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AlterNet is a politically left-leaning website that was launched in 1998 by the non-profit now known as the Independent Media Institute.[5][6] In 2018, the website was acquired by owners of The Raw Story. Some AlterNet content is republished on Salon.[7]

Type of site
Progressive news website
OwnerAlternet Media, Inc., John K. Byrne, Michael Rogers
Created byIndependent Media Institute
EditorRoxanne Cooper
Alexa rankDecrease 15,059 (February 2019)[1]
LaunchedJune 16, 1997; 22 years ago (1997-06-16)[2][3][4]
Current statusActive


Coverage is divided into several special sections related to progressive news and culture, including News & Politics, World, Economy, Civil Liberties, Immigration, Reproductive Justice, Economy, Environment, Animal Rights, Food, Water, Books, Media and Culture, Belief, Drugs, Personal Health, Sex and Relationships, Vision, and Investigations.[8]

AlterNet publishes original content and also makes use of "alternative media", sourcing columns from Salon, Common Dreams, The Guardian, Consortiumnews, Truthdig, Truthout, TomDispatch, The Washington Spectator, Al Jazeera English, Center for Public Integrity, Democracy Now!, Waging Nonviolence, Asia Times, New America Media and Mother Jones.

While Snopes[9] criticised AlterNet, as of September 2019, NewsGuard labelled it as reliable[10].


Until April 2018, AlterNet was financed through individual donations, by grants from major donors, and ad revenue.[11] In 2014, the top financial backers of the Independent Media Institute were Cloud Mountain Foundation, Craigslist Charitable Fund, Drug Policy Alliance, Madison Community Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, New World Foundation, Panta Rhea Foundation, Park Foundation and Roseben Fund.[12]


Independent Media InstituteEdit

AlterNet was founded in the fall of 1987 by the Institute for Alternative Journalism (IAJ),[13] which was incorporated in December 1983 with a mission to serve as a clearinghouse for important local stories generated by the members of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN). The founding editor of AlterNet was Alan Green, who with his deputy, Margaret Engle, created print and electronic mechanisms to syndicate both the works of AAN papers and freelance contributors, among them Michael Moore and Abbie Hoffman. Engle took over for Green in 1989 and ran the news service until 1993, in that time dramatically expanding AlterNet's base of contributors and client newspapers. Upon her resignation, Engle was succeeded by Don Hazen, who had been hired by IAJ in 1991 to be its first executive director. AlterNet publishes a combination of policy critiques, investigative reports and analysis, grassroots success stories, and personal narratives.

Christine Triano was associate director of the Institute for Alternative Journalism, in 1996.[14][15]

Media Heroes are annual awards by the Institute for Alternative Journalism.[8] Frederick Clarkson was named among the "Media Heroes of 1992"[16] James Danky was named a Media Hero in 1993.[17] In 1995, Media Heroes awards to Public Media Center, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, Institute for Global Communications, Janine Jackson, Laura Flanders,[18] CounterSpin, Gary Delgado, David Barsamian, Alternative Radio, Haiti Truth Team, Salim Muwakkil, John Schwartz, and Artists for a Hate Free America were presented in MediaCulture Review, January/February 1995[19] In 1996, Leslie Savan was named one of "The Top Ten Media Heroes".[20] Patricia Scott, and Julie Drizin were named to the "Top Ten Media Heroes of 1996"[21] Paul Klite, Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Media Watch, received a Media Hero Award from the Institute for Alternative Journalism in 1996.[22] Amy Goodman, Bob Herbert, Detroit Sunday Journal, Gary Webb, Herb Schiller, Jim Ridgeway, Karl Grossman, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Norman Solomon, and Urvashi Vaid received the 1997 Media Hero Award.[23] In 1997, Media Heroes awards were presented at the second Media & Democracy Congress.[8] The Institute for Alternative Journalism named David Barsamian one of its Top Ten Media Heroes.[24]

The IAJ became the Independent Media Institute some time before December 1999.[25] After the sale of AlterNet to the new company, AlterNet Media in April 2018, the Independent Media Institute[26][27] (IMI) launched a series of new programs[28] including the Make It Right Project.


On April 9, 2018, it was announced that AlterNet was acquired by owners of Raw Story, an online news organization, under the newly created company AlterNet Media. In an online statement, Raw Story founder John K. Byrne stated, "AlterNet will continue to carry content from the Independent Media Institute, its prior owner. Thus, much of the content you expect will remain the same. You will see articles by former AlterNet writers appearing with the Independent Media Institute byline."[29]


Don HazenEdit

Don Hazen[30][31][32] was hired by San Francisco's[33][34] Institute for Alternative Journalism in 1991 was its first executive director. The AlterNet editorial staff was headed by executive editor Don Hazen,[35][36][37] a former publisher of Mother Jones, until December 2017 when he was placed on indefinite leave by the Independent Media Institute's Board of Directors due to sexual harassment allegations.[38][11][39][40] Hazen resigned following the allegations on December 22, 2017.[41][42] An episode of the This American Life, Five Women,[43] accounts sexual harassment in the workplace by Don Hazen, the former executive director of Alternet.[44][45][46]

Awards and recognitionEdit


  • We the Media. 1997. ISBN 978-1-56584-380-6
  • Hazen, Don. "After 9/11: Solutions for a Saner World". Archived from the original on 21 February 2004. Retrieved 2 March 2007.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). San Francisco, Calif:, 2001. ISBN 0-9633687-1-0
  • "The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq". Archived from the original on 15 March 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-02.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link), 2003. ISBN 1-58322-644-3
  • Hazen, Don, and Lakshmi Chaudhry. Start Making Sense: Turning the Lessons of Election 2004 into Winning Progressive Politics. White River Junction, Vt. T: Chelsea Green Pub. Co, 2005. ISBN 978-1-931498-84-5


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Meet the AlterNet Staff - Alternet". Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Re: Any ideas what is happening to Alternet's backbone?". NANOG. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Peter Stokesberry - LinkedIn". LinkedIn. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  5. ^ Hernandez, Salvador; Lewis, Cora (27 December 2017). "Progressive Media Executive Don Hazen Resigns After Five Women Accused Him Of Sexual Harassment". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  6. ^ Wakabayashi, Daisuke (26 September 2017). "As Google Fights Fake News, Voices on the Margins Raise Alarm". New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  7. ^ Sheffield, Matthew (18 October 2017). "Fake news" or free speech: Is Google cracking down on left media?". Salon. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  8. ^ a b c "(1/3/98) 1997 Media Heroes". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b Melissa A. Wall, "Social Movements and the net: Activist Journalism Goes Digital", in Kevin Kawamoto (ed, 2003), Digital Journalism: Emerging media and the Changing Horizons of Journalism, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  12. ^, "AlterNet Supporting Foundations"
  13. ^
  14. ^ Adelson, Andrea. "In Los Angeles, War of Weeklies Erupts". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  15. ^ "The Independent Media Institute - Alternet". 31 May 2017. Archived from the original on 31 May 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "James Danky :: UW–Madison Experts". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  18. ^ "The 4th Media » The Violence of the Broken Economy". 20 September 2015. Archived from the original on 20 September 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  19. ^ "Ten Media Heroes". 17 January 1999. Archived from the original on 17 January 1999. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  20. ^ "Leslie Savan - Penguin Random House". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  21. ^ "The Pacifica Foundation". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  22. ^ "Paul Klite Obituary". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  23. ^ "(1/3/98) 1997 Media Heroes". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  24. ^ "David Barsamian to speak in Taos". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  25. ^ "A Report From the IMI Board Meeting • Association of Alternative Newsmedia". Association of Alternative Newsmedia. 9 December 1999. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  26. ^ "Internet Review: AlterNet". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  27. ^ "College and Research Libraries News Internet Reviews Archive". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  28. ^ "Projects & Programs - Independent Media Institute". Independent Media Institute. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  29. ^ Byrne, John (9 April 2018). "It's a new day for AlterNet". AlterNet. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  30. ^ "Don Hazen - The New Press". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  31. ^ "L.A. confidential". Detroit Metro Times. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  32. ^ "Don Hazen -".
  33. ^ "Discover the Networks - Independent Media Institute (IMI)". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  34. ^ "Confab Seeks Cure for Journalism's 'Crisis'". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  35. ^ "MIT CIS: Spotlight Archive". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  36. ^ "OJR article: The Wired Left Awakens". 22 April 2005. Archived from the original on 22 April 2005. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  37. ^ "Independent Media Institute - GuideStar Profile". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  38. ^ North, Anna (22 December 2017). "Sexual misconduct allegations against former Alternet executive editor Don Hazen". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  39. ^ Buzzfeed News, "Five Women Are Accusing A Top Left-Leaning Media Executive Of Sexually Harassing Them"
  40. ^ "Five Women Are Accusing A Top Left-Leaning Media Executive Of Sexually Harassing Them". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  41. ^ "Don Hazen resigns as publisher of progressive news site AlterNet". 22 December 2017.
  42. ^
  43. ^ "Five Women - This American Life". 23 February 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  44. ^ Herreria, Carla (22 December 2017). "Several Women Accuse Progressive Media Executive Don Hazen Of Sexual Harassment". Retrieved 26 September 2018 – via Huff Post.
  45. ^ "Conflict in Context". Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  46. ^ "A Message from AlterNet's Board of Directors". 22 December 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2018 – via AlterNet.
  47. ^ Webby Awards, 12th Annual Webby Awards Official Honoree Selections Archived 11 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  48. ^ "Media Online: A Few Firms Thrive While Many Fail". NPR. 3 July 2001.

External linksEdit