Toward an Independent Freethought Media

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know I’m a big fan of independent, non-profit news media. I contribute free arts coverage to the Twin Cities Daily Planet. I host Atheists Talk. I love MinnPost and The UpTake.

So why is independent news media so important? There are two big reasons in my book. The first is that there isn’t the same pressure to conform to the political agenda of corporate owners. In a de facto oligarchy like ours, this is critical. The other reason is that, without the pressure for profit, these organizations can focus on smaller audiences and stories. Rather than being all things to all people, they can cater to their niche…assuming that niche can support their work.

Jamila Bey is hoping her niche–us–can support her ambitious project. She also has the best project description I’ve seen.

First Amendment Personals…

Me: A free thinker with an extensive background in journalism who loves the First Amendment, freedom of speech and has a need to tell stories combining both that you just can’t find in most conventional news coverage.

You: Someone who is longing for that kind of news coverage, has seen glimpses of it, and is not only longing to see more, but is also willing to make a financial contribution to make it happen.

Let’s get together….

Hi! I’m Jamila Bey, and I’m a Washington, DC-based journalist. I hosted the radio show The Sex, Politics and Religion Hour: SPAR With Jamila on radio stations in NYC, DC, Miami and Chicago and internationally broadcast outlets in addition.  I write for theWashington Post blog She the People and I’ve also worked for National Public Radio. You’ve probably also read or viewed my insights in places like The New York Times, The New Humanist of London, Jazz Times, WebMD and the Today Show.


Now as a freethinker, I pay a lot of attention to First Amendment issues. I believe in the separation of Church and State, something that in our current political climate tends to get mixed together…with results that can lead to the serious violation of people’s rights… I mean, hey, if you listen to folks like radio talk show host Glenn Beck, you should be able to yell at your kids until they profess a belief in God…whether they want to or not.

While the stories of those who find their First Amendment rights abused get told when they’re as outrageous as Beck’s, there are other stories of book banning, prayer at public meetings, and other things that don’t get told.

That’s where we come in. With your help, I’d like to raise $55,000 to go out and report these kinds of stories and help Americans see that the First Amendment can only survive if it’s allowed to stand in the sunshine.

And if you contribute $100 or more, I’ll give you an autographed copy of my upcoming book on the role that religion plays in the lives of African American women.

I think that you and I would make a great couple…and tell some necessary stories in the process…

Let’s give it a chance… 

If we make a go, you’ll help me to produce 30 hour-long shows in 2014 that investigate the race, gender, political affiliation and other allegedly private beliefs and assumptions bear upon the news and news makers.


I’ll be bringing independent polling and on the ground reporting from here in DC and around the country with a team of correspondents and contributors.  From Congress, the Supreme Court and the White House, to local school boards and state legislatures, considering news from the point of view that religion shouldn’t get a free pass from scrutiny and fair criticism when looking at its involvement in larger American life.

We’re getting near the end of the funding period for this, and it’s gotten very little publicity to date. Won’t you fund what you can and make sure this gets widely seen?

Toward an Independent Freethought Media