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Open Publishing

Online open publishing subverts the one-to-many relationship of traditional media, offering a mass communication platform from many-to-many. Internet sites run on open publishing software allow anyone with Internet access to visit the site and upload content directly without having to penetrate the filters of traditional media. Thus open publishing allows members of the public to break out of their traditional role as media consumers to become media makers.

Several fundamental principles tend to inform the organizations and sites dedicated to open publishing, though they do so to varying degrees. These principles include non-hierarchy, public participation, minimal editorial control, and transparency. Because most open publishing sites are not run for profit, there is no hierarchy of stockholders, corporate sponsors, or editors controlling the content to be fed to the public—instead these sites are created and maintained by the people for the people. Editorial control is kept to a minimum and the process is transparent, meaning the public can see what editorial decisions have been made.

Open publishing sites take many forms, from community news sites like Indymedia, to techie sites like Slashdot, to the rapidly proliferating online journals known as blogs.

Open Publishing Sites

Indymedia is a collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage. Indymedia is a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth.

A largely user-driven, user-moderated forum billing itself as news for nerds, stuff that matters.

Slashcode is the site for All Things Slash. Slash is the source code and database that was originally used to create Slashdot, and has now been released under the GNU General Public License. It is a bona fide Open Source / Free Software project. Use this site to get the Slash source, read the latest Slash news, and participate in Slash discussions.

Kuro5hin.org is a site about technology and culture, both separately and in their interactions. It is updated whenever interesting things appear in the submission box, or whenever your humble hosts rusty and Inoshiro feel inspired to write something. Besides the two admins, Kuro5hin relies on its readers -- it exists for them and through them. Submit stories about interesting things that you hear about, things you think of, or other things which strike your fancy. This site has an open submission queue. Any user can see and vote on all submitted stories. If you want to see something posted, you can make it happen by participating in the moderation of the stories in the submission queue.

The Palestine Chronicle
Palestine Chronicle is an independent internet magazine, dedicated to addressing issues and offering perspectives rarely seen in mainstream western media. These issues include the plight and welfare of Palestinian refugees, as well as other displaced and oppressed people around the world. We are committed to democracy and freedom of expression, and we encourage contributions from people who are genuinely concerned with the specified above.

Protest.Net is a collective of activists who are working together to create our own media. By publishing a public record of our political activities on the web we are taking a stand against the established media. Allows visitors to post information about upcoming protests.

Articles on Open Publishing

Open Publishing by Matthew Arnison

Indymedia: Between Passion and Pragmatism by Gal Beckerman

Net Repertoire by Heather Gorgura

Modern Day Muckrakers by Theta Pavis

Online Uprising by Catherine Seipp


A variation on the open publishing theme, weblogs, popularly referred to as blogs, are online journals. While many take the form of personal diaries, others constitute unedited collaborative journalism. Because blogs often allow visitors to post comments, the dialogue created between the blogger and her contributing readers begins to create a journalism that is public and participatory. When blogs link to news articles, offering and inviting commentary on mainsteam media—they create a public dialogue online where before there was merely transmission (by the news outlets) and reception (by the public).

Individual Blogs

Andrew Sullivan
Talking Points Memo

Collaborative Blogs

Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing and Invasion of Iraq, Syria

Articles on Blogs

Weblogs: A History and Perspective by Rebecca Blood
What Makes a Weblog a Weblog? by Dave Winer
Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality by Clay Shirky