From AJR, April 2000 issue
By Erin Heath
Erin Heath is a former AJR editorial assistant.
"A S THE MEDIA WATCH the world, we watch the media," boasts a Web site appropriately named MediaChannel.org.
The nonprofit site, launched February 3, offers analysis on subjects ranging from media access to violence in the news by dozens of contributors. Walter Cronkite is an adviser.
Regular features include interviews with journalists and media critics, a discussion forum and a "whistleblower" column, in which journalists discuss deficiencies they've seen in the business.
"I joined the media to try to spotlight the problems of the world, and then I realized the media was one of those problems," says Danny Schechter, MediaChannel.org's founder and executive editor, and a longtime media critic.
Schechter, aka the "News Dissector," penned a column in February about TV networks' lackluster coverage of Black History Month. One of the biggest issues in journalism today is a lack of diversity, he says.
Other hot topics the site tackles include online journalism and media ownership. And to keep up with the international scene, MediaChannel.org has advisers from 36 countries. It also incorporates stories from other media organizations.
MediaChannel.org is a project of OneWorld Online, publisher of an international Web site on human rights, the environment and development, and the Global Center, a New York-based foundation that supports independent media.
"We have a global perspective, which makes us kind of unique," Schechter says. "We're talking about diversity of ideas. There are a lot of voices that aren't being heard."