The Revival of Alternative Media is on the Way

To hell with Florida. We all know the real source of chaos, confusion and other horrid games you should not play with politics: the mainstream media. Taking more wrong turns on Nov. 7 than a freshman looking for Roosevelt College (why build a new one when no one can find the last one?), the television, print and brand-spank-them-new Internet journalists successfully eradicated any semblance of clarity in our electoral process.

All through that quadruple-take of a night and the weeks since, I stay glued not to CNN or ABC, but PBS and the wonder of real information, http://www.indymedia.org. This site is dedicated to alternative reporting on mainstream and alternative events and uses a vast, grass-roots network of informants to bring breaking news direct to me, always with the proper qualifications as to exactly who verified what and when, and never with Dan Rather cracking wise about motor homes.

I’d love to continue this tirade about the abrogation of truth by the Associated Press, but there is a malingering dispenser of misinformation much closer to home that begs my wrath.

You’re holding it in your hands.

The UCSD Guardian is our very own source for a complete void of reporting accuracy, one that makes the case more than any other for alternative media. Aside from failing to deliver a single accurate report on the Triton Cross Country team this season, the assembled (emphasis on iassi) sages of the Guardian editorial staff last year panned our current A.S. Commissioner of Media, Rami Sharaawy, when he ran for the office he now holds.

Talk about electoral turnarounds. Shaarawy, one of several A.S. commissioners cute enough to be cast on a WB sitcom, holds the role within the A.S Council traditionally held by status quo hatchet men. Most of his predecessors were used by the administration, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not, to slash funds and support for various publications such as Voz Fronteriza, the New Indicator, and the California Review.

You have never heard of these publications? That is because their existence has been almost obliterated over the years, leaving us with only two prominent student-funded and student-run publications: the Koala and the Muir Quarterly. These two vanguards of drunken hilarity certainly make for good reading on the crapper, and make for better toilet paper than the Center Hall one-ply, but do little else to enhance our student lives.

Just because you’re handed issues while twiddling your thumbs in the Price Center does not mean that they’re free. You, me and every other student paid for them, at somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 apiece. This money is part of your student activity fees, and it goes to the ASUCSD, and then they give it out.

In the case of alternative media, they used to give a lot more of it out, until along came one particularly smarmy commissioner who slashed budgets every which way, but wisely, and then founded (wait for it) the Koala.

Funny old world, innit?

Flashing forward to the more recent past, we find Sharaawy getting dissed by the Guardian as working every way but competently. This is as near to the truth as York is to Warren. Sharaawy doesn’t suck. He is proving to be an intelligent and dedicated advocate for alternative media, and those two qualities put him aways ahead of most of the pundits, myself excluded, who work for this rag.

Sharaawy is now supporting more than 10 alternative media projects, all coming to a table near you, about half of which are very recent developments. Keep an eye out for The Patriot, Free, Al-Qalam, Gernika, Temper, Pinaytation, Truffalla Tree, New Atlantis, Gach Noi, and the old favorites and just recently revived Voz, the New Indicator, and The Disorientation manual. Oh, and the Koala and Muir Quarterly still publish, too.

I could attempt a summary of these varied and valuable projects, but it’s better that they speak for themselves. If you are interested in these projects, or a similar one of your own, get in touch with Sharaawy by cruising to the third floor of the Price Center, where all A.S. offices are located.

The quarters to come should bring an explosion of new and exciting publications. Keep your eyes peeled, and in the mean time, turn off the tube and try indymedia.org. You might be surprised at how much truth really is out there.