What can a new magazine do when it comes to filling a niche?
Not everything that needs to be said is getting said, and there is an epidemic of manipulation of information at the expense of real discovery and revelation of information.
The only people that are unafraid to broach the controversial subjects are small, independent blogs. Some larger news outlets, like Democracy Now and The Young Turks, are very unabashed in their positions, but they are radio and video programs with limited space (since it’s time). There is no larger news outlet in size and scope that is ironing out the wrinkles and cleaning the stains on the robes that garment the fourth estate. Everything we see is driven by advertisers, or their business model focuses on driving as much traffic as possible to their website. We seek to provide an outlet for the whole news story, to show the parts of it that mainstream news organizations choose not to reveal because it doesn’t fit into a chosen narrative. We seek to provide an outlet for the under-served news story for the under-served public, and our goal is to do this in a breadth and scope that will impact the industry in a way that small outlets can’t do.
We are committed to a not-for-profit business model. Advertising revenue, which will be just one component of income, will never be contingent upon a relationship to our content. We we will not enter into the type of business model that ever sees us fearful of the role we are trying to embrace now.
As readers and consumers, we are malnourished and desensitized by a constant barrage of bad argument, emotional manipulation, and misguided or dishonest people spreading the lies and doing the hard work for mainstream media, disinterested politicians, and self-interested corporations. We can’t expect the powerful to act in the best interest of the people without being absolutely forced to do so.
We see the power of the press every time the public has a hysterical reaction to a news story–for good or bad. The full narrative power of journalism drives a story, the people react, and change happens. We need to make process nuanced and self-reflective, and the only way to do that is make sure the narrative is nuanced and self-reflective.
We are constantly assaulted by bad argument. Reasonable and considerate people are consistently fed fictions and half-truths. Politicians have learned they can sidestep any question, finesse any argument, and make the straw man the main character of any narrative and journalists and pundits will nod thoughtfully and move onto the next question. We are being told unreasonable things are reasonable because the mainstream media doesn’t want to lose access to news makers or lose the income of advertisers. We are given an ad lib consensus, and too often we just assume that because the media and government and business are in agreement, then it must be true. It is daunting to consider the alternatives.
The standards and practices of the mainstream media are promoting a level of cognitive dissonance that makes manipulation of the news for political and financial gain alarmingly easy, and the repercussions are visible in the decisions and habits spanning of the cultural collective. We are discouraged from critically questioning the incompatibilities and contradictions that, if we don’t resolve, lead to disastrous life choices, neurosis, and a scary willingness to ignore the fact of all the little emperors and their wardrobe malfunctions. We are complicit in this because accepting the insidious nature makes hopelessness an easy new default.
It has become a sort of cliché, declaring that Orwell’s 1984 is a cautionary tale, not an instruction manual, but here we are decades into the conditioning with group-think and double talk. The human mind is nothing if not adaptive. We’ve adapted to dueling realities by becoming accepting of these dueling messages, and we are hostile to those that refuse to adapt and threaten our long fought for tolerance of fictional lives.
Ultimately, with information, we have to choose between discovery and manipulation. We cannot have both. The mission statement of this magazine is to combat media manipulation and engage our readers in unveiled, unconditional discovery, to spread the joy of spreading real information, to teach people, to inoculate people against bad argument and manipulation.
The name of the magazine, Inkst, is a blending of Ink and Angst. Urban Dictionary defines angst very well as transcendent because it combines anguish with the hope of overcoming seemingly impossible situations. This is important both to the current state of media and the magazine’s mission.
We deny peril when they see what feels like a hopeless situation; they block it out. We see innumerable reasons to distrust government and corporations, but both maintain pathological consistency in their refusal to acknowledge wrongdoing or culpability, and the media echos and amplifies that denial. We have to make the difficult choice of accepting the likelihood that all of the powerful people are at odds with their own interests, including the watchdogs or pretending there is no crisis. So instead, we turn on each other. We blame smaller and less scary monsters.
Inkst is an impatience for action. We, the journalists and the consumers, are all the hope and salvation. Every hand that touches this magazine and every news outlet that discovers and reveals and holds the powers-that-be accountable, like the stewards of the fourth estate are supposed to, we are all the answer the the questions, “What do we do?” and “What do we do next?”
Our primary goal isn’t to earn trust. It’s to teach critical thinking and argumentation. We don’t want people to believe it because we said it. We want people tell the difference between well-constructed points and fallacy and pursue the support of evidence and logic. “Trust” in journalism is equal to suspension of critical thinking. Don’t ever trust the media’s answers; follow their path to the answers. We want you to get used to seeing the transparency, and we want you to get a little itchy when people make assertions that aren’t founded on anything but their say-so.
We will glorify the stories that illuminate and the people that help shine the light. We will dissemble and break down the virus of bad argument.