Increasingly, the media is today no longer willing or able to play its role as the fourth estate in a democracy. Instead it defers to commercial and political interests, thus eroding democracy. In the light of Rachel Smalley's recent comments about a male dominated mainstream media, we're running a occasional series of short profiles of several women journalists who have continued to fight the conservatism of the mainstream media - and show what the alternative can look like. We're beginning with Amy Goodman.

"The media is absolutely essential to the functioning of a democracy. It's not our job to cosy up to power. We're supposed to be the check and balance on government."

IN 1996 AMY GOODMAN launched the daily one-hour radio news broadcast Democracy Now!, which she now hosts with Juan Gonzales. It now screens as a one hour television show.

Democracy Now! focuses on issues it considers under-reported or ignored by mainstream news coverage. It provides hard-hitting, independent, breaking coverage of war and peace, U.S. domestic and foreign policy, and struggles for social, racial, economic, gender and environmental justice in the U.S. and abroad.

The show is now syndicated to more than 700 radio and TV, satellite and cable TV networks in North America. It also screens in other countries. In New Zealand it can be seen on Face Television (Sky 83).

it is produced in such a way that the stories never rely on the pictures, which allows it to be sent out as a radio show on community radio stations. It has been broadcast on Plains FM in Christchurch for several years.

Goodman has also written three hard-hitting books with her brother, David Goodman: The Exception to the Rulers (2004); Static: Government Liars, Media Cheer-leaders and the People who Fight Back (2006); and Standing up to the Madness (2008). She also syndicates a column to national newspapers in the United States.


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