by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
April 11, 2001
HOLLYWOOD, April 11, 2001 -- Today marks the start of the seventh year of operation for The American Reporter, the first and now the longest-lived Internet daily newspaper in the world.
Fools and dreamers start newspapers and seek public office, and I am surely both. Yesterday's election for Mayor of Los Angeles, in which Antonio Villaraigosa beat me 95,591 to 442, proved it. But our dream of creating a journalist-owned newspaper has not failed: we have survived longer, and with less debt, than any other Internet venture of comparable stature.
As we begin our seventh year, I feel reinvigorated by my electoral campaign, quite incongruopusly. Even though I lost so badly, I won self-esteem and pride for having stuck with the effort to the very end. I was grateful even for the chance to do that. For better or worse, I know that I got my name before hundreds of thousands of voters, and that might be worth something in the future. I will never seek political office again (but I might be open to a draft!).
The remarkable thing about both newspapering and politics is the extraordinary people you encounter. Having started a newspaper on the Internet, I didn't get to meet many of our co-owners except via mail. I have met Randy Holhut of Vermont and Andreas Harsono of Indonesia, and Nepal's Chiranjibi Paudyal, as well as our former Indian correspondent, Arun Mehta, and former Book Review editor Charlie Reid and his wife, Diane.
I had known Lucy Komisar from the Voice; we met more than 25 years ago, and again in Washington. Strangely, though, I have vivid pictures of our other correspondents, like Bill Johnson, Arjay Morgan, Constance Daley, Cindy Hasz, Erik Deckers and Clarence Brown. Their personalities shine so vividly through their work that I form a person in my mind; sometimes I think that's what they really look like! On the campaign trail, I met all of my opponents, and liked each of them a lot.
The six mayoral candidates who were the obsession of the major media (they refused to write about anyone else) were intelligent, able people, and occasionally inspiring. James Hahn and Antonio Villaraigosa (whom I'm backing now) were both people I can like and admire. Joel Wachs was very helpful to me; Steve Soboroff was different and engaging, and Javier Becerra was bright, quiet and likeable. Kathleen Connell was sharp as a tack, and just as pointed when spearing her opponents, yet very feminine and passionate. Among the other also-rans, Francis DellaVecchia was terrific, and all of them were very different and remarkably sane.
The convergence of politics and journalism is like the meeting of two rivers, one of sweat and one of blood. They mix, but not easily or well. I am happy to remove myself today from the river of blood, because it flows away from the well-being of the people. The river of sweat flows from the work of the people, and I am happy to immerse myself in it.
I think the American Reporter needs a lot of help on the editorial side, and even more on the advertising and marketing side, if it is going to succeed in sending some money back to the 300 or so writers who own it with me.
Having concluded a campaign which for me was a personal success, I feel prepared to start another for The American Reporter, a newspaper that is devoted to seeking and telling the truth.
That one we will win: the truth always triumphs in the end.
The American Reporter opened for business on the Internet on April 10, 1995.