THE SEDONA OBSERVER
To change America
by changing its media first
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of the Press
New Media for the 21st Century
18th century journalism principles merge with
21st century technology
A journalism tradition
The Sedona Observer carries the namesake and journalistic tradition of The Observer — the world’s first Sunday newspaper published in 1791.
The Observer served as the catalyst for the spawning of a multitude of muckraking newspapers in the 18th and 19th centuries. With names such as the Examiner, the Federal Spy, the Independent Chronicle, the Sentinel and the Impartial Intelligencer, these papers served as diligent watchdogs for the public interest.
Known for its liberal approach to the news, controversial articles and radical writers, The Observer focused on reporting the truth about economic and political oppression.
Infamous for its relentless cross-examination and exposure of the indecent, illegal, immoral and inhumane activities of corrupt people and institutions, it set a precedent for true investigative reporting that later became known as muckraking.
The Observer defiantly resisted court order attempts to repress articles that challenged the reigning powers of its time. Staunchly maintaining its socially democratic policies into the 19th and 20th centuries, it became a vehicle for defiant exposes created by its daring and visionary writers, with George Orwell numbering among them.
The Sedona Observer carries this legacy into the 21st century, when such journalism principles are needed now more than ever to end the human suffering created by corrupt political, business and social systems.
A time for change
Approximately six corporate conglomerates and multinational corporations own the U.S. media, thereby controlling 90 percent of our news and information. Major news affiliates no longer serve the common good since they are beholden to the interests of corporate monopolies.
The Sedona Observer is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, independent newspaper determined to counteract that with a demonstrated commitment to the public interest.
We do not earn one penny for our efforts and rely on funding from donations, sponsorships and grants. It is our gift to Sedona, Arizona and America in these troubling times. Because we believe there is something in it for everyone no matter where they live.
Today’s complex issues mandate the need for new forms of media that can enable people to comprehend what is happening in our political, business and social systems. By focusing on the world as a whole and the interconnectedness of all people and things, the media can restore public trust and foster a sense of greater unity among all people.
The Sedona Observer emphasizes public interaction and community involvement, encouraging all media to establish deeper connections with their publics.
Passion and purpose
The purpose of The Sedona Observer is to restore integrity to the media while serving all people as a vehicle of truth and open expression. It aspires to prompt people out of complacency and into pro-active dialogue for social change.
At the same time, the paper combines 18th century journalism principles with 21st century progressive thought to advocate socioeconomic justice. It aims to educate, enlighten and empower all citizens in face of the misanthropic behavior prevalent among today’s business, government and social systems.
Serving the common good
Our mission is to create compelling content that serves the collective good.
Instead of simply scratching the surface to report superficial news, we strive to read in between the lines to translate the issues and offer more meaningful perspectives that can open minds and hearts to new possibilities.
We strive to address national and regional issues affecting Arizona’s communities, such as immigration, and report what’s really going on behind the façade created by government and business interests. We aim to ruffle feathers and stir the kettle with unorthodox views in order to shatter the mediocrity that predominates American society.
A beacon of hope
The Sedona Observer offers a beacon of hope for those suffering physical, financial, emotional and spiritual upheaval under today’s broken health-care, political, workplace and social systems.
We are dedicated to serving our local communities as well as others in Arizona and across the nation by reporting the truth and underlying agendas behind the issues affecting our society as a whole while posing solutions to our common problems.
We focus on the issues rather than daily news reports, serving a diversity of opinions and encouraging public participation in the media. We cover socioeconomic, environmental and media issues as well as community and regional topics.
More specifically, our content centers on health care, workplace, environment, human rights, development, immigration, affordable housing and sustainable living, with a mission to present solutions for healing the spiritual bankruptcy that plagues our civilization.
Style and format
The Sedona Observer is written in the lively format of 18th century journalism, which was designed to stir the populace to resist oppression and tyrannical rule. Therefore, we offer immersion-style, literary journalism with a narrative approach to our articles.
While presented with substantial editorial commentary, it distinguishes itself from blogging in that it provides in-depth news analysis with well-researched data, professional copy editing in Associated Press Style, illustrations and photographs by nationally recognized visual artists and documentary video streams by an award-winning filmmaker.
It also features its own revised Code of Ethics, multiple sections with articles from outside contributors, a masthead, submissions policy, guest editorials and letters to the editor sections. It is edited and published by an award-winning journalist and editor with 30 years of professional experience.
Cracking open the doors to perception
We believe that corporate power lurks behind every problem we face today – the health-care crisis, high prices, low wages, overpriced housing, immigration and so forth. In addition, corporate media promotes blind trust of political and social systems that remain in serious need of a good dose of journalistic proctology.
Further compounding the situation is a government insulated from the harsh reality of its citizens and slow to respond to their needs.
The latest Gallup Poll reports that more than 64 percent of Americans oppose the war in Iraq. Yet one individual insists on continuing to wage it – at the cost of trillions of dollars and thousands of lives – with the arrogance of the divine right of kings.
The Sedona Observer is designed to question and probe this elitist hierarchy that has invaded every system, structure and aspect of our culture. We ask tough questions designed to examine our motivations and operating systems as a society and to promote independent thinking.
And our content strives to present broader perspectives so readers can make informed decisions for themselves on the issues.
A voice for the downtrodden
We are fierce advocates of socioeconomic justice, with a focus on working class concerns and the plight of the working poor and economically oppressed.
We believe what’s missing in most media today is the perspective of these majority populations. The Sedona Observer is committed to Freedom of Speech and thus serves as the voice of the people – all people, including the downtrodden and the forgotten.
We welcome editorial commentaries from all walks of life and the opportunity for free expression via interactive technology to restore public trust in the media once more.
Serving Arizona labor and workers
A significant part of our mission is to report the truth about today’s anti-worker, anti-union climate in government and business.
The Sedona Observer is the only newspaper in Arizona that devotes an entire page to workplace reform and labor news. Where there were approximately 85 labor reporters in the American mainstream press 40 years ago, we now have less than five. We believe that America’s beleaguered workers need watchdog workplace reporters now more than ever.
As a member of the International Labor Communications Association, we proudly serve the labor movement as a vehicle for its news and views on behalf of America’s beleaguered workforce.
Technology for democracy
The Internet has democratized communication – a national treasure that must be safeguarded against those who seek to remove that liberty.
By utilizing new, lower cost technology to disseminate information, The Sedona Observer hopes to touch more people than it can with the cost-prohibitive limitations of print media.
While we also realize that many segments of our population cannot afford computers and lack Internet access, the Web offers journalism unparalleled avenues for global distribution, interaction and integration. Still, we believe it will never completely eliminate the presence of legacy media formats.
Since people now seek their news and information mainly online or via broadcast, we believe a huge gap exists due to unreliable sources of information. With the media’s diminishing credibility, Americans are searching for more trustworthy news sources than offer commentary and translation instead of the same repetitive litany of wire service headlines.
Confronting attention deficit
Today’s average attention span demands short, quick sound bites for minds more prone to scanning information than digesting it. We’ve decided to buck that trend by presenting immersion journalism with full-length articles – because we believe Americans need it in order to fully comprehend all aspects underlying today’s issues.
If we don’t start analyzing what is really happening in our world, then we will end up with more debacles like SiCKO and the sycamores highlighted in our first issue.
That’s why people keep asking: How did this happen to us? The Sedona Observer attempts to answer that chronic rhetorical question.
End the alienation
We defy the mean-spirited, territorial attitude festered by many publishers who succeed in alienating journalists and impeding their moral responsibility to report the truth. Journalists must leave the media wars to their publishers and join their fellow colleagues in a collective effort to end the tyrannical approach to news reporting.
The Sedona Observer shuns tyrannical publishing practices, such as all-rights contracts and low pay rates. We honor our contributors by condoning their right to retain their intellectual property as well as their freedom to publish their work in multiple local publications.
It is our attention to align with other media and support their efforts to provide citizens with alternative vehicles of expression.
By the people, for the people
The media remains responsible for the stewardship of a new social movement that must happen if America is to survive as a democracy. But we can’t do it without public participation.
This is YOUR newspaper. Read it, respond to it, support it and engage in it.
We are here to serve you.
Catherine J. Rourke
Editor & Publisher
The Sedona Observer
CEO, Compassionate Ethical Operator
Conscious Media Evolution
October 21, 2007