Monday, January 25, 2010

Tom Stites and the Banyan Project

Huge congratulations go out to former UU World editor Tom Stites. Because of his work with the Banyan Project, he has been nominated for the WeMedia Community Choice Game Changer Award. He needs your help to win it, though. Just go to and click next to his name.

Apparently the Game Changer Award will be presented in May at the WeMedia conference in Miami; the winner presents the conference's keynote address to a room full of influential journalism people and -- most important -- foundation executives who include the top people from the Knight Foundation. Winning the award would give the not-for-profit Banyan startup a huge boost in its search for funding.

From Tom:

Why should people vote for me, other than because you'd be doing the asking? Because at a time when newspapers are dying and the Supreme Court is bombing democracy, the Banyan Project would strengthen it.

Banyan's journalism will be tailored to meet the distinctive needs of the hugepublic of less-than-affluent Americans, the everyday citizens so ill-served by mainstream news media. It will thus not only serve democracy but also address a significant justice issue: Media critics tend to overlook the class and economic injustice inherent in today's top-down journalism, which aims almost entirely at serving the elites, and the damage to democracy that it causes. Overcoming this injustice is a major element of what drives the Banyan Project.

In short, Banyan exemplifies UU values, not only by upholding our Fifth Principle but also by creating a wholly new model for journalism rooted in a consumer co-op where the editors are accountable to readers the way a minister is accountable to a UU congregation.

So -- if this is something you support, activate your networks, get that whole UU-interconnected thing working and get out the vote!

1 comment:

Ned Haley said...

As ot today - Jan. 31 - Tom Stites leads the competition with just over 30% of the votes. Long way to go yet, but his efforts on behalf of Democracy and fact-based journalism are being recognized. Thx for posting this!