ways you can support alternative media in your area, with very little effort and with little additional cost to you, if any. If you wait till they fold, you will wish you had acted on some of these simple ideas. Avoid guilt, support them while you can!
If you have some other ideas for helping our alternative media to thrive, leave them in comments below. Attitude optional.