Oversees the progressive online magazines AlterNet and WireTap
Started the SPIN Project, which offers communications training to social justice organizations
The Independent Media Institute (IMI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “strengthening and supporting independent journalism, and to improving the public’s access to independent information sources.”
IMI oversees two major programs, the larger of which is AlterNet, an online progressive news magazine that draws some 1.7 million readers per month.
Committed chiefly to fostering “social change,” the SPIN Project provides its clients with instruction on handling media relations and building peer networks between grassroots groups, policy advocates, and academics. Seeking also to help minorities face the challenges of living in an allegedly racist America, the SPIN Project states: “Armed with a critical analysis of racism in both mainstream and alternative media, and a means to disseminate the findings, we can support leaders of color in more effective media work.”
At one time, IMI oversaw the now-defunct AlterNet Syndication, which provided independent news content to approximately 150 weekly newspaper and Internet customers.
The Executive Editor of IMI is Don Hazen, former publisher of the socialist magazine Mother Jones. In the late 1990s Hazen organized the Media & Democracy Congresses, which sought to merge progressive activism with alternative media. Prior to that, he helped manage the political campaigns of New York City Democrats Ruth Messinger and David Dinkins.
In December 2003, IMI petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to disallow the Fox News Channel's trademark phrase “Fair & Balanced,” on grounds that it was “entirely mis-descriptive,” and “false and misleading.” IMI was joined in this effort by MoveOn, which at the time was hosting national house party viewings of Robert Greenwald’s film Outfoxed, a documentary critical of Fox News. After losing some early motions in the case, IMI eventually withdrew its petition.