A number of virtual worlds have company-sponsored 'news' feeds, but they're often digital infomercials (though sometimes not). With the founding of the Alphaville Herald, however, a virtual free press comes into existence. The Herald is an independent news service focusing not on Home Town, USA but on Alphaville, TSO (The Sims Online).
Is the Herald truly free? Witness:
"One of my sims (Doctor Legion) foolishly took a job in a robot factory. Now he/she/it is hounded by M.O.M.I. for absenteeism...The joke is that we are slaves to the machines, but given the dynamics of this place (we sort of *are* slaves to machines) and our uneasy relationship with Maxis, this joke IS NOT FUNNY."
M.O.M.I. is "Municipal Observation and Management Incorporated," TSO's governing nanny, straight out of Brazil (the movie not the country). But, as Alexander Hamilton said in defending poor John Peter Zenger, "the laws of our country have given us a right to liberty of both exposing and opposing arbitrary power (in these parts of the world at least) by speaking and writing truth."
Whatever part of the world they occupy (indeed, which world?), free Sims sleep easier tonight, knowing that they now have a tireless defender deploying the full powers of the public press! On, Alphaville Herald! On!