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How Pacifica Can Become the Media That We Need
Posted on Apr 2, 2014
By Alan Minsky
Just by taking these two steps, Pacifica will be able to receive much more money from grants than it currently does—and then there’s major donor money. If the network establishes rigorous journalistic standards and has the national website in place by mid-November 2014 (i.e., after the election), the Pacifica national office could honestly say to all major progressive donors that Pacifica is the single most significant project in the entire country and merits their support.
Pacifica is also perfectly positioned to produce unrivaled local and community radio. It’s slightly paradoxical, but the development of a premier “go-to” national website will force the stations to distinguish themselves from the national projects by doing the “other thing” that everyone wants from media but no longer finds anywhere: programming with honest roots in local communities that reflects the experiences, struggles and triumphs of real people. By reporting the news and having a presence on the streets, the five stations can reintroduce these great metropolises to journalism that’s on the people’s side, exposing the institutions, people and forces that dominate their lives, giving voice to the people who work for positive change and sharing in the dialogue about culture that illuminates lives. Recommitting, and, yes, reinvesting, in real community radio will perhaps be the biggest winner for Pacifica, as it will certainly fill a void.
Of course, Pacifica must demand that all productions—from local news reports to websites to national shows—have the highest production values. Some Pacifica shows already achieve this, but far too many sound amateurish. This has to end. With an expanded budget, Pacifica must invest new money to achieve world-class quality. Given the wealth of talent in our signal areas, and the expanded production possibilities in the digital era, the measures proposed in this document will make sure this happens.
It all sounds so simple. But doesn’t the network’s ultra-burdensome governance stand in the way? Doesn’t all the recent press coverage point to the governance boards as the root of Pacifica’s problems? Perhaps, but I believe the era of the boards’ dominance is waning. The current arrangement has obviously failed. This document outlines how the managers, staff, supportive programmers and sane board members can overwhelm the dysfunctional board factions by sticking to a positive vision that produces growth, ends the fiscal crisis, and thus defangs local and national boards that seek to impose austerity (effectively drowning Pacifica in the bath ala Grover Norquist).
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Right now, there is a tremendous opportunity for Pacifica to take this country by storm, and transform the political, economic and cultural discourse of our society. People are starving for it. We all must be responsible stewards of this amazing asset. Michael Moore is right: The most essential component for reversing course and achieving social justice in our time is for the people to have their own media. We do, and it’s called Pacifica.
You can read Alan Minsky’s entire “Building a Powerful Pacifica” document below.
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