F.R.E.E.D.: An Introduction to an alternative to journalism

I said that I would roll F.R.E.E.D. out slowly and at my own pace. It will also happen over various platforms for a reason. You cannot use the confines of any media as an excuse not to do your job.

If we didn't have pages, we'd still have stories. If we didn't have voices, we'd still be able to relay facts. Humans, when they are putting effort and genuine care into what they do, are capable of amazing things.

It is when they get too full of themselves that they begin to flounder.

F.R.E.E.D. is a simple, but unconventional method and one that begins as a teaching model because when you are giving facts, you are informing an audience.

You are teaching.

For a long time, journalism never questioned its own truisms. They decided to put narrative in with their stories, never questioning whether this was the right and good way to do it.

F.R.E.E.D. began long before journalism collapsed. It began when a teenaged Canadian girl of mixed Eastern European heritage saw journalists present war propaganda instead of fact.

Both the mainstream media and the girl had access to the same pool of facts. The girl had far fewer resources, funding, experience, manpower, and connections than the industry, but she still managed back then before the Internet was a mundane thing to find the same reports, footage, and eyewitnesses as the press.

She even found things the mainstream press could not.

She managed to do this while going to university full-time, college part-time, and volunteering.

She had no special informants or access. 

She asked a lot of questions as she wrote a lot of letters and made a lot of phone calls, and it was from there she began to find out about things such as FARA.

She contacted university professors and organizations, and began to dig. She was a one woman information repository, having stacked banker's boxes in her room.

So many, many boxes.

She had boxes with VHS tapes that contradicted what the nightly news was claiming. She talked to reporters in all sorts of different countries. She went to protests and spoke to people, finding out as much as she could.

She wrote letters to her various levels of government and their institutions, all who brushed her off, from the CRTC to the Human Rights Commission.

She wrote to many reporters, editors, producers, and media owners who also brushed her off.

But not everyone brushed her off.

She was a polyglot, and she got information from all sorts of other sources, and those sources were also ignored by the traditional media.

Although she didn't know that she was embarking on a journey to create an alternative form of journalism, that's what she was doing.

She was figuring out how to break a monopoly on presenting information to a general public.

But she knew she had knowledge from one side of the equation, not the other, and she could not balance that equation unless she lived on that other side.

And she had no trouble putting effort doing it. She didn't make educated guesses. She got off her duff, went to j-school, and got herself gainfully employed with an open mind and no chip on her shoulder.

And what she gathered over those years was absolutely shocking to her. The level of willful ignorance went beyond a civil war: journalists had no clue about their own countries, governments, citizens, and even neighbourhoods.

They were no better than the know-it-alls plastering their Facebook feeds with unverified propaganda posters decreeing anyone who they disagreed with as fascists with genocidal tendencies.

Where were the facts?

Where was the respect for audiences?

Where was the empiricism?

F.R.E.E.D. is the antidote for all of the lapses journalism allowed to happen to their own profession. The collapsed happened and instead of rebuilding, journalists have become the same kind of propagandists they were in another country, only this time, doing it to their own citizens as they beg for donations and tax dollars.

Force people to pay us to malign them and incite them.

This is unacceptable on any level.

F.R.E.E.D. breaks away from those shackles. It is not about propaganda or melodrama.

It is not about narrative or social engineering.

It is about informing people, pure and naturally.

It was created from the ground up: it begins by teaching students how to F.R.E.E.D. before they give the same gift to audiences. It is a spiral staircase, always improving itself after each cycle.

It chases out in front, understanding that grifters learn the rote rules before co-opting them, and corrupting them.

F.R.E.E.D. turns over the rules in order to break them, and it does this with both empiricism, and emotional intelligence.

It is about more than just content, but structure.

It is about developing primal instincts, not numbing the senses with rote scripts.

There is a balance of skepticism with humanity.

It rebels against the confirmation bias and war stratagems.

Journalism is slavery. F.R.E.E.D. is liberation.

And a different sort of information dissemination that has its roots below and its leaves above...