The James L. Dolan Honorary Scholarship for Media Reporting: A Kickstarter Project
Prolific blogger, re-blogger, and columnist Anthony "SoupSoup" DeRosa is trying to harness the awesome power of Kickstarter -- a website that helps facilitate people who are looking to source out funding for their own projects -- for the power of "good."
See, there's a million dollars out there, and we used to have it, and it came in the form of advertising revenue from Madison Square Garden Entertainment and IFC and Live Nation. But that $1 million went away when Cablevision, Knicks, and Newsday owner James Dolan had ads from the aforementioned companies pulled from us after an off-color remark about his distaste for the media (or rather, how he'd like the media to taste him) was made on this here blog. He doesn't even own Live Nation! He just told them "Jump" and they were like "How high?" and he was like "Think Nate Robinson without knees" and they were like "Really?" and he was like "JUST PULL THE GODDAMN ADS!" and so they did.*
[Then Live Nation had to talk about raising ticket prices and their stock went down, but that's another post for another time, like this one right here.]
So we thought about it and got over it and moved on, as we were understandably upset but also understand that it's perfectly within Mr. Dolan's rights to pull advertising from us, just like it's Mr. Dolan's right to fuck up the ownership of a legendary sports franchise like the Knicks or a legendary newspaper like Newsday (both of which he's chosen to exercise!). It's also within his rights and unfortunately the law to use these tactics to silence the media regarding him, which Alex Pareene at Salon noted as "a wonderful example of just how effectively our antitrust laws are being enforced." Which we couldn't have said better ourselves!
We weren't the only ones upset by all of this, clearly. And Mr. DeRosa, the columnist we started this here blog post with, has decided to take action. He writes in his Kickstarter proposal (which is pending approval):
My message to Kickstarter:
I want to raise one million dollars for The Village Voice, a free newspaper in New York City.
The reason? James Dolan.
James Dolan, loathed by Knicks fans and New Yorkers in general for his obnoxious, power hungry agenda over the city at large, has pulled his advertising from the Voice in an attempt to silence them from being critical of his behavior.
I'd like to start a Kickstarter to get folks to donate money to help the Voice recoup the lost ad revenue.
The first step is getting Kickstarter to let us actually do this.
His proposal looks like this:
We applaud Anthony's efforts. Not only that, but I hereby propose that instead of returning the money to advertising -- which we'll get back eventually, because we're an awesome place to advertise with, which is why it must suck to work at Live Nation and not advertise with us because someone else said so -- we earmark the money for a scholarship to be rewarded by The Village Voice yearly until it expires as a prize:
The James L. Dolan Honorary Scholarship for Media Reporting.
It's important to keep our media figureheads honest, just like it's important to keep anybody honest. But seeing as how this money was lost writing about someone who has contempt for those trying to keep him honest, we figure it should go right back to those trying to do it: the scholarship would be a quarterly prize that anybody showing excellence in media reporting -- regardless of age, outlet, or experience -- would be eligible to receive.
The next step, as Anthony notes:
Update: Kickstarter seems to have interest in doing this, but we need to come up with rewards for different donation levels.
If you have anything you'd like to donate (services, gifts, etc) to give out to people who donate, let me know.
Do you have any ideas for what we could do with and for this? Put 'em here. We'd love to hear them. And again, we salute Mr. DeRosa's efforts, and he has our wholehearted encouragement, support, and gratitude. Here's hoping we can all make this thing happen.
*Paraphrased conversation, never actually happened like that, but we were told that he told Live Nation to pull the ads. That actually did happen. Which is fucking crazy.