Alternative Media

            For our most recent J201 assignment we were asked to monitor an alternative media source and compare it to the more mainstream/corporate news sources out there. For my alternative media source I chose to pick Democracy Now! An independent, award willing news program that is hosted daily by two journalists named Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales. The goal with this news program is to provide the general public with access to independent and different sources of news.

The mainstream source I picked was CNN. It is a high-powered and well-known news source relied on by millions to report up to date information. It has staff working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and counts on their 4000 thousand employees to keep you informed of what’s going on in the world around you.

The stories covered by CNN talked mostly about what was going on with the upcoming election and the problems that America is facing currently. Many of the articles were about the economic crisis and how badly it is affecting the Dow. Although many of the stories seemed to cover those topics there were others that talked about more “gossipy” things currently happening. News of a child star being found guilty of multiple murders and a hurt climber who had to live off urine and bugs for days were also included in this sites stories. Democracy Now! Seemed to share news stories that were more aimed at what was going on not only in our nation but also in other places all over the world. They talked about World Food Day and reports arrests because of anti-war organizations. They did too however speak a lot about the economic crisis and shifts with the upcoming election just like mainstream CNN did.

After monitoring both sites I didn’t really get the feeling that either had on scene reporters that were actively watching what they were speaking about. CNN seemed to be getting their information from a number of different sources and stringing them together to make a concrete story. Democracy Now! On the other hand appeared to also be taking clips from previous news stories and then commentating on them. I felt that CNN focused more time on reporting rather then expressing their opinion then Democracy Now! Did. Democracy Now! Spent what felt like the majority of their broadcasts expressing their political opinion. When I compared the two sites and the amount of sources used I saw that CNN used a lot more sources than Democracy Now! CNN on average had about 4-5 different sources when reporting their stories where as Democracy Now! Had maybe 2-3.

Both sites used a varied of interviews. Democracy Now! Had expert opinions from both sides of the political spectrum giving their opinions and commentating on what the thoughts and feelings were about the topics being covered. CNN used many government sources to backup their stories and give the American people more insight. They had officials talking more in depth about the politician’s actions and what that was going to mean for the future. The majority of the people who were being interviewed and who were commentating were men. Democracy Now! Did happen to use many more women than CNN chose to. They also used more non-profit experts and grassroots activists in their broadcasts.

Democracy Now! Had their broadcasts available in Spanish, German, Italian, and Russian. Not only that but they broadcasted in more then 6 different Spanish speaking countries all over the world. CNN offered their site in Arabic, Spanish, Japanese, Korean or Turkish. Both sites had an excellent variety of languages to pick from so that people from all over the world could enjoy what both sites had to offer and share. 

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About Ayan Jama

I am a University of Oregon graduate with a BA in Journalism with a focus in Magazine and Public Relations. I enjoy foreign movies, white chocolate, shoes, and friends & family.
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