History of GNN – Guerrilla News Network

What are the origins of the original Guerrilla News Network (GNN) ?

Guerrilla News Network was originally an independent news organization with headquarters in New York City and production facilities in Berkeley, California. Our mission is to expose people to important global issues through cross-platform guerrilla programming.

GNN was co-founded by Stephen Marshall and Josh Shore in the summer of 2000. The partners first joined forces at MTV (Josh had brought Stephen in to consult on some radical television ideas for the station) when they finally realized that the mainstream networks would never allow their hi-impact brand of television content and design to reach prime-time. GNN’s inaugural project was a NewsVideo called The Diamond Life. Completed in the fall of 2000, the video features the music of Peter Gabriel and was produced in conjunction with his non-profit organization, WITNESS.

Shortly after, GNN rounded out the core partnership with reporter Anthony Lappé; and investment banker-turned-producer Ian Inaba. Since 2000, GNN had grown from its critical mass audience from approximately an initial 300 unique visitors/day to an average of 25,000 and a high of over 300,000. Their first DVD compilation, Ammo For The Info-Warrior features NewsVideos that have received hundreds of thousands of views on the net and been shown in film festivals and on television networks around the world. Among them is the Sundance-award winning short, Crack The CIA and the 2003 Media That Matters Film Festival Media Activism Award winner, Copwatch. In 2003, they produced AfterMath, a 30-min. documentary investigating the unanswered questions surrounding 9/11. Since its release, AfterMath has played in festivals and at public venues across the United States and Europe and has been translated into four languages.

Guerrilla News Network Closure

Who was behind the original GNN?

GNN is a for-profit company owned by four partners:

Ian Inaba

Ian is a writer, producer and director. Ian has a wide range of experience in media creation, technology production as well as marketing and business development. He brings this wealth of experience to all of his productions, from music videos and documentary films, to investigative reports and next-generation technology projects. Over the past four years Ian has transformed from a strategic advisor and creative consultant to a director and producer of highly controversial and informative media projects. Most recently, he directed the music video for Eminem’s “Mosh” and contributed to GNN’s first book True Lies.

Ian has served as the CEO of Switch Technologies a technology and media development group in Berkeley, Ca. He was also previously a software executive for Check Point Software Technologies (NASD: CHKP) and an investment banker for Robertson, Stephens and Company. He is a graduate of the School of Engineering and Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. The documentary filmmaker and Guerrilla News Network journalist talks about the potential of short-form video.

Anthony Lappé

Anthony is a writer and television producer who has written for more than twenty magazines and newspapers and has produced television news programming that has aired around the world. He has written for Black Book (where he was National Affairs Editor), Details, Gear, New York, Paper, The New York Times, and Salon, among many others. He currently writes a monthly column for Deng, a new Belgian news and entertainment magazine. In television, he worked as a correspondent for The New York Times Video News International (now NYT-TV), the world pioneer in small-format video-journalism. In 1996, he received two grants from the U.S. government to help train reporters from the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation in the West Bank. Here is a 2001 interview with Lappe by Greg Palast. Later, he was a breaking news producer for Worldwide Television News (WTN), a documentary producer for MTV News and Specials and Fuse. He is a graduate of NYU and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was a frequent guest on the defunct Air America Radio and numerous other radio stations around the country.

Stephen Marshall

A writer and award-winning director, Stephen is the internationally-known creator of Channel Zero, the world’s first global VHS newsmagazine. Distributed in Tower, Virgin and HMV record stores around the world, Channel Zero became an underground hit and one of the first successes of the small-format video revolution. The Village Voice wrote, “Leave it to a Canadian to revolutionize television.” The Toronto Star called Channel Zero, “A mind blowing trip, one neither CNN nor 60 Minutes would ever take.” In 1997, Marshall produced the provocative series The Electronic Eye: Canada as a Surveillance Society for the CBC’s The National and consulted CNN Chairman Tom Johnson on the creation of a youth-based global news network.

Since co-founding Guerrilla News Network in the summer of 2000, Stephen has directed over 15 short documentaries, many of which have been selected for film festivals around the world. In 2002, his Crack the CIA won its category at the Sundance Film Festival. Later that year, he was tapped by Interscope Records to direct animated videos for rappers Eminem and 50 Cent. His controversial music video, Closer, directed for UK’s Soulsavers was selected for RESFest 2004.

In 2004, he wrapped production on two feature films: BattleGround: 21 Days on the Empire’s Edge, a doc feature he shot, directed and edited about the American occupation of Iraq, and This Revolution, a political thriller starring Rosario Dawson, set at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. BattleGround won the Silver Hugo for Best Doc at the 2004 Chicago International Film Festival and This Revolution went on to premiere at Sundance 2005. His first book, True Lies, co-authored with GNN’s Anthony Lappe was published by Penguin/Plume in October 2004. Over the span of his career, Stephen has traveled and worked in over sixty countries.

His latest documentary feature, Holy Wars was edited by Dan Swietlik (An Inconvenient Truth, Sicko), produced with Smuggler and completed in 2010. The critically acclaimed film has been selected for competition at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals, including AFI/Discovery Silverdocs and IDFA. Variety‘s Justin Chang wrote, “Marshall’s cool, agnostic approach effectively modulates the intense battle of wills that develops between the uniquely compelling subjects.” Moviefone chose it as “one of the best documentaries of 2010.” The film was produced in association with Smuggler. It made Oscar-qualifying runs in New York and Los Angeles. In March 2011, Marshall launched his music blog, “the list“. The project originated from an email list of friends who received new music each week. Once the list grew past a few hundred, Marshall decided to create a website with the help of designer Josh Sibelman.

Josh Shore

Josh is a film/television producer, media/brand strategist, and developer of transformative enterprises. Prior to starting GNN, he created and produced assorted original television shows for USA Network, Showtime, MTV and MuchMusicUSA (now Fuse), in addition to producing and directing material for E! and Comedy Central. For Guerrilla News Network, he has split his time between producing and directing GNN media, working with different grant-makers to support the creation of original GNN productions, and developing various television initiatives that seek to bring the culture of GNN to a wider audience. Aside from his work in television and Web media, Josh has served as a strategist to various individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations, helping them to tailor their offerings, build out their brands, and develop new (r)evolutionary business opportunities. Headquartered in New York City, Josh is a graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.

Resources:

Was the GNN a US Government Mis-Information Project?

A former user’s view on “What happened to Guerrilla News Network

Additional information about GNN on Wikipedia.

WordPress Guerrilla News – No War But Social War

Liam Scheff offers the following explanation:

Comment by Liam Scheff on December 17, 2009 at 1:05pm

GNN Closure:

I’d say it died because it had no boundaries, no ability to move a very hateful commenter off your blog. I wrote a great deal for the site, and had more than several long conversations with site creators and programmers, about putting in a simple filter.

That is, when a GNN’er who was there to sew as much hatred as possible arrived on your doorstep, it was not possible to get on with conversation, let alone do any actual research. The site was also infested with many uncritical religio-scientists (those who defend any lab science over any criticism thereof); so, no conversation about the BS being peddled by the NIH over various epidemic manipulations and scares would get through without being savaged in the most personal of attack language.

And so, I suggested, again and again: Institute a simple ‘block’ feature, so that when you and some peers want to do some real research, you’re able to do so, without three people coming in and posting long insult streams. But. No go.

And when the site finally issued its closing statements, one of the co-creators, Stephen ‘silverback’ (his GNN name) Marshall, wrote that he might have been naive to think that a site could exist without borders or boundaries (their ‘anarchist’ philosophy, I suppose?); and that the level of hatred and venom accumulating on the blogs drove people – and advertisers – away quickly, and then in droves.

And that’s probably a lot of what happened. Lesson:

Anarchy is silly. Really, really, really silly, and self-destructive.

On the other hand, one big world government is terrifying. I’ll settle for a reasonable libertarianism, that argues around the margins between social(ist) programs and un-restrained personal liberty, and some common-sense laws that protect citizens from each other, and the government.

I’ve enjoyed some of the posts I’ve seen here at 12160 (what does that mean, by the way?), and so signed up. I especially enjoyed Mr. Marklar’s post on the climate hysteria. And another on the doping of poor kids with ‘anti-psychotic’ drugs.

I posted a great deal of original research on related topics, as well as editorial and satirical pieces on GNN about some of these issues, and met with absolute anger and hysteria. I suppose I was talking to too many of the people now “saving the world” in Copenhagen. Glad they’re far away. I hope they’ll stay there…

bests,

Liam Scheff

Comments

Lester Wise says:

Thank All the Gods GNN is back! I felt an enormous vacuum left from the conversation and the hard hitting, informative and wildly entertaining internet videos set the pace for years to come. I miss the old but I’m on board for the future and would love to contribute in any way I can.

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