"The technology of journalism has advanced more in the last decade than in the 100 years before," notes former Toward Freedom Editor Greg Guma in a recent post on his new blog, Maverick Media. A witness to and participant in many of the radical changes in mass media since the late 1960s, he became Pacifica Radio’s executive director in 2006. Now, after 40 years as a journalist, organizer and manager, he looks back – and forward – at media politics and the alternative press.
"The idea is to put current events in a long term context," he says. "It’s something the press ought to do more often. So, I’ll be posting news reports, analysis, and an ongoing social history of alternative media as I experienced it, including my time at Pacifica." In its first week, Maverick Media discussed coverage of the Iraq War and recent Winter Soldier hearings, the early history of radio and television, the impact of digital technologies on "old media," and management issues at Pacifica.
Upcoming topics include the future of radio, 9/11 conspiracy theories, early muckraking, and the birth of the alternative press. In serialized form, Guma will also look at personal experiences and public events that shaped his perspective and provide the first "inside" examination of the original listener-sponsored network. Comments are encouraged at http://muckraker-gg.blogspot.com/
As Executive Director of Pacifica, Guma attempted to heal the wounds created by the decade-long struggle for control of the organization. Finances improved and new programs were launched. But the divisions within the organization persisted, and he left last October when members of the National Board disapproved of his conflict with the Chief Financial Officer and attempt to strengthen national programming. [This paragraph is from Wikipedia.]
"At the same time, I’ll discuss a much-used form of social engineering, perception management," Guma adds. "As I explained in the first post, perception management – which is both a commercial strategy and a time-tested form of psychological warfare – is about more than just censoring or pushing stories. It involves the creation of an overall environment that promotes the uncritical acceptance of questionable information and assumptions – and too many people willing to promote them."
The blog’s name, telegraphing its focus on independent thought, was also the name of a bookstore and gallery Guma ran in the 1980s, as well as a column he wrote in the 1990s for The Vermont Times.
A graduate of Syracuse University in 1968, he moved to Vermont, became a daily newspaper reporter, and subsequently edited a variety of publications, including The Vermont Vanguard Press, the state’s first commercial alternative weekly; Toward Freedom; and Vermont Guardian. As an activist, writer and editor he helped set the stage for victories by progressives in Burlington, including the election of Bernie Sanders as city mayor in 1981.
He is the author of documentary scripts, Inquisitions (and Other Un-American Activities), a play about the Haymarket tragedy and crackdowns on civil liberties, and books such as The People’s Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution, Uneasy Empire: Repression, Globalization and What We Can Do, and Spirits of Desire, a historical novel.
Visit his new blog at http://muckraker-gg.blogspot.com/