This is the weekly newsletter of OptOut, a news aggregation app for exclusively independent media that's currently in beta testing. Find out more about the app at

We could really use your help in spreading the word about OptOut as we prepare for launch. We'd be grateful if you can forward this to your friends and family and share it on social!

Please help us launch this app. We need to raise funds to hire news curators and developers for our public launch in early 2022 and to make OptOut sustainable into the future. Because we are a nonprofit charity, all recurring donations through this newsletter and all other types of donations are tax-deductible!

This week's newsletter features some exciting updates about the OptOut app and network and then your weekly independent news roundup, which covers organized labor, this week's elections, Covid-19 boosters, and the environmental cost of the financial industry, among other topics.

Try Out the App!

The first few weeks of beta testing of our Apple app have gone well, and we are offering 200 more slots for beta testing! If you'd like to help us improve the app before our public launch in early 2022, please sign up. We really appreciate your help!


New Outlets Join the OptOut Fam!

We're very pleased to announce that four new independent news outlets have joined the OptOut network!

The Markup

The Markup is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates how powerful institutions are using technology to change our society. It's an innovative media organization, staffed with an excellent roster of quantitative journalists who pursue meaningful, data-driven investigations.

A recent Markup investigation describes how nonprofit websites are funneling sensitive user data into the hands of data brokers.

Nonprofit Websites Are Riddled With Ad Trackers – The Markup
Such organizations often deal in sensitive issues, like mental health, addiction, and reproductive rights—and many are feeding data about website visitors to corporations
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We salute The Markup's commitment to "collect as little personal information about you as possible when you visit our site" and to "never monetize this data."

OptOut makes a similar commitment to you. We self-host our app, websites, and software, don't display ads, and use open-source data analytics tool Matomo instead of Google Analytics.

The Appeal

We're thrilled that The Appeal, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to exposing how the U.S. criminal legal system fails to keep people safe and, instead, perpetuates harm, is relaunching as a worker-led publication! A few weeks after the staff formed a union this summer, management shut it down. Now they're back, and we're excited that they just joined the OptOut network.

Here's a recent story about a homeless man who has been wronged by the New York criminal justice system, co-published with fellow OptOut participant New York Focus.

A Homeless Man Has Spent 800 Days At Rikers After Stealing Cold Medicine. Now His Prison Sentence May Be Beginning.
Blind in one eye and at risk of losing vision in the other, 58-year-old Reginald Randolph is now on the verge of being sent to state prison to serve out a maximum of four years.
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Skipped History

Skipped History is comedic web series exploring overlooked ideas, people, and events that still shape the U.S. today. Host Ben Tumin offers heavily researched videos about topics such as the Attica prison uprising, white supremacist veterans, and the Book of Mormon.

Here's Ben's most recent video, and don't miss his newsletter.


BORDER/LINES, a weekly newsletter where experienced immigration beat reporters Gaby Del Valle and Felipe De La Hoz focus on injecting context into the week’s most contentious and confusing immigration policy news, has joined OptOut.

Here's this Friday's edition, which covers how families separated by the Trump administration may be given monetary settlements of up to $450,000 each, and the Biden administration’s decision to re-open land borders for non-essential travel.

Settlement negotiations for separated families become political issue—11-05-21
Immigration news, in context
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Means TV/OptOut Promotion!

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Means TV is the world's first worker-owned, anti-capitalist streaming service. No advertisements or product placements. No corporate backers or VC cash ever. OptOut is working with Means TV because we share their values and love their content.

SPECIAL OFFER: Donate $50 or more to the OptOut Media Foundation and get 50% off a monthly subscription to Means TV for a year! Make sure to supply your email address when making the donation and email with MEANS TV in the subject.

Check out the trailer for a new short film on Means TV, Your Boss & Your Landlord Vote, which follows the re-election campaign of Kshama Sawant, Seattle’s first elected socialist in 100 years, as Jeff Bezos spends a record-breaking $1.5 million trying to defeat her.

'Shut Off Corporate Media'

We agree with this John Deere worker-organizer, interviewed by Status Coup.

Your Corporate Narrative-Free News Roundup

Speaking of the strikewave, Kellogg workers are still on strike in Memphis and around the country, reports Scalawag.

Scenes from the picket line: Kellogg workers are still on strike
‘Make the corporate monster realize that monsters can be slain sometimes.’
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You simply love to see it: In more OptOut synergy, FAQ NYC speaks with Akash Mehta, the editor-in-chief of New York Focus, on the publication's one-year anniversary. New York Focus just launched its membership program and is raising money for its second year. Give now and have your donation matched 3x.

EXTRA: A New Year for New York Focus
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Prism reports on a potential bright spot in the Covid-19 saga: efforts to make the booster drive more equitable than the first round of vaccines.

“The structural inequities, they’re not gone away completely, but they’ve dramatically been improved,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “We now have vans going into communities giving shots [and] we have beefed up the systems to move people and offer transportation. The community health centers that are in those communities are now giving vaccines, so they’ve increased the number of vaccinators–people giving shots."
Will BIPOC have the same access problems to booster shots as they did with the vaccine? - Prism
Some health officials are taking what they’ve learned from the vaccine distribution to ensure equitable access for everyone.
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Foreign Exchanges publishes its second report from the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Get in Line or Get Out of the Way!”
At COP26, the global elite are fiddling while the developing world burns.
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Maria Bustillos analyzes the carbon footprint of the financial system, including foreign exchange, crypto, and even the toll of billions of plastic bank cards.

Boom Times: Paying with Fire ⑉ Brick House
how many credit cards have you got?
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The political establishment defeated the Democratic nominee to be mayor of Buffalo, socialist India Walton, as the current mayor, who lost the primary, ran a successful write-in campaign in the general. The Laura Flanders Show takes a look at her campaign this year.

In other election news, a Republican who embraced much of the rightwing GOP agenda while keeping his distance from Trump beat former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe, an uninspiring Clintonite with a "themeless" campaign. In The American Prospect:

As in many elections, Black and youth voters failed to show up at the polls this year...Forward-looking agendas and diverse candidates are more likely to appeal to voters of color and younger people than white male Clinton-era retreads running on past achievements and the specter of Trump.
The First Casualty of 2022 Is Terry McAuliffe
Virginia Democrats can blame themselves for Tuesday’s debacle.
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OptOut is getting ready to launch the public app very soon, and we could use your help. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the OptOut Media Foundation today! Thank you so much.

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Thanks as always for following the OptOut network! See you next week.