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Showing posts with label PWV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PWV. Show all posts

13 August 2009

Weigh that media request carefully!

At Blogher, I was asked to blog more about the Progressive Women's Voices trainings and what I learned so that others can benefit.

About 8 years ago I got a call asking me to appear on "Hannity & Colmes" but the problem was that I really didn't have much media experience, I had never seen the show and I was scared shitless. I called Jenn Pozner up and she talked me down. We went thru talking points, but she also talked to me about the power of no. "You don't have to accept every call that comes in."

That lesson was hammered into us during the Progressive Women's Voices trainings. PWV trainees receive a one page sheet of questions to ask when you get a media call then you tell the person that you will call them back in 5 minutes. Why is this important? Because you need time to think if this opportunity is really good for you. Not just if you are the expert needed or not, but if this will be good for you.

Example 1 of bad experience: Marisa of Latina Lista had a horrible experience on CNN and I'm grateful that she blogged about it. She asked the right questions, but still had a bad experience. The lesson I took from it was that if you're going to be live on CNN or any channel, prepare for the worst. Marisa asked if it would be a confrontation style debate and they said lied to her about it.

Example 2 of um, maybe you didn't need to say yes: Sheena Williams was profiled on CBS2Chicago about mommy blogging and the controversy about them accepting free products for review and that sometimes they get paid to review products. In the video you can see that she was set up to look bad. The questions were leading her down a road to look bad. She was also opposite Alma Klein who was cast as "the blogger with integrity."

I don't know Sheena, but she seems like just about every other mom blogger I know, just trying to get by in this world. A nice woman who stumbled into this jackpot of blogola. So I feel for her. But again, the story was set up to pit Alma and Sheena against each other. I won't even get into the racial implications. But I should say that this is one of the few times I've seen a mom of color blogger in a media story and well, Sheena is cast as the selfish/lying blogger.

But that's how many of the mom blogger stories have been cast. As mom bloggers are just doing it for the free swag. Kim told them of how most of us are in it for the community, but it apparently wasn't juicy enough.

Example 3 of really? Your first appearance is on Hardball? Katy Abram asked Sen. Spector a question at a townhall meeting one day and found herself on Hardball the next. While she did hold her own a good chunk of the interview and even corrected guest host Lawrence O'Donnell. But he went easy on her, you can tell. Oh yes, I think he ripped apart her concerns by drilling her on her apparent apathy towards politics through the commencement of two wars and was only awoken when POTUS decides to inject cash into the economy and correct the shame that we call health care in this country. I kinda felt bad for her, but then again, perhaps she's decided to ride this baby as far as it will go since she called up Glenn and cried to him about Dems harassing her.

But I suspect that most of us wouldn't be as lucky if our first big media appearance was Hardball.

I'm still learning and feeling my way around this media thing. In the past few weeks I've hit the media jackpot, but I know it won't last. But the fact that I've had a lot of media appearances made me stop and think, "Is this too much? Am I over exposing myself? Am I doing valuable things?" The answer to the last question is yes, right now I am. I'm glad that I made myself think to evaluate what I was doing. I don't want to just do a media call to do a media call. I am trying to set myself up as someone who should be on the short list when you need a Latina/woman/person to speak on feminism/feminist mothering/feminist mom blogging/blogging/momblogging/women in science/education equity.

What are your media goals? Not to get on Oprah, but what do you want the media to think of you as? To me that's your goal, the appearances are how you will get there.

As I said, I'm still learning, so I'd love to hear what you think on this.

Oh and in the end, I didn't do Hannity. I was going to do the show because someone else couldn't, but that someone else did end up doing it. Whew!

06 December 2008

Deadline for Progressive Women's Voices approaching!

And if you need more incentive to apply, read a fabu interview over at Feministing of the two women in charge, Carol & Glennda. But don't let that smile fool ya, Glennda has an inner right-wing radio host in her.

Deadline to apply for the first class is December 15th.

26 November 2008

The B-word

Monday night I made my WGN network debut (well, if you don't count catching glimpses of me at Cubs games) on the WGN News discussing the B word - BITCH.

I taped the segment a few weeks ago and it was pretty nerve wracking because the crew was coming to my house (clean up!), on a "vacation" day I had scheduled to watch my daughter & her BFF on one of many CPS teacher service days, I didn't know how the doxie would react with two strange men coming over, AND of course, it was my first on camera in a long time. But thanks to my peeps at the Women's Media Center, I had my talking points all written out.

I never got to meet the producer, Pam, but we chatted on the phone quite a bit before and over the past few days. She seems like an awesome woman and I hope we can work together again in the future. Antwan is amazing. He was super nice and seemed genuinely interested in the conversation. The gold star goes to the camera man who had to make sure I looked good, Antwan & I sounded good, AND kept the doxie & her collar with all her tags from ruining a shot. Yup, Annie was all up in the camera man's arms at some points of the interview. It was pretty cute.

I want to be clear on one thing - I do not condone calling a woman a bitch in anger. I do believe that women, yes it's a woman thing, can call each other one in jest or in a congenial way. I haven't used bitch with my friends in a long time thou. When I was in my 20s, I did say beatch a lot. The first time I can recall being called a bitch, not in the good way, had to had been on the playground by a boy. The first clear time by another girl was in high school when someone I thought was a friend took an effort to stroll over and tell me in my ear. Um, thanks. I think that's when I started to try to reclaim it...that and a few other words that girls get called in high school.

The motherly advise I give is from one my partners-in-parenting, Cinnamon, who loves to tell the kid stories of disarming bullies without lifting a finger.

While I haven't heard any direct negative comments about the segment, I did hear some indirect questions about why this segment mattered, aren't there other things we should be talking about, and so forth. I address this issue over at .

The best part of the segment for me was getting the word out about
Bitch magazine. Maybe a few more feminists saw the piece and thought, "Even if I don't agree with Veronica, I need to check out that magazine!" Because the magazine really embodies how we can reclaim the word and use it in a positive manner.

Thanks for all the congrats from all the friends, coworkers and family.

19 November 2008

Apply for the 2009 Progressive Women's Voices program

This week's giveaway: The American Journey of Barack Obama
(There are new rules & an extended deadline)

There will be a second year of training progressive women to transform the media landscape!

The best part of this call? The entire three class schedule is out. So clear your calendars feministas and apply today! If I can get in, you can get in...so get to it...And good luck. I personally encourage Midwesterners to apply. We need more of us represented. It's all paid for (except the drinking, unless a certain Rachel Maddow-loving staffer brings wine to dinner), so don't complain you're too poor. Of course, child care will be an issue...Alas, I have no easy answer to that one.

I never did write up my last thoughts on the training. I don't want to do that now. It wasn't a perfect training, but I hope that some of the pains of being the first year will mean the second year participants will go smoother. It really has come in handy lately.

Selection Criteria:
Progressive Women’s Voices seeks self-motivated women who are committed to serving as strong progressive voices in the media. Criteria for selection to the program include:

  • Demonstrated background and expertise in a particular issue area that is covered in the media
  • Ability (with additional training and support) to articulate progressive messages in your issue area
  • Identification as a progressive feminist
  • Ability to inspire and motivate others through communications
  • Time and ability to commit to a rigorous training program and ongoing media visibility
  • Commitment to participating in program for a year and to pitching and supporting your own media presence with our help and resources
  • Evidence of interest in the media and willingness to engage in new media experiences

Our application process is designed to be transparent and rigorous. We are seeking participants who represent diverse backgrounds, areas of expertise, and levels of experience.

2009 PWV Class 1 Schedule:
Dec 15: Application Deadline
February 6-7: First Training in NYC
March 6-7: Second Training in NYC
April 3-4: Third Training in NYC

2009 PWV Class 2 Schedule:
March 10: Application Deadline
April 24-25: First Training in NYC
May 29-30: Second Training in NYC
June 26-27: Third Training in NYC

2009 PWV Class 3 Schedule:
June 1: Application Deadline
July 24-25: First Training in NYC (Blogher weekend!)
August 28-29: Second Training in NYC
September 25-26: Third Training in NYC

09 September 2008

Talking Points

Part of the Progressive Women's Voices training is teaching us to get our talking points down. And for those of you who haven't had to do this with trained professionals, let me tell you it is exhausting.

There was a chance for me to be on a national radio show but the staff wanted to make sure I was ready and had talking points. So I spent 15 minutes on talking points for the topic, called them back, and the staff person immediately said, "Too long."

We then spent 30 minutes going thru each of my three talking points making each one shorter and more to the point. My problem is that I feel like I have a good story to tell for somethings, but stories just don't always fit into a talking point. Sometimes they do, but today most of mine didn't.

I got off the phone to rewrite my points and wait to hear if the show wanted me or another PWV'er who had also volunteered. Well the slot itself closed up, but they were interested in me.

This is good and bad...Good cause there might be a good chance that I could be on a national radio show and possibly show the PWV staff that I can hold my own. When I'm on the phone with them practicing, I sound like an idiot and I know it is because I am far more nervous about them listening to me than debating any radio host. The bad is that I have to work on more talking points.

I'm pushing myself in this program further than I would have on my own. There have been times when I've wanted to quit, thinking that I just don't have "it," but then I think that I must have something if they even invited me to sit at the table.

16 August 2008

30 seconds

My 30 second spot is now up on the Progressive Women's Voices site. I'm not going to embed it because I think it would drive me crazy to see that video for a few more days.

In order to get this video I took a zillion takes, made a lot of fumbles, and was extremely nervous, which I think is evident on the video. After I saw the video, I was disappointed. I was hoping that somewhere in the 15 minutes I was taped I had done 30 seconds of good stuff without the office needing to splice the video. But seriously I was that nervous.

Why was I nervous? It was a combination of a camera being in the room and knowing that countless people would or could see this video. But honestly it's the thought of being wrong.

I've seen it a lot of more these days...people putting out their opinion and then saying, "But I'm not speaking for all [insert group here]." Well, honestly you are. And getting to that place was hard for me. For many years I was speaking, representing women/Latinas/feminists and I knew it. It wasn't easy and I would qualify my points. But in the end, we are all representatives of who we are. It's not fair, but it is what it is. If I'm on CNN talking about women in science and the need for on-site child care, I'm representing myself and the women I'm speaking for. And that's why I'm nervous. What if I say a statistic that is not just kinda wrong, but flat-out-totally wrong? I'm slowly embracing the idea of girlifying math & science, but what if I turn off that girl who does want to build jet fighters? How do I talk to all girls?

Simply, I can't.

Maybe I could craft my message to talk about building jet fighters or water irrigation sytems. Maybe that's pitting the two things against each other.

Last night I directed my husband to the site so he can see the video. Amazingly I thought I SOUNDED fine. The fact that I couldn't see the video, couldn't see where they edited it...I was pretty darn ok with what was being played. I was able to focus on one thing - my words. When I'm watching myself, I worry about my words, how I'm sitting, how big my eyes get when I'm excited, where are my hands, does my jewelry look ok, and even if the background was good.

Maybe I need to trick myself into believing that when I'm taping such things that I'm sitting in the Heartland Cafe talking with Michael while people around me are enjoying their coffee and whole grain pancakes. I dunno if that would work if I ever make it on to a TV show where the host is accusing me of things rather than engaging in a conversation the way Michael does. Hopefully one day I'll find out.

25 July 2008

WMC Progressive Women's Voices Day One part 2

I'm exhausted...mostly mentally. I also feel incredibly lame for being in my hotel room in NYC watching "Swingtown."

Today we worked on messaging. How to create our message and how to tighten it. We also took turns doing an on camera interview.

As soon as I sat down for mine I knew I was doomed. The first question asked was one that I normally trip over, mostly because I have about 5 different answers for it. I didn't know which one to use and of course I went with the most awkward/hard to say in a concise way. It took me awhile to warm up to the interview as well. While watching myself later was one of the more awkward things I've ever done, the room was filled with uber-supportive women. They all gave some fab feedback on how to strengthen my message.

I knew a lot of the things that were "taught" to us today, as did many of my classmates. The difference was going thru the activities together, getting & giving feedback, and of course having all of us with the same goal - get in the media more with better messages.

Tomorrow we have to tape a 30-second message...that will be then emailed to producers & others who are looking for media sources. *gulp*

WMC Progressive Women's Voices Day One

OK, nothing's happened yet. But I wanted to post this photo of my kick ass shoes I bought for this weekend. They match my dress perfectly. Aren't ya jealous?

Don't be. They're from Target...$23.99. You can have them too. I put some gel insoles in them. Cross your fingers that they don't kill my feet! I'm off to the first day of training and we end after dinner tonight. But first, I think I need to fuel up at Starbucks.


This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.
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