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MODE Publisher's Note (September 14, 2000)

Alternative...is it a dirty word?

Commentary by Scot Giambalvo

If you’re paying attention, you’ve noticed in the past few issues of MODE Weekly, a invitation to participate in our Online Readers’ Poll. The topic of the poll graces this week’s cover. It is not a new topic. As a matter of fact, one comment submitted to our Reader Poll suggests that it dates back to the 1800’s. It is also not a "dead" topic as several Pollsters adamantly believed.

Why did MODE choose to "fan the flames" on this sorely beaten topic. First, because this topic is most often beaten around the kitchen table, or a few bar stools, but rarely in the limelight of print. Second, because we can beat it. We’re an alternative newspaper, and part of our existence is to bring to light topics that other "mass" media dare not. TV talk about racism? Probably not. Radio? More likely, but often fleeting. The ultraconservative daily paper? HA! And lose advertisers, NEVER!

Who does that leave? Who will watchdog local government. Who will tell the masses that every individual polled on the steps of the county courthouse, when asked "Fair or Unfair?" regarding the Druce ruling, plainly said: UNFAIR.

MODE Weekly, that’s who.

Is racism alive and well, dwelling near the shores of the Susquehanna. Honestly, we don’t know. Is there a REAL apprehension by the residents of said "shores" about traveling to the other? You betcha.

How do we know? Because in under a month’s time, thirteen (13) pages of uncensored commentary were submitted to our website’s Online Reader Poll. Thirteen pages. We’ve tried to take a representative sample of our readers’ responses and publish them on these few pages. If you would like to see the entire transcript, it will be posted on the website shortly.

So, why when we tell people we’re an alternative newspaper do we get "funny" looks or "oh really" comments in reply? For those of you that don’t exactly understand what the term "alternative" means in context to our publication, I will explain.

First, "alternative", as it relates to the alternative newspaper publishing industry, does not mean we are an "alternative life-style, or gay" publication. We may be, but it doesn’t automatically mean we are. Alternative, for us, reflects much more of the traditional meaning of the term. As in, "we are an alternative to other newspapers."

Most people, especially round these parts, have never had the opportunity to experience a "true" alternative newspaper. Unless you venture to a larger city like Philadelphia or Baltimore, where you can find the CityPaper, getting your hands on an alternative paper means finding the Village Voice on the rack at Borders.

So, we’re here to mix things up a little, and hope we get some of them right.

Enjoy.

Scot Giambalvo

P.S. As some of you may have noticed, MODE Weekly has sadly lost our Editor, Lisa E. Paige. A true voice for the cause, whatever it may be, she will be missed, and we all wish her well on her future endeavors. Thank you for all you have done for MODE.

This feature originally appeared in MODE Magazine, September 14, 2000.
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