Over the past decade at Firedoglake, we have had the privilege of being on the front lines of many critical reporting and advocacy projects. FDL’s work brought attention to and supported marijuana legalization, the Occupy movement, Keystone XL pipeline protests, Hurricane Sandy relief, Chelsea Manning, WikiLeaks, and John Kiriakou—just to name a few.
Today marks a new chapter. We are very pleased to introduce Shadowproof, a new independent press organization determined to support a diverse range of young freelance journalists and contributors exposing abuses of power in government and business. Shadowproof will shine light into the dark places where corruption hides, and elevate the voices of individuals who normally go unheard.
In December, Firedoglake editor-in-chief Jane Hamsher needed hip replacement surgery and put the website on hiatus. Soon after, Jane indicated she wanted to suspend operations indefinitely. Seeking to preserve Firedoglake’s journalistic legacy, we jumped at the opportunity to start our own project.
Although creating and sustaining a media organization may seem like a more daunting task than it was ten years ago, we will build a publication that will value the work of exceptional journalists. For this reason, there will always be an open call for freelance submissions at Shadowproof.
Following in FDL’s footsteps, Shadowproof will be a reader-funded outfit supported through the generosity of individual donations and monthly subscriptions. We welcome new members with open arms, and those who joined the FDL Membership Program over the past few years can expect to hear from us shortly about new giving options, events and volunteer programs that we will be offering. A small portion of our revenues will continue to come from advertisements, but our members will get to enjoy the site ad-free.
Shadowproof will begin with three columns: The Dissenter will pick up where it left off at Firedoglake, covering whistleblowers, protests, and the global security state’s efforts to contain, monitor, and silence movements. Prison Protest will focus on the experience of incarceration and prisoners’ rights, examining the efficacy of America’s punitive criminal justice model as a whole. The Bullpen will explore America’s escalating class war and the influence of money and the super-rich in politics and society. Additionally, the Unauthorized Disclosure weekly podcast, which is in its second season of production, will become a part of The Dissenter.
While Shadowproof will start with a small group of four writers, our priority is to diversify and expand our team during the next six months. Over time, we will introduce new columns to deepen our investigative reach as well.
Forming strong, meaningful community will be especially important here at Shadowproof. Our staff will be diligent about ensuring comments threads are a place for debate that enriches stories, something contributing journalists appreciate. On top of that, the Shadowproof community will be encouraged to submit “letters to the editor” or responses to stories, which may be featured prominently on the website. Members of our community are always encouraged to pitch stories to us.
Our work is informed by the belief that direct action and civil disobedience by citizens, including boycotts, divestment, freedom rides, sit-ins or strikes have historically made transformation possible and changed society. The publication will form relationships with grassroots organizations and elevate voices within those groups. We will center the experiences of marginalized communities in our stories and ensure those most impacted by injustice are able to share their experiences. Dissenting perspectives will typically receive greater attention than views traditionally featured by establishment media organizations.
To this end, Shadowproof is a movement publication. Our stories will be driven by social movements, not electoral politics. The organization will be a resource for information necessary to persuade others to support causes, not a resource for persuading others to support candidates in a horse race. We will focus on developing stories and events in all parts of the United States, not just the nation’s capital. Setting these boundaries will help us maintain editorial independence and the trust and support of our readership.
Shadowproof believes art and the act of storytelling have the power to challenge authority, humanize subjects, give voice to neglected perspectives, and invite us all to imagine and dream of a better world. During our first weeks here, The Dissenter will publish features celebrating protest music.
Over the long term, the website will explore how to enhance community through film, music, books, comedy, theater, painting, and various other art forms. This will give Shadowproof a certain vitality and spirit while also complementing our journalism.
Most importantly, the work we plan to do here will be wholly impossible without you. We are very excited to have this opportunity, and we hope that you will support Shadowproof and help make us a success. Now, let’s get to work.
Kevin Gosztola, Managing Editor
Brian Sonenstein, Publishing Editor