Shadowproof

Shadowproof’s Seventh Birthday: Looking Back On Another Year

"After the Storm", Watson Lake, Prescott, Arizona (Photo by Robert Shea)

Shadowproof was launched seven years ago. With many crises facing our world, we are proud to still be publishing independent journalism.

Since our last birthday, Shadowproof has published several articles from freelance journalists at our website and as part of The Dissenter, our newsletter focused on whistleblower stories and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s case.

Thanks in part to the Marvel Cooke Fellowship, we were able to pay writers higher amounts than in previous years. This was made possible by members and donors, who have stepped up to give money in a precarious time, and by journalists, who contributed work and believed we could provide them with a solid platform.

Our members and donors have more or less stuck by us despite the waves of economic despair and instability sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, and the US-Russia proxy war in Ukraine.

Shadowproof managing editor Kevin Gosztola continued his coverage of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s case and reported on an appeal hearing in the United Kingdom in October 2021. He put out reports when the UK Supreme Court refused to hear Assange’s appeal, when the UK judiciary approved the United States government’s extradition request, and when Home Office Secretary Priti Patel gave extradition her stamp of approval.

While maintaining The Dissenter Newsletter, Kevin wrote his book, Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange, which is scheduled for release from Censored Press and Seven Stories Press in February 2023. It is a thorough analysis of the US government’s case against Assange and the implications for press freedom that will serve as a guide if and when Assange is brought to the US for trial. 

Beyond Prisons, which Shadowproof publishing editor Brian Nam-Sonenstein co-hosts, entered its fifth year of publication. The show is currently exploring community-based violence interventions, such as the Creative Interventions Toolkit [PDF]. 

Shadowproof proudly continued the Marvel Cooke journalism fellowship, which Brian organizes. In 2021, we published eight articles including contributions from two incarcerated reporters at California’s San Quentin prison: Juan Moreno Haines and Rahsaan Thomas. 

This year, with the continued generous financial backing of Mariame Kaba and additional donations from our readers, we were able to offer larger fellowships at $2000 each. We are working with a larger group of incarcerated journalists and artists than we did in 2021.

We just published our first fellowship piece of the second round by Vanessa Taylor on how abolitionist organizers see counterterrorism as a response to white supremacy.

The project unfortunately has faced numerous setbacks and delays due to repression, outbreaks of COVID and other infectious illnesses, and mail censorship in prisons.  Though we may have to delay publication for work from incarcerated fellows, we remain patient and persistent in our commitment to work through it and support them as best we can in our collaboration.

C.J. Baker, who curates a website called “Ongoing History Of Protest Songs,” kept up his bi-weekly posts featuring the latest protest songs.

What we do is possible because of Shadowproof members and donors. The more recurring monthly contributions we receive, the more independent journalism we can produce. It helps us pay journalists more, and we’re able to expand our work.

We invite readers to become Shadowproof members by donating here. If you would like something in return for your generosity, you can subscribe to The Dissenter Newsletter. (To celebrate, we have a birthday special that will allow you to take $15 off a year subscription.)

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Tens of thousands of media jobs were lost since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020. The impact of the past two years on freelance journalists is incalculable—primarily because layoffs announced by news organizations typically do not include contractors or freelancers.

At Shadowproof, we do our best to push back against a media culture that devalues freelance journalists. Every freelance journalist who comes to us with a pitch for a story sets the amount that they would like to be paid, and then we negotiate from there. We do not take a week, a month, or longer to pay journalists for their work. Our standard is to pay them the day that their work appears on our site. 

Many sites are confined to their web address, but we are using Shadowproof as a base of operations that can support the development and distribution of a newsletter, podcasts, and this year, we’re increasing the number of livestreams and content we publish to the Shadowproof YouTube channel.   

Every dollar we raise increases the possibilities for what we can do with Shadowproof.

It will not be long before we are in the throes of another presidential election cycle. Yet Shadowproof will remain principled and stick to our coverage of issues and movements that are fighting for environmental, economic, racial, and social justice. We will stay focused on struggles, like the grassroots campaigns to defund the police, abolish the prison industrial-complex, and decriminalize abortion.

If the overturning of Roe taught us anything, it is how Democrats utterly failed us. They promised for at least the last 15 years that if we voted for them they would protect women from losing their right to reproductive health care. But when they had the power to codify that right into law under President Barack Obama, they did nothing. 

President Donald Trump energized right-wing forces in the United States. Trump’s bungling of the COVID-19 pandemic allowed Joe Biden to defeat Trump in 2020, and Democrats gained control of the White House and Congress. Yet after once again demanding that vulnerable communities vote for them if they wanted to be protected, Democrats let a cold-blooded minority rule. 

Biden and the Democrats did little-to-nothing to protect citizens’ rights and respond to the Republican onslaught. That teaches us to have limited faith in electoralism. What has more chance of delivering gains for people in dire need is direct and open confrontation with those in power. Movements that make demands, block government operations, and wage public demonstrations and refuse to go home when told to disperse are more likely to beat back creeping fascism.

We have us, and the connections we forge, and only we can save us from the existential threats barreling down upon our communities—climate catastrophe, wars for empire, pandemics, drought, famine, nuclear holocaust, etc.

Thank you again for believing in what we do at Shadowproof.

Here’s to another year of independent journalism.

Kevin Gosztola, Managing Editor
Brian Nam-Sonenstein, Publishing Editor

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10 Most-Read Articles On Shadowproof In Our Sixth Year

Documents Reveal How Pentagon Shaped ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Into A Recruitment And PR Vehicle by Tom Secker

Jailhouse Lawyers Take On COVID-19 Where Prisons Won’t by Lucia Geng

CIA Funded Experiments On Danish Orphans For Decades by Kit Klarenberg

Massachusetts Chief of Police Sends Racist Emails to Town Officials, Keeps Job by Eoin Higgins

Pentagon And Its Overseers Suppressed Whistleblowers Who Challenged Massacre In Syria

Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Imprisoned In Communications Management Unit Designed For Terrorists

British Officials Spread Moscow Coup Plot Disinformation For United States by Kit Klarenberg

Abolishing Police Surveillance In NYC: Will Transparency Help Or Make It Harder? by Rebecca Chowdhury

In Riverside County Jails, Organizing Against Repressive Conditions Takes Many Forms by James Anderson

Despite Worsening Opioid Crisis, Many Jails And Prisons Remain Opposed To Treatment Medications by Daniel Moritz Rabson

5 Most-Read Articles From The Dissenter Newsletter

British High Court Expands US Appeal In Assange Case

9/11 Cinema: The Antiwar Film Disney Tried To Suppress

Whistleblower Craig Murray On Being Imprisoned Over Blog Posts by Mohamed Elmaazi

CIA Funded Experiments On Danish Orphans For Decades by Kit Klarenberg

UK Government Approves Request To Send Assange To US For Trial

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