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Seattle protests seen through other eyes

camera woman
A volunteer reporter captures the protests in Seattle with a camcorder  

From Correspondent Don Knapp

December 2, 1999
Web posted at: 11:11 p.m. EST (0411 GMT)

SEATTLE (CNN) -- An army of volunteer reporters is working the streets of Seattle to provide an alternative view of the protests during the World Trade Organization conference.

The Seattle Indymedia Center is a coalition of independent media organizations and producers who say they are dedicated to promoting social and economic justice.

One of the 400 volunteers who wear the press badge of Indymedia on Thursday used a camcorder and sat on the shoulders of a friend to better record the action.

Inside the news room, assignments are handed out, tapes gathered, stories written and a half-hour of daily news is fed out by satellite. This week, the feed also includes another 30 minutes of pre-produced programs on world trade issues.

"We have different streams of content coming out of Seattle," said satellite coordinator Eric Galatas. "One is the Internet, another is satellite television, and we're also going to be distributing on videotape."

VideoCorrespondent Don Knapp reports on one group of protesters in Seattle with its own means of communication (December 2)
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Troops sent to Seattle as part of terrorism contingency plan

Shiri Pasternak is one of about 60 volunteers who cover the protests with their own cameras.

"Basically, I just ask people what their experiences are on the street and they just tell me," explained Pasternak.

Jeff Perlstein co-founded the news group, raising more than $100,000 in cash and donated equipment in order to get the message out. The alternative news gatherers are a diverse group.

"Paper Tiger TV from New York, Whispered Media from the San Francisco Bay area, there are folks from Germany with People's Global Action," said Perlstein. "We have reporters from Mexico, Canada and on and on."

Across town, at another donated space, volunteers edit and narrate the feed.

"People are on a high, right now," said Galatas. "They're bringing in camera footage of rubber bullets and all the police brutality that's going on."

So who's watching this independent coverage of the protests?

Indymedia says it is being seen by viewers of community access cable channels and by people who go to its Web site, which the group claims gets a million hits a day.

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November 30, 1999
Activists to WTO: Put people over profits
November 29, 1999
Clinton hails trade pact with China
November 15, 1999
China opens doors to more free trade
November 15, 1999
U.S. officials hold out for WTO deal in China
November 14, 1999
U.S., China open eleventh-hour trade talks
November 3, 1999

World Trade Organization (WTO)
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  • Responsible Trade Campaign Home Page
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