National Conference for Media Reform 2011 - Schedule
- 1 Overview
- 2 Thursday, April 7
- 3 Friday, April 8
- 3.1 8:00 am - 8:00 pm Registration Open
- 3.2 8:00 am - 9:00 am Democracy Now! Live Broadcast
- 3.3 9:00 am - 10:30 am Concurrent Sessions
- 3.4 10:30 am - 11:00 am Book Signings
- 3.5 11:00 am - 12:30 pm Concurrent Sessions
- 3.6 12:30 pm Lunch Break - Book Signings
- 3.7 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm Caucuses
- 3.8 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm The FCC at NCMR: A National Town Hall
- 3.9 3:45 pm - 4:15 pm Book Signings
- 3.10 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm Opening Plenary: Better Media Starts Here
- 3.11 7:00 pm Dinner Break
- 3.12 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm Film: Barbershop Punk
- 3.13 9:00 pm - 12:00 am Shake Your Media Maker Dance Party
- 4 Saturday, April 9
- 4.1 8:00 am - 4:00 pm Registration Open
- 4.2 9:00 am - 10:30 am Concurrent Sessions
- 4.3 10:30 am - 11:00 am Book Signings
- 4.4 11:00 am - 12:30 pm Concurrent Sessions
- 4.5 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm Lunch Break - Book Signings
- 4.6 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm Concurrent Sessions
- 4.7 3:30 pm - 4:00 pm Book Signings
- 4.8 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Concurrent Sessions
- 4.9 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm Dinner Break
- 4.10 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm Keynote: Change the Media, Change the World
- 5 Sunday, April 10
- 6 External Links
- 7 References
George Soros and Free Press are sponsoring the National Conference for Media Reform 2011. Individuals will network, strategize, learn and share with 2,500 committed media reformers. It is billed as a one-of-a-kind weekend of parties, films and movement-building at their yearly conference.
The National Conference for Media Reform 2011 is the biggest and most in-depth conference of its kind devoted to media, technology and democracy. Thousands of activists, media makers, educators, journalists, policymakers and people from across the country will attend the yearly event.
Attendees explore the future of journalism and public media, consider how technology is changing the world, look at the policies and politics shaping our media and discuss strategies to build the movement for better media as conceived by George Soros and the progressive left. Return to the main page on the National Conference for Media Reform 2011 here...
This is the tentative schedule for the four day conference.
Thursday, April 7
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm Registration Open
Friday, April 8
8:00 am - 8:00 pm Registration Open
8:00 am - 9:00 am Democracy Now! Live Broadcast
- Join the audience to watch a live broadcast of Democracy Now! -- the national, daily, independent, award-winning news program hosted by journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the United States, Democracy Now! is broadcast on Pacifica, NPR, community and college radio stations; on public access, PBS, satellite television and on the internet. Special guests will join the hosts at the Boston Seaport.
9:00 am - 10:30 am Concurrent Sessions
- Following the Money: Journalism and the Economic Crisis
- Description: The economic crisis has highlighted a troubling trend in financial journalism, which focuses too much on chasing stocks and cozying up to industry. After the markets unraveled and the economy took a nosedive, reporters raced to cover an unfamiliar cast of characters and a confusing mix of derivatives and toxic financial instruments. In the midst of this meltdown, the business of journalism itself hit the rocks, as the mainstream media grappled with collapsing ad revenues and falling circulation. Did the press fail in its critical role just as the financial industry was undermining the global economy? How do we explain these failures?
- The National Broadband Plan: A Bold Start or Missed Opportunity?
- Description: Congress directed the Federal Communications Commission to create the National Broadband Plan to provide a blueprint for federal policy to make at-home broadband connections more available and affordable to people all over the country. When the plan was published, some argued that if executed correctly, it would move the country toward a world-class communications network. Others argued that the plan missed the mark, helping to keep hidden the important structural changes the country must enact in order to keep up with the rest of the developed world. This panel will explore which elements of the NBP are working, which are behind schedule, and which are missing entirely.
- Description: Boston was the birthplace of America's first newspaper. Fast forward to today, and Boston is still at the center of debates about the future of journalism. In the past two years, the Boston Globe was on the auction block, the Boston Banner took a loan out from the city, and WGBH went to an all-news format. Boston neighborhoods boast a range of community media organizations, youth media groups and online reporting projects. But what does it all add up to? How is Boston's media adapting to the digital age, and what's the future hold? How's the media doing with the key issues facing Boston and whose stories still aren't being told? In this session, journalists and editors from across Boston will take a hard look at the state of media here and explore what it means for local communities.
- Mobile Democracy: Your Phone Is Political
- Description: The mobile platform is a central piece of the new media infrastructure. Mobile phones are critical to revolutions in the Middle East and advocacy campaigns in the United States, and they are the way people connect with one another and access information across the globe. As the consumption and production of information – as well as participation in culture and in the future of the news – continue to rely on access to open broadband data connections and a new generation of smartphones, one thing is clear: Most users haven’t thought about the political nature of Internet-enabled smartphones.
- This panel will discuss why the iPhone, Android phones and other smartphones and devices are political objects, and why the public should care about protecting these new tools for empowerment. Presenters will explore which policies will open up these platforms for democracy – and which policies could leave certain communities out.
- Building a People-Powered Movement for Internet Freedom
- Description: The Internet is one of the most revolutionizing tools in human history, allowing millions of people across the globe to find and share their voice. The open Internet has blown the long-guarded gates wide open, and we’re able to communicate with family and friends, access information and entertainment, start our own businesses, fight for social causes, and find and create better media.
- All of this flies in the face of the corporate model for the Internet, as phone and cable companies seek to stifle the burgeoning competition. This is the battle for control of the Internet: People across the United States are rallying to support policies that will ensure that the Internet remains a level playing field that fosters communication, innovation, economic development and online organizing. But major corporations are lobbying hard to shut the open Internet down.
- At stake is the future of the Internet itself. For this session, join leading visionaries in the media justice and reform sectors in a multimedia presentation and discussion about building a people-powered movement for Internet freedom, organizing to push the Federal Communications Commission to adopt real open Internet rules, and building champions in Congress. Hear about lessons learned from activists’ past skirmishes with Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and even Google.
- Putting the ‘Public’ Back in Public Airwaves: Wireless Policy in the Broadband Era
- Description: In the past 10 years, the diversity of – and the demand for – wireless services has transformed our communications infrastructure. The result has inspired the federal government to begin a concerted effort to make more of the public airwaves, known as spectrum, available for broadband services. This has raised both eyebrows and questions: Which spectrum ranges should be used; how will changes in spectrum policy affect current licensees; what kind of public interest obligations or other compensation should be associated with commercial use of the public airwaves; how should the government balance licensed and unlicensed uses of spectrum; and who should get the spectrum created? The answers to these questions will shape the future of wireless access to the Internet, along with the markets and social networks that increasingly run over mobile connections. Can new spectrum policy help to increase innovation, consumer choice and competition? Or will it further cement the market power of the dominant wireless carriers?
- Collaboration Trumps Competition: Breaking Down Barriers Between Citizens, Newsrooms and Journalists
- Description: It has been argued that the future of journalism is mutual. After years of fighting to be the first to get a story, journalists are starting to rethink how the news is made. In the emerging news ecosystem, collaboration is the new mantra. But collaboration comes in many forms, from nonprofits and commercial newsrooms partnering on investigative stories, to citizen journalism and crowd-sourced projects, to local news collaboratives that network the power and resources of a community. This session will explore how journalists are breaking down traditional barriers and opening up a new kind of journalism that looks to serve local communities and tell new kinds of stories.
- Beyond Pronouns: Creating Real Stories About Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People
- Description: Beyond Pronouns will educate participants on transgender and gender non-conforming issues, moving beyond preferred names and pronouns. The workshop will highlight both the successes and missteps of the media’s coverage of transgender and gender non-conforming people; how to responsibly report on transgender individuals and issues; provide a basic introduction to terminology and style issues; and explore the media’s intensely narrow lens that focuses on specific individuals rather than issues, like violence, that affect entire communities. The emphasis will be on telling real stories about transgender people—and how to avoid dehumanizing transgender individuals—through proper language and subject matter.
- In addition, MTPC will present a new multimedia project, I AM: Trans People Speak. This campaign was created to educate the public about the lives of transgender youth, adults and families, and hopefully to reduce the amount of misunderstanding, stigma, discrimination and violence that transgender people face and to advance equality. We will provide assistance on how to use this project to help media makers with their own reporting on transgender issues and individuals.
- This workshop seeks to provide all who attend with a better understanding of accurate media coverage and of how to create media about transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and communities.
- In the Belly of the Beast: Washington Insiders and Outsiders Talk Effective Advocacy
- Description: In a policy environment saturated with corporate influence, how can public interest groups and grassroots activists achieve legislative and regulatory victories? In this session, policy advocates from four leading media reform organizations will share their views on what it takes to win in Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission.
- The conversation will include a range of perspectives, including those of two former congressional staffers, who will describe what staffers do, how they influence their bosses, and how the public can have a say on Capitol Hill. Panelists will also discuss the FCC advocacy process, the nationwide grassroots work that makes policy victories in D.C. possible, and the powerful impact of building and maintaining coalitions among policy advocates and community organizations. Using the campaigns for low power radio and the open Internet as examples, speakers will discuss tactics, challenges and lessons learned.
- The panelists will encourage session participants to join in tackling some tough questions: When are inside/outside-the-Beltway partnerships most effective? How can those working to change federal policy engage in mutual learning and collaboration with media activists nationwide? The discussion is aimed at generating new insights for participants and panelists alike.
- Getting out of the Silo: Editing Video as a Community
- Description: Anyone who has tried to work on a video project knows the problems inherent in online collaboration. File transfer slows down the process; there are breakdowns in communication; the flow of critical information is often lost in the mix.
- New startups are working to simplify the production of news video by creating a browser-based online video editing platform where journalists can efficiently work together to create a collaborative culture that offers accurate, contextual news in real time.
- But just how far are news organizations willing to travel down the path of open distribution/open licensing? How reliant should organizations be on stories generated by autonomous citizen journalists? How will news organizations maintain a competitive edge as multiple organizations draw from the same content pool? What role does video have to play in keeping news organizations relevant, profitable and credible?
- Join some of the industry's leading independent journalism organizations for an inside look into how video is being used to shape the future of collaborative journalism.
- Facilitation Fundamentals: Keeping Meetings about Race on Track
- Description: Have you noticed how easily conversations about race — in any medium — can get off track? Lack of information, different experiences, unspoken assumptions, varying definitions and diverse interpretations of problems and solutions are just a few things that can get in the way of authentic communication and solid agreement building. In this workshop, we will explore key concepts for facilitating with grace,guiding meaningful conversations that stay on track, and using effective techniques for intervening when conversations stray. We will also explore the impact of how we “show up” as facilitators in our work with groups around issues of race and racial justice.
- Description: Each episode of NPR and PRX's State of the Re:Union, hosted by poet and playwright Al Leston, introduces the audience to a different city and town and examines various aspects of that area’s community. The show aims to illustrate that despite the many issues, interests and actions that divide us as a country, we have as many similarities as differences. SOTRU goes beyond radio and produces regular video podcasts, short documentaries and various multimedia segments for the show’s website, which will also be sharedduring this screening. Join NPR radio producer Tina Antolini as she shares episodes of SOTRU and answers questions about how storytelling can deepen our collective understanding of the world around us.
- Sandbox: Printmaking for Better Media
- Description: Get the word out the old school way — on ink and paper. Screen-print your own postcards to send a message to your representative or make a media reform poster to take home.
10:30 am - 11:00 am Book Signings
- Free Fall: America, Markets, and the Sinking of the World’s Economy
- Bad News: How America's Business Press Missed the Story of the Century
- Great American Hypocrites and A Tragic Legacy
11:00 am - 12:30 pm Concurrent Sessions
- WikiLeaks, Journalism and Modern-Day Muckraking
- Description: WikiLeaks has sent shockwaves through the diplomatic community worldwide, but it has also raised fundamental questions about how journalism is done in an age of digital whistleblowers and online leaks. From its partnership with legacy media organizations like the Guardian, Le Monde and the New York Times to First Amendment questions about reporting on confidential information, WikiLeaks has forced journalists to rethink their roles and responsibilities in an age of radical transparency. However, the release of these documents has also reinvigorated the great journalistic tradition of muckraking, as thousands of journalists, citizens and nonprofits have pored over WikiLeaks’ documents. Complicating matters further, attempts by governments and corporations to silence and marginalize WikiLeaks and moves by Amazon and major credit card companies to cut off the flow of funds raise concerns about the digital infrastructure that new journalism efforts rely on.
- Description: A number of websites and technologies now operate as "platforms" that serve as communities, communications infrastructure, journalistic outlets and, ultimately, gatekeepers of speech.
- Thanks to our vigorous adoption of these platforms, we've given an extraordinary amount of power to companies whose main motive is the bottom line. In an age in which Facebook operates a proprietary communications tool for 500 million people; in which new devices like the iPad and Apple's App Store feature proprietary ecosystems; and in which Twitter is being used to organize revolutions, what responsibility do these platforms have to ensuring free expression? Should we be worried that private companies have so much control over our speech? That governments can spy on or shut down these platforms?
- This panel will look at the role private tech companies play as gatekeepers of expression, with both critics and supporters discussing how we can protect social media users while keeping these platforms open, secure and innovative.
- Responding to the Media's Impact on Immigrant Rights
- Description: This session will contrast the media’s impact on immigrants and immigration policy with the use of media and new media tools to advocate for immigrant rights. Presenters will share how they engage in the fight for immigrant rights, as well as the media’s impact on their efforts. We will explore how advocates hold media outlets, journalists, reporters and other public figures accountable as they fight racist stereotypes and harmful portrayals of immigrants in the media.
- Face to Face with the Future of Public Media
- Description: Around the country, journalists, artists and access centers are bringing new forms of public media to life by engaging users in making and consuming content outside the confines of the screen. Creative projects such as Mapping Main Street now combine multimedia production, visualization tools, citizen engagement and mobile distribution to capture the sounds, textures and histories of communities. Innovators like the Public Insight Network are driving online and offline participation in news production. Projects such as the Digital Redwoods initiative and PRX are constructing new broadband and mobile networks for accessing and collaborating on public media. Mobile units, like the StoryCorps MobileBooth or the Public Media Corps Cool Spots, reach people where they are and help them share their perspectives—in the town square, at a street festival, at a church picnic. Such projects underscore the connections between public media, public institutions such as schools and libraries, and our public commons. They also suggest why the country needs new commitments to public media content and communications infrastructure. This session will feature demonstrations and tools to inform and guide those who are developing new models of their own.
- Local Media and Culture: What Does It All Mean for the Music Scene?
- Description: Radio stations, blogs, social networks, alt-weeklies, oh my. But what do local media really mean for the music scene? For this session, members of Boston’s music community will be joined by national media advocacy experts and organizers to discuss the merits and challenges of geographically-rooted media. Do local media really matter in the age of the Internet? How does the local media ecology work to support the music community in a city like Boston? Why should artists, bloggers, journalists, club owners, fans and anyone else who loves local music care about media policy? And what is possible when media and musicians work together to create a stronger local music scene?
- Connecting Communities: Did the Recovery Act Stimulate More than Debate?
- Description: The funding for broadband expansion included in the 2009 stimulus package is arguably the most significant shift in Internet policy in the past decade. Across the country, corporations, government agencies and community-based organizations mobilized to apply for the funding, in many cases laying out expansive, collaborative visions for what the Internet could be. What did we learn from this process? What challenges are communities facing as they begin realizing those visions? How do these lessons affect federal policy and the prospects for future funding programs? This panel discussion will provide an overview of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and four case studies of collaborative approaches to the application process. The discussion will not only look back at the broadband stimulus, but share practical lessons for others to use in their own local organizing to transform federal policy and build the Internet we would like to see.
- Who's Influencing Media Policy in Washington?
- Description: Learn how to investigate the interests influencing media policy in Washington. Television networks, cable operators, radio chains, ISPs and publishers all have political agendas -- find out how to track them. Learn about tracking ownership, mergers and broadband penetration from the Investigative Reporting Workshop. Find information about campaign contributions and lobbying disclosures from the Center for Responsive Politics. And learn how to use a suite of tools from the Sunlight Foundation to follow influence and other information online.
- Creating and Sustaining Citizen Journalism
- Description: This session focuses on how to start a citizen journalism program. It covers how to find funding; develop relationships with citizen journalists; build web news content, community news bureaus and media tools; and create sustainable projects. Distinguished panelists in the field of community media and citizen journalism from across the country will answer your questions and talk about lessons learned from their work. Understand the rewards and challenges of these innovative projects that are using digital and cable access technologies to generate civic awareness and participation even as traditional journalism institutions are facing their greatest challenges to sustainability. Collaborate with other session participants to envision what such a program would be like in your community, and brainstorm ideas for how to make and sustain such a program.
- Media Reform through Media Education
- Description: Four strategies, drawn from the fundamentals of media education, can help create media reform activists from "average," unconvinced Americans, the type of people who vote, but are too busy to know the complexities of media issues. These approaches – entertaining, research-based and innovative – will be presented by four board members of the Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME).
- They are designed to attract people from the whole political spectrum–from progressives to conservatives–possibly the only way to make media reform a major national issue.
- Each speaker will present one strategy by showing intriguing media examples and engaging attendees in Socratic dialogue. Presenters will model the methodology they expound. This will be an exciting session, allowing questions and answers. Attendees will receive a data DVD with core strategies and examples.
- Whatever your issue, media education can help your cause.
- MIT Center for Future Civic Media Show-and-Tell
- Description: A guided tour of several exciting projects happening at MIT's Center for Future Civic Media including:
- Grassrootsmapping.org: Helping citizens make their own free, open, high-resolution maps with common resources like kites, balloons, and inexpensive cameras.
- Sourcemap.org: Helping citizens map where things come from...from laptop parts and IKEA beds, to campaign contributions.
- WellWatch.org: A resource for people living with natural gas extraction.
- Betweenthebars.org: The world's first blogging system for the incarcerated, consisting of software tools to make it easy to upload PDF scans of letters, crowd-sourced transcriptions of the scanned images, and usual full-featured blogging tools.
- Lost in Boston: Using public input and data to create things like easy-to-maintain electronic signs showing realtime bus info, which can then be placed near bus stops in publicly viewable, private spaces -- such as storefront windows and community centers.
- Film: Broadcast Blues
- Presenters: Sue Wilson
- Description: Filmmaker and media activist Sue Wilson documents the role media policy has on people’s lives – and what people are doing about it. Clear Channel neglects its emergency system; disaster strikes; and people die. Pentagon pundits profit from the same war they promote. Fox News wins a court ruling that news does not have to be true. And hate radio rules the airwaves. Media policy is killing people in this country – literally. And it is killing our democracy, too. Corporate financed lawmakers have stacked the media policy deck against We the People. Until now. We the People are taking the media back!
- Follow-up discussion with writer, director and producer Sue Wilson.
12:30 pm Lunch Break - Book Signings
- Beyond the Echo Chamber: Reshaping Politics through Networked Progressive Media
- WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency
1:00 pm - 2:15 pm Caucuses
Presenter - Chancellar Williams
- Artists and Policy Caucus
- Description: Are you an artist, media maker, musician or all of the above? If so, you should caucus with NAMAC and FMC to learn more about their efforts to protect artists’ rights and support arts organizations.
- Boston Caucus
- Hosted by: Open Media Boston and the Design Studio for Social Intervention
- Chicago Caucus
- Hosted by: Chicago Media Action
- Description: Media reform and media democracy activists from Chicago are caucusing at NMCR. If you’re from the Chicagoland area or the surrounding region, join them to learn more about their plans.
- Low Power Radio Caucus
- Hosted by: Prometheus Radio Project
- Media Justice Caucus
- Description: There is a vast network of grassroots community organizations that is working together for media change to end poverty, eliminate racism and ensure human rights. Come caucus with MAG-Net leaders to learn more about the quest for media justice.
- Public, Education and Government Access Caucus
- Hosted by: The Alliance for Community Media
- Description: PEG stations are precious community resources that are under threat all over the country. Come caucus with ACM to learn more about grassroots, state and national legislative strategies to protect PEG.
- Rural Caucus
- Description: Rural communities face a unique set of challenges when it comes to connecting to modern telecommunications infrastructure. Join leaders from the Rural Broadband Policy Group to learn more about their efforts to connect rural communities.
- Save Public Broadcasting Caucus
- Hosted by: Communications Workers of America
- Description: Public broadcasting in America is under assault as never before. In response, the CWA and its allies are leading the charge to save the local content and local jobs that are supported through funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Come caucus with the folks who will ensure that public broadcasting is around for generations to come.
- Hosted by: Free Press
- Description: There are the caucuses we know about and the ones we don’t. If you don’t see the caucus that suits your mood, we invite you to create your own! Join Free Press staff and some NCMR veterans to have exactly the conversation you want in a space that welcomes everyone.
- Women, Action and the Media Caucus
- Hosted by: WAM!
- Description: Come caucus with the WAM!mers to join the fight for gender equity in media access, representation, employment and ownership.
- Youth Caucus
- Description: Youth are leading the effort for social change through better media on college campuses around the country and in community-based organizations right here in Boston. Come caucus with youth leaders to learn more about how a new generation is helping to drive the movement for media reform.
2:30 pm - 3:45 pm The FCC at NCMR: A National Town Hall
- Description: Federal Communications Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn will be in Boston to address and hear from the media reform community. At this session – the first of its kind at a National Conference for Media Reform — the commissioners will speak about the pressing media issues facing the country, join a conversation with journalists and activists, and take questions from the audience at NCMR and those watching online.
3:45 pm - 4:15 pm Book Signings
- The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class
- At the Tea Party and Blue Grit
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm Opening Plenary: Better Media Starts Here
- Description: Welcome to Boston! The first day of the conference will be capped by rousing speeches and exciting performances from some of the media reform movement’s best thinkers, activists and local organizers. You’ll hear from national political leaders, meet independent media makers and see Internet visionaries. Plus an appearance by Current TV’s resident “Modern Lady” and a special performance prepared for NCMR by a Tony Award winner.
7:00 pm Dinner Break
- Information Exchange Forum for Ethnic Media and Media Advocates
- Description: The New York Community Media Alliance and the G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism in San Francisco are working on strategies to engage ethnic media in media justice issues, and have mentored eight ethnic journalists who are producing articles on these issues. The Information Exchange will address issues encountered by the journalists in the process of writing their stories and giving them traction in their communities, and will share insight into what is needed to help further work in this field. The Information Exchange will provide an opportunity for media advocates and journalists to develop more informed strategies both for increasing media coverage and for raising awareness in immigrant communities about the importance of media justice.
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm Film: Barbershop Punk
- Description: In a privatized American Internet, is big business “Big Brother”? Or does the free market, with its invisible hand, protect and serve the needs of the average citizen? With the simple act of swapping files, barbershop quartet baritone Robb Topolski finds himself at ground zero of a landmark case whose outcome will affect the rights of every American citizen. Following one man’s personal quest to defend what he believes to be his inalienable rights, Barbershop Punk examines the critical issues surrounding the future of the Internet in America and what it takes to challenge the status quo. Featuring discussions with Damian Kulash of OK Go, Henry Rollins, Janeane Garofalo, and many familiar faces of the media reform movement.
9:00 pm - 12:00 am Shake Your Media Maker Dance Party
- Description: After you’ve taken in a few great sessions, met new folks during the caucuses and attended the opening plenary, you’ll be ready to shake your media maker at the Friday night party. Join us at the Lighthouse for an evening of music, dancing and fun with DJ D'hana, Rizzla.DJ and Gunpowder Gelatine, the only all-female Queen tribute band in the universe.
Saturday, April 9
8:00 am - 4:00 pm Registration Open
9:00 am - 10:30 am Concurrent Sessions
- Journalism and Democracy: Rebuilding Media for our Communities
- Description: Democracy depends on an informed citizenry. But in the last 10 years journalism in America has struggled in term of profits, public trust, and adapting to the digital age. The state of journalism is in a dramatic state of flux. As traditional media struggles to survive, innovators and entrepreneurs are launching exciting new journalism projects around the country. But too often questions about the future of journalism focus on what business model will pay the bills or what new technologies will save journalism. This session will ask a different question: What does democracy demand of journalism? If we really take the idea of journalism and democracy seriously, what are our responsibilities as citizens? What must we demand of our leaders and our media? This session will take a fresh look at how we can fight for better media that puts public service first and enriches democracy for all people.
- Closing the Digital Divide: Bringing Down Barriers to Broadband
- Description: To get more people online and plugged in to the social and economic benefits of broadband, our communities must solve the problems of both access and affordability. While 95 percent of Americans can get some form of broadband service, only 65 percent have adopted high-speed Internet at home. A key factor in this disparity is the high cost of broadband in the United States compared to the rest of the developed world. What policy levers can be used both to increase availability of high-speed Internet service and to help bring down the cost for everyday people?
- Artists and Advocacy: Engaging Creatives to Create Change
- Description: Activism and public policy are inextricably connected. Activism and art have a lengthy history. But what about the relationship between art and public policy?
- In this session, we will consider which media policy issues artists and creators need to pay attention to. How can artists and media makers motivate and move people to create political, social and cultural change? We will provide a simple toolkit for creators and their allies to help keep them abreast of important policy issues and to take action on legislation that may negatively affect artists’ access to communications or the public’s access to noncommercial creative works.
- Copyright, Copyleft, Copycenter: Can Copyright and Remix Culture Co-Exist?
- Description: Hear from creators, activists and academics who are trying to find ways to make copyright work for artists. We'll discuss topics like fair use, DMCA takedown notices and sampling. Listen to artists whose work relies on their ability to reuse and comment on existing, copyrighted materials. We'll also discuss the ways that copyright is shaping and limiting the ways that musicians, poets, authors and video artists are creating new work today. Can modern remix culture and copyright co-exist? Come watch our panel of experts as they attempt to answer that question.
- The Future of Journalism Is . . . Comics?
- Description: Comics are used in a variety of ways. They have the ability to create worlds on a page; they cost less than a film or TV crew; and they blend storytelling with images seamlessly in a way that even the best photographs can't do. This session explores what we can do with comics to make journalism that is immersive, informative and engaging. We'll talk to artists, journalists and writers who have used comics to effectively tell complicated stories. We’ll also discuss how creative nonfiction can have an impact on policies to create a better world. Who knows … maybe we’ll even create our own comics journalism, right here. Bring pencils and paper!
- Mobile Voices, Mobile Justice: A Strategy Session on Telephones, Wireless Policy and Social Change (Part 1)
- Description: Telephones are one of the most important and useful modern inventions. Whether wireline or wireless, phones and phone calls connect us to one another, are a vital part of our communications system, and are the only access point to the Internet for many. While some might take this technology for granted, for others -- prisoners, low-income communities, immigrants, youth and communities of color — phone calls and mobile access are a privilege, not a right.
- Public policy governing telephone and wireless communications disproportionately affects certain communities and populations. Black and Latino communities, which are more likely than the general population to access the Web via cellular phones, need strong wireless protections. According to a report by the Pew Research Center, 18 percent of blacks and 16 percent of English-speaking Latinos access the Internet only from their cell phones. Phones also play an increasingly important role in social movements, from the recent prison uprising in the South to the mass movement for immigrant rights. Given the broad implications of wireless and telephone policy, the fight for public interest protections presents an opportunity for an ambitious and intersectional strategy that brings together media policy and social justice advocates.
- Combining a moderated panel and multimedia popular education, this two-part session will provide policy expertise and focus on the experiences of participants to shed light on the conditions created by existing telephone policies in key constituencies, investigate the impact of these policies and identify grassroots strategies to achieve mobile justice.
- * Participants are strongly encouraged to attend both Part 1 and Part 2 of this session.
- Mr. Radio Goes to Washington: Teaming up to Pass the Local Community Radio Act
- Description: Victory! In December 2010, a tenacious media reform coalition successfully pushed the Local Community Radio Act through Congress, making thousands more radio licenses available in urban and rural areas across the country. The movement had been fighting for 10 years to reclaim some of the public spectrum for these neighborhood-based radio stations, known as low power FM stations. Organizers effectively teamed up with legislative staffers, lawyers and policy nerds, demonstrating the power of mobilizing the grassroots while influencing members of Congress to move legislation on the Hill. This bill marks the first major legislative success for the growing movement for a more democratic media system in the United States.
- Organized by the Prometheus Radio Project, this session invites reflection on how the grassroots David can take on the Washington Goliath. How do you work from both inside and outside, in D.C. and in-district, to influence members of Congress? How can the media reform movement strategically work in a bipartisan way to expand media access for everyone? How do you identify points of leverage so that modest resources can have a large policy impact? How do you shape a coalition so that each member organization's talents are best used? The core designers of the Local Community Radio Act campaign will walk through how this campaign was built, followed by a discussion of what worked, what didn't, and what this means for the future of media policy struggles.
- The Future of Privacy in the Age of Google
- Description: Consumers rely on the Internet and other digital services for social networking, health information, financial transactions and more. Never before has so much granular information existed about where we’ve been, or what our individual interests are. Many companies have turned this information into revenue streams through behavioral advertising. This panel will explore whether your private information is harming or helping your online experience, how your information is collected and used, and what policies should govern the collection, storage and use of your information online.
- Cracking the Code: How to Get Your Message Across to the Mainstream Media
- Description: Even today, in the age of the Internet, it is still vitally important for progressives to compete in the mainstream media arena. It is essential to connect with our fellow citizens who may be open to our ideas, but who might never have heard a progressive message.
- This hands-on clinic will give you some tricks of the trade. You will be taught how to write and place an opinion piece in a daily newspaper. You will be trained on how to handle broadcast interviews for television and radio stations. And you will get tips on how to practice stakeout journalism. Learn it all from professionals who have been practicing their craft for years. Progressives need to get the word out to the largest possible audience. This workshop provides the techniques.
- Good News: Local Journalism that Made a Difference
- Description: In the late 1970s and early 1980s, protesters, paid and unpaid workers at nonprofit organizations, lawyers, and local and state politicians were able to close the newly built $6 billion Shoreham nuclear power plant on Long Island, New York, despite every effort by the federal government and the Long Island Lighting Company to open the plant. In the 1990s, thousands of people attended rallies to save the ancient Headwaters redwood forest in Northern California from logging plans. And in 2006, after a month-long strike, thousands of janitors in Houston, who had been earning poverty wages, doubled their incomes and won health insurance for the first time.
- Historians writing about these and other grassroots struggles have often undervalued the importance of local journalism to these efforts. Local newspapers and radio stations that cover grassroots struggles play a key role in these struggles. Using four case studies and historical background research, this session will explore the relationship between the press and public participation in social change at the local level in recent U.S. history, considering past struggles as well as the future of local journalism.
- Film: The Mean World Syndrome: Media Violence & the Cultivation of Fear
- Presenters: Sut Jhally
- Description: For years, debates have raged among scholars, politicians, and concerned parents about the effects of media violence on viewers. Too often these debates have degenerated into simplistic battles between those who claim that media messages directly cause violence and those who argue that activists exaggerate the impact of media exposure altogether. The Mean World Syndrome, based on the groundbreaking work of media scholar George Gerbner, urges us to think about media effects in more nuanced ways. From Hollywood movies and prime-timedramas to reality programming and the local news, the film examines how media violence forms a pervasive cultural environment that cultivates exaggerated perceptions of risk and danger, and a fear-driven propensity for hard-line political solutions to social problems.
- Sandbox: Making Media With Your Mobile Phone
- Description: Come find out how powerful your mobile phone can be. Learn to cover breaking news and events, capture the stories in your community, and broadcast it out to the world all from the palm of your hand.
- Staff of The UpTake.
10:30 am - 11:00 am Book Signings
- Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape
- Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV
- Efrain’s Secret
- Grassroots Journalism
11:00 am - 12:30 pm Concurrent Sessions
- Description: Independent media makers are using new tools to tell the most important stories of our time. When pro-democracy protests erupted in Egypt, independent and non-commercial journalists were quickly on the scene offering more in-depth coverage than mainstream media. In Afghanistan, independent reporters keep asking the tough questions about the longest war in U.S. history. The panelists in this session are breaking new ground online and around the world – by means of blogs, YouTube, streaming video and other platforms. How are independent voices beating mainstream media to the story, amplifying their message, and shedding crucial light in times of crisis? How are independent journalists prodding mainstream media to cover issues they might otherwise ignore?
- Public Media Under Attack: Fighting Back and Finding a New Vision
- Description: Our nation is in the midst of heated debate about the future of public broadcasting. The decisions we make today will have long lasting implications for public media in America. Even though the majority of people support federal funding, a few loud opponents have been fighting dirty, using legislation, undercover sting operations and the cable news megaphone to attack NPR and PBS. Americans have shown that they can and will fight to protect public media, but we can no longer afford to settle for the status quo. Even in the face of unfair and unprecedented attacks, public media makers are doing remarkable work with their limited federal budget. But they have the vision and potential to be doing so much more. In this session, leaders from public and community media will show off that vision with multimedia presentations that point the way toward what noncommercial media in America could be. Find out how public media are moving beyond broadcast into the digital era and join a discussion on what we need to do to realize that vision.
- Media Policy Is a Women’s Issue
- Description: Women – as subjects, sources, journalists and producers – are facing growing challenges in the long fight for gender equality and accurate media representation. As male-dominated corporations continue to acquire more media outlets that allow them to control the news and call the shots about programming, women’s voices and perspectives are being drowned out or skewed. And while women have successfully harnessed the Internet to share their own stories, that medium is also at risk of a corporate takeover. Advancing equality and fair and accurate media representation for women won’t happen without changing the laws and policies that allow these corporations to get so big, or without protecting Internet freedom.
- In this panel, leading feminist scholars, journalists, advocates, organizers and bloggers convene to discuss why media policy is a women’s issue and how women can lead the fight to create a more diverse and representative media landscape. Even as we celebrate the major inroads women have made in the media, this panel will make the case for more women owning, creating and participating in the media by changing the very structures that have sidelined and silenced them.
- What’s Next for Net Neutrality?
- Description: In late 2010, the Federal Communications Commission passed rules intended to preserve an open Internet. The rules met with severe criticism from the public interest community for not going far enough to protect wireless broadband users. Despite the rules’ middle-of-the-road nature, there are efforts under way in Congress to take away the FCC’s jurisdiction over broadband networks. This panel will explore whether the FCC’s framework meaningfully protects speech, commerce, innovation and culture online. It will also ask what’s next for friends and foes of Net Neutrality. How will both recurring and emerging debates about preserving the open Internet play out at the FCC, in Congress, and in the courts in the coming years?
- Back to the Future: Old-School Journalism Organizations Shaping the Future of Journalism
- Description: While there is always a fascination with the hot new startup, some of the most innovative thinking about journalism is coming from players who have been in the game for years. Veteran journalism organizations are using their strong foundation to pioneer new ways of reporting and collaborating with readers, and new ownership models that put people ahead of profits. This session will explore how a few of America’s leading independent newsrooms are reinventing journalism and recreating themselves for the digital age.
- Mobile Voices, Mobile Justice: A Strategy Session on Telephones, Wireless Policy and Social Change (Part 2)
- Description: In the second part of this session, participants will dive deeper into mobile justice issues and emerge with an understanding of the barriers and threats to, and opportunities for, telephone access, rights and power in historically disenfranchised communities. Bridging the divide between media policy and social justice, this second session is designed to create a broad and intersectional base of support to take on these issues.
- Part II will use breakout groups and strategic dialogue to conduct a power analysis and define a set of wireless and phone policy priorities and opportunities for change from key social sectors—including immigrant rights, youth and education, economic justice and prison justice.
- * Participants are strongly encouraged to attend both Part 1 and Part 2 of this session.
- Put Your Hands on the Radio
- Description: What does it take to start a community radio station? This how-to workshop will teach participants to lay the groundwork needed to get a license and get on the air. Participants will learn about the process of submitting an FCC application, organizing a group for station governance, choosing a tower and transmitter site, and raising money for equipment and general operations. We will give a short history of the low power FM (LPFM) movement and identify effective strategies to apply today.
- With a valuable opportunity to apply for LPFM licenses on the horizon, this workshop will get you started on the road to building your own community radio station. Currently, there are over 800 LPFMs across the country, providing some of the best examples of community media's potential. These stations are run by farmworker groups, civil rights organizations, schools, neighborhood associations and environmental groups. The equipment is relatively simple and inexpensive to operate, putting the public airwaves within public reach. But there's a lot of bureaucracy to learn, so this workshop will provide tools to navigate the application process and organize constituents and allies within your community.
- Pop Culture Warriors: How Online Fan Communities Are Organizing to Save the World
- Description: More than a million members of the Harry Potter Alliance, “an army of fans, activists, nerdfighters, teenagers, wizards and muggles,” are inspired by the values represented in the Harry Potter series to fight for social justice. Together, they’ve worked to make real change in the world.
- Last year, Los Angeles comedian and Reddit user Eddie Geller started a “reddit” (a new topic section on the site) devoted to Internet issues like Net Neutrality. Soon after, the new section lit up with other reddit users wanting to band together to fight for Net Neutrality. The Open Source Democracy Foundation – a grassroots organization, comprised mostly of Reddit users – was born.
- In recent years, dozens of online communities built on shared affinities (fan communities, gamers, etc.) have realized that they have the power to make change offline. The participants in this panel will discuss how online communities built around common interests like Harry Potter, online games, social bookmarking and general nerdiness have realized their strength, and focused their energies on charities and social and political causes. In addition, they will discuss why the open Internet and networked culture are uniquely suited to such group actions, and what lessons we have learned about how to organize future efforts.
- The Urban Media Landscape in 2011: A Case Study from Chicago
- Description: A global city in the heart of America, Chicago is poised to be at the epicenter of many national conversations, with a new mayor and continuing connections to the White House, as well as its proximity to the wave of labor protests sweeping the Midwest.
- A panel of Chicago-based journalists will address the following questions: What is the state of traditional print and watchdog journalism in urban centers? Who will report the news and information that citizens require if they are to fulfill their civic duties? How and why are the national media failing in their coverage of urban violence? And what role do Chicago’s black and Latino media play in providing an alternative viewpoint?
- Policymaker Roundtable: Jonathan Adelstein
- Presenters: Jonathan Adelstein
- Description: This small-group meeting will provide an opportunity for conference attendees to converse directly with public officials. The discussion will be moderated, but the intent is to offer an open conversation. These discussions will allow activists and policymakers to share ideas and strategies about the most pressing media issues facing the country. Attendance is limited to 30 participants.
- Description: Magnolia Pictures and Participant Media present a special advance screening of Andrew Rossi’s riveting documentary Page One: Inside The New York Times, which had its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The film deftly gains unprecedented access to the New York Times newsroom and with a special focus on how the New York Times reports on the media itself. With the Internet surpassing print as our main news source and newspapers all over the country going bankrupt, PAGE ONE chronicles the transformation of the media industry at its time of greatest turmoil. Brian Stelter, Tim Arango and the salty but brilliant David Carr track print journalism’s metamorphosis even as their own paper struggles to stay vital and solvent, while their editors and publishers grapple with up-to-the-minute issues like controversial new sources and the implications of an online pay-wall. Meanwhile, rigorous journalism is thriving — PAGE ONE gives us an up-close look at the vibrant cross-cubicle debates and collaborations, tenacious jockeying for on-record quotes, and skillful page-one pitching that brings the most venerable newspaper in America to fruition each and every day. Seating is limited.
- Sandbox: Building Community Wireless
- Description: Enter our sandbox with your smart phones and home routers and you'll leave with your own wireless mesh network. We'll show and teach you how to create your own neighbor-to-neighbor hyper-local network sustained with low cost consumer hardware and open-source software to share Internet access and local services with your friends and your community.
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm Lunch Break - Book Signings
- Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: A Free Press for a New Century
- Breaking the Sound Barrier
- So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids
- The Death and Life of American Journalism and Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lights
- The Death and Life of American Journalism and The S Word
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm Concurrent Sessions
- Media and Corporate Power: Beating Back the K Street Juggernaut
- Description: After 40 years of sustained and organized growth, the political infrastructure representing corporations and special interests has achieved overwhelming control of U.S. political discourse and policymaking. The FCC’s recent blessing of a loophole-ridden Net Neutrality rule and the Comcast-NBC merger – after the president promised a better outcome – demonstrate the supremacy of corporate lobbyists on the most critical issues that affect media, along with the environment, health care, finance and consumer protections. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision made matters worse by allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts on elections. These two issues: fostering an informed and connected society, and making politicians accountable to regular people, rather than to corporations and the super-rich, represent the most critical “structural” reforms necessary to make all other reforms possible. Join top leaders who are taking on the “corporate complex” with a discussion of promising legal, policy, communications and organizing efforts under way across the country.
- How to Fix the Broken FCC
- Description: The Federal Communications Commission has long been criticized for sacrificing good public policy on the altar of politics. Former chairmen have characterized the agency as captured by special interests, immobilized by delay and inertia, and having a tendency to focus on reaction rather than deliberate action. Academics and students of tech policy have long argued that these problems are systemic, that the Commission’s flaws have long been baked into the DNA of the agency. This panel will examine the source of the problems with the FCC’s decision-making process, and what can be done to restore the public’s trust in an agency charged with promoting the “public interest, convenience and necessity.”
- How New Is New? Diversity in Emerging Media
- Description: The future of journalism is about more than finding a new business model for the same old news. Media’s reinvention is a chance to re-imagine what news could look like if diversity – of sources, stories and staffing – were a core value. Some emerging outlets and organizations strive to fully integrate ideals of inclusivity in defining what and who is news; how does this change the stories they tell? This discussion challenges the idea of diversity as a static “good thing” to be tacked on to our work, and asks what it means to do news a truly new way.
- Hacks and Hackers: Online Organizing and Disaster Response
- Description: In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, volunteers quickly put tools like Ushahidi – an online organizing project born out of the political unrest in Kenya in 2007 -- into action. It helped save lives and deliver resources where they were most needed. In early 2011, protesters in Egypt used Twitter and mobile phones to help organize massive protests that ultimately toppled the Mubarak regime.
- While these online tools weren’t directly responsible for revolution or successful humanitarian response efforts, they were at the center of how activists responded to these crises. The result is that a new suite of digital tools is now enabling political organizing and response and recovery efforts, and has produced a network of high-tech volunteers who can respond to future crises.
- In this session, online organizers, international bloggers and editors, and developers of new technology platforms will discuss how these communities came together, the tools they developed, and the opportunities and challenges they have encountered in using social media to organize their efforts.
- Changing the Narrative: Fighting Hate, Misinformation and Dehumanization in the Media
- Description: "Immigrants have the same impact on this country as a major terrorist attack." All "good patriots" should "go to the border" and "lock and load." "[The Bible] says that if they break into your country, you must cut off their limbs." Speech like this is all too common these days in the mainstream media. At the same time, hate crimes against Latinos and other people of color are at an all-time high. The purpose of this panel is to examine the extent and effects of hate speech in media and to discuss strategies to hold the media accountable for responsible journalism, while at the same time respecting First Amendment freedoms.
- Keeping It Unreal: Decoding Gender, Race and Reality TV — A Media Literacy Workshop
- Description: Weepy, white Cinderella-wannabes in network-assembled harems compete to marry horny, emotionally abusive “Prince Charmings” on dating shows such as ABC’s The Bachelor, FOX’s Joe Millionaire and NBC’s For Love or Money. On cable series such as VH1’s Flavor of Love, scantily-clad women of color are depicted as real-life vixens, providing lap dances, sexual favors and maid services to “win” dates with black bachelors cast as modern-day minstrels, thugs or buffoons.
- Why is reality television built on such blatant gender and racial stereotypes? Why are women and people of color represented so harmfully, with so much bias, in popular culture? Is it true that networks are simply “giving people what they want,” or is reality TV really the result of media consolidation, media economics and stealth advertising?
- Learn how to decode sexism and racism in reality television—and in broader media—during this interactive media literacy workshop. With wit, multimedia case studies and group games, this workshop offers tools that participants can use to debunk media bias; become active, critical media consumers; and educate their friends, kids, colleagues and community.
- Beyond the Beats: New Perspectives in Hip-Hop Culture
- Description: This panel probes the political state and direction of hip-hop. The panelists will speak about their current work in articulating new perspectives on hip-hop culture, organizing and scholarship relative to black and brown communities around the nation and world. The panel will highlight the dire state of hip-hop politics and economics with regard to political struggle, and provide tangible ideas for building a politics that incorporates and embraces radical political histories, GLBTQ communities, consistent critique of the prison-industrial complex, and the politics of media justice.
- The Lobby Game: Kicking Butt in the Halls of Power
- Description: Want to fight for a media system that works for us? Learn how by doing it at The Lobby Game, where you’ll role-play a full advocacy campaign on how to win policy victories for media reform and media justice.
- When it comes to building the media we need, our city councilors, state legislators, governors and members of Congress often stand in our way. As we fight to hold local media accountable and create new systems that are responsive to us, we must learn how to make it happen from City Hall to Capitol Hill. Welcome to the lobby game – where you will learn how to use direct lobbying in your work, whom to target, and how to integrate lobbying into your campaigns and your movement.
- Led by media reform campaigners with strong roots in community organizing and on Capitol Hill, workshop participants will choose a relevant organizing issue where legislative leaders play an important role in decision making. After a crash course in how lobbying works and how people like us have leverage to make change, participants will play the parts of those leaders, of community members lobbying them, and of strategic decision-makers – like newspaper editorial boards – that are often involved in public advocacy campaigns.
- We’ve won big victories and protected our communities’ voices. Boost your power to win by learning to lobby and taking lessons from media reform campaigners on the front lines.
- Building a Media Reform Network in Boston: A Roundtable Discussion
- Description: With so many media making institutions, grassroots organizations and social change agents based in the Boston area, we believe it’s critical to build a network of committed media reformers here at home. What will it take to make that happen? And what can we learn from established media reform groups around the country? During this co-facilitated session, Free Press and the National Conference for Media Reform Local Host Committee members will lead an interactive discussion of these ideas and how to make them a reality.
- Open Sourcing Community Media
- Description: This panel features the pioneering work of community media projects that are responding to the challenge of the digital transition. Each project promotes participation for a diverse spectrum of local publics by embracing “openness.” The technological, organizational and policy changes this openness enables show that community media centers provide an essential local infrastructure for connecting, creating and curating local public media.
- The contemporary community media center is often as much an online hub as a physical facility, extending the possibilities for community connection and interaction across media. Using Amherstmedia.org, BAVC.org and channelAustin.org as case studies, we will consider how open source technologies and local collaborations can produce a scalable model for community media centers of all sizes and budgets.
- We will look at Miro Community for video distribution and curation; the Open Media Project for station management and online community building; many possibilities for organizing citizen journalists; and Localocracy for connecting the public to political matters. We will also consider what we can learn from these projects to formulate policies that support and expand media localism in the digital transition.
- Film: Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising's Image of Women
- Description: In this new, highly anticipated update of her pioneering Killing Us Softly series, the first in more than a decade, Jean Kilbourne takes a fresh look at how advertising traffics in distorted and destructive ideals of femininity. The film marshals a range of new print and television advertisements to lay bare a stunning pattern of damaging gender stereotypes -- images and messages that too often reinforce unrealistic, and unhealthy, perceptions of beauty, perfection and sexuality. By bringing Kilbourne's groundbreaking analysis up to date, Killing Us Softly 4 stands to challenge a new generation of students to take advertising seriously, and to think critically about popular culture and its relationship to sexism, eating disorders and gender violence.
- Sandbox: DIY Audio Gear
- Description: Get your hands on a soldering iron and unlock the mysteries of electricity! In this workshop, learn the fundamentals of any successful electronics adventure by making your own audio cable.
3:30 pm - 4:00 pm Book Signings
- Invisible Capital: How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity
- Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Concurrent Sessions
- The Next Communications Act: Moving Beyond Silos
- Description: To many, the rapid spread of residential Internet service rendered the 1996 Telecommunications Act out of date before the ink on the page was dry. To others, the fundamental principles of common carriage and the promotion of competition that the Act embodied remain true, and its recent problems have stemmed more from poor implementation than from flaws in the text. Regardless, the calls to start work on the next major Communications Act rewrite have been growing for years. At issue is not only the approach – moving beyond the “silo” model – but also the fundamental role of the Federal Communications Commission in the Internet era, and whether and how its historic role as an enforcer of common carriage and a promoter of competition can or should be changed.
- News for All: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media
- Description: Newspapers, radio and television have played a pivotal role in spreading racist views among the public. They have done so by routinely portraying nonwhite minorities as threats to society, by reinforcing racial ignorance and group hatred, and by promoting discriminatory mass communications policies by government. Throughout our history, people of color have fought for a fair and just media system. What can we learn from those previous struggles, and what is the fight today for a fair and just media system? This session will explore the lessons of the past 200 years in the struggle for media justice.
- How Comedy and Satire Can Help Reform the Media
- Description: Comedy and satire have long been used to shine a light on corruption, scandal and the absurdities of the world. In the current environment, where the traditional media have failed in their obligation to inform the public and to distinguish truth from lies, one of the most potent tools media reformers have is humor. This panel of professional satirists will explore how comedy and satirical videos can be used to help advance the cause of media reform.
- Taking Sexy Back: Why and How to End the Media's Sexualization of Girls
- Description: The American Psychological Association’s Task Force Report on Sexualization of Girls became the most downloaded document in the history of the APA’s website, because it exposed a simple truth: The media's sexualization of girls is hurting both children and adults. We'll review that revealing data, explore the difference between content that's sexual and content that's sexualizing, learn what girls are already doing to fight back against this damaging and pervasive trend, and build on best practices for replacing dangerous media images with healthy representations of both girls and sexuality. You'll leave with concrete tools to counter the dominant narrative, a comprehensive resource guide, an action plan you can implement in your own work, and a community of girls and adults to back you up. Together we'll challenge the belief that “it’s just the way things are,” and demonstrate what the alternatives can be.
- Real Issues vs. Astroturf: Confronting the Koch Brothers
- Description: Astroturf: You’ve probably seen it without even realizing it. It sprouts at town hall meetings, on the Internet, at Tea Party protests, and has spread over mainstream media like kudzu. In recent years, industry-funded, fake grassroots groups have smothered efforts to reform universal health care, curb global warming, regulate banking or win open access to the Internet. This billion-dollar industry isn’t limited to squashing a few select causes, but to defeating any public interest reform effort that gains political traction. Organizations that are fighting for reform must start working together to beat back the lies of these front groups for hire. This is not about liberals versus conservatives; it’s about the public interest versus corporate lobbyists. This panel will engage experts from across movements in a strategic discussion about fighting fake grassroots.
- Cutting the Cord: The Future of Video
- Millions of consumers have discovered that, with a little ingenuity, it is possible to cut the cord and live a connected, TV-watching life without relying on expensive, overstuffed cable packages. Yet cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable are doing everything they can to slow down this revolution in viewership.
- At the same time, the notion of "cutting the cord" goes beyond replacing one TV-watching technology with another, and toward re-imagining the potential of online video, now that we have access to tools to easily make, mix and remake it.
- This panel will explore the different online video platforms that can not only replace your TV cable box, but also give individuals and communities a new way to use online video and reach new audiences. Presenters will discuss the role communications policy plays in encouraging or discouraging the cord-cutting phenomenon. How can we ensure that the new wave of online innovation survives, with or without the consent of the cable industry? How can we expand online video beyond passive TV viewing and toward a fully participatory technology?
- Journalism Next: Young People as the New Entrepreneurs of Journalism
- Description: In our communities and on our campuses, a new generation of journalists is remaking the news. This panel will explore some of the cutting-edge ways that young journalists are embracing new technologies and opportunities for interactivity. While many traditional newsrooms struggle to adapt to the digital age, these journalists are pioneering new ways of telling stories and making their voices heard through online publications, social media and more.
- Emerging Technologies for Community-Controlled Infrastructure
- Description: Want to know how to build your own cell phone or broadband networks, or design your own software for mobile reporting? New technologies have made it increasingly possible for us to own our own systems for communication. These panelists are taking advantage of this opportunity to design and build networks that meet the needs of their communities, from rural California to urban Detroit. You will learn innovative education strategies to go from emerging technology to community-controlled infrastructure.
- Tools for Change: Mapping Media in Your Community
- Description: The number of outlets attempting to meet the information needs of communities exploded in 2010. How should scholars, policy makers, politically engaged citizens, journalists and media reformers understand the shape, functioning, diversity and connections in these local "media ecosystems"? The session will focus on some of the innovative geo-mapping of media outlets and the material they produce, with the objective of sharing tools and ideas so that those interested can understand their information geography. Panelists will have a dialogue with the audience, which will be geared toward providing simple tools and helping media reformers understand how they can map their own media environments and contribute to a greater understanding of our brave new journalistic world.
- Policymaker Roundtable: FCC Staff
- Film: Not Just a Game: Power, Politics & American Sports
- Description: We've been told again and again that sports and politics don't mix, that games are just games and athletes should just "shut up and play." But according to Nation magazine sports editor Dave Zirin, this notion is just flat-out wrong. In Not Just a Game, the powerful new documentary based on his best-selling book The People's History of Sports in the United States, Zirin argues that far from providing merely escapist entertainment, American sports have long been at the center of some of the major political debates and struggles of our time. In a fascinating tour of the good, the bad, and the ugly of American sports media and culture, Zirin first traces how American sports, and media coverage of them, have glamorized militarism, racism, sexism and homophobia. He then excavates a largely forgotten history of rebel athletes who stood up to power and fought for social justice beyond the field of play.
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm Dinner Break
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm Keynote: Change the Media, Change the World
- Keynote: Change the Media, Change the World
- Description: Celebrate on Saturday night with some of the brightest lights in the fight for better media. Our champions in Washington will talk about the prospects for real change, movement leaders will share their vision for what’s next, and amazing grassroots activists will tell their stories. The evening will be filled with musical performances and other surprises. Join us to laud important victories and rally for even bigger ones. Our funky house band will have you dancing in the aisles, and we’ll have a few laughs, too.
Sunday, April 10
10:00 am - 11:30 am Concurrent Sessions
- On Wisconsin: Taking the Pulse of the Labor Beat
- Description: In February 2011, we witnessed amazing solidarity actions in Madison, Wisconsin, in defense of trade union rights, a mobilization that attracted international media attention. Reporters who covered the front lines of the battle for workers’ rights in Wisconsin will discuss the media’s role in reporting these inspiring events. The dramatic events in Madison and elsewhere pushed reporting of trade unions and the struggles of working people from the margins to center-stage. Something similar happened for a few days in December 2008 when the action by workers at Chicago’s Republic Windows and Doors factory was covered favorably by the mainstream news. Routinely, however, the mainstream media’s standard coverage of trade union activity and the work experiences of tens of millions of people are partial, superficial or nonexistent. The traditional labor beat has almost disappeared. Yet surely with widespread unemployment and growing pressures on those still employed to boost productivity and defend their jobs, there are important stories to be told. This panel diagnoses the reasons for the absence of labor reporting and highlights new strategies and initiatives being developed to fill the gap and boost the visibility of the labor movement in the media.
- The New Face of Media Concentration: Mega Mergers and Covert Consolidation
- Description: After a bout of massive media consolidation in broadcast radio, television and newspapers in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the pace of consolidation in the traditional media sphere appears to have slowed. Bankruptcies, the over-leveraging of debt, and major losses by big media in ownership battles at the Federal Communications Commission and in the courts in 2003 and 2007 seem to be dampening the media “urge to merge.” Or not? Do media mergers, like the Comcast/NBCU transaction, evidence a new appetite for vertical integration, in which a single company controls every facet of media production and distribution? Additionally, local broadcasters that cannot merge under the FCC’s ownership rules are staking out partnerships and resource-sharing arrangements that in some cases bear all the trappings of outright consolidation. This panel will explore these new trends, and what – if anything – the FCC and the rest of us can do about them.
- Description: In a series of groundbreaking speeches, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared the "freedom to connect" to be as important to human liberty as the Four Freedoms championed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt 70 years ago. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs added: “It is [the White House’s] strong belief that inside of the framework of basic individual rights, are the rights of those to have access to the Internet and to sites for open communication and social network.”
- Internet access and social networking have played a significant part in the blossoming of freedom movements worldwide – especially during protests in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya this year. But the power of the Internet cuts both ways: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak turned off the Internet as soon as it became clear that millions were using the network to organize and speak out against his regime. China recently and successfully deployed technology to stifle expressions of support for Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo among bloggers and users of social media in their country. Iran blocked Twitter and restricted cell phone access just before its June 2009 presidential elections.
- If we agree that open Internet access should be a basic individual right, what can we do to make it a reality? This panel will survey the global field of online freedom movements, with a special focus on efforts to help Internet users in closed societies gain open, free and safe access to the Web.
- Media Literacy for Mobilization: Popular Education Tools for Digital Justice
- Description: Media literacy extends beyond understanding how to use social media, cell phones, computers, Internet and media production. It includes the ability to create and utilize digital media to participate in civic life, and to have a solid understanding of the media policy issues that profoundly shape our lives and communities. It also requires us to rethink how we analyze, access and evaluate all forms of media, including the Internet, that provide us with information and entertainment and inundate us with new advertising and marketing strategies.
- This session will provide the hands-on tools and resources needed for community members and media justice educators who want to integrate cell phone literacy, mobile broadband policy, Universal Service reforms, an open Internet and other media policy issues into a learning environment through teaching modules, multimedia and interactive workshops. The presenters will share their digital media toolkits and curricula, along with strategies and best practices for engaging communities in creating meaningful media change.
- New Faces of Media Justice
- Description: This session will emphasize the importance of giving youth a voice in the media, and the successes and challenges of creating "media that matters." Youth media makers from three different organizations will share their experiences and work. The session will provide an introduction to skills and resources that will encourage the inclusion of media justice and social justice issues in youth media work.
- Courting Congress to Strengthen Community Access Television
- Description: Community television stations (also known as PEG – Public Access, Educational and Governmental -- channels) are a critical component of the broader public media landscape. As one of the few broadcast venues open to average citizens, they allow people to exercise their right to free speech, learn what’s happening in their communities, and watch their local government at work. But these valuable community resources have come under attack in recent years. The Community Access Preservation Act, a bill that would protect community television channels from discriminatory treatment while freeing their funding from unfair restrictions, has the potential to go a long way toward repairing the damage done to these channels by phone and cable companies over the last decade. To win, we need allies on both sides of the aisle. Join this session to learn more and explore how to find allies and mobilize to protect community television.
- Tapping the Transformational Power of Networks
- Description: This is a pivotal time to work cooperatively to take advantage of a new political era, joining forces to create cohesive strategies for broad-scale, sustained social change. Networks are a powerful means to increase the capacity, efficiency and impact of social change organizations. This highly interactive workshop will empower participants to find alignment across a range of strategies and develop a culture of inclusive practice that heals the divisions that often undermine collaboration. We will aim to build connections among participants, encourage new learning, demonstrate innovative practices, and share a creative model that fosters transformation. Whether you are working on reform, confronting the status quo, generating alternative systems, or focusing on cultural evolution, this workshop will help you build power to strengthen social justice and movement-building effectiveness.
- Film: Billionaires' Tea Party: How Corporate America is Faking a Grassroots Revolution
- Presenters: Taki Oldham
- Description: In the summer of 2009, shortly after Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress swept to power promising a new era of hope and change, a citizens protest movement emerged out of nowhere threatening to derail their agenda. Some said this uprising was the epitome of grassroots democracy. Others said it was a classic example of 'astroturfing' -- an elaborate corporate public relations effort designed to create the impression of a spontaneous uprising. Curious to find out for himself, Australian filmmaker Taki Oldham goes undercover into the heart of the movement. He visits raucous health care town hall meetings where irate voters parrot insurance industry PR; learns that home-grown "citizen groups" challenging the science behind climate change are funded by big oil companies; and infiltrates a tea party movement whose anti-government rage turns out to be less the product of populist rage than of corporate strategy. In the end, The Billionaires' Tea Party offers a terrifying look at how corporate elites are exploiting the anxieties of ordinary Americans -- capitalizing on anger, resentment, and paranoia to advance a narrow, often anti-democratic, agenda.
- Followed by a discussion with filmmaker Taki Oldham.
- Sandbox: Podcasting
- Presenters: Stevie Converse
- Description: Learn the basics of putting together a top-notch podcast. This workshop will take you through sourcing material, the basics of audio editing with free software, and how to get your voice out into the world with a great distribution plan.
11:30 am - 12:00 pm Book Signings
- Stir It Up: Lessons in Community Organizing and Advocacy
- Share This! How You Will Change the World with Social Networking
- The Civil Wars in U.S Labor: Birth of a New Worker’s Movement or Death Throes of the Old?
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm Closing Plenary: Taking It Home
- Description: We’ll conclude the 2011 National Conference for Media Reform by connecting media and technology issues to the broader cultural shifts and the push for democratic change happening in the United States and around the world. Be sure to stick around on Sunday for a thought-provoking discussion with new media innovators, special guests, and an inspiring finale. This lively session will feature:
- The centerpiece of the closing plenary will be a wide-ranging conversation on "Social Media and Social Change" with:
- Amalia Deloney
- Amy Goodman
- Boston Banner
- Boston Globe
- Broadband Technology Opportunities Program
- Carlos Garcia
- Democracy Now!
- Digital Redwoods initiative
- Federal Communications Commission
- Free Press
- Gabriella Coleman
- George Soros
- Gloribell Mota
- Greg Mitchell
- Investigative Reporting Workshop
- James Rucker
- Jamilah King
- Jenny Lee
- Jessica Clark
- Joseph Stiglitz
- Juan Gonzalez
- Le Monde
- Mapping Main Street
- Micah Sifry
- Michael Calabrese
- Nancy Scola
- National Broadband Plan
- National Conference for Media Reform 2011
- New York Times
- Public Insight Network
- Public Media Corps Cool Spots
- Reihan Salam
- Sascha Meinrath
- Sean McLaughlin
- Sunlight Foundation