Regular readers will be aware that, on occasion, I take a break from my relentless reporting about Guantánamo and other crimes committed as part of the “War on Terror” to discuss the current state of journalism, and to mention how, as a freelance journalist working mainly in the new media, I am profoundly impressed by how the Internet not only rewards those who show dedication to a cause, but also rewards those who share information rather than guarding it jealously.
The key to this is the nature of the search engines — and their inscrutable algorithms — which gauge notability not by predetermined branding or status, but by impact, on what seems to be an essentially democratic basis. As a result, specializing in a topic, as I have with Guantánamo, has got me noticed by search engines (and therefore by readers), and those who link to my work or cross-post it (while preserving internal links), as well as those who read and comment on it, and retweet it and share it on Facebook, contribute to a process where search engines rate it still further.
With a recent increase in all of these factors, I’m delighted to report that I have now made it into Technorati’s Top 20 World Politics Blogs, in the company of the likes of Empty Wheel, The Washington Note and Eurasia Review (a site that regularly cross-posts my articles), and ahead of sites like Harry’s Place and The British National Party, which pleases me no end.
I hope that those starting out in journalism realize what a marvel the Internet is, as it — and specifically, the ease with which blogs can be started — enables anyone to set themselves up as an independent journalist. If you have an ability to write, have an area — or a few areas — in which you specialize, and are prepared to work hard, pitching articles to sites with good audiences (even if they don’t pay), and contacting like-minded people to share links and to introduce yourself, you can make your voice heard. And if you have something to say, say it well and promote your work, you may also find that it is, essentially, a self-starting apprenticeship, which will eventually lead to paid work.
In the week to come, I’ll be posting more new stories — about the Guantánamo prisoners’ habeas corpus petitions, about the prisoner released last week to Bulgaria, about the revelatory pre-trial hearings last week in the trial by Military Commission of Omar Khadr, and about new screenings in the UK of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” — but for now I’d just like to thank all my readers and supporters, and to ask you to keep promoting my work, in whatever way you can.
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Digg). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in January 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and currently on tour in the UK), and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
Whow, first time in many weeks that the ‘comments’ section is accessible again. Unfortunately not for the previous posts, but maybe that will get mended as well ! So thanks for all the writing that I could not comment on, and hope that your Facebook benefactor lived up to his promise.
My benefactor did indeed live up to his promise, Kabuli, which was a real boost! I also have to thank all the people who donated generously to support my work after my benefactor launched his spontaneous appeal.
Glad that some of your access problems have been resolved. I’m advised that one of the problems may be people using Explorer 7. If you’re doing so, the advice is to upgrade to Explorer 8.
Hope all is well with you.
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