Jen Angel has been a writer and media activist for over 15 years. Jen's publishing history includes Clamor, publishing the Zine Yearbook, and editing MaximumRockNRoll. She is a founding board member of Allied Media Projects, a non-profit independent media advocacy organization and a contributing editor to Yes! Magazine. Since leaving Clamor, she has worked as a producer for KPFA Radio, and a publicist and tour manager through the cooperative booking agency, Aid & Abet.
Becoming the Media: A Critical History of Clamor Magazine
By Jen Angel
Published: April 2008
Page Count: 40
Dimensions: 8.5 by 5.5
Subjects: Media, Activism
Clamor Magazine was a movement publication that existed between 2000 and 2006, covering radical politics, culture, and activism. Clamor published 38 issues and featured over 1,000 different writers and artists. The mission statement was:
Clamor is a quarterly print magazine and online community of radical thought, art, and action. An iconoclast among its peers, Clamor is an unabashed celebration of self-determination, creativity, and shit-stirring. Clamor publishes content of, by, for, and with marginalized communities. From the kitchen table to shop floor, the barrio to the playground, the barbershop to the student center, it's old school meets new school in a battle for a better tomorrow. Clamor is a do-it-yourself guide to everyday revolution.
This analysis is presented as a case study on how movement projects and organizations deal with vital but rarely discussed issues such as management, sustainability, ownership, structure, finance, decision making, power, diversity, and vision.
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Becoming the Media: A Critical History of Clamor Magazine
By Sarat Collin
Political Media Review
March 5, 2010
Becoming the Media provides an in-depth analysis of the intersectional radical and left wing publication Clamor, which emerged with Independent Media Centre movement after the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle and was a staple read for do-it-yourself revolutionaries during its seven year run. In this concisely written case study, Clamor co-founder Jen Angel shares the inner workings of the award winning, nationally distributed magazine. She offers useful suggestions and analysis for media projects, the evolving publication landscape, and the importance of understanding how media functions within social movements for social movements.
I’ve known Jen Angel for years. She and fellow Clamor Magazine founder, Jason Kucsma, appeared in my book, The Murdering of My Years: Artists and Activists Making Ends Meet and I wrote for Clamor on occasion. None of these facts, however, explain why I read and appreciated Jen’s 44-page chapbook, Becoming the Media: A Critical History of Clamor Magazine (from PM Press which yes, is publishing a book of mine soon). Simply put, it’s right down my proverbial alley. I’ve written about corporate media propaganda for decades and never fail to include a spiel like this in my public talks:
“Whether you label them liberal or conservative, most major media outlets are large corporations owned by or aligned with even larger corporations, and they share a common goal: to make a profit by selling a product—an affluent audience—to a given market: advertisers. Therefore, we shouldn’t find it too shocking that the image of the world being presented by a corporate-owned press very much reflects the biased interests of the elite players involved in this sordid little love triangle. That’s why every major daily newspaper has a business section, but not a labor section. Why at least once a week those same newspapers run an automobile section, but no bicycle section. This is why when the Dow Jones Industrial Average drops, it makes headlines. But if the global infant mortality rate rises, it’s questionable if it will even make the papers—and if it does, it’ll be buried on page 23. In other words, if you created a blueprint for an apparatus that utterly erased critical thought, you can make none more efficient than the American corporate media.”
Jen Angel doesn’t need me (or anyone) to explain all that to her. She knows it firsthand and has spent much of her time creating and supporting media that offer the perspective of women, workers, immigrants, and everyone else outside the mainstream umbrella. Not just writing and design, but also issues of distribution, diversity, workplace dynamics, etc. The story of Jen’s role in Clamor—told concisely and with honesty—is part blueprint, part kick in the ass. “The real challenge,” she writes, “is getting people, on a large scale, to understand how media works to nurture, sustain, and strengthen social movements.”
In other words, if the corporate-owned media drives the getaway car for global criminals, it’s high time to create our own independent methods of communication to not only expose what’s going on but also talk openly about what needs to be done…now.
Profane Existence #58
Until I received this pamphlet/book for review, I hadn’t thought about the magazine Clamor in some years. I had an “oh yeah!” moment and was somewhat ashamed that I’d forgotten about it and it’s impact in the radical literary realm. I also realize that I remembered Jen Angels’ particular style of writing, so it was a treat to get my hands on this. In Becoming the Media, she gives a comprehensive analysis and critique of the beating heart that was Clamor magazine. We are taken on the magazine’s lifeline, from inception to adolescence to the growing organism (a business, staff, and other projects) and finally to it’s close. The writing is concise and informative and with much heart, which can be a rarity in analyses. She effortlessly braves what is essentially a self-criticism, sketching a blueprint for those interested or simply showing the bones of a project that worked. “…the real mission of activists and of Clamor is to help people realize their potential to effect positive change in the world, and to support the movement for social change. Clamor did that by empowering individuals/giving them a voice, and also by highlighting the many ways people were actively responding to injustice: by fighting back, resisting, and creating.” Pg.9 Definitely worth checking out.
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Becoming Other Media: A Reading and Review of Becoming the Media
By Kevin Van Meter | Team Colors
When Jen Angel, former co-founder and co-editor with Jason Kucsma of the countercultural-qua-activist magazine Clamor, first circulated a draft of Becoming the Media: a critical history of Clamor Magazine on the web nearly a year ago, I was excited that a history of the magazine would be available to future projects. With PM Press’s recent printing of an expanded pamphlet this material becomes available to the next generation of ‘media makers’.
Clamor Magazine (2000-2006) and the history described by Angel herein, serves us two fold: first, as a lens to particular point of composition in the counter-globalization and neighboring movements – those years immediately following the protests in Seattle; and secondly, as an example of the general approach taken by radical and progressive media outlets. Foremost, as Angel suggestions, Becoming the Media attempts to provide lessons to the creators of independent media and “radicals and progressives” in social
change movements, to use her terminology. To clarify my own, I often use movement media and independent media interchangeably; in this case the movement is the counterglobalization movement and neighboring movements and while independent media could refer to a larger array of media for the purposes of this article I am speaking of radical and left of left-of-center media.