Most of the websites where Americans get their daily news are well-known corporations that have long become household names. However, these websites are operated with corporate funding, which dictates that type of news that will appear on the sites. Even if a controversial story is featured, the language and presentation may reflect the best interest of the website’s corporate sponsors.
For this reason, a number of smaller companies are creating alternative news websites. While these sites feature some stories that readers wouldn’t normally see on a “regular” online news feed, alternative news sites also report popular stories from a different angle. For instance, if a political story breaks that may praise one party while demonizing the other on a corporate news website, an alternative site may report the same story with a neutral yet informative tone of voice. Alternative news companies also cover stories that wouldn’t otherwise get much attention. You’re likely to find a lot of environmental news on alternative websites, as well as new details that may have been conveniently omitted on a more well-known site.
For instance, the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting website (www.fair.org) covered a story on December 4, 2012 revealing that a popular women’s clothing has been practicing racial discrimination when hiring and firing employees. The same story was reported in the L.A.Times the same day, but was listed as a business story, and described the discrimination is “just another problem” that the company has to deal with, since the company has recently fired its chief executive and overseen a board overhaul. While a conventional news site may report the story of racial prejudice in a professional setting as just another corporate challenge, an alternative news site is much more likely to present the story as a social issue, and to highlight the lack of justice that those being discriminated against are receiving.
The Project Censored (www.projectcensored.org) website is designed to cover stories that the public has a perceived understanding about, and to reveal little-known details about these stories. The website is also promoting a book, Censored 2013: Dispatches from the Media Revolution, dedicated to dispelling the myths that people believe about popular news stories. One of the stories that will be explored in the book is the Kent State massacre which occurred on the Ohio college campus in 1970 when students engaged in an anti-war protest. The National Guard fired 67 shots on the campus to stop the protest, killing four students and wounding nine. Project Censored reports have uncovered evidence that the FBI and COINTELPRO were instructed present the story to the public as though the National Guard had to break up a disturbance, hence the reason for the shooting. However, the protest was peaceful, and these organizations were presenting news coverage of this event in a way that would hopefully discourage U.S. citizens from protesting about the Vietnam War.
Democracy Now (www.democracynow.org), while it does present news from a democratic party standpoint, covers some news that probably won’t be present on major new sites. The site presents news on how the democratic party is dealing with environmental issues like global warming. And, some members of the party are expressing their frustration and disappointment for how democrats are handling certain government policies. This gives the website more of a fair and balanced voice. The website also includes videos of press conferences to go along with the news reports, to give readers a first-hand account of the strides democrats are making to better the country and the world.
Of course, the news can always take a satirical turn for those who could use a good laugh after watching depressing news coverage. Websites like TheOnion.com offers social (sometimes risky) commentary on cultural differences, environmental issues, the state of the economy, and other quirky stories that the public may be interested in. while many of the stories are funny, a number of the reports are also thought-provoking and prompt the reader to consider the actual state of society—not the one that is often presented by the biggest influencers of the media.