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Article Specs

VxAcct: 1

Article ID: 4584

Section: wrenwalker

Age Group: Adult

Posted: July 21st. 2002

Views: 6656

News You Can Use

by Wren

Information is power." How many times have we heard that one? But it is no less true for the repetition. The sharing and dissemination of information and news is a vital component in society, in politics and in all other facets of our lives. So valuable to the enduring health of freedom did the Founding Fathers of the United States consider the unfettered publication of news, they included the right to a free press in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Those words were a milestone in the history of world governance and despite the years of wear and tear and legal wrangling and attempts to circumvent and to somehow domesticate and thereby tame those radical words; they still stand today.

News is one of the ways by which information is obtained and shared and information is necessary for action. Certainly over the last ten years or so, the Pagan and Heathen communities have come to see its value and have embraced the Internet as perhaps the one breakthrough media form that has helped to connect us across the miles. What happens in California or in Oslo or in Sydney can be shared and spread across the entire network in literal minutes. Certainly the news is a large part of what makes up The Witches' Voice and because of that we have a deep and abiding interest in all things 'newsy' and news worthy.

The Wren's Nest feature developed out of just such an interest and it was an interest not held by we alone. From almost the first days in which we began to post news that we thought might be of some use to the Pagan and Heathen communities, you, our readers and contributors embraced the concept. For contributors, you are. Those of you who have faithfully emailed us articles are a part of the TWV family of newshounds and we simply couldn't do it as thoroughly or as well without your interest and assistance. That more than anything else demonstrated to us that Pagans and Heathens are not only interested in news features, they want to be active participants in the process of information gathering and sharing. Such interest demonstrates not only a high degree of intelligence and education, it also points to a social conscience that reaches beyond the perimeters of just what is 'Pagan' or 'Heathen'. We are indeed now citizens of the world.

According to 1996 Radio News Audience Survey, just under one-half (47%) of the respondents say that they follow the news "almost every day;" an additional one-quarter (24%) say that they follow the news "four or five days a week." Twenty-one percent keep up with the news "two or three days a week;" seven percent do so less frequently. Consistent with findings from RTNDF's 1996 Profile of the American News Consumer survey, interest in news correlated positively with respondents' age and education. College graduates (55%) were more likely than those with some college or less (43%) to follow news on an "almost every day" basis. Respondents 50 to 64 years of age (62%) were twice as likely as those 18 to 34 (32%) to do the same. (The entire report can be viewed here.)

We have always wanted TWV to be more interactive. In the first years, we did have a message board. Sadly, we had to eliminate that venue when it- as many large or more popular message boards are prone to do- disintegrated into a forum for in-fighting and off-topic meanderings. Since that time, we have been further constrained by our sheer traffic volume that bogged down our servers and limited the amount of interactive features that we could add. Happily -- and due entirely to the support from our most generous sponsors -- we now have a multi-processor dedicated server capable of handling that huge amount of bandwidth and we can, once again, begin to develop those interactive features that we feel are so important to any community-based site. It won't be a stand-alone message board (shudder) but we will be bringing back Pagan Perspectives and are introducing weekly polls. You also can now post your comments and opinions on Wren's Nest articles. We hope that you enjoy these new interactive features. Please remember that TWV is a 'family-friendly' site and that it is important to our stated mission of providing educational resources across the spectrum of all age groups that we remain so.

Other Pagan web masters or site owners often ask us if they can portal the Wren's Nest news on their own pages. TWV itself has good leeway in posting articles because we are a non-profit educational organization, carefully abide by fair use guidelines and so we have established a good relationship with the various media outlets. We are not licensed to portal or otherwise disseminate the news to or for other sites. Thus we cannot 'grant permission' to any other site to use the Nest as a portal or web service for the news. Most media outlets do allow for fair use for non- profits, but not for commercial ventures. As we cannot guarantee that any or all sites that would use the Wrens Nest news are non-commercial (nor do we desire to police the web to do so), it is not within our legal perimeters to 'grant permissions' for anyone to do so. That agreement would lie between the site owner and the media outlets. In other words, TWV is not a middleman distributor nor will we do anything to jeopardize our own good relationship with media outlets or to circumvent the law in these matters. You are however free to link to the Nest and, of course, to develop your own platform for news and information reporting. The more, the merrier! (Some of my own favorite news sources are listed here.)

Based upon the attention that Pagans and Heathens have shown in following, commenting upon and sharing the news, we are growing stronger and more of a force for change every day. Pagans and Heathens have always had a vested interest in First Amendment rights. That we increasingly view the right to a free press as important as the right to freedom of religion demonstrates -- at least to this one Pagan news hound -- that we are expanding our horizons beyond simply our own self-interest in order to embrace and engage a much wider and diverse world.

If information is indeed power, then we as Pagans and Heathens are increasing holding more of that transforming power in our hands. Let's use it wisely.

Wren Walker
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, July 22nd., 2002

Photo Credit: a wonderful shot sent over last week from Ricky Thanks my friend!



Location: Tampa, Florida

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