The Dominion At 50
After its recent very special edition on the tar sands, Greg Macdougall picks up a copy of the Dominion and considers its radical media making.
At 50 issues, the Dominion paper is on their Own Your Media tour across Canada this March. The name of the tour implies the concept they're trying to get across - building awareness and support for the coop model the Dominion now functions under.
The Dominion is a monthly Canadian paper and online source of news and analysis that has been operating since May 2003. "It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles." Its website cites its coverage of Afghanistan, climate change, and Canada's involvement in Haiti as examples of where Dominion offers a significant change from what appears in the mass media.
The Dominion Media Solidarity Cooperative, "Canada’s first multi-stakeholder media outlet jointly owned and democratically controlled by its readers, writers and editors", was launched last year and is now the focus of this cross-Canada tour. There are three levels of coop membership: Supporter, Subscriber, and Sustainer. All members are entitled to vote in the Dominion's annual general meeting as well as elect (and even run for) the board of directors. They also play a vital role in enabling the Dominion to carry out it's ambitious five year plan.
The vision and specifics of the plan are up in the Forums section of the Dominion's website. A primary focus is on finances, seeking to transition from a miniscule budget to a member-supported ability to pay for staff and some articles. There is also the goal of encouraging 'locals' across Canada to create a grassroots media network that encourages and strengthens both media and movements. Other aspects of the plan range from maintaining and improving editorial quality, to solidifying and increasing readership, printing and distribution of the paper.
The plan also calls for two special issues per year, focussed exclusively on one topic or issue. This past autumn, the special issue was dedicated to the Tar Sands in Alberta, addressing an important set of issues that "the world's largest industrial project" brings forward. The Dominion explores the tremendous costs in water, land, air, energy and labour that the rapidly-expanding Tar Sands projects will rack up. It details the mega pipelines, both planned and existing, that stretch to the North coast, the West coast, and the United States. The health problems for people, fish, livestock and other animals are documented, as is the context of the Tar Sands in terms of continental energy security and the collusion of governments and energy corporations, and in terms of climate change, global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. Violations of unceded land and treaties with Indigenous peoples, as well as the need to include these peoples in the opposition movements to the Tar Sands, are addressed. Finally, the Dominion gives a platform for affected people to label what's going on: "crime against humanity" and "getting away with murder".
Definitely media worth supporting.
READ IT AT >> Visit www.dominionpaper.ca for articles, to subscribe, to find out more about becoming a coop member, or to check for tour dates/locations. March tour dates in Ontario: Ottawa (6th), Toronto (9th, 10th), Guelph (11th), Waterloo (12th), Hamilton (13th, 14th), Windsor (15th).