[IMC-Process] Big Muddy, IL, US (decision Deadline 16-May 23:59 GMT)

nick sarsnic at gmail.com
Thu Jun 9 10:00:45 PDT 2005

1) Vision Statement, 2) Editorial Policy, 3) Diversity
Statement, 4) responses to: IMC MEMBERSHIP CRITERIA - DRAFT

1) Big Muddy IMC Vision Statement (Developed Jan. 2, 2004, Agreed to Jan. 5)

 The Independent Media Center is a collectively run global network of
 Web-based media focused on the creation and distribution of news and
 information that corporate media either ignores or willingly refuses to

 The Big Muddy IMC was formed because we understand that the current state of
 corporate media and corporate democracy does not even remotely reflect the
 actual interests and concerns that the majority of people from all economic
 and ethnic backgrounds have within a wide spectrum of political,
 environmental and social issues. We require and demand fairness and accuracy
 in the media and plan to actively pursue this goal for the health, safety and
 betterment this planet. We have a responsibility to the people of this planet
 and believe that the current paradigm of information distribution does an
 inexcusably poor job of reflecting the interests of all its people.

 We are driven by a powerful desire to use all means of media at our disposal
 to promote and distribute significant news and events at the local, national
 and global levels. Our philosophy is based on democratic principles
 predicated on the belief that a truly informed citizenry is perfectly capable
 of making decisions on all varieties of issues when given the proper

 Our goal is to work with people who are inspired to build a better world and
 to develop an egalitarian and sustainable society which serves and benefits
 the interest of all instead of only a privileged few. Because of our
 location, which covers more than 7,000 square miles of territory, we strongly
 believe that we are in a unique position to provide an example by
 representing a strong rural voice for people in the United States.

We are wholly committed to the Principles of Unity and Indymedia model of
non-hierarchical, consensus decision-making that includes ethnically,
economically and socially diverse perspectives from those who live, work and
study in Southern Illinois.

Big Muddy Independent Media Center
214 N. Washington

info at bigmuddyimc.org

Big Muddy News Radio
9-10 a.m. every Wednesday
WDBX Community Radio 91.1-FM
Now Streaming live. Visit www.wdbx.org and start clicking

2) Big Muddy IMC Editorial Policy
Updated 8 February 2004

I. Introduction
II. Feature Stories and Open Newswire
III. Guidelines for Editorial Process
IV. Transparency of Editorial Process

I. Introduction

The Big Muddy Independent Media Center is an open collective of grassroots
journalists dedicated to providing an open outlet for independent news and
public discourse.

The Big Muddy IMC is affiliated with the global Indymedia movement, which
includes other locally-based IMCs, meduim specific organizations, and global
coordinating bodies. This network fosters media creation based upon the
principles of free participation and association, mutual aid, open-source
software, open publishing, and transparent decision-making. As an affiliate
of the Indymedia network, the Big Muddy IMC remains committed to these

II. Feature Stories and Open Newswire

The Big Muddy IMC website operates two primary media resources: feature
stories and the open newswire.

Feature stories, which are found in the center column of the website, are
written and/or selected by members of the Big Muddy IMC collective. These
features represent the organization's output of news and editorial content.
Carbondale-area and Southern Illinois issues are the focus of features,
though regional and global stories are published as well. Features are
typically based on content published on the open publishing newswire.

The open publishing newswire appears in the right-hand column of the
website. It works as the basic medium through which anyone can contribute
news and editorial content to the Big Muddy IMC website. Text, photo, audio,
video, and several other types of files are publishable on the newswire.

III. Guidelines for Editorial Process

Content published on the newswire is not endorsed by the Big Muddy IMC and
is subject to a basic editorial policy. This policy insures the continued
integrity of the open publishing newswire by setting clear guidelines for
hiding and moving posts that constitute abuse of the open media commons.

The purpose of the newswire is to empower independent reporters to publish
news and commentary on current events and issues. Published material that
interferes with this purpose is liable to be transferred to the hidden

The Big Muddy IMC reserves the right to hide newswire content that is
composed of any of the following:

Advertisments or commercial posts.
Multiple posts, whether they include the same or similar content posted
multiple times, or include multiple different posts in a short period of
time that can be construed as flaming, flooding, trolling, spamming, or
otherwise disrupting the newswire.
Posts that for any reason create technical difficulty for the newswire, are
unreadable, or are marked as "test" postings.
Pornographic content.
Content that constitutes a serious threat of physical, psychological, or
other harm to the Big Muddy IMC, its members, or anyone else.
Content advocating bigotry and/or hatred based upon sex, ethnicity, gender,
race, sexuality, religion, class, or national origin.
Patently false content in terms of author, location, time, or actors.
Published content that falls into any of the above categories may be hidden
at the discretion of the Big Muddy IMC. The Big Muddy IMC may also edit or
delete content in severe violation of these guidelines. The hiding, editing,
and deleting of articles, however, does not indicate that unhidden,
unedited, or undeleted articles are endorsed by the Big Muddy IMC.

The Big Muddy IMC also reserves the right to move newswire content under the
following circumstances:

Posts that contain related material may be grouped together under a common
Posts that include previously published content may be moved to the Other
Press section.
Posts that consist primarily of audio/video content without text may be
moved to the Media Gallery.
Posts that consist primarily of a link or links to other Internet sites may
be moved to the Links page.
Posts that have been selected as Features may be moved to the Features
Finally, no set of guidelines can cover every circumstance. Therefore, the
Big Muddy IMC reserves the right to hide, edit, delete, or move posts for
any reasons similar to the above that are in keeping with our unwavering
committment to serve as an open publishing resource.

IV. Transparency of Editorial Process

The decision to hide, edit, delete, or move published content is made by
individual Big Muddy IMC collective members who are empowered to implement
the editorial policy described above. Any member of the Big Muddy IMC
collective who hides a post is required to add a comment explaining why the
content was hidden. By having their name and comment associated with their
decision to hide the post, they can be held accountable for their actions in
the event that they have acted outside of the Big Muddy IMC Editorial

If you wish to appeal the decision of the Big Muddy IMC to hide or remove a
story or comment, you may find the appropriate Editorial email address by
visiting our Contact Info page.
3) Big Muddy Indpendent Media Center Diversity statement

Diversity Statement Outline:
       •       Mission
       •       Context
       •       Challenges and Steps to Overcome them


The Big Muddy Independent Media Center (BMIMC) is dedicated to
covering and representing the diversity contained within the Southern
Illinois region regarding gender, race, sexual preference, spiritual
beliefs, age, politics, locations (rural and urban), class,
professional and cultural identity. The BMIMC is particularly
committed to representing under-served groups in Southern Illinois
such as women, people of color (African-American, Asian-American,
Hispanic, for example), GLBTQ, non-Judeo-Christians (Muslim, Hindu,
Buddhist, Pagan, and so on), youth and the elderly, environmentalists,
third/independent parties, the poor, family farmers, coal miners,
migrant workers, local business owners, non-traditional families, and
the international population.

With respect to the Southern Illinois region, the membership of the
BMIMC reflects diversity in gender, sexuality, spirituality, age,
politics, geographic location within the tri-county area (Jackson,
Williamson and Union counties) we currently represent. However, the
membership of the BMIMC consists of predominantly male, whites, people
ages 18-40, Jackson county residents, middle class, and Southern
Illinois University Carbondale students.
Challenges and Steps to Overcome them

We are keenly aware of the divergence between our vision statement and
the current reality that our collective reflects. However, we fully
understand the need for greater diversity and are committed to
addressing diversity issues regarding membership and coverage on an
ongoing basis.

Part of this ongoing process will be developing three-month plans of
increasing diversity and conducting reviews to monitor our progress at
the end of every three-month period.

These plans consist of general outreach strategies through events in
the BMIMC space that include film  screenings, local bands, art
exhibits, the Muddy Media newspaper, Big Muddy News Radio and our
website. Also included will be a strong outreach effort involving
field work (meet-n-greet, multi-media presentations, etc.),
promotional items, working with regional community colleges,
establishing chapters in outlying areas and more.

In addition, each diversity issue will be addressed separately to
better accommodate its specificity . . . as regards to gender . . . as
regards to race . . . and as regards to age.

In order to increase the BMIMC diversity of geographic representation
and to cover the full range of our territory, we initially plan to set
up chapters in seven counties. These chapters would eventually allow
us to expand even more and reach the rest of our defined territory
which includes approximately 7,000 square miles of land.


Increase diversity of membership, work division and coverage.

Training of members in web, audio and video technologies as well as
other aspects of media production


Enhance diversity throughout our activities by being all-inclusive in
terms of program content as well as membership and community outreach.

We adhere to the principle that diversity among people, cultures,
ideas, and methodologies are critically important in advancing a
forward-looking, sustainable and healthy community.

The BMIMC is united by a recognition of and respect for diverse
communities. By focusing on the human dimension, we aim to nurture and
expand a clear understanding that differences between cultures and
communities involves appreciating and respecting intercultural
dynamics, social identities, and means offering a wide range of
opportunities that cultural diversity opens up for everyone. Operating
from the assumption that boundaries are permeable and history
transforms, individual and collective empowerment are conducted and
performed harmoniously.


1. Promote a deeper appreciation and greater understanding of cultural
diversity, and foster mutual respect, cooperation and compassion among
individuals and groups that make up our community,

2. Strengthen access to multicultural perspectives,

3. Bridge gaps between people of all cultures and economic backgrounds.

4. Create and sustain interactions and meaningful dialogue between
diverse cultures across multiple contexts

More Reflections

A. How does the makeup of your collective reflect the diversity of the
local community (e.g. in relation to gender-, sexual-, spiritual-,
and/or cultural-identity)?

Diversity Here is a list of certain characteristics we came up with
which broadly defines the people currently involved with the IMC.

White, College Students, Age-span, Bi, Straight, Pagan, Enviro,
Undecided, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim, Working class, Students,
Socialists, Anarchists, Greens, Native American, International,
Political, Uninsured, under-insured?

Is this a reflection of Southern Illinois?

Somewhat. We have to work hard to broaden this list to include many
other voices and perspectives, including people like coal miners,
farmers, blacks, international students, gay, lesbian, bisexual,
trans, feminists, Christians and so on..

B. If your group currently does not represent the diversity of the
local community, particularly in relation to groups who are in
mainstream society and denied access to vehicles expression, what
steps will be taken to address this on an ongoing basis?

What are some general ways we can reach out to underrepresented population?

*** To reach more SIU students:
       1       Canvass the campus with flyers… a message like "Post YOUR news,
let the world know about what is happening around you" or something
better than that together with the web site address would be great.
There are people among us who have mastered the canvassing business
:-) so…
       2       Send an e-mail to Student Development and ask them politely to
forward the message to all RSO's (Registered Student Organizations)
officers. The person to contact is Ellen Auld?, I believe. The message
could explain what the site is about and how it works and that
EVERYBODY can not only read but also post stuff. It should also
encourage the officers to use it and to forward the message to their
constituencies. Through the Student Development' listserve, we can
reach a lot of the people who are likely to get involved/ who ever get

2a. If you prefer, we can just ask for the contact info of selected
groups and individuals and send them the message mentioned above.

Personally, I'd rather opt for the first choice because it's more open
and inclusive even though that way we might attract the attention of
people who don't have the kind of thinking we would like probably most
people to have :-)
       3       Contact key RSOs (USG, GPSC, BAC, HSC, ISC, etc.) and offer to
make presentations to their groups about how the Independent Media
works and how it can help them (you need to convince people why they
should do what you want them do to). These organizations are the ones
organizing a lot of stuff and they are likely to post.

*** To reach high school students:

(Here I have to start with the disclaimer that I know nothing about
American high schools - I have only been in the cafeteria of one of
them twice. Anyway, I still believe that we need to start attracting
and involving people when they are still young [not that we are not
       0       Plan something like a youth corner/page for the paper.
       1       Send a flyer encouraging students to write about issues through
the superintendents of all the southern Illinois high schools we want
to reach. The procedure is: you bring the flyer to the
superintendent's office. After it gets approved and stamped, you make
as many copies as you want sent and give them to the clerks at the
superintendent's office (I've done that, by the way, it's not an
illusion). They can send it to all the schools/teachers they are
responsible for. It just has to have educational value, which of
course is no problem - free speech, writing practice, etc.
       2       Just post the flyers in the schools we want without
worrying about
the superintendents (I don't know how possible that is, as far as
quantity and legality are concerned and whether we are concerned about
them anyway).
       3       Work through the English or Speech teachers (whoever seems cooler
to the students :-) or both. Again point out the educational value of
writing for the paper/site and encourage the teachers to announce the
opportunity for the students to get involved. (the Speech teacher at
the Carbondale High School is a friend of mine so I could talk to him
if that turns out to be what we want to do).

*** To reach unions in the region:
       1       The only ones I know of are the ones at SIU (Faculty Association,
etc.) and they are easily approachable (with the same offer to do
presentations as for the key RSOs).
       2       If anybody knows about any other in the region, bring
it up too, please.

*** To reach other organizations:
       1       Again, offer presentations about how the Independent Media works
and how it can help the particular organization and ask the core
people to forward the invitation to all their constituencies (Peace
Coalition, Shawnee Greens, etc.)

*** To reach the larger community:
       1       Canvass eateries (Harbaugh's, the Long Branch, etc.) with flyers
encouraging people to post their news.
       2       …….. up to you to come up with more ideas…

For all that to happen we need only:
       •       One or two flyer designs
       •       Some cash to make copies of the flyers
       •       Volunteers to spread the flyers
       •       A letter to send to the RSO officers
       •       A letter to send to the superintendents and the teachers
       •       A presentation about how the Independent Media works
       •       Volunteers to contact groups and make the presentations

C. What steps will be taken to involve individuals in work fields new
to them? What measures will be taken to overcome a gendered work

Organize workshops, "how-to-do" web-site info, "how-to-do" tech stuff.
We can either have workshops at the space or go directly to other

Some examples might be an "Ask the techie," e-mail for more "how to"
step-by-step information at an address such as
askthetechie at bigmuddyimc.org.

In order to answer the above question, we also thought it wise to set
up tech workshops for those who don't choose to go by a gender and we
would also like to get a primary tech person who is female. As it
stands now, the current situation at the IMC is that we don't have a
female techie.

We also need to better utilize office hours for the space to get more
people of all genders involved. And we also need to figure out a way
to recruit more women in some way. As it stands, we now have basically
two women who are still involved at various levels directly with the
IMC with general operations, radio, paper, the web and other issues.
One of the ways to correct this could be creating more liaisons with
Women's Center and

Southern Illinois, following children's issues, having workshop on
women's issues within the IMC itself. We also should make it known
that we have space available for functions at the Space.

Finally, we will make part of the procedure to monitor gender equality
issues at each and every general meeting in accordance with the BMIMC
Vision Statement


Each IMC and Global Working Group is expected to:

a. Agree in spirit to the NIMC Mission Statement and Principles of Unity,

b. Have a committed membership substantial enough to sustain a functional

 c. Have open and public meetings (no one group can have exclusionary
 "ownership" of an IMC), [YES]

d. Work toward developing a local Mission Statement or Statement of Purpose.
 Network Mission Statement may be adopted or used on an interim basis,

e. Establish and publish an editorial policy which is developed and
 functions through democratic process, and with full transparency, [YES]

f. Agree to the use of Open Publishing as described in the NIMC Editorial
 Policy [editorial collective comments: "We did agree that the term "Open
 Publishing" was one that is still being defined by the Global Network
 Collective, and we would wait and see what the results were before
 this criteria], [YES]

g. Adopt a decision-making policy that is in alignment with consensus
 principles which include open, transparent and egalitarian processes, [YES]

 h. Have a spokesperson(s) willing and capable of participating in the
 decision-making process and meetings as a rotating liaison/representative,
 with a clear understanding of the responsibilities that come with this

i. Participate in the key IMC Network Communication Methods that pertain to
 the health and vitality of the Network and that contribute to the work of
 the IMC. Assure that at least one person from your local IMC participates
 at any given time on the IMC-Communications list, [UNDERSTOOD]

j. (NOT FINALIZED): Have no official affiliation with any political party,
 state or candidate for office (comments: but individual producers have
 freedom to do whatever they like and local IMCs can "feature" stories about
 various political parties and initiatives), [UNDERSTOOD AND WILLING TO

k. IMCs shall in no way engage in commercial for-profit enterprises. [We
 could add: The IMCN is committed to the decommercialization of information
 and will disassociate from any local IMC that decides to become a for
 media corporation.] [UNDERSTOOD]

l. Display a ³local version² of the IMC ³i² logo on your website and

m. Include the IMC Network current ³Cities List² on your site, preferably on
 the front page. [DONE]

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