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News from Below

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The second issue of News From Below has finally hit the stands after more than a year since the debut of the small, Durham-based progressive magazine. This Thursday at 9 p.m., Ringside hosts a News From Below launch party and benefit with open mike poetry, prose and music.

A self-described "progressive review of politics, culture, and commerce," the magazine features dispatches from activists and students around the world. Many of the pieces are personal essays about how global political issues look from the streets. Some are political commentary. Personal experience in a political context is the common thread. Issue two, "Green Power Renaissance," includes pieces on wind farms in Italy, organic farming in Hungary and the kimono industry in Japan.

Editor Kevin Kresse says the second issue has developed "a strong documentary angle" and includes more original photography. "We're trying to develop literary journalism," he says. He and designer Jonathan Blackwell launched the magazine in order to provide coverage of grassroots movements.

"The globalization I'm interested in is globalization from below, democracy from below, not authoritarianism from above," Kresse says. "A lot of the progressive media ends up responding in a shrill tone to the mainstream media's agenda. We don't want to be shrill, and we don't want to be reactive. We want to be proactive. We have our own positive agenda. Telling the stories about what people are doing at the grassroots is one of the ways we can do that."

Kresse and Blackwell have gathered some local advertising to augment their out-of-pocket financing and increased the circulation from 1,500 to 2,500. With distinctive design and national distribution, they're hoping to bring News From Below from the status of occasional 'zine to quarterly magazine.

Thursday, April 3, at Ringside, 308 W. Main St. in downtown Durham. Doors open at 9 p.m. $5 members and $7 for guests. Call Ringside at 680-2100 or check out www.newsfrombelow.com. --Fiona Morgan

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