Media as a Societal Mission

I think the idea of “alternative media” was one of my favorite topics that we discussed in class. Our class seemed to struggle to come up with media outlets that we all agreed were alternative and what alternative might have meant.

Meeting with organizations such as Romea.cz and Radio Free Europe really emphasized how important it is to have organizations that are targeting underrepresented communities and countries which do not produce accurate news coverage.

I think that it is important to have these alternative media sites and outlets, but I also think it is necessary for them to be integrated into the mainstream as well, when it comes to diversity and underrepresentation. I think often that people think if an alternative outlet is covering minorities or issues that the mainstream is ignoring, then the mainstream is not responsible and it is not necessary for them to cover these topics.

As an alternative media outlet, I am curious as to how many people and which demographics of people these organizations are reaching. For instance, if it is difficult to access Radio Free Europe, are only educated people able to find out how to evade firewalls and blocked websites? I think it is especially necessary in these cases where the public is being fed propaganda by the mainstream media to have access and to be aware of alternative media. It seems that the educated public is aware that they are being fed propaganda, so it is easier for them to decipher the messages and to seek alternative news.

I also would have liked to know what demographics Romea.cz is reaching. Are they reaching Roma people across the country, more educated Roma individuals or the entire population beyond Roma? I think it is valuable for the general public to be aware of Romea.cz as a media source, but as we discussed in our meeting it is also important for the mainstream media to cover Roma issues properly, fairly and accurately.

I also am curious about if and how Roma issues get incorporated into the mainstream media in an accurate way and receive a large amount of representation what will happen to sites like Romea.cz. I think it is still valuable as an alternative media site, but I am not sure how the funding and readership would change if this were to happen.

We are often taught in our journalism classes that it is important to tell both sides of the story and to not be biased, but I think that mission-driven journalism is something that is not discussed enough. If there’s one side of a story that isn’t being told, then media sites like Romea.cz shouldn’t have to both sides of the story. They are there to share stories that aren’t being told — not the ones that the mainstream media is already covering.

I’m glad that we had the opportunity to learn more about alternative media opportunities in the Czech Republic. Especially as media moves away from print and radio, it is interesting to see how these organizations are adapting and how evolving is helping them reach new and different audiences.

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