Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Pagan Media Dilemma

We are stuck in the middle of a digital revolution, and it is breeding ignorance at an epidemic rate! Where one may see this behind topics such as the "true" origin of the American Civil War, it is far less obvious in subjects hitting more closely to home, like, what is relevant to us as pagans.
Heather Greene, of The Wild Hunt, released her article "What is Pagan Media" and a whirlwind of inquisition began: How do you know where to put your trust?  By what criteria do you have to judge the writer or the news site? How do you know if something is straight news or merely commentary?  What are the credentials of the writer?  Does the site have an agenda? (the queries go on & on.)
If there was a Pagan News Channel, who would you want to see as anchor?
In spite of many efforts by pagans, worldwide, to keep abreast of news and information pivotal to polytheists, there has never been a pagan-specific collective warranting an official title of "media" or "media sources" in/for paganism. Though efforts by websites such as The Wild Hunt, Penton Independent Pagan Media, and Pagan Newswire Collective, have presented we poor fools with a professional-grade standard of "media sources", none of them seem to personally regard themselves as sources of pagan media, worldwide. They strive to deliver pagan interest news stories to vast constituencies, and still have, yet, to realize their own importance -as- pagan media. Why?
Pagans are without the "inside scoop" of what IS newsworthy, nor have they the ability to root out "internet intellectuals" offering well-written opinion on vague subjects using a recent news bulletin as responsible journalism for the here-and-now. Let's face it, pagan (or, not) - people seek the  path of least resistance. Unfortunately, we have thwarted ourselves by taking quite an advantage of the modern digital revolution.
Although not strictly pagan, yet, concerned for the "digital-age ignorance" we humans currently live in, Lewis Lapham points out that our idyllic internet informational exchange seems to be erasing all traces of humanity's thousands of years' worth of cognitive cultural development and replacing it with sensationalized dribble. He 'laments Google' for its unbiased and effective means of piling tons and tons of nonsensical shit atop sites of true worth and value. Only the sites with the most traffic get top billing in a search engine, whether the information on that site is authentic, or not.
Pagan news stories have fallen to the uneducated, unpoliced and irresponsible "backyard pagan reporter", or, the top-notch professional ignoramus that either takes up some nameless pagan tradition for an hour's worth of intel, or, finds the most gaudily-garbed guru in the neighborhood. Facebook doesn't make it any easier, either. Nor, does it pose a hindrance - it is a double-edged sword.
So, when doing a search for pagan-worthy news (which is considered "shit" or "sensational" by mainstream media, anyhow) what, precisely, is the medium you will find it on? Where are the standards of journalistic integrity and informational purity going to come from, if the mainstream media has already written the "news" (remember: shit, or, sensationalism?) being gathered by sites pagans deem ethical? Until a vilified means of "pagan journalists" is standardized, and they collaborate to provide a serious and professional "pagan media", we will still rely on the websites that present us with pagan news.
In certain (if not a majority of) cases, it is probably best to surmise that Heather's own query may be the first eye-opener The Wild Hunt has had: "In which Pagan news sources are you instilling your trust?  Where and how do you get your news?
So, Heather, my rebuttal is: When will The Wild Hunt realize its worth -to- pagan media and what standards should Wild Hunt "bloggers" be held to in order to qualify them as "pagan media journalists"? (Because, like, TWH is already at the top of most pagans' lists, anyway; it needs to be taken ALL the way.)
[Ikinde Skreja Ominnsaer; 5/2013CFTP]

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