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"News Fit to Transmit in the Post Cassini Flyby Era"

Citizen Journalism for New Era

Published by the Springfield Republican,
(A Springfield, Massachusetts newspaper)
Hampshire / Franklin pull out section on
Sunday, January 14, 2007

Citizen Journalism for New Era
by Kelsey Flynn

It is one of the more catchy taglines I have read, "News fit to transmit in the post Cassini flyby era,, for life's survival in the 21st century". This closes all of Jonathan Mark's posts on Your Stories Northampton. His first submission to the citizen journalism site was for a film screening at Hampshire College in Amherst for a recently released documentary on September 11th victims' family members. Over the last couple of months, Mark posted often about other screenings, some at Northampton's Media Education Foundation, and also included abridged versions of the updated news reports from his site,

When I clicked on Jonathan Mark's name to find out more about this avid contributor I found his biography, "I publish an online news resource, Flyby News (FN), which came out of the campaign to stop and/or expose the high risk Cassini (plutonium) Earth flyby. The NASA space probe was launched into space in October 1997. Destined for a Saturn orbit, Cassini was first directed in the opposite direction for two gravity-accelerated assists around Venus, and then came back for an Earth-flyby in 1999. FN is committed to principles of the US Constitution and in reclaiming a rapidly shrinking democracy, and for world peace."

While I certainly can appreciate the principles of his endeavor, I admit to knowing nothing of its impetus. Honestly, the name Cassini reminds me more of a fashion designer than a space probe. I contacted Mark to learn more about it and the Web site Mark first described the site, "Flyby News (FN) is an independent news resource, which covers issues critical for life's survival in the 21st Century. Our archives on the Internet go back to 1997. The main topics are on questionable Bush elections and unanswered questions regarding September 11, 2001; campaigns for abolishing weapons of mass destruction, including uranium-tipped munitions; campaigns for reclaiming a lost USA democracy; news on extreme global warming...and much more. FN is a nonprofit news service, so we can take advantage of posting copyright material for educational and research purposes."

Now on to that flyby, Mark explained, "NASA's Cassini space probe executed a flyby maneuver around the Earth on August 18, 1999. This space ship was traveling at record speeds, more than 10 miles per second, and carrying more than 72 pounds of radioactive plutonium on board. It was only seconds away from a possible inadvertent reentry into Earth's atmosphere, which would have released more than 400,000 curies of radiation in a breathable/ingestible form. This could have resulted in millions of fatalities, and untold suffering for generations to come." Mark continued, "Cassini was only a beginning in the development of nuclear power in space for US military worldwide domination. This dangerous sign in the sky, and coinciding with the communications age, has created an excellent opportunity for at least trying to make a new direction happen toward nonviolence, peace, and justice."

Mark's subject matter often includes the ongoing investigation of September 11th and theories into possible cover-ups. I asked him how he would respond to those who would label his reports "biased". "The mainstream media is biased when it comes to news reporting," he began. "The unfortunate conglomeration and inclusion of the media with the military industrial complex has provided smoke screens for some of the greatest crimes of humanity. Like reports of the horrendous conditions after the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings, the harm to soldiers and children from uranium munitions, Iran-Contra, assassination cover-ups, etc. FN uses published accounts to document the news that is obscured by the chant of the mainstream media, which often seems to keep people distracted from real news." At the close, he did offer this caveat, "However if anything on my Web site is proven to be biased, I would gladly edit and make appropriate changes."

Mark is a regular user of Your Stories Northampton posting everything from events to Web links. I asked him why he thought citizen-involved media is important in the 21st century. His response included a rather weighty metaphor, "The citizen media of the Internet age is the main obstacle from a tyrannical government that would remove our basic civil liberties, human rights, and principles upheld by the US Constitution. Citizen media now can be compared to the press during times prior to US Independence in the 1700s."

You can read all of Mark's contributions on Your Stories Northampton as all postings are archived for further reading. Take advantage of this citizen journalism tool to publicize your own organization and news.

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Besides being published in the Springfield Republican, the author posted this article at online. However, according to Kelsey Flynn: "Unfortunately, the parent company of decided to pull Your Stories to pursue some other local interest projects. We may come back to a citizen journalism site in the future, but right now that site is not active."

The views expressed herein are the writers' own and not necessarily those of Flyby News.
A "Fair Use Policy" that describes FNs' use of copyrighted material is at
Feedback for story suggestions and networking Flyby News is appreciated.
You can write to the editor by email: -- flyby (at) --

Flyby News is nonviolent in focus, and has supported critical campaigns
for a healthy environment, human rights, justice, and peace,
since the launching of NASA's Cassini space probe in 1997.

=====News Fit to Transmit in the Post Cassini Flyby Era====>

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