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March 15, 2006

The NewStandard as Project Uncensored

We just put ourselves through the strange process of nominating a handful of NewStandard stories from last year to stand judgment for the 2007 Project Censored awards. Last year, we nominated several stories that we considered the cream of our crop, in terms of groundbreaking reporting from 2004, our first year of publication. In the end, we won a single award -- for an article none of us had nominated.

The process of choosing less than, say, 100 TNS articles from the previous year to submit as nominations is truly bizarre, since probably a good 3/4 of our content qualifies as under-reported and of broad public interest. It's kind of strange when your whole mission is to do exactly what the judges are looking for, to highlight just a few that really raked the muck.

So this year, we tried to be more strategic and think like the judges, none of whom we know, and reviewed the kinds of stories they've rewarded in recent years. And as impressive as their list was, we found ourselves chopping articles from our nominations roster because, however amazing they were, for one reason or another we didn't think they stood much of a chance.

And along the way, we noted the irony that in the nomination game, the motivation to be recognized for your efforts can lead you to hold back from presenting what you think is your best. Paradoxically, this kind of calculating, self-conscious judgment, in which the desire for approval influences how you present your achievements to others, is not so far removed from the "self-censorship" rampant in the corporate media, which in turn inspires initiatives like Project Censored.

But fortunately, we think we are still level-headed and confident enough in our strengths not to let the judgments of others dictate our attitudes toward our work. And we hope we can even persuade the folks at Project Censored to see things from our angle this time around.

Below is our short list of entries before we did the final stripping. We're not going to note which of these we actually nominated, since as a collective we found them all to be exemplary and deserving of recognition for daring to venture into underreported territory.

(Michelle Chen contributed to these remarks)


Joey Borda The NewStandard as Project Uncensored

Brian, I think you have articulated a "truth" rather articulately when you write "Paradoxically, this kind of calculating, self-conscious judgment, in which the desire for approval influences how you present your achievements to others, is not so far removed from the "self-censorship" rampant in the corporate media, which in turn inspires initiatives like Project Censored."

I have found this to be the case, self-censorship tendencies that is, in any and all activities I've engaged in that involve any kind of consideration of other people. Wanting to please people, and wanting NOT to DISplease people is one of our most primal urges, and perhaps in spite of our best efforts always plays a part in what we choose and decide, however much we want to approach zero effect, never quite reaching it. It would seem to be akin to the scientific discovery that the experimenter inevitably affects the experiment. There is no objective that does not include the subjective.

That is why I was so pleased at the inception of The NewStandard your statement of "bias" in favor of people-centered reporting rather than the corporate-centeredness of virtually all other reporting.

Anyone who asserts absolute objectivity is NOT in THIS reality!

As always... /s/ Joey

Friday, March 17, 2006 • 08:09:58 AM EST

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.