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Ben Swann and A New Age of Independent Journalism

by Carl Wicklander, published
Leaving his job as a successful correspondent with Fox 19 in Cincinnati earlier in 2013, veteran journalist Ben Swann made the surprising move of starting his own independent venture, the

Truth in Media Project.

Swann's career began by working his way up through the ranks by shooting video and editing stories to eventually moving in front of the camera. In 2012, he began receiving national prominence for a hard-hitting interview with President Barack Obama over the so-called "Kill List" and for investigating whether the mainstream media was excluding Ron Paul from 2012 presidential election coverage.

Beginning as a Kickstarter campaign, is up and running and updated daily on topics from electoral politics to personal privacy, the Tenth Amendment, and other stories not covered by the media.

When it comes to establishing independent media platforms, Swann is well-prepared for it. Homeschooled at a time when few were utilizing this alternative form of education, Swann says his background helps him avoid the group-think that pervades much of traditional journalism.

In an interview, Swann said the point of the venture is to "start a broader dialogue" and talk about the stories the mainstream media is not covering. Among the topics Swann says receives minimal coverage is a fiat currency system "with no accountability to the American people," as well as the notion that the country does not need any more than two political parties.

Asked about the role of independent media today, Swann is quick to answer that it played an important role recently. "," but thanks to bloggers and social media, "the public didn't buy it this time!"

He also uses Syria as an example of the futility of the Left-Right paradigm:

"Syria wasn't a Left-Right issue. Liberal media was saying the same thing as the Republican media. It was a great example of where the Left-Right paradigm didn't exist. It's a facade."

Swann accepts the notion that there is an attempt to prevent alternative voices from being heard in the mainstream media today. Part of the reason, he said, "is that you keep the voices out of the mass media so that you can keep them out of elections."

Swann's advice for bloggers and independent journalists today is that they should always "demonstrate journalistic practices":

"It's tempting to find the most exciting story possible, but really try to strive for doing the best story possible and the most professional stories possible. "

Asked if he saw a lot of other traditional journalists at newspapers and TV stations following in his footsteps and going independent, Swann responded by saying only time will tell.

His model is relatively untried and "there's still a lot of money to be made at a traditional outlet," as well as job security, so there are incentives to avoid taking his path. Yet, if Ben Swann's model takes off, it may be the beginning of a new day in media practice.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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