Media Conference: Reaching Beyond the Choir

| 6/6/2008 12:52:04 PM

National Conference for Media ReformThe National Conference for Media Reform kicked off today with a rehash of corporate media’s recent and familiar failures—lapdog reporting during the run-up to the Iraq war, the contrived “balanced” coverage of the climate change debate, and the infiltration of Pentagon “message force multipliers” into network and cable news shows, to name a few. 

But as fun as it is to lambaste the likes of Rupert Murdoch and his corporate cronies, this conference isn’t about licking the wounds of the past. Rather, speaker after speaker intoned, it’s about looking to the future, harnessing a building movement for media reform, and ensuring the same mistakes aren’t made again. 

“In this day and age, we want to be good at reaction, but we need to be much better at proaction and vision,” the Ruckus Society’s Adrienne Maree Brown told the crowd gathered for the conference’s opening plenary. To that end, Brown’s group works with disenfranchised communities to empower them as media creators instead of media consumers. Those previously bereft of media outlets, like young people of color, get to tell their own stories—through low-power FM radio, zines, web zines, video blogs, you name it. The idea here, says Brown, is that communication is action.

“We’re very comfortable on the margins, holding it down,” Brown says. It’s time, though, to move beyond the comfort of the choir.

Today’s movement is well poised to do that, according to Lawrence Lessig, renowned Stanford professor, author, and chair of the Creative Commons project. “Now is the time,” he said “that we understand the issues better than they do.” Lessig gives media reformers an eight-year window—during which they’ll grasp new media’s tools better than the legislators brokering media regulation—and in that time the movement has to secure a free and neutral internet.

Lessig’s issue is congressional reform, freeing the mechanics of government from the vice grip of lobbyists and corporate influence through his new organization Change Congress. Media reform, he says, is central to that mission. And there to back him up on that was Keith Ellison, Democratic representative from Minneapolis, who roused the crowd by telling them that their efforts ripple in the halls of Congress, when they make their voices heard.

Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

Facebook Instagram Twitter

click me