The presentation politics
vienna.indymedia.org is a news channel and wants to encourage an emancipatory approach to informations and the media. The system of Open Postings offers non-commercial coverage by activists as well as background information to political and social topics.
The idea of vienna.indymedia.org is not to gather the most interesting news from the corporate media but to counter corporate media with our own views of social developments and to concentrate on events that are neglected by corporate media. The presentation policy of vienna.indymedia.org tries to support this form of media participation.
vienna.indymedia.org is in principle open for all informations and opinions, aside from sexist, racist, antisemitic or fascist opinions. Contrary to projects with a clear political objective, the presentation activists do not want to make politics in this meaning, but to promote primarily an emancipatory use of media.
The structure of the page
The structure of vienna.indymedia.org should help to make the page user-friendly and to satisfy the very different needs of users and their different political opinions.
1. The starting side
2. The Open Posting side
3. Textual comments
1. The starting side
On the starting side you find three columns. In the left column there are links to certain internet projects and to all other indymedia pages of our global network. Furthermore you find the possibility to sort postings according to certain topics.
In the central column there are features. These are postings with background informations, the presentation activists set them to the central column (see below).
In the right column there are links to the Open Posting side and to a form for publishing your articles on vienna.indymedia.org. You also find the Newswire with reports on current affairs, sorted in chronological order.
2. The Open Posting side
By using the form "Contribute an Article" any person can publish reports on vienna.indymedia.org. With this form you are asked to sort your reports into different topics. After filling out the form and pressing the "Submit Article" button all articles are directly published on the Open Posting side (this is not the Newswire column on the starting side).
Open Posting is one of the most important principles of indymedia. There you find all articles in chronological order. The presentation activists try to read all published articles, but change them generally not. However they try to make articles more readable: spelling mistakes or non-functioning links can be corrected and references be supplemented, when they are necessary for understanding articles.
The presentation activists will also try to correct clearly wrong informations in articles (e.g. wrong name of place or address). However, the presentation activists are not able to check all articles and all details. Therefore, they can not guarantee the correctness of all articles.
All contributions are sorted by presentation activists into different categories:
1. into the column "Newswire" on the starting side
2. into the central column on the starting side
3. into the topic columns
4. into the garbage archives
The presentation activists set mainly investigated and/or experienced reports to the Newswire on the starting side. Thus Indymedia is to be outlined as a platform for this form of reporting. This policy of vienna.indymedia.org is similar to affirmative action policies. This presentation policy certainly establishes a hierarchy of the information flow. But we think that this policy should help to break with existing social hierarchies. However the selection takes place not after "felt importance", but - as far as possible - on the basis of structural criteria.
In order to outline Indymedia as a platform for own reporting, certain contributions are not set to the Newswire on the starting side, but stay on the Open Posting side of vienna.indymedia.org:
* Dates and demo calls (Because we know that these are very important for the mobilization, you find links on the starting side to different internet projects, on which you find good date collections and where you can publish your demo calls. With started campaigns regulary dates and calls are set into the central column feature as links.) However background reports before and after demonstrations are certainly welcome and set into the Newswire.
* already in other places published texts
* from commercial media copied texts (here are translations of texts and news from hardly accessible media an exception.)
* Group statements, press statements, discussion papers, mass mails. The accessibility of texts is the point of discussion. Contributions of groups, which were already published on numerous other internet sides or in magazines, are not set to the starting side, because it is not the meaning of vienna.indymedia.org to gather all somehow relevant on the side, but to be a platform for own reporting. On the starting side you find links to other internet projects which are open for such texts. However, by own reporting we understand statements of groups that have no other access to the public should be included.
* very short messages
* pure comments without news value
* contributions of groups and parties that aim to take over state authority
* contributions which are not open for the non-commercial use by third parties
In case when you are not able to find your published article on the starting side in the Newswire column after several hours of submitting it (and you think that your article does not fit into one of the points above), then we ask you to send us an email. It could be possible that we have made a mistake and we promise to check all complaints.
Central Column on the Starting Side
Some contributions from the Newswire are set additionally by the presentation activists into the central column. Features are mainly particularly well investigated background articles or overview articles, which include background informations, external links to other websites and reports to a certain event. Frequently overview articles are arranged from submitted articles from the Newswire and the Open Posting side.
The final decision about central column texts are made through our mailinglist. All interested users can take part in the decision-making process and are able to make new proposals for central column texts. In case that such a text fullfills all requirements for Newswire articles and after passing a 12-hour veto deadline, it will be placed into the central column.
Furthermore our mailinglist offers the possibility to get in contact with other users and to cooperate in preparing new Features. Therefore we use a special tool called Wiki to enable activists to write texts together.
2.3. Topic Sides
All contributions on the Open Posting side can be sorted into different topics by the users. The Topics include not only articles form the Newswire but also texts from the Open Posting side (e.g. calls, press statements, invitations, discussion papers) in case when they include reports or background informations.
If several articles of the same new topic are published on vienna.indymedia.org, a new Topic side will be opened. Therefore the presentation activists do not decide about the number of Topics but they will be created by the Open Posting contributions.
2.4. Garbage Archives
Fulfills a contribution or an addition one or several exclusion criteria, then they are removed completely from the Open Posting side and put down into special "Garbage archives", in order to offer such expressions no forum and to keep the side readable:
* Postings with discriminatory content: e.g. sexist, racist, fascist or antisemitic content
* Crosspostings (Contributions that are posted on several other Indymedia-sides), double and multible postings
* Empty postings
* clear Spam and commercials
* Contributions with a primarly defamatory and not a textual character
* Postings including the names or adresses of left activists published without their approval
The Garbage Archives are not open on our side. For the sake of transparency this archives are dispatched however on request by email. Many articles are hidden, because they were posted inadvertently doubly or set again by the author in a new version. The Garbage Archives are therefore very extensive. For inquiries therefore please always indicate the period into which you would like insight (e.g.: of day X until day Y).
Please note: if you find a contribution in the Garbage Archives and you think that it should not be there, than get into contact with us and write an email. We will try to find out the problem. We are also happy for tips about contributions that should be placed into the Garbage Archives, in case of having overlooked it.
There is the possibility to write textual comments under each of the postings on our side. The presentation activists do not read this comments before being published on the side. Therefore all comments are published in chronological order under the respective posting at first.
But the presentation activists try to read all comments after being published and will act if necessary, to keep the side readable: Comments with no textual content (and fullfilling no exclusion criteria) will be placed on the end of the respective posting and its textual comments and will be seen in light-grey coloured letters.
If you want to participate in the design process for an independent media center in Vienna - no matter if you have any ideas at the moment or if you don't have a clue what you could do - you're welcome to get in touch with us or drop by at one of our meetings.
Indymedia is a tool to be used. It doesn't matter if you'll write articles, make videos or audios or join the moderation: Just animate the structure! Another important point is to keep a critical view of decisions made: texts and articles can be complex and mostly they won't be attached completely adequately to the rigid categories. If you want to criticise the decisions of the presentation activists, please write an email.
We will be happy about every single person feeling - in any way - jointly responsible for the arrangement of the project as regards content. For this is what Indymedia's about: to overcome the relationship between producers and consumers of media to create a tool to provide information "for all" "by all".
- 21 Sep 2004