LEONEL DE VELEZ/THE HOYA
LEONEL DE VELEZ/THE HOYA

Though it may be only a small group of protesters based out of a tent city in McPherson Square, the Occupy DC movement has a newspaper. At a modest length of four pages, the first issue of The Occupied Washington Times was published on Nov. 8. The newspaper reports on the happenings of the Occupy DC movement and provides a venue for participants to voice their opinions on the movement and political happenings. The Occupied Washington Times is not to be confused with The Occupied Washington Post, a similar publication created by another Occupy movement going on in Freedom Plaza.

“The main goal of the Times is to show people the issues with our current government, show them what’s really happening,” says Sam Jewler, a member of the publication’s editorial board.  While not authorized by the general assembly of the movement to give official opinions, the newspaper does have the support of the group, as it is occupiers who write the articles published in the paper.

One quality that sets the Times apart from most other, more traditional publications is its “bottom-up” nature. Instead of having control of the newspaper and its content concentrated at the top, the power over the publication lies in its Occupy DC base. Only 25 percent of the articles in each issue may be written by editors, and editorial board membership rotates, meaning that no member may be on the board for more than three consecutive issues. This keeps articles focused on the issues that really engage the Occupy population and the board’s perspective diverse.

As a concrete manifestation of the Occupy movement, an important use of the paper is to involve the public. To do this, occupiers have been passing out newspapers at Metro stops and distributing them on the streets near McPherson Square. Because the paper is completely independent in terms of funding, the paper also involves the general public by inviting them to financially support the paper.

For the first edition, a company in New York printed 10,000 copies of the paper for $12,000. The vast majority of that money came from individuals outside of the Occupy DC base but sympathetic to the cause.

Just as the Occupy movement seems to be around for the long haul, so does The Occupied Washington Times. The paper’s goal is to release a new edition every two weeks with more and more papers being printed every time.

Many of the paper’s goals for its growth have been set following strong reception from other Occupy movements such as Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Baltimore. Both movements received several hundred papers and are eager for more.

Whether or not one agrees with the Occupy movement, the ability of the occupiers at McPherson Square to create a publication out of a city of tents is remarkable. If you would like to see an online version of the paper, check out the website at owt.occupydc.org.

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