The State of Z
its 18th year this month. We can hardly believe it, especially since
we were told at the outset that we could never do it, not with start
up funds of $40,000. But despite financial ups and downs, including
another funding crisis last year, we’ve been able to improve
and expand our efforts and projects, thanks to help from readers
mission from the beginning has been to provide “independent
critical thinking on political, cultural, social, and economic life;
and to assist activist efforts for a better future. With this mission
in mind, we have never felt limited to one project or one media.
So we have evolved into Z Communications, including
(in print and online), Z Media Institute, Z Video Productions, and
with two people—Lydia Sargent and
Michael Albert—in 1988. Eric Sargent joined in 1989. In 1996
Michael moved almost exclusively to running ZNet, while Lydia and
Eric worked on the magazine. Andy Dunn joined the staff in 2003
to work on the magazine and video production. Daniel Morducho- wicz
joined the ZNet staff in 2004.
: Each month, we prepare
at our offices in
Woods Hole between the first and the 10th of the month. It is shipped
from our printer in Ohio to subscribers and distributors around
the country. Print subscriptions continue in the 8,000 to 10,000
range, with an estimated pass along readership of 15,000. Another
3,000 (and growing) access
in its online format.
Newsstand distribution ranges from between 7,500 and 9,000.
ZNet features a wide range of articles (mostly different
from the ones in the magazine) from writers and reporters all over
the world. It has extensive archives as well as various interactive
sub-sites and “Watch Areas.” Last year, a pull-out menu
index system was created, the search system revamped, web logs (or
“blogs”) were added, forums were upgraded, and a new Z
Store is now in the works.
of the key aspects of ZNet is its Sustainer program, which allows
people to help the entire Z Communications project financially through
a flexible monthly or yearly donation. While most of ZNet is available
for free, the Sustainer program provides donors with a daily Commentary
and access to Z Magazine Online.
Fall 2004 fundraising program through ZNet—in response to projected
revenue shortfalls—raised enough money to keep us in the black
and proved so successful that it was wrapped up after only a few
We have filmed and produced over 30 videos
of mainly talks, seminars, and panel discussions since 1998. This
year we’re pleased to have included a documentary on the Argentine
rebellion of 2001, produced by ZNet commentator, Ezequiel Adamovsky,
19/20 Echoes of a Rebellion.
Our videos are selling
well, with DVDs now far outselling VHS. We hope the new online store
will make it easier for people to hear about new releases and to
We’ll be holding our tenth Z Media Institute
this year, where speakers and staff (ranging from Noam Chomsky to
Amy Goodman, Justin Podur to Sonali Kolhatkar) will discuss alternative
media operations, organizing, activism, political economy, and social
vision to more than 60 students from around the U.S. and from other
countries as well. (Information and applications appear in this
issue and online.
You Can Help:
Many people are surprised to learn that we’ve
been around for 18 years, as they’re just now hearing about
us. The main way you can help us, and all alternative media, is
to tell people about it, subscribe, buy gifts for friends and libraries,
contribute to our Sustainer program, and keep providing interesting
material for publication.
will continue to feature activist efforts
for social change as well as more articles in our series “Z
Papers On Vision And Strategy.” Z Video Productions is discussing
the possibility of doing more videos in different formats, such
as interviews/discussions where invited guests would discuss specific
issues. ZNet plans to provide more audio offerings and online instruc-
tionals, possibly even an entire online school system.
also have been exploring the feasibility of starting a Z Satellite
attend the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre this month to cover
this international movement of millions. And we’ll continue
to do what we can to support and promote other media and activist
groups working for radical change.
avoiding such corporate forms as a rigid hierarchy or a bloated
bureaucracy devoted to raising advertising or big-money donor revenues,
we’ve attempted to maintain our political ideals in everyday
practice while continuing to offer an expanding variety of media
the grim reality of facing another four years under Bush settles
into the collective conscience of the nation and the world, we want
to encourage thoughtful resistance that moves us in the direction
of positive change. Again and again, our writers have pointed out
that building democracy and improving living conditions for the
world’s majority has always required an active population engaged
in direct actions, and that this would be true no matter who had
been elected president (and even whether or not the election involved
more than the usual corruption inherent in a money- driven society
and political system).
We like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have been
reading and contributing to
over the years. Through the
ongoing assistance of our readers and supporters, we hope to continue
working against empire, in the spirit of resistance, and for equity
for another 18 years.