Thursday, 6 January 2011




1. Create a simple system for organising paperwork;
2. get into the habit of using that system.

Simple, alphabetical filing system; creating a file for each client, vendor and/or project.

File things right away to keep your filing system up-to-date. Do not create a to be filed file nor a miscellaneous one, these eventually become the biggest files.

Have filing materials always on hand in terms of a generous stationery cupboard.

Prevention is better than cure so store less and less:

1. Store reference information online if you have your own Internet access - contacts, budget information, ideas, logs, etc;
2. reduce incoming paper - ask for e-mails instead of fax and postal communication; stop paper versions of newsletters, magazines, etc;
3. use your printer less - it is easier to search for digital data than for physical data;
4. analyse other incoming documents - do you need a hard copy or is it available online? Is it better to scan and digitally store?

1. Mail center should be in-box, waste-paper basket, filing system and stationery cupboard;
2. use in-box for all incoming stuff - no matter what;
3. pay bills immediately - it is taken care of and off your mind;
4. Use to-do lists and calendars extensively and immediately;
5. file immediately - use company names or generic nouns as labels.

Set times in the day to process this information and documentation.

Copyright © 2011 Frank TALKER. Permission granted to reproduce and distribute it in any format; provided that mention of the author’s Weblog ( is included: E-mail notification requested. All other rights reserved. Frank TALKER is also the author of Sweaty Socks: A Treatise on the Inevitability of Toe Jam in Hot Weather (East Cheam Press: Groper Books, 1997) and is University of Bullshit Professor Emeritus of Madeupology.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Alternative Media

(Adapted from: Alternative Media.)


Alternative media are media (newspapers, radio, television, magazines, movies, Internet, etc.) which provide alternative information to the mainstream media in a given context, whether the mainstream media are commercial, publicly supported, or government-owned. They differ from mainstream media in their content, aesthetic, modes of production, modes of distribution, and audience relations, and often aim to challenge existing powers, to represent marginalized groups, and to foster horizontal linkages among communities of interest.


Proponents of alternative media argue that the mainstream media are biased in the selection and framing of news and information. While sources of alternative media can also be biased, proponents claim that the bias is significantly different from that of the mainstream media because they have a different set of values, objectives, and frameworks, and because they are often openly biased and thus their political agenda is not hidden. These media thus provide an "alternative" viewpoint, different information and interpretations of the world than can be found in the mainstream: Advocacy journalism tends, thus, to be a component of many alternative outlets.


Because the term "alternative" has connotations of self-marginalization, some media outlets now prefer the term "independent" to "alternative".


Several different categories of media may fall under the heading "alternative media". These include radical and dissident media, social movement media, ethnic/racial media, indigenous media, community media, subcultural media, student media and avant-garde media. Each of these categories highlights the perceived shortcomings of the dominant media to serve particular audiences, aims and interests; attempting to overcome these shortcomings through their own media.


The traditional, binary definition of alternative media has been expanded in the last decade beyond merely challenging the mainstream. Simply comparing alternative media to the mainstream media ignores the profound effect that making media has on the makers. As producers and actors within their community, modern alternative media activists redefine their self-image with signs and codes of their own choosing, their interpretation of citizenship, the environment and their world; thereby disrupting the traditional acceptance of those imposed by outside sources.


With the increasing importance attributed to digital technologies, questions have arisen about where digital media fit in the dichotomy between alternative and mainstream media. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other similar sites, while not necessarily created to be information media, are increasingly being used to spread news and information; potentially acting as alternative media as they allow ordinary citizens to bypass the gatekeepers of traditional, mainstream media and share the information and perspectives these citizens deem important. Additionally, digital media provide an alternative space for deviant, dissident or non-traditional views, and allow for the creation of new, alternative communities that can provide a voice for those normally marginalized by the mainstream media.


However, some have criticized the weaknesses of the Web. First, for its ability to act as both "alternative and a mass medium brings with it the tension of in-group and out-group communication." Second, the Web "rarely lives up to its potential" with constraints to access.

Citizen journalism

Digital technologies have also led to an alternative form of video more commonly known as citizen generated journalism. Individuals and smaller groups have the potential to describe and make public their interpretations of the world. Video shot on camcorders, FLIP cameras, and now cellphones have been utilized by the alternative media to commonly show human rights abuses. In turn, the mainstream media notices these videos when it fits their narrative of what it deems "newsworthy".


The filtering processes (biases) of mainstream media is propaganda. The failures of the mainstream press are primarily linked to corporate ownership, pro-corporate public policy and the myth of "professional journalism." These failures of the mainstream press create advocacy for scholarship in the study of the political economy of the media, the growth of alternative media, and comprehensive media policy reforms. There is also the problem of the takeover of biased media, with particular attention to the giant conglomerates that own them. If a small number of large conglomerates own the majority of media, politics and general media influence are in jeopardy.



The alternative press consists of printed publications that provide a different or dissident viewpoint than that provided by major mainstream and corporate newspapers, magazines, and other print media. It is the real thing, before it gets slick, co-opted and profitable. The underground press comes out in small quantities, is often illegible, treads on the thin ice of unmentionable subjects and never carries ads for designer jeans.

An example of alternative media is tactical media, which uses 'hit-and-run' tactics to bring attention to an emerging problem. Often tactical media attempts to expose large corporations that control sources of mainstream media. One prominent NGO dedicated to tactical media practices and info-activism is the Tactical Technology Collective, which assists human rights, advocates in using technology. They have released several toolkits freely to the global community, including NGO In A Box South Asia, which assists in the setting up the framework of a self-sustaining NGO, Security-In-A-Box, a collection of software to keep data secure and safe for NGOs operating in potentially hostile political climates, and their new short form toolkit 10 Tactics, which "... provides original and artful ways for rights advocates to capture attention and communicate a cause".

Avant-garde media

The category of avant-garde media emphasizes the experimental and innovative aspect of a certain kind of alternative media that stands out for its aesthetic qualities and that is usually produced by artists. Examples of avant-garde media can be found in the works of the Situationist International, Dadaism, Surrealism, Punk literature, Epic Theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed, Stencil graffiti. Groups like the Situationist International bring to the table questions of how alternative media can be conceptualized as a formal strategy. While the group was largely composed of students, professors, intellectuals, etc., the techniques they choose to use (such as d├ętournement) address the question of alternative media as an aesthetic practice.

Community, low-power and pirate radio

In many countries around the world, specific categories of radio stations are licensed to provide targeted broadcasts to specific communities, including community radio and low-power FM (LPFM). Such stations typically broadcast with less wattage than commercial or public/state-run broadcasters, and are often non-commercial and non-profit in nature. These stations are authorized to provide non-commercial, educational broadcasting and cannot operate with an effective radiated power of more than 100 watts. LPFM services were authorized to meet the increasing demand that existed in the United States for the creation of new, hyper-local radio outlets that would be grounded in their respective communities. The Prometheus Radio Project is a grassroots organization in the United States that advocates the establishment of LPFM stations and provides assistance to start-up LPFM stations. In many countries, pirate radio stations also operate without any official license, in many cases providing programming to communities underserved by licensed broadcasters.

Media ethnicity

Ethnic media and racial media outlets, including ethnic newspapers, radio stations and television programs, typically target specific ethnic and racial groups instead of the general population, such as immigrant audience groups. In many cases, ethnic media are regarded as media which are entirely created by and for ethnic groups within their respective host countries, with content in their native languages, though many ethnic media outlets are in fact operated by transnational organizations or even by mainstream corporations, while others are commercial operations, even if they still arguably fulfill a role as an ethnic/racial representative for their respective communities within the larger media landscape.

While ethnic media might provide a useful category of analysis, it can sometimes run the risk of homogenizing all members of a certain given ethnic group into a single overarching descriptive category. When one uses such categories, power relations, differences in political views, questions of gender, and many other essential issues might become erased. For example, with the rise of the African American press in the United States, some publishers, such as the California Eagle under the leadership of Charlotta Bass, displayed a much more explicitly progressive position than other popular newspapers such as the Chicago Defender.

When using this term, it is useful to think about historical context, internal composition of the group, and possible political or cultural differences between members of the group.

Copyright © 2010 Frank TALKER. Permission granted to reproduce and distribute it in any format; provided that mention of the author’s Weblog ( is included: E-mail notification requested. All other rights reserved. Frank TALKER is also the author of Sweaty Socks: A Treatise on the Inevitability of Toe Jam in Hot Weather (East Cheam Press: Groper Books, 1997) and is University of Bullshit Professor Emeritus of Madeupology.

about us

My photo

Frank TALKER - Truth-Teller