July 4, 2003

Why An Independent Media Guide?

This was published as the afterward in the 2003 Chicago Indepdendent Media Guide.

I got involved in independent media by accident. I happened to watch my hometown's public access channel one evening and I found the premiere episode of a news magazine series called "Days Of Our Lies" (not "Lives"). The very first feature story which aired on DOOL di scussed the increasing concentration of media ownership and how it affected news content.

The show resonated with me; that story resonated with me. How come I had never heard of this before? Where had this been all of my life? I later learned that if people knew about things like corporate influence of the news, they might not like those things and work t o do something about it. That's the power wielded by independent media--media which isn't beholden to for-profit interests, and which, I think, is one reason why such media is vital to popular struggles and to the future of society.

Many are the stories of people who, while channel surfing or websurfing or browsing, happened to chance upon that TV show or radio show or magazine or book or website that gets them involved in improving the world. But the dice are currently loaded in favor of finding for-profit mammoth media interests which do the exact opposite. This, I think, is the primary motivation for independent media and for this guide to Chicago's independent media: to improve the odds, for producers of these outlets, for users of these outlets, for all of us.

Mitchell Szczepanczyk
Chicago Media Action
Chicago Independent Media Center"