HammerHard Principal Christine Geovanis was one of the founders and key organizers of Chicago Indymedia — the Chicago Independent Media Center — launched in early 2000 as one of the earliest local hubs of the global grassroots Indymedia network.
Indymedia first launched in Seattle in 1999 to provide progressive coverage of the WTO protests and, more broadly, to give grassroots activists a chance to end-run corporate press spin and air news that for-profit outlets refused to cover. The volunteer project had its roots in ‘CounterMedia‘, a 1996 project to provide alternative coverage of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Geovanis coordinated CounterMedia’s newsroom operation, along with partners from projects that ranged from Kartemquin Films to SmartMeme.
Years before social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter launched, Chicago Indymedia’s newswire offered ordinary people the chance to share news and dialog about about economic and social justice issues. The project became a central online gathering spot for Chicago activists, with hundreds of thousands of unique visitors and thousands of articles, photos and videos posted. Over the years, Chicago Indymedia has provided breaking and live coverage of anti-war rallies, police brutality cases, labor strikes and more that get short shrift or negative coverage in the corporate press. Content providers have ranged from neighborhood residents to corporate photographers and videographers who are just as frustrated as the rest of us by their outlets’ refusal to cover issues that matter to local residents.
Beginning in 2004, Geovanis began working with Chicago Indymedia to produce Chicago Independent Television — a community-based TV show that covers local and global news from a progressive perspective. The show broadcasts monthly on CAN TV and nationally on the Free Speech Network through Dish Network and DirecTV. Geovanis also supports Chicago Indymedia’s monthly audio podcast, From The Trenches, and — since Indymedia operates without corporate sponsors or advertising — has helped keep Chicago Indymedia up and running by organizing a round of successful fundraisers. Today she’s working with a new crop of volunteers and partners at projects that range from GLN to Multikulti on a major reset of Chicago Indymedia’s software platform and on reinvigorating the project as part of the global network’s retooling effort.