"Independent" sounds good. Local microbreweries and grassroots political movements have, in the early 21st century, been somewhat exposed for being not as local and/or grassroots as they sounded. In fact, even bulbs as seemingly dim as Arianna's staff have figured this out. Much brighter bulbs like Ms. Edmonds have noted the cash to be made from faux independence:
The last we heard (and read) journalists were crying out loud on the issue of shrinking and even disappearing already-meager salaries. Well, the industry’s report on average salaries justifies them, since even within the major publications in New York many senior reporters are collecting less than $60,000. What do you know! They should be lining up for jobs with the NGO online publications!! ProPublica reporters are making quarter million dollars annual salaries and benefits ($248,000).
A little more:
During the first year of its operation ProPublica secured $6,000,000 in seed money from all the who’s who of corporate foundations and dynasties such as Rockefeller, Carnegie, George Soros, Ford, Goldman Fund, Hewlett Foundation, etc. Since their enterprise operation began in July of 2008, ProPublica has secured over $37,000,000 in funding from all the corporate sugar daddies, some of whom are mentioned above.
Ms. Edmonds' full article is here.
"We know you don't like marketing, but we're so small we're not capable of marketing" makes for a great marketing point. It makes for great business to be "independent." Unfortunately, actual independence means a lack of investment capital and industry access. The money and connections necessary to make target markets aware of how wonderfully independent you are tends not to be found in independent places. Though it may be difficult for Americans to hear, searching out "independent" things could involve more than scrutinizing ads that have paid to find their way to you: it could involve eliminating the need for marketing, which was developed to foster laziness, by independently searching out what you're looking for. The risks that venture capitalists take, by investing in a venture that might fail, are the risks that you need to take in looking and building, if you want something to be "independent."