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Showing posts with label media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media. Show all posts

16 June 2017

International Women’s Media Foundation creates award to honor Gwen Ifill

The loss of Gwen Ifill is one of those pieces of knowledge that causes me to stop breathing when I remember it. At a time when we need hard-hitting journalism, there is a gaping hole in our media without her. The folks at the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) feel the same way as they just announced a new award in Ifill's name:
Ifill was a bright light in the news industry, an incredible role model and mentor for young journalists – especially women journalists of color – and a friend of the IWMF. The Award will be given annually to an outstanding woman journalist of color whose work carries forward Ifill’s legacy.

In addition to the award, the IWMF will develop a corresponding program focused on mentorship and network building. It will be open to both journalism students and women journalists of color working in the news media.

Candidates for the award will be evaluated on criteria including their record of outstanding achievement in journalism, and the extent to which they represent the values Ifill embodied, including in the areas of mentorship, leadership, and commitment to diversity in journalism.
Ifill left us with a rich legacy and inherent in that legacy is a challenge to keep moving and doing better. Hopefully this award and program will fulfill both that challenge.

31 March 2017

Women's Review of Books Volume 34, Issue 2

Starting with the current issue of Women's Review of Books you can now read the issues online in addition to print. To celebrate this move towards online access to this great outlet, anyone can read the current issue online.  In this issue WRB looks to the work of Black Lives Matter and the intersectional politics of the new movement as well as its similarities and differences, in politics and strategies, from previous organizing. Go read! Then if you like, subscribe.

16 March 2017

Call for Proposals: Race/Gender/Class/Media 4.0: Considering Diversity Across Audiences, Content, and Producers

Proposals are sought from scholars across all disciplines for the fourth edition of Race/Gender/Class/Media: Considering Diversity Across Audiences, Content, and Producers (Routledge, 2019). Edited by Rebecca Ann Lind, University of Illinois at Chicago (rebecca@uic.edu), the book will examine the consequences, implications, or opportunities associated with issues of diversity (socially constructed differences such as race, ethnicity, gender, class, etc.) in media. The fourth edition should be at least as wide-ranging in scope as prior editions. Most accepted pieces will present original scholarship.

There are three main sections: content, audience, and production.  Content focuses most closely on texts created by media  organizations. Audience includes media usage, effects of media, audience  interpretations of media content, and studies of user-generated content. Production includes studies of media organizations and the creation of content, as well as media activism, access, policy,  and regulation.   The book is designed primarily for undergraduates, although it has been used in graduate courses and in high schools. Final manuscripts will be about 4000 words, including pedagogical activities, and must be written in an accessible fashion. Contributors who meet the deadline will receive $100 payment upon publication. More details are available online , or email rebecca@uic.eduFor more information and to submit proposals, visit  http://go.uic.edu/rgcm .

The priority deadline for proposals is June 1, 2017; decisions will be announced by July 1, 2017. Completed readings are due January 5, 2018, with editing and revision through May 2018. Additional copyediting should take place in fall, 2018.

30 November 2015

Giving Tuesday

This year I am asking you to consider giving to one (or both) of these organizations:

Bitch Media is an almost-20-year-old feminist media organization. You may be most familiar with their magazine, but they also publish an amazing blog and podcast. They are independent and rely on reader support. Bitch Media has given a lot of writers their first paid outlet. Recently they launched a fellowship to further support their efforts to launch emerging writers.

Earlier this year, I joined the board of directors. As a board member of Bitch Media, I need your help to raise $1,000 by the end of December 2015. 
  1. Please donate an amount that is a slight stretch for you. It can be $10 or even $100.
  2. Join me in being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month. When you do, you get to be a member of the B-Hive! How cool is that name?

The Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF) has a goal of $8,000 this year! They are a 25-year-old organization where countless individuals have turned to for help terminating a pregnancy. The Chicago Abortion Fund fights to overturn economic barriers to reproductive choice. Through direct service, CAF assists women in obtaining safe abortion services. In partnership with the women we serve, CAF engages and mobilizes low-income and poor women to become advocates for expanded reproductive access.

As a former board member of the Chicago Abortion Fund, I am asking you to please help them make choice possible for the women of Chicago.  

Thank you!

26 March 2015

The Power to Offend: Why Dan Bernstein Says What He Says

The latest case of foot-in-mouth disease, Chicago sports radio personality, Dan Bernstein.

Wednesday night, Bernstein took to Twitter to question the ability of a woman sports reporter's abilities. He woke up the next morning with a Twitter hangover. But unlike the young man who called Mo'ne Davis a slut, so far Bernstein has gotten off scott-free.

The Chicago Tribune reports that "Bernstein admitted on air he didn't realize he was in the middle of a blazing social media firestorm until he woke up Thursday morning. Only then did it hit him that making Twitter comments about a woman sports anchor's appearance probably wasn't a good career move." Ya, think?

What was his offending tweet about? Boobs

Since he joined the radio station in 1995, we can assume that he is not a teenage boy unaccustomed to seeing women or women's body parts. So what would make a grown man say something, never mind it was on Twitter, about a colleague's appearance in such a gross manner?


As a white male in a white male dominated industry, he has immense power. He has also been the co-host of his current show since 1999. That means that the powers that be at WSCR know him very well and appreciate his work. That gives him more power. This type of institutional power exhibits itself in many ways in other arenas - this is what gives people the sense of invincibility and they are often correct. We are far more a society of forced apologies than having real conversations about what the offense really was about.

This is why the Starbucks "Race Forward" campaign was such a flop. As a society, we have little skills to talk about racism, sexism, homophobia and all the other 'isms a rational level that does not involve those in power (usually white heterosexual men) to be offended.

For me, as someone who studies organizations and why some continue to be safe havens for racism and sexism, the first thing I wanted to see if there were any women on-air at the station. Here are the line-ups:

OK...maybe not hosts. I get that women are often the side-kick or side-line reporter, let's see what that looks like:


And then I noticed a link above the hosts line up.

WSCR EEO Report: Click here.

Oh....So yes, I clicked right on over. In a simple PDF form, you can see how CBS hired all their openings for one year. I restricted my quick research project to WSCR. Over the course of July 23, 2013 – July 22, 2014, they hired eight individuals.
(11) Local Sales Manager (WSCR(AM)) Internal Candidate/Promotion
(12) Account Executive (WSCR(AM)) Referral (Employee, Industry, Personal)
(13) Account Executive (WSCR(AM)) Referral (Employee, Industry, Personal)
(14) Account Executive (WSCR(AM)) Referral (Employee, Industry, Personal)
(15) Promotions Manager (WSCR(AM)) Internal Candidate/Promotion
(16) National Sales Assistant (WSCR(AM)) Referral (Employee, Industry, Personal)
(17) Board Op Sounds Producer (WSCR(AM)) Internal Candidate/Promotion
(18) Content Producer (WSCR(AM)) Internal Candidate/Promotion
And you get to see where they got their interviewed candidates. I could not find information on their actual resume pool, but given what we know of the job market, I think it safe to say there were more than 54 applicants for eight openings. And where did WSCR get their interviewees from?

28 from internal applicants
17 from personal referrals
9 from the CBS job website
1 from an outside job website

And 100% of the jobs were filled with people who were referred to the openings or internal candidates. It is true that it is who you know!

Back to Bernstein...People are now wondering what should happen. Fired? Suspended? Whichever is fine with me. But what we really should be talking about is how did a radio station, even a sports radio station, get to where there are NO women on their photo staff roster? Well, I think I just showed you.

When you rely on internal and personal networks to fill open positions, you often replicate what you already have. The way humans works is that we too often associate with people who look just like us. It is comforting. Which is why some organizations make it harder for those in hiring to hire who they know. It does not always work, but at least it pushes people to reach outside their inner circle to look for applicants. And given the long list of diverse organizations that the ads were listed in, there should had been applicants who were good enough for an interview.

Organizational culture is very hard to change. But it can change with enough will from the top. I know some will wave off this incident as just more frat boy sports radio antics and they are right, But it does not mean we should ignore it. Women are sports journalists and they deserve a workspace that is respectful of them as human beings. It can be done, but not if we focus on apologies instead of actions.

16 December 2014

Bindercon & Women of Color in the Media

I missed BinderCon because it was in NYC and I was at Space Camp! I haven't heard a lot of what happened so I was excited to see this video clip from the panel "Looking Forward: Roles for Women in the Future of Media." Jessica McGlory, the founder of Forecastr (@TVforecast) says some awesome stuff. Hopefully BinderCon will realize that those of us in the Midwest would love to host!

02 June 2014

Summer of Feminista on Breaking Through with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

24 August 2011

The kid will be a media critic before we're all done with her

The kid is not just a smarty pants kid, but she is also pretty observant about the world. I would like to think it is due to me being honest with her about media issues and not denying her voice when she speaks up. She also has a super cool aunt who wrote a book about Reality TV and does media criticism for a living. It is quite a proud moment for me when I get to point out Photoshopping on magazine covers to her to show her that no one is that perfect. But I know I can't do it alone.

That is why I was excited to learn that the Girl Scouts has I was lucky to get a chance to ask Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Developmental Psychologist at Girl Scouts of USA, about the new media units.

I asked her how we can raise girl leaders without feeding into the "good girl" stereotype. I know I catch myself talking to the kid about being a good role model or a leader, I find that what I'm really saying is "Don't act up in front of the other kids, cause they might think it's ok to act up too." This is one of the messages that was engrained in me as the oldest of three girls, not to mention from teachers who saw me as a class leader. Instead of hearing that I need to lead by positive example, I heard, don't get caught making fun of someone. Dr. Bastiani Archibald said that Girl Scouts does not want to see girls who are only smiles and polite, in fact she believes that girl-on-girl crime could be from girls feeling pressure to "be good" all the time. We need to realize that being a good role model comes from knowing one's self.

I have also found lately that the kid is taking some of the messages about being a strong girl and seeing a dichotomy: girly girl versus sporty girl. Which is hard to figure out because she is quite a girly girl not to mention awesome on the soccer field. Dr. Bastiani Archibald responded that it is quite natural for girls her age to still be thinking in absolutes. Whew! But I know I need to watch myself when I critique girly girl culture too. I am trying. Dr. Bastiani Archibald said that one way to support our girls is to support their choice of clothing. And whoooweee, is the kid's choice of clothing full of sparkles.

Dr. Bastiani Archibald told me about activities for the youngest Girl Scouts where Daisies are asked to taste-test different yogurts, some with cartoon characters on them, some without. Then the girls are asked which one they like the best. "The one with the bear on it!" is a typical response. Then it is up to the leaders to lead the girls through acknowledging that cartoons do not make yogurt take better, they just make kids want that type of yogurt more.

The kid's school doesn't start for another few weeks and I don't know when Girl Scouts start back up, but I am eager to get my hands on the Brownie journey and help our girls tell their own story.

You can watch my interview of Dr. Bastiani Archibald below. It was a phone interview and Dr. Bastiani Archibald was the only one video recorded.

23 March 2011

Feminist Parenting: Searching for a Superhero

This post is part of the WAM! It Yourself Blogathon! WAM! It Yourself is a multi-city decentralized conference on gender and media run by Women, Action & the Media. Events are taking place in seven cities and online from March 20th to March 27th. Check out the full schedule of events here!

I hiked down to McCormick Place to attend the second annual Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo on Saturday. I was able to attend by requesting a press pass. I'm not writing this because it was a condition of the pass though. OK, disclaimer out of the way. How did it go?

It was fun. I could only attend for a few hours, but it was fun to sit and watch all the fans walking around. The families passing on their love of comics & comic-related entertainment to the kids. The geek couples dressed up and holding hands. The groups who dressed up in themes or didn't dress up at all. But the group that drew me in the most were the dads walking around with their daughters. 

After my pass was in hand, I headed to the expo floor to make a bee line to Dark Horse, the home of Buffy Season 8...and soon Season 9. I was disappointed at the lack of Buffy stuff, but I did get to spot a mock-up of the Buffy lunchbox, to be released in the summer, which may find a home in my kitchen. I did get to play with Dark Horse's app, which is freaking awesome. Alas, no eReader of any kind in my hands, so I'll leave the awesomeness to others. 

Then I ran to the theater to catch a discussion on "The Walking Dead" and after that a panel on "Dollhouse." It was fun to hear from the actors. The funniest parts were when the actors realized that there were kids in the audience. This usually was preceded by an actor swearing (Jon Bernthal) or describing something in a sexual manner (Eliza Dushku, "I'm so going to hell..."). 

So I offer these suggestions:

* Parents: If you are going to a comic book convention or such, please remember that there will be adult language and most likely adults dressed up in costumes not suitable for children's eyes. Some ladies like to wear corsets and fishnet stockings. Some guys do too. 

* Actors and others we pay money to gawk at: As much as you might think, "Oh, my work is too violent for a 5-year-old!" There's a 5-year-old in the audience because her mom thought it was ok to watch your movie or because his dad loves your work so much, the kid is playing on the floor. 

*Somewhere in there is a nice middle where we can be comic geeks and parents all at the same time.  

As the mom of a girl (who was not with me, she had prior commitments) I did keep an eye out for kid-friendly and especially girl-friendly comics. I found a few that I'll check out, but no real stand outs. Then I saw a few more dads walk past me with their young daughters. "What is he thinking?" So I asked. 

I walked up to a man who had two young girls in tow. "Are you the dad of these young women?" "Yes, I am." I introduced myself and asked him what he thought of comic books and the comic industry having two types of women characters, (ditzy) girlfriend or sexy hero. "They were just talking about that! Girls, you were just talking about this." He introduced me to his daughters who were about 10. Sorry, I was short on time and didn't ask vitals. They went on and on about how they were in search of a superhero. One of the girls had chosen Poison Ivy ("She's evil!"), but wanted another woman character to love. Her sister was hesitant about Poison Ivy, so was far more eager to identify a woman comic book character (didn't even have to be a hero) who was smart and wasn't "just the girlfriend." The dad also talked about the need for strong women characters for girls to read about. He was definitely disappointed about the current crop of offerings. 

If I had spent more time at the expo, I would had asked a mom with a son about what she thought comics were teaching him about women. Although, I feel like that question might feel a bit attacky if I didn't know the person. "So what do you think this busty woman is teaching your 10-year-old about women? Huh!?" 

Sunday has been kid's day and they get in free. Hopefully if the cards align properly, we'll plan a family trip to C2E2 2012 on kid's day and wander around asking parents these questions while the kid tries to find her own superhero. I really want to know more about how parents navigate this territory. Comics not only have depictions of adult bodies that are totally unrealistic, even for guys, but they are also high on violence. Are the parents who bring their kids to shows like C2E2 the "cool" parents? Or the "sketchy" parents?A little of both?

The kid knows who Buffy and Xena are. She has seen bits of Buffy, but we don't let her watch scenes that are too violent or even too "gross" looking. For example, she can't quite handle zombies right now. So vamped out vampires might not go well. While Xena is bloody and a little sexy, it's also super campy. And I want to share them with her!

Bottom line is that I just want her to have her own Buffy and Xena to obsess over. Is that really too much to ask?

19 March 2011

Viva la Feminista made it on "To the Contrary"

Watch the full episode. See more To The Contrary.

Thanks to friend of VLF, Kim Gandy for mentioning this blog while discussing mom blogs on this week's episode of "To the Contrary." Bonnie Erbé starts the conversation about mom bloggers off at 9:45 in the video. The focus starts with women's purchasing power and how some mom bloggers are "an advertisers dream come true." Kim jumps in around 12:10 in the video.

It's a great topic that Bonnie introduced, one that many of us mom bloggers have debated on and off-line for years. Where is the line between suggesting products that work to your friends/readers and just using them to pitch junk to so you get paid? And what does that do to our community? So Bonnie, if you want to continue this conversation, let me know and I'll high tail it to DC. Even if I did just get back from DC on Friday. There's also PunditMom in your backyard. But she does have ads on her blog, I don't. So there....reason to have us both on your show. Call me!

03 November 2010

When Reality Bites Back, it's pretty damn funny

The election got you down?

Turn that frown upside down with Reality Bites Back book trailers!

Check out the full series at YouTube all week!

03 August 2010

Lies, Lies and Violence Statistics

As a math nrrd, I'm a tad obsessed with the use of stats in public discourse, especially when being used in political debate. Lately I feel like all I hear about are stats about violence going up or down or perhaps into the fourth dimension.

Here in Chicago, many of FEEL that we're going through a very violent summer. Shootings here, there, everywhere. We had another violent weekend and ABC7Chicago reported on it by heading down to Garfield Park and talking to a long time resident. He goes on to talk about how he can SEE violence going up. Then ABC7-Chicago splashes these stats up on our screen

while quoting the Chief of Police that violence and homicides are down in 2010.

Did you see that? ABC7-Chicago gets a man in Garfield Park to discuss violence in his neighborhood and the ABC7-Chicago gives us stats for Chicago as a whole, as does the Police Department. This man could very well be correct, as could the police.

So I headed over to EveryBlock Chicago to churn the stats myself. First off, the stats that EveryBlock has seem to be just off from those that ABC7-Chicago has access to. But I think they tell the same story.

In 2009, Chicago had 250 homicides from Jan 1 to Aug 1. In 2010, Chicago had 224.

EveryBlock has Garfield Park divided into East and West, so I added the two neighborhoods together since the gentleman in the ABC7-Chicago clip identifies as from Garfield Park.

In 2009, Garfield Park East+West had 9 homicides. In 2010 they had 18.

In my neighborhood, we're steady at one homicide in 2009 and in 2010.

This is why I hate stats. And why we all need to take a good stats course or simply listen to the news close enough to know when they are comparing the city at large to a neighborhood.

Or in the case of Rachel Maddow, comparing a demographic to a city to a county to a state. Yes, my lil math nrrd head was spinning last night!

She plays a clip where Senator Kyl is suggesting that violence is up for "some parts of the citizenry" in Phoenix and then Maddow goes on to show stats for property and violent crimes in the STATE of Arizona. I love ya Rachel, but come on, at least get stats for Phoenix. Sadly, EveryBlock isn't in Phoenix.

I don't think that this slight of hand is done maliciously.It's easy to find a stat that fits your angle and use it. But we need to hold everyone accountable. From our local news to the beloved Maddow, it's not just FOX who can spin a stat into proving that the world is coming to an end...or isn't.

24 July 2010

Viva la Feminista on Democracy Now!

This is a lesson in being fearless.

After my panel on Thursday I went wandering around Netroots Nation and spotted Amy Goodman in line to get Ed Schultz to sign his book. I thought, "OMG, it's Amy Goodman!" so I went up to her to say hi and be all silly fangirl. Well Amy and one of her friends/coworkers/partner in arms started asking me where I was from, what I did, etc. Amy got her book signed and I chatted with Dennis some more. Then Amy asked which way I was walking and I said, "I walk, where you walk." She chuckled. After a few minutes of chatting, she whips out for mini-digital camera and starts interviewing me. At first I just babbled like an idiot, but recovered well despite thinking the whole time, "OMFG, Amy Goodman is interviewing me!"

So for your youngsters out there, don't be afraid to walk up to people you admire, be ready with your 30-second "This is who I am" talk and be prepared for anything. Cause some days anything does happens.

08 June 2010

Another shooting that targets women & the media just yawns

Jennifer Pozner at WIMNs Voices:
It happened again. Another violent guy shot and killed his wife — and went on to gun down six other women unfortunate enough to be in his path before committing suicide. Four women are now dead; three others are in critical condition. And some media outlets (such as the AP story on Yahoo! News, “5 dead after shooting in Miami-area restaurant,”) are still failing to report this as a gender-based hate crime… echoing previous journalistic failures. 

Me two years ago: 
Friend of Viva la Feminista, Jennifer Pozner has been writing about the gender imbalance in school, now mass, shootings since Jonesboro in 1996. Heck, one of my first pseudo-blogs back then was the keep a running photo memorial to the women killed in the shootings from Jonesboro to Columbine. Yet time again, shooting after shooting, the media scoffs aside the fact that MEN do most of the killing.  
Is there anything new to add to this conversation?

Now go read the rest of  


In light of my 10th year of blogging, I swear, I'm going to find my ancient geocities pages just for kicks. But mostly because I want my Jonesboro webpage. I may need to dig out my Mac Performa and hope it turns on.

24 November 2009

Oh WaPo, you got me good.

Yes, I entered the Washington Post's Next Great Pundit contest. I cobbled together a piece about adoption, abortion, feminism and my undying love for Dawn Friedman. Then Latinos in America was on and I sent in an entry about how much I did not appreciate that series. I knew it was a publicity sontest for WaPo, but the fact that they excluded already published op-ed'ers made me believe I had a decent shot.

When I saw that the ten finalists were 5 men and 5 women, I was fairly happy. Four of the dudes appeared to be white. Strike. The women seemed fairly diverse in ethnicity as well as kinda age. Althou someone on one of the many listservs I'm on said they felt the candidates skewed young. Point taken.

Then the final two came down to a white dude, Kevin, and a woman of color, Zeba. I guess I thought the feminist media community would throw it's weight behind Zeba - She worked on Obama's campaign and while her pieces weren't screaming feminism, she fit what I thought we'd want to see in a new op-ed voice. I admit that before the final two, I tweeted the contest without backing anyone. I was leaning towards Zeba, but also thought that having Courtney win would be fine too. Honestly I didn't have a horse in this race, but did think that if we could will it, a woman of color should win. Once it was a two person race, I tweeted my support for Zeba. Alas Kevin won. Zeba came up 600 votes short.

If Zeba had been a contributor at Feministing or Feministe would she had kicked ass in the final vote? Did we get tired of all the voting? On the last day? She was disconnected, from my POV, from the feminist media community despite having gone thru the Op-Ed Project and thus we didn't rally for her. Perhaps many of us were just disappointed that Courtney had been eliminated.

I am eagerly awaiting Courtney's reflection post on the whole process. She was called perky and I believe I read some comments about her voice. All things that are rarely, if ever, mentioned about a man.

As I said, I know that this whole thing wasn't set out to find that hidden jewel of punditry, but to jack up the hits at the WaPo. But they did have a golden moment when it had the opportunity to anoint Zeba or Courtney (the second runner up) as the next great pundit. A lot has been said about the contest and the quality of the finalists, but I still held out hope that the result would be different.

Or maybe America really does just want to hear from white dudes...But I highly doubt it.

03 November 2009

Want diversity? Start with diversity.

Don't ask me to bring diversity to your organization, ask me to join your organization for my skills, my knowledge or because you just love me. Don't think that I'm the pepper to your bland mashed potatoes. I am the garlic to those potatoes - the first thing you put on the skillet after you start to boil the water. Where you dash on pepper, throw in some onion and make me a vital part of the dish....Not the afterthought. 


Media itself is changing rapidly and in Chicago we have a new player in the game, the Chicago News Cooperative. Laura Washington gave them a tongue lashing for the total lack of diversity they are starting out with:
Nearly every staff member they have named so far is white -- and male. The co-op's board is white, all but one male. I would venture there are vast swaths of the city they don't know and rarely traverse....

If these reporters and editors check with the U.S. Census, they will discover that Chicago's racial and ethnic base is majority-minority. There are far more people of color than whites. Latinos are Illinois' fastest-growing minority group. A good half of the Chicago region is female.

Some might call it arrogance, hubris or just plain racism. I don't know about that, but to me it's just plain folly.
But wait! The Co-op responds:
Jim O'Shea, the former Chicago Tribune managing editor who last week announced the Chicago News Cooperative...says he intends to have a diverse staff and board of directors....O'Shea envisioned eventually having 20 to 25 staffers. "I am interviewing a candidate as we speak who will bring to us some diversity," he said.
As I wrote on a listserv about this topic, are they going to be hiring a Wiccan lesbian of color? A candidate? Come on...If this is the response that the Co-Op is going to send out after getting called out on their almost-all-dude, but still all white club, then I doubt that much will come from the Co-Op in terms of stories that truly reflect the diversity of Chicago.

That said, I know many under or unemployed journalists in this windy city who can bring a world of difference to your project Jim. So once you're done hiring that one candidate who will bring you diversity, get to work on bringing in a whole team of diverse candidates.Then maybe I'll read what your team brings to the table. And believe me, I'm hungry.

27 October 2009

EVENT: Media Democracy Day -- Chicago, 2009

Join fellow progressive media professionals and activists to discuss how we can work together to create more media democracy and media justice, important steps to building a just society.

The Metro Chicago Progressive Media Network …
invites you join us for ...

2009 Media Democracy Day - Chicago
Date/Time: November 7, 2009, 1-4-pm
Location: Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn Ave, Chicago, IL
See: www.chicagoprogmedia.org





Initially Media Democracy Day (MD day) was organized by local Toronto and Vancouver groups of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom. In 2002, events were held in cities around the world. A Media Democracy Day has been held in Chicago in the past.

Today the tradition of MD Day is carried on by local citizens and student groups in Canada and around the world. This year a group of media activists and professionals is planning for 2009 Media Democracy Day - Chicago with the objective of including representation and participation from all around the Chicago area. The timing of the event is planned to coincide with the date of Media Democracy Day in Vancouver, Canada.

Goals of 2009 Media Democracy Day - Chicago:
1) to bring together area progressive media professionals and media activists to share their perspectives on how we can promote a media system that informs the public on important issues and provides media access to all segments of society.

2) to create coherent messages and media initiatives to draw public attention and broaden and strengthen dialogue around serious issues and challenges facing the area, the nation, and the planet.

Part I - Panel The event will feature concise (5-7 minutes) presentations by key area media activists, media professionals, media-related organizations and academics covering the full spectrum of the reform media map:

1) mainstream media itself, its content, structure, sources, balance, etc..

2) alternative media of all types, including TV, radio, print, internet, performance, and graphics,

3) public awareness and education about the media, and

4) the media environment, including legislation and regulations.*

The panel is also planned to include media representatives from the Latin-American community, the African-American community, women, youth, and the GLBT community.

Part II - Working Groups and Skills sharing
Tract 1 - Working Groups The second part of the event will consist of facilitated breakout working groups, tasked with
1) discussion and then
2) formulating actionable items.

Tract 2 - Skills Sharing, such as blogging, video, and editing

Part III - Report-back The last component will be a facilitated report-back session. A summary of the report-back will be made available to interested attendees. LIST OF

Mitchell Szczepanczyk, Chicago Media Action
Joel Bleifuss, Editor, In These Times
Tim Wais, HumanThread
Veronica Arreola; Educator, Blogger (vivalafeminista.com)
Larry Duncan, Labor Beat
Robert Koehler, Syndicated Columnist
Mike Barr, Documentary filmmaker
Karen Bond, National Black Coalition for Media Justice The Metro Chicago
Kevin Gozstola, documentary filmmaker completing a Film/Video degree at Columbia College

Progressive Media Network (MCPMN), which was formed in November 2007, is an area networking group of media professionals and media activists,

*Source: Hackett, Robert A. and William K. Carroll, Remaking Media: The struggle to democratize public communication. 2006

19 September 2009

EVENT: Media and Democracy with Laura Flanders Café Society Do-It-Yourself Launch Celebration

Event Details

When::  09/21/2009 -- 6:00pm - 8:30pm
Where:: Chicago Cultural Center, 5th floor Washington and Garland Rooms
78 E. Washington St.
See map: Google Maps
Fee: Free. Open to the public
Reservations are required

Is the media fair and objective or is the media becoming more partisan? Can we point to the recent resignation of Van Jones as an indication of the growing power of the media on politics and policy? Does the media influence politics or is it the other way around? What should the role of the media be in a democracy?

Laura Flanders, host of “GRITtv” -- the new news and culture discussion program online, on satellite and on cable TV – will engage us in a lively conversation about these issues and more. This conversation will be moderated by Barbara Ransby, Director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Plus, hear a few words from Lisa Lee, founder of The Public Square.
Following the presentation, we invite YOU to join the conversation. We’ll break down into small, facilitated discussions  – Café Society style -- to share thoughts and reflections on the role of the media, partisan politics and democracy.

Hope you can join us in celebrating the official launch of the Café Society Do-It-Yourself Toolkit with special guest Laura Flanders!

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required and can be made online, by email at events@prairie.org, or by calling 312.422.5580. Light refreshments will be served.

This event is co-sponsored by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and The Public Square.
Chicago Public Radio – WBEZ 91.5FM is the media sponsor of this event.

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!

10 August 2009

Welcome Diego Mulligan listeners!

It was a pleasure to be on Diego Mulligan's show, The Journey Home, this evening.

Diego & I spent a lot of time chatting about health care reform and mom blogs, so I thought that I'd pull up a few recent posts on health care on a few of my favorite mom blogs:

Thanks for visiting!


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