[Marxism] LaborNet finds its way back to print media

Ben Courtice benj2006 at connexus.net.au
Sun Mar 26 18:47:52 MST 2006

An interesting article in light of the debate had here from time to time 
around print vs electronic journals.
Ben Courtice


Of Milestones and Millstones

Three hundred issues ago, in February 1999, Workers Online published its 
first edition, with the following promise: “to bring you news and views 
in the traditions of the workers press of yesteryear, but with our eyes 
firmly on the future.”

It was the height of tech boom and our mix of tabloid news, people-based 
features and irreverent comment, including the infamous 'Pierswatch' 
column; gained us instant notoriety and, perhaps, an inflated sense of 
our own significance.

(. . . )

But perhaps the biggest change since 1999 is the one you could never 
have predicted - the Tech Wreck. No, we didn't lose a fortune on NASDAQ, 
but the collapse of the online bubble did deflate some of our more 
ambitious dreams.

Back then I was convinced the web was it, that the virtual world would 
become the new reality and initiatives like our virtual chat rooms 
seemed to us to be the infrastructure that would redefine unionism.

While the chat rooms gather virtual dust, a more interesting development 
has been the way Workers Online has been converted back into print.

These days, Workers Online journalists also produce a range of trade 
union magazines. And along with the tabloid treatment to those union's 
issues and members, these journals carry 'Workers Online' news digests - 
highlights from the online editions; as well as syndicated features on 
broader industrial issues.

So the dream of an all of movement voice is slowly making its way from 
its online source, into the magazines that are starting to see the 
benefits in building a sense of movement outside their specific member 

In another 300 issues it would be nice to think every union would be 
carrying a little bit of Workers Online in their journals.

For now, as we brace for WorkChoices, Workers Online is a part of the 
infrastructure that stands the movement in better stead for what will 
come than our enemies realise. For this. at least, I think we can be proud.

Peter Lewis


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