AlterNet leads a resurgence of progressive news sites
This column appeared July 12, 2001, in the Online Journalism Review. Here’s the version on the OJR site.
By J.D. Lasica
Will a handful of big corporations control virtually all the news published on the Internet? On some days it certainly appears that way, especially in light of the report last month that four companies control half of all the traffic on the Web.
The prospects for independent content sites seem grim today, what with Salon running low on cash and the zines Feed and Suck closing up shop.
But one voice of grassroots independent journalism has recently begun to thrive. More surprising still, its point of view offers a decidedly left-of-center tilt.
The secrets of AlterNet‘s success? It’s not out to make money. And it’s riding a wave of public anger about the Bush administration’s less-than-compassionate policies on the environment, energy, civil rights and other issues that tend to send progressives into a frothy lather.
While the right has long ruled the Net by dominating message boards, polls and peer-to-peer sites like FreeRepublic (see my column last fall on conservative news sites), the political left has been comparatively silent. That may be changing.