It was after Kate Giammarise, an investigative journalist, was laid off from her job at The Toledo Blade in 2008 that rustwire.com was born. The web magazine is an authentic and genuine contribution to the dying art of democracy-sustaining journalism that is an essential pillar to the American way of life. Its creation was embarked on by an enthusiastic author who had no real idea of how successful it would be. But some would ague that it is extremely successful, and even the face of journalism in the future. It is A beacon of light in the dark realities of its current industry. The internet site is basic in construction, with a black and white color-scheme and only a small logo featuring a rusty old factory and the bolded title of the website in the upper left hand corner. There is nothing flashy or showy about it. It was created to serve a purpose, and that is telling America’s story in an honesty, straight-forward way. No frills, no extras, just the cold, hard truth.
The one element that makes this otherwise ordinary blog unique is it’s content. In the face of a journalistic crisis, the story of rustwire.com is unaltered. There has been a long, steady process of big-business take over in the field of journalism. A shift has been largely made from honest, responsible journalism to a capitalist driven, profit making business scheme. Stories have turned soft, reporters have turned to sales men, and newspapers are increasingly filled with “fluff” and a whole host of fallacies (whatever sells, right?). Journalism is falling into Ritzer’s classification of McDonaldization. Newspapers are turning to quantity over quality, conforming to a template that allows for predictability and a “coldly calculated value.” But rustwire.com has not given in to the downward slope, and consistently produces content featuring real problems in today’s world. Stories of homelessness, poverty, unemployment, government scandals, dishonest corporation schemes cheating innocent workers out of money and pensions cover the website. It delivers the truth about what is happening, and gets to the bottom of stories that are beginning to be ignored by larger companies in favor of a bigger paycheck. It motivates interest in problems, and therefore fuels change.
Kate Giammarise was always the kind of journalist that brought her heart to the job. She worked on the founding principles of journalism and strived to produce real, honest, responsible stories. Creating rustwire.com and filling it with the content it continually displays is the author’s commitment to staying true to her self, and to journalism. The site is interactive, which allows dialog to constantly flow between readers, writers, and critics, allowing one on one communication to take place- a method Socrates deemed indispensable for successful communication centuries ago. This helps evoke a since of involvement in the readers, which is a basic principle of journalism: engaging the public. It incorporates dissemination and dialogue with ease.
So what’s the big deal? Why is Giammarise blog such a shining example in the midst of endless internet content? It has all the right ingredients: dedicated reporters, honest and diverse content, accessibility, accountability, and above all motives that are unpolluted. Perhaps it is not the only journalistic blog of its caliber, but it certainly is setting a standard of its own.
Our democratic society was originally founded with the intentions of having a free press to keep it accountable. Citizens can only be democratic if they are aware of what is happening in the state. Giammarise’s blog is the kind of journalism that holds big business, executives, and government accountable to those being governed. The blog itself is held accountable to its readers, through interactive communication, feedback, and overall support. It is things such as RustWire that inform the public, engage readers, promote action, and inspire change.
The website remains authentic: true to the original principles, continually unaltered by current and popular trends, producing truth regardless of reactions and reputation. It accomplishes its goal of providing an accountable and honest source of journalism. It is not a medium produced for profit, in fact it is documented that the site makes no profit at all. That isn’t the point- the point is creating a portal through which to provide authentic journalism, engage the public, and raise awareness about important, and often overlooked, issues. It’s in it for the love of the game.