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Showing posts with label wam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wam. Show all posts

02 April 2009

WAM 2009 Wrap up - Friday


That pretty much sums up the weekend. It was a whirlwind of everything. Yes, it's Thursday and I'm still reeling from the weekend.

Friday I got to have lunch with PunditMom. Then Jenn Pozner & I greeted each other like we always do - a huge hug. We realized later on that we've now been friends for about 12 years. YOWZAS! After dinner with Jenn, Lisa Jervis, Latoya Peterson and Jennifer Mattson we headed back to the conference building for the opening reception.

The opening plenary was made of three women journalists from Iraq, Columbia and Zimbabwe. Jenn live-blogged it, so I won't try to summarize it. What I will say is that I was floored at the bravery of the women. What I will always remember is that Huda, from Iraq, was a translator for English-speaking journalists. During one assignment the first question a journalist asked was if a man was Sunni or Shia. He responded to her with "That's the first question?" She spent a lot of time talking about how post-occupation Iraq is not good for the women, about the lack of rights and freedom they now have.

Jenny from Columbia was well poised for someone who has seen so much death. In fact, they all were, but Jenny had this peace about her. She did talk about how as journalists they aren't trained on self-care, how reporting from war zones is hard on you and how she would get calls threatening her sources. Her appearance in our lives coincided with Secretary of State Clinton's visit to Mexico. Both said within 24 hours of each other that Americans are fueling the drug wars. She also brought up the fact that we need to watch out for our companies that set up shop in other countries & how that effects locals.

Peta from Zimbabwe was funny. Her story was sad, but her delivery had an air of something that makes me smile when I think of her. She was the only one of the three who hasn't worked in the USA, so her story was quite unique. She also was the only one who thanked us, citizens of the USA, for the aid we send. Their government is crap, money is worth nothing and they truly rely on aid that countries send. What I took home from her was the idea that we never let up on our leaders. After many years of dictatorship there was an election and everyone celebrated...even journalists. She admitted that they practiced sunshine journalism - everything was positive.

This made me recall some of our outrage at how the White House media corps seems to have found their journalism badges after Obama was sworn in. On Twitter a lot of people seem to be saying, "NOW they ask the tough questions?" While it's a good question, we also shouldn't let the press NOT ask those questions of Obama. Not to mention that he can handle them.

The panel was truly amazing and inspiring.

A bunch of people ended up in the hotel sports bar to hang out and talk. I ended up playing pool with Jack. I lost. But I had a lot of fun chatting with people, clicking some photos and of course, playing one sloppy ass game of pool.

Whew! Just writing all of that made me just as tired as I was on Friday night.

27 March 2009

I'm off to WAM!

I have a few posts scheduled for my absence, but if you aren't already following me on Twitter, why aren't you? haha! Instead of my usual "I'm craving chocolate" posts, I'll be Tweeting from WAM! this weekend. I won't live tweet everything, but some good highlights. Later!

08 April 2008

Not my story to blog - Seal Press & WOC

While some out there truly believe I have a future in books, I can't turn my back on the raging exchange of words between the radical WOC blogosphere and Seal Press.

  1. Read La Chola
    Furthermore, it also means that women of color gain a reputation outside of academia as being considered “unpublishable.” Seal Press recently had an exchange with another woman of color blogger at which it was finally disclosed that women of color authors don’t sell, but it would be fabulous to publish them! (It appears that several of the comments on this exchange were taken down–pay attention to “bah”’s comments for proof that these things were said.)
  2. Read the Seal Press blog
It's late...I should had been sleeping 30 minutes ago (I'm already in bed, so I can't say I need to go to bed), so I'll just leave you with those two posts, that contain other links in them. This is what I was talking about when I said something went down at WAM! and it wasn't my story to tell.

JFTR - This isn't about me wanting a book deal. I highly doubt anyone would give me one by myself. Maybe if I hooked my wagon to a star...nah. ;-)

01 April 2008

WAM! - The Day After After :The Bad

I wanted to take a few days to mull over the negative aspects of WAM! before posting about it. I didn't want this post to seem too reactionary or for me to write it pissed off. That said, I'm still a tad ticked at what I thought was far too many cliques and too much separation between WOC bloggers and white bloggers.

It was awesome to see a few allies in the Radical WOC bloggers session and even more so that an A-lister like Jill was there. There has been criticism of some of the A-list feminist blogs not having enough WOC in the past, so it was nice to see her there. I won't repeat how she introduced herself, but it was very sweet and from the heart. She also wrote a great summary of what it was to be a WOC at this conference:

It was the one place in the conference where it felt like a collective blood-letting, and where most of the women really seemed comfortable and in their element. It made me think quite a bit about the value of creating those kinds of safe spaces, and the reality that while a feminist conference feels like a safe space for me, that isn’t the case for a lot of women (and for women of color in particular). The presenters were able to establish such a space, and they were generous enough to allow me — someone who has not always been the greatest ally in the past — to sit in it.

Yes, the safe space was awesome. It felt more comfortable than I had anticipated not just because of my Latinaness issue, but I'm far from a radical WOC. Even BFP remarked to me that she knows that I'm not radical, but I defend my position as a liberal feminist of color pretty darn well. haha! We totally laughed at that. She's right, I'm not a radical and I hem and haw about working for The Woman versus wanting to always take to the streets.

Now my big issue was the racial divide. This was my first WAM! and I'm usually blind to such things too. So Saturday at 7 pm was the WOC & allies reception sponsored by a queer WOC group in Boston. It was off campus, not too far, but I guess far enough for some WOC and others. I got there and quickly made friendly with some women who didn't even attend WAM! They were on the listserv for the sponsoring group. It was pretty funny. But by 7:30 many of the WOC bloggers had arrived, including I think half of the WOC blogger session attendees. So I hung with them, chatted, danced a little, and showed off my one bar trick. Yes, the cherry stem thing.

But it was clear that us WOC had only a handful of allies there.

Now I wasn't expecting all the WAMers to show up, but I was greatly disappointed at how many didn't. And I left that party a tad early (at 10 pm) to hit the after party that was supposed to be in our room. Instead it was in another WAMers room. Hey! There are the white bloggers. OK, I jest...a bit. They couldn't all fit in the one bed room.

There was also an issue of language...In the program the WOC reception was listed as 8 pm. BUT the ad with the directions said 7 pm. On the WAM! info board it was written that due to a MISPRINT, the WOC reception was at 7 pm. BUT during announcements in the rooms, we were told that the WOC reception was CHANGED to 7pm. Oh, yes...there were grumbles that the WOC reception had to be moved.

I don't think this grumbling would have big as big of a deal if there wasn't already something there. There are other stories that I won't blog about as they aren't mine to blog.

As I rode to the airport with a fellow WOC, we mused how it still shocks us when we face "racism" within the feminist community. I put racism in quotes as I'm not sure if it's all racism - Some incidents were, some weren't quite.

Should we be shocked that the feminist community still has a race issue? Especially at what seems to be a more progressive conference? Does the fact that this is a professional meeting mean that power players will hang with power players? This isn't coming from my personal feeling of being snubbed, so don't get that idea. 95% of the time, I felt quite comfortable. When I didn't, I just got up and found a new place to hang.

I know at least one blogger who has said she might not come next year because what she saw. As usual, I'll take the moderate stance. Despite the race issue, I still had a great time. Mostly because I partied with the WOC bloggers on Saturday night and had enough friends at the conference. As of now, I'll be back next year.

I'll be back because I had fun, there are some awesome women there, and this is a professional conference and I do plan on doing more writing. Hopefully for many of the women there.

Technorati tags: WAM!, WAM! 2008

WAM - We B(e)lo(n)g on You Tube

See if you can spot me!

Technorati tags: WAM!, WAM! 2008

31 March 2008

WAM! - The Day After: The Good.

I live blogged WAM! and now it's time for a wrap-up post.

The Good:
I got to meet some awesome bloggers and writers that I have admired and aspired to be like. Starting at the networking session there was Jen Angel of the dearly departed Clamor, and Miriam of Radical Doula and Feministing. At the Friday night reception I met Allison Stevens of Women's eNews and Echidne of the Snakes. Did I mention EotS likes this blog? haha...sorry, I still can't believe that moment happened.

Seriously the best part was the Radical WOC bloggers session where I got to meet BFP and far too many other wonderful WOC. Again, this was a freaking love fest session. I've been struggling all day on how to explain what I felt during this conference. Since I'm in the "good" part of this post, I'll do the good part first.

As a Latina who has never felt a real strong connection to the Latina community especially since I don't speak Spanish, I have never felt so welcome than on Saturday. Part of it was that I've come a long way in my Latinaness. The other is that I was surrounded by other WOC who have peace with their own position as a WOC. Unfortunately success in many communities of color is still equaled to being white or a sell-out, so I think that most, if not all, of the women in the room have struggled with not being X enough as a WOC. I hope you followed that.

The love continued on to the WOC reception that was held off-site. I meant to stay for just an hour or so and then head on over to the official WAM dance party, but honestly I was so comfortable and loved with my hermanas that I blew off the other party.

I met so many other fabu women during breaks, in the lunch line, and justing sitting around. Apologies for not listing you all here. But if you have a blog, please leave a comment so I can find you!

Of course, the best part was spending time with my dear friend, Jennifer Pozner of Women In Media & News. I've been one of her biggest fans for so long and this weekend she really showed me that she is also one of mine. It's not that I didn't know it, but watching her stumble thru introducing me (seriously, I do a lot of stuff, you try summing that up in 20 seconds) AND then having random strangers come up to me and say "Hey, Jenn keeps raving about you!" It was way more than nice. I'm always in awe of how many people she knows, but as long as she lets me keep following in her wake I'm happy. Not to mention our girl talks.

Jenn & I roomed with Anne Elizabeth Moore, a fellow Chicagoan whom I never get to spend too much time with. So it was wonderful to have some good chats with her about politics and fashion. Of course, now I need to find some time here in Chicago to chat with her over some issues I have with blogging. This is the positive post, so no negative stuff, k?

I met lots of folks who said "Hey, maybe you can blog for us!" or even mentioned writing articles. I'm very flattered. Please don't be shy to contact me about any of it. I can't say that I have a lot of time right now, but let's work on it. Everyone I met have some kick ass projects going or brewing.

One of the epiphanies I had over the weekend was this: I call myself a professional feminist, but I think I'm also a professional cheerleader....maybe a professional feminist cheerleader. I love, love, love getting people together. I think half of the time I was talking with someone, I either said "Oh, you should talk to...." or I was thinking, "Who should I hook them up with?" And for that, I thank all the wonderful women of WAM.

Technorati tags: WAM!, WAM! 2008

30 March 2008

WAM! - Sunday Late Morning Sessions

Again I'm going to go to more than one session.

How to Get Heard: The Art of Strategic Communication with Editors
Barbara Beckwith, Jeanne Harnois, and Shirley Moskow
  • Don't turn in an assignment without pitching a new story
  • Hang out with writers - It's a lifestyle
  • Never pitch a story with an attachment - It will end up in a spam folder
  • Always turn in things on time
  • Just get out there and do it
  • Don't be afraid to push back
Barbara's notes
  • While most people say that you shouldn't work for free, she did start out writing for Sojourner which paid very little ($15) or nothing at all. Her early writing was her experience that she used to be a more professional writer.
  • Don't minimize your experience. You aren't just a college student - You wrote for the Beacon.
  • Meet your editor if you can in person.
  • How to approach an editor - Know that you have value, express a sense of congeniality, don't use their first name until they use yours thou, know that they need your ideas to get their work done.
  • Bringing up money enhances your credibility and professional status in an editor's eyes.
  • Try the top, try the bottom. Don't think that you have work your way up from the bottom.

Conscious Women Rock the Page: Using Hip Hop Fiction to Incite Feminist Action
JLove Calderon, Elisha Miranda, Sofia Quintero, and Marcella Runell Hall

I jumped in and out of this session NOT because it sucked but because my brain is full. I needed to find a place to chill out a bit before brunch.

Technorati tags: WAM!, WAM! 2008

WAM! - Sunday Morning Sessions

I'm going to be jumping between 3 different sessions this morning, so here are my notes.

Strategies for Making Change: Models for Feminist Media Justice

Not that I'm biased or anything, but this is the cutest panel of the entire conference. Jennifer Pozner, Anne Elizabeth Moore, Betty Yu, and DeAnne Cuellar

Jenn is talking about the POWER Sources Project. This is the oldest feminist project to bring more women's voices to media (newspaper columns, op-eds, sources, talk shows, etc.) by helping journalists connect to expert women in a multitude of areas. Thus removing the excuses of "We'd love to put a woman on the panel, but there aren't any women in [insert field not health care, children's issues, and abortion] OR I just can't find any women in [insert field not health care, children's issues, and abortion]. Everything that WIMN does involves not just women as a monolith, but women as a diverse group (ethnicity, geography, socioeconomic status, careers, age, on and on). This allows WIMN to change media on a palpable way on a case by case way.

WIMNs Voices
is a group blog that uses the resources of over 50 diverse women blogging about different fields and how media is covering that issue. Women, media and....Economics, health care, science, disabilities, sports, on and on. There are journalists, media activists, bloggers, etc on this blog.

The best example how WIMNs Power Sources and the group blog worked together to move the media conversation is during the Don Imus controversy is that journalist and WIMNs Voices blogger Jill Nelson wrote a piece which got picked up by other blogs and then corporate media. Ta-da! Finally a black woman talking about what Don Imus did instead of just straight white men debating whether Don Imus was racist, but also sexist.

Anne Elizabeth Moore is discussing her recent trip to Cambodia, zine making, and the FCC hearings in Chicago.

Resisting Walls and Bars: Amplifying Voices from Death Row and the Prison Industrial Complex

Barbara Becnel, Alice Kim

I came in just as Alice was wrapping up about how the increase immigrant arrests means that more immigrant women are in prisons.

Barbara is talking about Stanley Tookie Williams and the work they did together to keep young people from joining gangs. Told her that he did not want his legacy to be founding the Crips and he wanted to write books for kids. When she took the books to publishers they wouldn't sell it because the books were targeted to poor inner city kids - who have no money to buy books. But Barbara didn't let up. She went to the American Booksellers Association con in Chicago around 1995. 6500 booths and she went to every one of those booths pitching the books over two days. In the end she got 3 interests and one finally published the books. She did end up self-publishing a book, which a lot of people thought was published by a major publishing company, without any censorship. She was there on the day of his execution. After his execution, she was able to get Simon & Schuster reprinted his memoir. Again, no censoring in this memoir.

The mainstream media (MSM) very biased against prisoners and their allies. The prison system is also biased. A lesson learned....$9B spent on prison system, but 43rd among the states on how much they spend on public education and #1 on prisons. This is what we have to fight. The MSM doesn't want to buck the $9B institution. Prison official who was dishonest about Stanley admitted a year and a half later in the New Yorker that he had been dishonest, gotten approval by the system and the state atty general to lie. He implied that the Gov was in on it too.

There is an opera in the works on Tookie Williams with some of the leading young black opera stars. AWESOME! There is also a documentary in the works. Pacifica also gives Barbara 2-3 times a week a small time to talk about whatever she wants.

Fact vs. Fiction: Advancing the Truth in Today's Media Maelstrom

Rebecca Wind and Janna Zinzi

I walked in on a writing exercise to simplify a sentence full of stats. Be careful of acronyms. Remember that you are talking about real people. Use real experiences.

Ex. Recent study in Ghana, talked to teens about HIV, STDs, etc. Janna just read a few lines from the study conclusion that is total expert speak. NOT the way you should be blogging, writing for the public, or talking with teens. You need to translate it into real speak - Humanize the qualitative evidence.

Rebecca will now discuss trouble shooting & crisis management.

What if your data is used incorrectly? If it is a major media outlet, you can write a letter to the editor and contact the outlet. You can send out a press piece about the correct data. You can also use an editorial to correct the information. You need to always calculate whether it is worth your time and energy to correct the misrepresentation of your data.

Remember that not engaging is a way to DISARM people who are misusing your data & information.

When the NYTimes wrote about a Chinese drug maker's tainting of the abortion pill as inflammatory (compared to a well written piece by the Wall Street Journal) the makers of the pill circulated some talking points about the issue and the errors/misrepresentations in the NYTimes piece.


Overall an amazing morning session. Well worth the early rise. This is what I hate about conferences. There are always overlapping kick ass sessions. The dilemma of picking one or trying to get a little bit of multiple sessions.

Technorati tags: WAM!, WAM! 2008

29 March 2008

WAM! - FACT-UP Fact Check, Research, & Think Critically like a Radical Librarian

Presented by Radical Reference volunteers Jenna Freedman and Lana Thelen

The presentation is online! WOO! Gotta love it.

"This workshop will introduce skills to novice and veteran media makers alike, encouraging them to 'research like a librarian,' providing tips on how to find and recognize appropriate resources for researching and fact checking their stories. The presenters will be happy to adapt this workshop to whomever is in the room, but the impetus for proposing it is sharing skills with those newer to advanced research and critical thinking. However, people who are already confident in their research skills will undoubtedly learn some things, too. The facilitators can field questions on fact checking and research, but also on the mysteries of tagging, RSS feeds and the like."

The first thing taught in library school is how to evaluate sources aka check your facts.
  • Make time to fact check
  • Keep track of where you are getting your facts & what you change.
  • Ask a 3rd party to go thru and point out any facts that need to be checked. Names, places, data points, etc.
  • Go thru one last time that you have all the facts highlighted
  • Check your sources
  • Check quotations!
    • Read your quotes back to them
    • Don't share anymore of your article at that point
    • Stay in charge of the story
Be aware of editorial comments that frame the story in a certain way...Are you skewing the story?

Boston Public Library has an excellent online library and you can get an electronic library card.

To search a website via Google type in " site:.gov "supreme court" kimbrough " this way you don't have to use the site's own search interface.

Wikipedia is a great place to START a fact check, but wouldn't use it to verify a fact. Don't forget the citations at the bottom of Wikipedia. Those just might be what you do want to cite.

They have a great list of good places for references. Feel free to log into the site and add a comment with your own great source.

Another trick to remember on a websearch: "link:site.org"

This was a great session for journalists as well as bloggers who write about facts. haha...Don't we all? But seriously, my pet peeve is when someone blogs about a science or health research article, but doesn't read it. I know it's hard, but when you take a firm stance on something, you have to know what kind of foundation you're standing on.

Technorati tags: WAM!, WAM! 2008

WAM! - We B(e)lo(n)g: Womyn of Color & Online Feminism

I'm sitting next to Liza and she asked just before we started "Is Brownfemipower here?" When she said, "Yes!" I ran to her, but Liza jumped over a table. We embraced BFP in such a large hug. Oh, yes...we set the stage for the love fest.

We are beginning with introductions about our wishes. Here is my introduction:

I wish that I didn't have to justify my Latinaness just because I don't speak Spanish. I wish that my daughter will not wrestle with this and grow up always surrounded by love.

There are a lot of awesome wishes which I won't even attempt to write down here for fear of misstating them. We all wish for better representations, complete histories, I wasn't so tired, that our brothers had a positive view of themselves in media, and many many more. The openness of just our introductions is so heart warming, so honest, so needed.

There is a blog that is associated to our wishes! wishes fulfilled. Go, post your wish. We're in a six minute exercise to write our wishes down. Since I already did I'll write a few more wishes for this conference:

  • I wish that I would find more awesome bloggers to collaborate with
  • I wish that I could take all these women home with me
  • I wish that I felt as awesome as I feel for them
  • I wish I had a better answer for "So why do you blog so much? Especially not for pay?" when people start grilling me
  • I wish we could all feel this loved
Discussion points:
  • we need to value our spaces, our blogs, our words, our work
  • how do we get involved in/find the WOC community
  • we need to not only find our own WOC mentors, but also find time to mentor others
The conversations were awesome and because this was such a safe space, I really don't want to write too much of what was discussed. It's not that some totally private stuff was said, but ya know?

Now we're wrapping up. Please don't forget about the WAM! Ning site and the WOC group I set up.

Technorati tags: WAM!, WAM! 2008

WAM! Friday recap

Good morning!

Yesterday was awesome and I don't feel like I did that much. It's too funny.

Speed Networking: I got there late because my flight was canceled and I got on another flight an hour later. I met a lot of awesome women, got some leads, gave some leads, and just had a great time.

Reception: More meeting of awesome women, getting some leads, and met another author who is considering blogging. She's coming to my panel (that's in an hour!) on feminist blogging to get some idea if she really should do it. Considering that more and more authors are jumping on this blogging bandwagon, I do hope she does. And of course, I'm more than happy to walk her thru it all. Authors are like drug dealers to me...They have access to books. Oh yeah...

The best thing thou was this beautiful woman came up to me and simply said, "I love what you write." and hands me her card. OH MY FUCKING GAWD....It's Echinde of the Snakes! I mean, hello? She likes my stuff? Yeah...I'm a total fangirl this weekend so I don't know how to handle any sort of compliment other than, "Thanks." haha!

Keynote: Helen Thomas rawked. She's seen it all and that's what I wanted to hear about. How she has seen the Presidency evolve since JFK, what she thinks of them (I haven't read her books), and what we can do to fight back against lying media crap. Some do think she was a bit divisive when she went off on why she will be voting for Hillary, the misogyny of the press on her, and how Obama gets softballs (until Tina Fey & SNL) from the press.

She told some awesome stories and I would had live blogged it but the place was packed and I was sitting on the stairs. With Jenny! The plan was to actually ditch Helen Thomas for Jenny, but she wanted to see her too, so we went together.

Jenny & I then grabbed some coffee and talked forever about being a mom, our cutie pie kids, and blogging. Thanks so much Jenny for driving out to see me.

I'm missing the Saturday morning keynote in favor of a huge bowl of oatmeal and a mint mocha.

I'm still on the hunt for some of my fave bloggers.

Technorati tags: WAM!, WAM! 2008

17 March 2008

Prepping for WAM

And even thou I do plan to take the laptop and do some live-blogging, I figured that I should also attempt to Twitter WAM as well. Also note my new tag just for WAM! :)

I guess you need to be a follower of mine to see my updates. As my current status says, I'm still not convinced that this new uber-popularity contest tool will be important, but hey, maybe I'll just use it for times like conferences where people are always saying something awesome.

Technorati tags: Twitter, WAM, Women, Action & the Media


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