MAIN offers mapping tool for activists

July 29, 2012 by Wally Bowen

The nonprofit Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) has launched a mapping tool prototype for citizens and grassroots groups in Western North Carolina.

For years, big corporations and government agencies have enjoyed the power of GIS and data visualization to shape public policies and public opinion. Until now, the cost and technical complexity of these tools have kept them out of the reach of average citizens.

MAIN is partnering with community media groups in California, Vermont, Washington, and South Carolina to develop this suite of GIS and data visualization tools. In the months ahead, we will be expanding this prototype by adding more WNC counties, new layers of data, and new applications.

MAIN is also seeking funding to provide tutorials in the use of GIS/DV for staff and volunteers with WNC grassroots organizations.

Please visit the link above for a preview of MAIN’s “Mapping Western North Carolina” website. And while you are there, please fill out the brief “Civic Engagement” survey. It’s quick, anonymous, and it could help MAIN and its partners compete for the Knight Foundation’s “Civic Data Challenge.”

Feedback is welcome at:

Corporate Corruption & Media Reform

July 12, 2012 by Wally Bowen

Dear Friends of Independent Media:

“The Spreading Scourge of Corporate Corruption” is an article in Wednesday’s New York Times, and it includes this sentence: “Perpetrators understandably do their best to hide the dirty deeds from public view.”

What this otherwise excellent article fails to mention is this:

It’s the job of independent journalism to pull back the curtain and expose the “dirty deeds” of corporate corruption.

Or as Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now!” says, independent journalists “go where the silence is” to report on what government and corporate elites don’t want us to know.

Corporate media produce stories to maintain a politically passive public, activated primarily to shop.

Independent media produce stories to create an informed public, activated to engage in public policy and civic life, even to the point of challenging the dominant corporate order.

Since 1996, only one organization in Western North Carolina has consistently fought BOTH for independent journalism and greater citizen-access to media. That organization is MAIN, the Mountain Area Information Network.

Now, MAIN is at a crossroads. We need your help.

Please support our “Media Independence for WNC” fund drive with a generous tax-deductible donation via our secure server.

Or mail your donation to: MAIN, 34 Wall Street, Suite 407, Asheville, NC 28801.

And check out how your donation will be used here.

For Media Independence!

The MAIN Staff and Board of Directors

PS – Stand by for news of MAIN-FM’s imminent return to the local airwaves with a much-improved signal!

PSS – If you are new to Western North Carolina, check out this “Timeline of MAIN’s Major Accomplishments, 1996-2012.”