April 21, 2023

The Park Center for Independent Media circulates the Indy Brief. Subscribe for a weekly selection of stories from writers and journalists operating outside traditional corporate systems.

The Izzy Award

4/27 Izzy Award Ceremony Honors The Lever, Mississippi Free Press, and Journalists Carlos Ballesteros and Liza Gross

PCIM will present this year’s Izzy Award “for outstanding achievement in independent media” on April 27 at 6:30 p.m. EDT during a virtual award ceremony. Attendees will hear speeches from, and are invited to a Q&A with, the exemplary outlets and journalists that will receive the award.

Register here to attend the online ceremony.

A four-part investigation by The Lever followed the cash behind a $1.6 billion donation from a Chicago businessman to a conservative political advocacy nonprofit — the largest known dark money transfer in history.

Mississippi Free Press worked to improve public access to open records in the state and uncovered how University of Mississippi officials gave power to wealthy alumni despite open expressions of racism.

Alongside Injustice Watch, Carlos Ballesteros revealed and spurred government action on Chicago Police’s arbitrary denials of U visas, a path to citizenship for undocumented victims of crime.

Liza Gross with Inside Climate News investigated how the oil-industrial complex sold wastewater to farms in Kern County, California, despite the impact of toxic chemicals on crops and soil.

Read more about the winners and Award here.

Democracy Now! Announces Izzy Winners, The Lever Celebrates

After the news that it won this year’s Izzy Award, The Lever celebrated in its newsletter, saying “The award is especially significant because it is named after the closest thing we have to a patron saint: I.F. ‘Izzy’ Stone.”

The Lever highlighted the work of its senior editor Andrew Perez that followed the money behind Leonard Leo, exposing Chicago businessman Barre Seid’s $1.6 billion donation to Leo’s political advocacy nonprofit in the largest known dark money transfer in history.

Two days prior to The Lever’s newsletter post, Democracy Now! host and inaugural winner of the Izzy Award Amy Goodman announced this year’s Izzy winners on the outlet’s daily show.

Watch Goodman’s announcement here and read more from The Lever here.

The Edge

The Epistemology of Ignorance in DeSantis World

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ assault on what his ministers have defined as “progressive activism” based on the false belief that “there are systemic injustices in American society” is itself a form of racialized violence that must conceal its tracks to succeed in bolstering white supremacy. 

Framed in these terms, DeSantis’ campaign to remake public higher education finds its most illuminating analogue in his proposals to expand the death penalty in the Sunshine State.

Author Timothy Kaufman-Osborn writes, as two strands of a single rope, both campaigns encourage forms of ignorance that appeal to liberalism’s commitment to freedom and equality even as these are mocked in practice.

Read Kaufman-Osborn’s commentary on race, education, and DeSantis on The Edge.

Investigative Journalist Greg Palast Delivers Master Class with Ithaca College Students

On March 31 the auditorium of the Roy H. Park School of Communications was full of students listening intently as Greg Palast detailed his experiences as an investigative journalist.

An internationally renowned investigative reporter, Palast ran this informal master class about the skills, strategies, tools, and conceptual thinking necessary to undertake investigative journalism that packs a punch and changes thinking.

The class focused on the connections between documentary filmmaking and investigative journalism, which Palast highlighted as he recounted his experiences in producing his most recent film, “Vigilante: Georgia’s Vote Suppression Hitman,” a searing documentary that focuses on the voter suppression tactics used in Georgia.

Read more from Palast’s master class on The Edge.

The End of the Latin American Migrant Trope

Myriad films across the history of Latin American cinema explore the trope of the migrant. These films document the trek from Latin America to the U.S. and migrants’ lives afterwards.

With different perspectives and narrative foci, these films expose the realities leading to migration, the difficulties of the journey north, and inhospitable life after departure.

However compelling, writes Camilo A. Malagón, the ideology of the so-called “American Dream” winds as an undercurrent. With narratives showing the improbability or impossibility of its attainment, these films justify the struggles of migrants. They assume the only choice for people outside the Global North is to emigrate to the United States.

Read more from Malagón’s Latin American film commentary on The Edge.

In Other News

1. Nasty, deadly, costly and hot: UN weather service gives verdict on 2022 | The Independent

2. America Fails the Civilization Test | The Atlantic

3. Supreme Court Set To Decide On Abortion Pill Access | HuffPost

4. Teen brothers among six charged in Alabama party killings | BBC

5. Rightwing extremists defeated by Democrats in US school board elections | The Guardian

Read previous Briefs and more from independent media on the PCIM website and The Edge, and follow PCIM on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.