The New Alternative Media

At Stones in the Field, MacAllister Stone compares blogs to the letters and journals left from the past. In some ways, this is true. Blogs reveal the inner lives of real individuals, both famous and ordinary, just as letters and journals have taught historians what people's lives were like in centuries and decades past.

But blogs fill another vacant niche in the literary ecology, too. They are taking the place of underground newspapers. Individuals living today may associate an underground press with the student and radical movements of the United States in the 1960's and 1970's. These movements used underground newspapers to share their viewpoints with others. But the history of the underground newspaper extends far before this. Those who are not the dominant power in the government have long used underground newspapers to share information. In the 1940's, Dutch and French resistance movements in Nazi occupied Europe established underground newspapers. POW's also established their own underground newspaper.

One does not have to agree with the voice of the disenfranchised to appreciate the value of an underground newspaper. It is about the ordinary individual having a voice separate and apart from the traditional media.

Think of Latoyia Figueroa. People far from Philadelphia learned her name not from the traditional media, but from bloggers. Blogs transmitted her story throughout the internet until the nation knew her name. So, although her story ended tragically, it also gives hope that the voice of the people has not been lost.


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