ePluribus Media Journal

The original stories, articles, interviews and reviews that appear on the Journal start as either a submission to the ePluribus Media editors or as investigative tip.

ePluribus Media researchers, using publicly available information, and often working with a writer, pull together a story. Once a draft is ready, an editor is assigned who works with the main writer/or researcher to help shape the story and more importantly, determine if the story has merit.

from, what we are and how we function

This is an example of the potential of the web– 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0– starting to come to fruition. These ‘crowd sourced’ journals can’t replace mainstream journalism (although they may have to play the role that public radio and television once played) but they can help drive the agenda, as the cliché goes. It’s a model to watch for a number of reasons.

The first is that, perahps learning from Wikipedia, they have a ‘vetted volunteer’ community of writers alongside a complex fact-checking process. It’s a “501(c)(4) tax-exempt, non-partisan organization,” which means that, while dependent on the system of charitable foundations, it can be relatively independent of commercial pressures. The development of a workable institutional model is central to the future of independent journalism.

Another reason that it is worthy of watching is its apparent desire to create permanent research tools, such as searchable timelines on particular events, that can be used in all sorts of settings, from research to the public schools, to policy making. (Here’s the Katrina timeline; they have a Rita timeline as well as one tracing the impact of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome among veterans of the current war in Iraq.)

Alongside the podcasts, articles, reviews, and interviews, they can help create the sort of permanent historical memory long promised by digital gurus. ePluribus Media was founded two years ago, out of what Arron Barlow has a called a desire, “to develop paradigms for journalism on the Web that is horizontal,” an “open source journalism.” You can read his account of the origins and aspirations of ePluribus Media here.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com. I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol] writinginthewild.com

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