The Indypendent is a progressive newspaper based in Brooklyn, New York. It is published monthly, distributed worldwide and is available for free throughout New York City and online. It currently prints 30,000 copies per issue, covering local, national and international news, food, cinema and culture. Reader donations comprise the bulk of The Indypendent's funding.
John Tarleton is The Indypendent's current editor. Additional staff include Peter Rugh, Associate Editor; Frank Reynoso, Illustration Director; Mikael Tarkela, Director of Design; and Elia Gran, Social Media Editor. Ellen Davidson, Alina Mogilyanskaya, Nicholas Powers and Steven Wishnia are contributing editors to the paper.
Building on the explosive growth of the Indymedia network and anti-globalization movement following the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999, New York City activists Heather Haddon and Ana Nogueira launched a 4-page newspaper (The Unst8ed) in advance of the Sept. 8, 2000 U.N. Millennium Summit. Coinciding with the founding of a local Indymedia chapter in New York, the paper focused on rising global opposition to unchecked corporate power. By its second issue the paper was renamed The Indypendent, and sought to bring the journalism of Indymedia "offline" to those without internet access, to bridge the gap between local and global issues, and to inform members of both the activist and non-activist community.
Prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks The Indypendent focused largely, though not entirely, on local issues, examining the corporatization of New York public schools, the decimation of public space, and the placing of power-plants in overwhelmingly poor areas of NYC. Following 9/11, the paper—in addition to absorbing a surge of volunteers and producing two special issues within days of the attacks—increasingly covered international and national affairs, in addition to local issues. The paper increasingly grew in the physical sense, as well, reaching 24 pages in the days leading up to the 2002 World Economic Forum meetings in New York. In first days of the Iraq War, the paper increased its publishing frequency and decreased its size in order to better deal with the surge of content. In the month before the 2004 Republican National Convention, the paper went color.
Organization and structure
The Indypendent is a volunteer-driven newspaper. It has two full-time staff but relies on a core group of volunteers as well as a rotating cast of contributing writers. The Indypendent is committed to training new writers, designers, and editors, and has conducted numerous journalism-training workshops.
Political coverage and scoops
Over the first six years of its existence, The Indypendent covered many of the most dramatic political events of the early 21st century, including the disputed 2000 Presidential Election, the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Argentine economic crisis, the collapse of WTO trade negotiations in 2003 in Cancun, Mexico, and 2004 Republican National Convention protest activity. The paper came out in opposition to the Iraq War in October 2002 (a full 5 months before the war began) and has maintained a consistently anti-war position for the duration of the conflict.
Awards and alumni activities
The Indypendent has won numerous awards from the New York City Independent Press Association ("Ippies"), including 11 in 2005. The paper has served as something of a "farm team" for other media organizations: 2 of the paper's founders, Mike Burke and Ana Nogueira, have worked as producers at Democracy Now!, while Heather Haddon has gone on to provide coverage of the Bronx for the Norwood News. Writer Sarah Stuteville won a 2004 James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism for her work with the Indypendent and has since founded the Common Language Project. Most of its volunteers are active within various elements of the New York City social justice community.
While regarded by many as one of the most consistent, accurate, and well-edited Indymedia projects, The Indypendent became something of a lightning rod for criticism in its early years. Many of these criticisms came from within the Indymedia network itself. The Indypendent′s June 2002 decision to expel one of its members for disruptive behavior caused great consternation in the network, though similar personality clashes have since become rather common within Indymedia. The paper was one of the first Indymedia projects to accept paid advertising, and it was also one of the first projects to formally pay its volunteers for their labor. The paper was criticized for its alleged "aloof," "go-it-alone" attitude towards the rest of Indymedia. The paper's wide-ranging acceptance of left-wing ideologies (including more traditionally leftist and Maoist viewpoints) has also been criticized by many anarchists. Some former volunteers have argued that The Indypendent falls short of its explicitly egalitarian ethos and is dominated by one or two long-time members.
In response, many Indypendent volunteers pointed to the tension between the needs of a print project (with correspondingly high expenses and printing costs) and Indymedia ideals, and have also pointed to the natural tensions that arise when a longrunning media project with a fairly stable core of talented volunteers grows within an anti-authoritarian model. Indypendent volunteers have also disputed the charge of aloofness, noting that they were instrumental in organizing many of the early meetings of the Indymedia network and in starting multiple IMC newspaper projects, as well as facilitating multiple activist convergences (like the RNC and WEF). Finally, other aspiring journalists have praised the Indypendent′s nurturing of new writers. In short, the controversies surrounding The Indypendent can be seen as part of broader tensions within the Indymedia model.
- Mule Newspaper, Manchester-based independent media project
- "Masthead | The Indypendent". indypendent.org. Retrieved 2017-03-31.