Monday, December 27, 2004
THE FUTURE OF NOW: So why Three Rivers Online? I think the more appropriate question is "Why Not?" If I wanted to start an alternative print weekly then I would need about 8 million dollars. If I wanted to start my own online weekly, comfortable in the knowledge that I could do everything to start, I figured my costs would be about several hundred a month, as long as I don't go over 600000 hits a month or 20000 hits per day. Then I'm probably looking at more. Who knows. The point is that here in 2003 I could give it a try. So why the Hell not.
You might also, if you were a bit of a devil's advocate, argue who needs a new alternative press. We've got Pittsburgh Indy Media. Heck, I think they're a swell bunch of kids and I plan to steal stories from them constantly. Yet, and I guess I'm a stickler for this: You have to pay writers something. It doesn't have to be a lot. If I make a whopping $12 grand a year from this I'll be happy.
I just think that you have to pay people, something, anything, in order for the progressive community to get the info it needs. Who's the Indy Media person covering the city or county councils? There are some things that you can't do for free. Again, somebody like a Soros or the Hollywood Community could fund 12 of these papers in swing states, with modest staffs of five to seven people for about 100 million and pay salaries for ten years, but until then...Let's try to build something for ourselves. This is my attempt. Let a thousand online papers bloom, just in time for November 2004.
Some initial ground rules: We'll be on all of the time. There should be something new in all of the sections every single day. Also, since we're online I won't be shy about linking to everything in sight and acting as things on the Net are a big deal. Because, guess what, if you're an online paper everything on the net is a Big Deal. This is our medium. It matters if it's taxed obsessively or priced out of the ordinary consumer's hands. Our progressive theory, by the way, is that you can push your radical progressive agenda (over the next year or so that will include a new president who can talk) as long as you have lots and lots of small ads from small businesses. Please note the Pittsburgh Five Dollar Classifieds Section. There's actually the far outside chance that I could get rich from this but I doubt it. (Update: I've just discovered Craigslist. Five dollars classified is dead. All classifieds might be dead. Not good. Then again, I'm not basing my stuff on what the corporate media does so I'll live...I'll build a new model for new times.)
As for our reporting philosophy, I'm looking for opinionated perspective pieces, backed up by supporting links. The shorter version of our journalism philosophy: columnists with teeth. Teeth usually will be defined as supporting links. I do know that the American Left needs a credible, rigorous press of its own. Let's build it together