Building a Better Pagan Media

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  August 27, 2009 — 10 Comments

Anyone who has read my blog knows that I’m concerned with the health of Pagan-run/owned media and the state of journalism within our communities. For some time I’ve wanted to take what I’ve been doing with The Wild Hunt, observing and reporting on the news affecting our communities, to the “next level,” whatever that might mean. With the recent merger of newWitch and PanGaia into Witches & Pagans, the decision of Thorn Magazine to go online-only after their next issue, and the folding of Modern Witch Magazine, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer. While blogs and podcasts seem ever more popular in our communities, perhaps unsurprising considering our penchant for individualism, print periodicals seem to be in drastic contraction. Meanwhile, Internet-only Pagan publications don’t seem to be doing much better, often suffering from a lack of regular high-quality content, virtually nonexistent revenue streams, and an all-volunteer staff juggling their jobs and lives with the demands of editing content and putting out quality products on a regular schedule.

This isn’t to say that Pagan-run media is uniquely in trouble. Our microcosm mirrors the painful changes the mainstream media is going through as they try to navigate a severe recession and a shift towards making new media journalism pay. However, our (relatively) small size does allow us some opportunities to collaborate and evolve into this changing market. I’d like to introduce a new venture that I hope will not only spark a renaissance in Pagan journalism, but also create the needed synergy to allow existing and forthcoming Pagan media outlets to thrive in an emerging world of hyperlocal news and “hyperdistribution”.

The Pagan Newswire Collective is an open collective of Pagan journalists, newsmakers, media liaisons, and writers who are interested in sharing and promoting primary-source reporting from within our interconnected communities. The idea is simple: a pool of journalists and writers within the collective share sources and collaborate on dynamic and timely stories of interest to the Pagan community; media liaisons from various Pagan organizations pass along news and current events for possible coverage; editors, bloggers, podcasters, and other media outlets can call for submissions, collaborate with the collective, and negotiate with individual writer(s) to distribute finished product. All work created from within the collective remains the property of those who produced it, and it can be distributed in any number of ways, from Creative Commons to more traditional arrangements with various periodicals.

The variety of possible coverage models are endless, from syndicated multimedia packages for large events, to local beat-reporting when “hot” stories emerge in local Pagan communities, to “evergreen” human interest stories suitable for periodicals that publish infrequently. In short, we hope to become the “Pagan Reuters”, as Yvonne Aburrow put it.

Since we are brand new, we are looking for Pagans and like-minded allies, especially those with writing or journalism experience, to join our collective. If you use Facebook, you can join our official Facebook group, or join our mailing list at Google Groups. Here’s to building a better Pagan media.

Jason Pitzl-Waters