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Type of site
Progressive news website
Owner Independent Media Institute
Created by Independent Media Institute
Alexa rank Increase 6,058 (March 2017)[1]
Commercial No
Registration Optional
Launched June 16, 1997; 20 years ago (1997-06-16)[2][3][4]
Current status Active

AlterNet is a progressive news magazine that is a project of the non-profit Independent Media Institute.[5][6] Launched in 1998, AlterNet claims a readership of over 5.9 million visitors per month,[7] though the web ratings service Quantcast estimates that it receives 1.3 million.[8]

AlterNet publishes original content as well as journalism from a wide variety of other sources. AlterNet states that its mission is to "inspire citizen action and advocacy on the environment, human rights and civil liberties, social justice, media, and health care issues".[7] AlterNet's tagline is "The Mix is the Message."


AlterNet was founded in the fall of 1987 by the Institute for Alternative Journalism (IAJ), which was incorporated in December of 1983 with a mission to serve as a clearinghouse for important local stories generated by the members of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN). The founding editor of AlterNet was Alan Green, who with his deputy, Margaret Engle, created print and electronic mechanisms to syndicate both the works of AAN papers and freelance contributors, among them Michael Moore and Abbie Hoffman. Engle took over for Green in 1989 and ran the news service until 1993, in that time dramatically expanding AlterNet's base of contributors and client newspapers. Upon her resignation, Engle was succeeded by Don Hazen, who had been hired by IAJ in 1991 to be its first executive director. AlterNet publishes a combination of policy critiques, investigative reports and analysis, grassroots success stories, and personal narratives. Its coverage emphasizes the discovery of solutions to social problems, and its editorial philosophy is "to uphold a commitment to fairness, equality, and global stewardship, while making connections across generational, ethnic, and issue lines".[7]

Coverage is sub-divided into several special sections related to progressive news and culture, including News & Politics, World, Economy, Civil Liberties, Immigration, Reproductive Justice, Economy, Environment, Food, Water, Books, Media and Culture, Belief, Drugs, Personal Health, Sex and Relationships, Vision, and Investigations.

AlterNet publishes original content and also makes use of "alternative media", sourcing columns from Salon, Common Dreams, The Guardian, Consortiumnews, Truthdig, Truthout, TomDispatch, The Washington Spectator, Al Jazeera English, Center for Public Integrity, Democracy Now!, Waging Nonviolence, Asia Times, New America Media and Mother Jones. The editorial staff was headed by executive editor Don Hazen, a former publisher of Mother Jones, until December 2017 when he was placed on indefinite leave by the organization's oversight board due to sexual harassment allegations.[9][10] Hazen resigned following the allegations on December 22, 2017.[11]

AlterNet is financed through individual donations, by grants from major donors, and ad revenue.[9] In 2014, the top financial backers of the Independent Media Institute were Cloud Mountain Foundation, Craigslist Charitable Fund, Drug Policy Alliance, Madison Community Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, New World Foundation, Panta Rhea Foundation, Park Foundation and Roseben Fund.[12]




  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved January 24, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Meet the AlterNet Staff - Alternet". Retrieved 2016-11-03. 
  3. ^ "Re: Any ideas what is happening to Alternet's backbone?". NANOG. Retrieved 2016-11-03. 
  4. ^ "Peter Stokesberry - LinkedIn". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2016-11-03. 
  5. ^ It has been described by NPR as a "left-liberal news and opinion site". "Media Online: A Few Firms Thrive While Many Fail"
  6. ^ "About AlterNet". Alternet. 2000-01-01. Retrieved 2017-04-27. 
  7. ^ a b c "The Case for AlterNet". 
  8. ^ "Daily Traffic". Quantcast. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Melissa A. Wall, "Social Movements and the net: Activist Journalism Goes Digital", in Kevin Kawamoto (ed, 2003), Digital Journalism: Emerging media and the Changing Horizons of Journalism, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  10. ^ Buzzfeed News, "Five Women Are Accusing A Top Left-Leaning Media Executive Of Sexually Harassing Them" [1]
  11. ^
  12. ^, "AlterNet Supporting Foundations" [2]
  13. ^ Webby Awards, 12th Annual Webby Awards Official Honoree Selections
  14. ^ "Media Online: A Few Firms Thrive While Many Fail". NPR. 3 July 2001. 

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