In her Salon article “Why I Quit the Mainstream Media”, Natasha Lennard writes that severing her freelance relationship with the New York Times was liberating.
By allying herself with the Occupy Wall Street movement, she knew that she was making herself a pariah in traditional journalism circles. But the orthodoxy of objectivity that dominates the mainstream media seemed inadequate to the task at hand:
…if the mainstream media prides itself on reporting the facts, I have found too many problems with what does or does not get to be a fact — or what rises to the level of a fact they believe to be worth reporting — to be part of such a machine. Going forward, I want to take responsibility for my voice and the facts that I choose and relay. I want them to instigate change.
Lennard is struggling with what to call herself now. Journalist? Activist?
I propose advocacy journalism as the term that best expresses the kind of reporting we need today. The term is broad enough to embrace reporting that ranges from gonzo to thoughtful, while emphasizing fairness combined with a distinct point of view. Examples range from Matt Taibbi’s gonzo My Advice to the Occupy Protesters to Pulitzer-Prize winner Chris Hedges’ Occupy Wall Street Statement. The goal is to enlist journalism in service to the cause of building a better society through the lens of social justice and community participation.
Let’s welcome advocacy journalist Natasha Lennard to the world of the alternative press.