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Welcome to MercatorNet! This is our inaugural issue.

Another internet magazine? No, not just another one.

MercatorNet will be offering analysis of
current affairs and trends which touch its readers’ daily lives. With
the internet, news is hardly a scarce commodity. If you’re like me, you
feel overwhelmed by an avalanche of news from radio, TV, newspapers,
magazines, the internet -- and now from blogs. But intelligent, common
sense commentary is rare.

What we have to offer is idealism and professionalism. The articles and
features in MercatorNet will speak to everyone who believes that ethics
is more than opinions, that there is a transcendent dimension to our
lives, and that facts are sturdier than ideology. We welcome a diverse
range of opinions on politics, international affairs and economics as
long as they support the unalterable dignity of the human person.

MercatorNet is an ambitious project. We’d like to become an internet
portal which will create a more balanced and positive agenda for the
media. We intend to publish views you can use. We’d like our readers to
use the facts and figures and arguments they find here to influence
public opinion.

Here’s what we’ll be offering -- at least initially. With time, our coverage and commentary will expand.

  • a front page with six to eight articles.
  • a MediaWatch section alerting readers to thought-provoking article on other websites.
  • free newsletters on public policy and social trends affecting the family.
  • backgrounders: crisp and incisive commentaries written by experts
    on a range of hot-button issues in the news. These will include
    same-sex unions, euthanasia, moral relativism, libertarianism,
    democracy , cloning , stem cell research, IVF, population policy,
    family life and TV and the internet, international debt relief,
    responsible parenthood, politicians and conscience, end-of-life issues,
    tolerance, fashion and fatherhood. Educators will find the resource
    centre an invaluable resource for all kinds of students.
  • a weekly email alert which can be forwarded easily to colleague and friends telling our subscribers what’s new.

MercatorNet is an international project, although the editing is being
done in Australia and New Zealand. I’m the editor. I live in Melbourne
and for a number of years before taking MercatorNet on,  I edited
a family magazine called Perspective. I also contribute to
American and Australian magazines and newspapers as a freelance. On the
side I also edit an international bioethics newsletter, BioEdge.
The deputy editor of MercatorNet is Carolyn Moynihan, an experienced
Auckland journalist with a special interest in family issues. She also
edits our family issues newsletter, Family Edge.

However, Carolyn and I need your help in leveraging MercatorNet’s potential
for reaching and informing people around the globe. This is definitely
a team project -- we rely upon readers to publicise the site, suggest
ideas for articles and contacts for interviews, and give us
feedback on how to give better service. The internet is a wonderful
tool for drawing people together and harnessing their energies and
interests. We intend to make the most of it.

Who’s behind MercatorNet? It is a project of the New Media Foundation,
an Australian company which sponsors innovative projects in the media.
New Media has provided a modest amount of capital for the lift-off
phase. When we move into cruise mode, we’ll ask readers for donations.
Financially, this is a demanding plan. But we figure that if we do a
good job, our readers will be willing to dig deep.

Ah, what about the name? Where does that come from? Its inspiration
was Gerhard Mercator, the great Renaissance cartographer who mapped the
world. His innovative work showed people where to go and how to get
there. That’s what we want to do, too.
Anyhow, welcome to MercatorNet. Explore it. Read it. Enjoy it.

And then tell us what you think of it.

Michael Cook
Editor, MercatorNet


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