The 3/11 anniversary book project is really coming along, so much so, that it's time to let you in on a few thoughts.
If you only get one thing from this post, get this thing: this ain't no Quakebook. Quakebook was awesome, but it was also of its time - the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown. People needed a way to explain their feelings and raise money to offer immediate relief to the survivors.
That moment has passed. There is still a need to help the survivors, but now it is more about reconstruction than relief. And for all of us, even those not directly affected, there is a massive need for an evaluation of 3/11 and what has, or more to the point, hasn't happened in the year since.
There is a massive need for independent, honest journalism. The truth, in other words.
But not the truth of the TV networks addicted to sentimentality in their quest for advertising bucks; or the truth of the newspapers who must feed the egos of their Rosebud-seeking proprietors; or even the truth according to charitable foundations beholden to their agendas, no matter how worthy.
Just the truth. At least, as best as we can get at it. And how best can we get at it? By being as knowledgeable as we can, as independent as we can, as fearless as we can.
There is no corporation backing this project, no proprietor, no agenda. We seek the truth. On our own terms. Our only funding will come from the readers. "We the people" is our only agenda.
Are we riding the coattails of disaster to line our pockets? Hell no. There are far better ways to make money than writing a book, trust me. But "a free press" doesn't mean we can do this for free. Everyone working on the project gets an equal cut of whatever we make. At last count, there were 12 people involved in the 3/11 project, so any profits will be split 12 ways. If we sell this book for $2.99 on Amazon with a 70% royalty plan, as we plan to, that equates to around 20 cents per person, per book after tax.
Having said that, many of the contributors are giving their cut to charity, and that is wonderful. But that is an additional bonus.
This is journalism, not charity.
Welcome to the Abiko Free Press.
(And welcome to Philip Brasor, who has written an insightful chapter on the media and 3/11 for the book who kindly allowed Our Man in Abiko to video the skype interview and post it here. It's Our Man's first, so please forgive his lack of craft. He will improve. Probably.)