If you’re reading this article, you’re reading it on what is effectively considered independent media. Some try to claim that if the site is owned by a corporation, that it is corporate media. That would also mean that content producers on YouTube are corporate.
Nearly all content hosts are corporate. Basically any site that hosts media, such as blogs, is owned by a corporation. That makes sense for legal and financial purposes. Medium is a corporation, YouTube is a corporation, Patreon is a corporation, etc.
Independent creator definition. What defines independent media are the content producers. Most content producers who are considered independent are exactly that. Myself, Jimmy Dore, Caitlin Johnstone. In each case, we depend on the income achieved by either payments from the corporations like Medium or YouTube, if our content is not demonetized by the corporate entity. (Most likely on YouTube.)
Funding models. Each content producer makes far more money through direct subscriptions through Patreon, which is why you hear that name so often. Each has a different funding model as well. With Medium, one subscription pays for access to all content providers. With Patreon, you subscribe to each content provider individually. That is why payments from Medium will tend to be smaller than those from Patreon.
No advertising. One of the obvious benefits to the subscription model is that there is no advertising, unlike the corporate structure, where you pay a corporation to see ads from other corporations. Obviously, some content providers may produce paid advertising made to appear as something it is not. I’ll let them deal with the legal ramifications of that. Also corporations can directly publish their content on independent media in an attempt to expand their control even further. No surprise there. I rather hope most of the audience ignores that because it completely defeats the purpose of subscribing to independent media.
Different voices. However, the major difference is that you get to hear voices you would not hear from otherwise. Voices critical of the corporate power structure over our daily lives. Artists who have not been bought by corporations. Independent content producers have no editor assigning our projects, we produce what we want to produce. No editor is telling us we cannot cover a particular subject or candidate. We cannot get fired, so our voices may be censored on one platform but we will not disappear from one day to the next. We’re here to stay as long as we have internet connections.
Who benefits most? It’s obvious that the consumer benefits from independent media. Hearing different opinions other than ones which have been “authorized” by corporate boards and agendas. The opinions and thoughts expressed tend to be more likely to be genuine and likely to be verifiable or at the very least rational. There have been uncounted instances where someone presented me with articles from corporate media and it took less than 30 seconds for me to begin quoting, “unnamed sources”, “authorities say” and point out there was no verifiable information included, only opinions stated as fact. No reasonable questions, no critical thought, all propaganda. Most independent producers are more likely to respond to comments or questions, where corporate media will ignore such things. You gain more of a personal connection with independent producers.
Parental figures. Here is a personal opinion from a nurse who has worked in the psychiatric field. I tend to believe the people who rely on corporate media and consider elected officials to be their “leaders” are those who have never fully matured. They live their entire lives having a deep seated need of parental figures to tell them what to think, what to believe, what to do, when to do it, how to do it yet never why. Basically, “Do it because I said so!” In other words, not only parental figures but abusive parental figures who issue threats and punishment for noncompliance. Figures that not only remain apathetic to suffering but are prone to causing that suffering.
Your choice. You have choices. More choices than ever before. You have the option to be informed while turning off corporate media. Elected officials are not our “leaders”, they are our employees. We hired them. We pay their salaries. We can collectively fire them. We can question them. We can hold them accountable.
Keep the best voices going. How do you keep the best voices going on independent media? Of course, support those voices. Share their content widely. Independent producers don’t have much money for advertising and not that many places where we can advertise without being called “spam” or “Russian propaganda”.
Financial support. Of course, if you can afford to, support them financially. That support can be $1 a month. The same or less than a soda from McDonald’s after tax. I try to produce at least 5 articles a week, which is 20 per month. So if a person donated $1 a month, that would come to $0.05 per article. Caitlin Johnstone is similar in her efforts, at 4–5 srticles per week average. Most independents are reliant on having additional income streams. Jimmy Dore and Ron Placone have their comedy shows, I am a nurse as my primary income. Some like myself would prefer dedicating far more time and effort to expanding our efforts but cannot afford to do so.
Value for cost. Of course, a model such as Medium offers the best consumer value, giving access to more sources for one price, though costs more as a total for a subscription. In that case, a producer is reliant on absolute exposure. A model like Patreon can cost less but gives access to limited specific voices. It does pay the individual producer more of the subscription, though.
Support how you can. Whoever your preferred independent content producer is, offer support by any means possible. Promote them, endorse them, etc. Give likes, claps, thumbs ups, whatever the individual site has in place. Some may allow multiple likes, claps, etc. Sometimes it increases article or creator placement or standing, sometimes not. Without support, it tends to be more likely their content will be lost or suppressed eventually. For myself, I have no subscribers on Patreon and I maintain a website free to access, so I break even or lose money for my efforts. No account required for my website. I don’t spam anyone. So I’m not going away any time soon, donations or no donations. This article is meant as a general statement to support independent media as a whole.