We don't make special offers like this very often, but if you act right now, you'll not only continue getting free access to fresh views, news and opinion on Northwest Citizen, but you'll also help send our voice to the big table as Federal Regulators attempt to foresee the future of news in the Internet Age.
Our esteemed publisher, John Servais, has been invited by the Federal Trade Commission to participate in a workshop entitled, "How will journalism survive the Internet Age?" The December 1 and 2 event in Washington D.C. will, according to the FTC website, "assemble representatives from print, online, broadcast and cable news organizations, academics, consumer advocates, bloggers, and other new media representatives."
John will join a panel discussion on the issue of "From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?" The panel will focus on "New News", that is, new ways that news is being produced.
John created Northwest Citizen in 1995. It was one of the very first blogs on the Internet, years before the word "blog" was coined. John created it to help get local news and issues to Whatcom County citizens - news and issues he felt the daily newspaper sometimes suppressed, ignored or distorted. From the beginning, John extended this opportunity to other voices, hosting such things as the Public Good Project, community initiatives and other guest writers.
In January 2008, the format of Northwest Citizen was revised in a continuing effort to bring in news and viewpoints from other actively involved citizens. Changes enabled better writer access and commenting by readers. One big difference between Northwest Citizen and other blogs is that anyone can register to comment, but all comments must appear under the author's real name. Commenters are individually verified before they are registered. In our world, free speech belongs to real people, not clever "handles".
John was a founder of the weekly newspaper, "The Whatcom Independent", and served as its founding publisher for three years. He entered the news media in 1960 as a news photographer for his hometown daily newspaper, The Green Bay Press-Gazette. Over the years he has worked on other newspapers, both daily and alternative. Northwest Citizen will continue to use the Internet to seek new ways to help citizens be better informed and participate intelligently in their own governance.
John will be joined on the panel by these impressive colleagues:
- Christopher Callahan - Dean, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University
- Elisa Camahort Page - Co-Founder, BlogHer
- Bill Densmore - Vice President, Director, and Co-Founder, CircLabs Inc.
- Andrew Jay Schwartzman - President and Chief Executive Officer, Media Access Project
- John Temple - Former Editor, President, and Publisher, The Rocky Mountain News
We at Northwest Citizen are impressed and honored to have made a big enough splash to find our publisher on his way to Washington D.C. We all appreciate the power of the internet and understand the scope of effects it is having on news production and consumption. The results of the panel will likely influence FTC administrative rules (regulations) and perhaps policy. This could be critical to assuring that Internet based community journalism will get a fair shake from the FTC going forward. Good quality news is vital to an informed electorate and therefore vital to democracy. How will we get it and how will we ensure its quality?
More importantly, how will we get John to Washington D.C.? The few ads that appear on the website don't even pay the hosting bills, much less provide a travel budget. It should come as no surprise that Northwest Citizen runs on volunteer efforts of community minded folks like you. Nope, you won't see many appeals at Northwest Citizen for contributions, but this seems worth it, so here we go!
I'm sure many of you will want to see our Wet Coast fairly represented at the workshop. Many of you will even appreciate the effort John has personally made over the years, not to mention the week of work he will miss. We hope you will want to offer him your support and encouragement. We encourage you to help us encourage John.
Please send your generous or modest assistance as soon as possible to "John Servais Goes to Washington" at PO Box 4234, Bellingham WA 98227. John is a frugal fellow, so rest assured your kind offerings will be well managed for the good of the cause. Thank you.