New TV news net gets coin

Upstart taps online resources to raise funds

Independent World TV (IWT), a new TV news network, is poised to launch in a bid to provide independent and unbiased reporting around the world.

Upstart led by Canadian producer Paul Jay has been tapping the Internet to raise funding as part of its effort to remain free of corporate and government interference.

Agent Paul Alan Smith hosted a launch party at his West Hollywood digs Monday night with author Gore Vidal and IWT chairman Jay as guest speakers.

Since its Web site went up on Wednesday, net has had nearly 20,000 hits.

IWT has raised $500,000 from the likes of the John D MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Canadian Auto Workers Union and some 200 individual donors.

“Most national news operations are very small pieces of a big corporate landscape,” Jay said. “This corporate culture weighs heavily on the people in the newsrooms.”

As an official charity, net can provide donors with receipts for their donations. “With just $50 from, say, half a million donors, we can raise enough to get the network running for a year,” he added.

Web launches a worldwide fund-raising drive next year and will target a full broadcasting launch by 2007. “We’re planning to launch a traveling debate show that will be on our Web site and on other media outlets in six to seven months,” Jay said.

IWT has secured carriage on LINK TV, which is on satcasters Dish Network and DirecTV, and is in talks with Time Warner and Comcast. It is also looking to lease digital channels from local pubcasters. In Canada, it has struck a deal with the nation’s largest cabler, Rogers Cable TV.

IWT will explore other alternative outlets including Webcasting and sending news directly to cell phones.

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