Critics would argue that independent journalism isn’t really journalism while advocates would praise independent media for not shying away from the root causes of certain issues.
Journalists such as I.F. Stone and George Seldes did just that: investigate core issues and dig for something deeper within a story. For Stone and Seldes, journalism wasn’t about fame or popularity, it was about investigation and utilizing their right to freedom of the press.
Audiences should give more credit to journalists such as Stone and Seldes, as well as independent media outlets, because it takes courage and determination to release a story that has never been exposed by mainstream media before. Stone, for example, often reported on controversial political figureheads like Joe McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover. As a radical and as someone who became a member of the socialist party, Stone was an “independent newspaperman, standing alone, without organizational or party backing, beholden to no one but good readers (“http://www.ifstone.org/biography.php). Stone is a journalist worthy of learning about, whether in classes or during free time, simply because he is not associated with a major corporation, believes mainstream media’s sole purpose is advertising, and looks for stories beyond the average “event coverage” or “interview”. He has redefined the meaning of journalism and I think there is a lot to learn from him in that respect.
Seldes, similar to Stone, was an iconic press critic in the world of independent media. Seldes was a reporter known for being courageous as a result of his coverage of European fascism and world wars. He even reported on historical figures, including Mussolini and Lenin. Seldes is remembered as being one of the bravest reporters of his time simply due to the dangerous situations he put himself in; for, often, “Seldes offended dictators and demagogues, press moguls and industrialists” (http://www.jeffcohen.org/docs/mbeat19950712.html). As aspiring journalists, it is important to learn about Seldes’ legacy because he reminds us of what it means to have passion and dedication. He has taught us that good journalism lies in the battles that we face when we report on a story, so with courage and bravery, it is important to be persistent as a journalist. It is almost as if he is telling us that the bravest journalists fight the toughest battles for the best stories.