In 2006, The Media Consortium initiated the first sector-wide analysis to determine the size and demograhic makeup of our audience. After contracting a third party, 16 of the Consortium’s then-32 groups poured their various lists-subscribers, donors, registered online users, newsletter subscribers, and so on-into a single file. After the file was de-duped, we learned that:
- These 16 organizations had a combined file size of 2.9 million names (about the same size as MoveOn.org’s file): 1.8 million confirmed regular mail names, and 1.1 million confirmed email addresses.
- 75% of the original list is served by only one media outlet, meaning there is very little audience crossover.
- While most of this audience is concentrated on the West Coast and the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic corridor, the “penetration rate” for these sixteen groups into key portions of the Upper Midwest, Rocky Mountain West, Southwest and Deep South was higher than expected.
The implications of the file size alone are significant. Extrapolating for additional Consortium organizations and non-confirmable audiences, we can reasonably estimate that the independent, progressive media audience is much larger. This information provided the basis for multiple in-development projects that support building the independent media market.
Live From Main Street
Live from Main Street, a five-episode tour of America during election season, ran from June-October 2008. Hosted by GritTV’s Laura Flanders and produced by The Media Consortium, Live From Main Street’s town halls helped place local issues and social movements within a national context. Each show was broadcast on multiple television, radio and satellite channels, streamed across the web and written about in print and online outlets. Individual Consortium members created vital complementary content, building out a unique collaborative and cross-platform media initiative. Live From Main Street provided integral opportunities for learning and relationship building among progressive media and offered a new standard for electoral coverage. For videos and other open-source content, visit LiveFromMainStreet.org.
Syndicated Reporting Project
After many consortium members noted that they did not have the resources to cover specific beats on an ongoing basis, The Media Consortium created an innovative model of open-source journalism and launched a syndicated reporting service. In July 2007, The Media Consortium hired reporter Brian Beutler as its Washington Correspondent to cover Congressional Oversight and National Security and brought on Adele M. Stan as Executive Editor in early 2008.
Thanks to RSS and hyperlink technology, as well Brian’s reputation within Washington D.C.’s progressive blogging community, the articles have moved from members’ sites to the larger public. Beutler and Stan’s work has been published by seven Consortium member organizations, including AlterNet, ColorLines, In These Times, Mother Jones, The American Prospect, The Progressive, and the Women’s Media Center. In addition, their reporting has been linked and quoted by a number of blogs and websites including Slate, The Atlantic Online, Care 2, Common Dreams and the Huffington Post.
We temporarily stopped producing The Syndicated Reporting project at the end of September to devote those resources to developing new opportunities to support and strengthen independent reporting. Through our “game changing” review process, we are examining how this project can evolve to support more Media Consortium members while upping the influence and impact of progressive reporting overall. Visit The Consortium Report to tour this project’s archives.