Dr. Allen has an interesting post on the argument between two emergency medicine magazines over which one is more independent. The idea resonates with the mission of HealthVoices and we agree with the editor of Emergency Physicians Monthly:
Independence in journalism is a real thing, not simply a word that you choose in a marketing meeting. One of the defining characteristics of an “independent” publication is that they are invested in the community. An independent bookstore owner that I know is a genuine promoter of local parks, for instance, because he is a local resident and his customers are local residents. He is in the community and he has to live with what he does.
Community, openness and independence have been our goal from Day One. The Medical Blog Network goes one step further than "traditional" publications saying that publishing and community should really be one integrated concept. Of course this is only possible with online blog publication format, which is still in infancy.
With every community member free to express oneself through a personal blog the relationship between a "reader", a "writer" and a "publication" changes. Readers can instantly weigh in on issues and have their voice heard. The role of editors changes from "command and control" to facilitating discussion and directing traffic to relevant content, as we are doing with featured columns.
So in our view independence extends beyond the publication itself to members who can be participants rather than onlookers.