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Liveblogging Allied Media Conference: Media Justice: What’s Next?

jpozners Icon Posted by Jennifer L Pozner

July 17th, 2009

I’m attending “Media Justice: What’s Next?” at the Allied Media Conference.

This rich, deep fishbowl conversation has focused on the reasons why media justice activists do our work, and varied methods media justice organizers are acting in the service of transformational social justice and expanding power of traditionally oppressed communities, and creating positive change around issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, housing rights (to name just a few).

In addition to the whys and hows of this work, the discussion has also touched on creative and practical strategies for building financial and in-kind resources to support the growing media justice movement, both for media activist groups as well as independent, community-supported print magazines (at a time when corporate print outlets are famously dying, both Left Turn and Make/Shift are thriving and self-sustaining).

Unfortunately I was standing in the back of the room for the bulk of the session so I wasn’t able to transcribe/quote presenters, each of whom offered useful and strategic insights ranging from sustaining independent media, to creating our own distribution networks, to gaining coverage for marginalized constituencies (with homeless people’s media struggles being one particular example), to strategic methods of working with foundations — without subverting your own causes in the process.

For me, highlights from the discussion came from the brilliant and always on-point Malkia Cyril (program director of the Center for Media Justice and leadership team member of MAG-NET, the Media Justice Grassroots Network), Eloise Lee (director of Media Alliance), Jessica Hoffman (editor of Make/Shift Magazine), and Manju Rajendran (of both Left Turn magazine and FUFA - Females United for Action).

There was also a vibrant, tricky and incredibly important part of the discussion during the Q&A stimulated by WIMN’s long-time ally Deanne Cuellar (director of the Texas Media Empowerment Project), who queried the two magazine project leaders about the ethics and political efficacy of asking writers and other media workers to volunteer their labor for free. Vital issues.

Though I wish I had been able to transcribe this conversation and following Q&A, the session is being video taped, so I’m hoping to post it if/when it becomes available.

Session description from the Allied Media Conference program:

Media Justice: What’s Next
Participants: Amalia Deloney, Main Street Project; Hye-Jung Park, The Media Justice Fund of the Funding Exchange; Malkia Cyril, The Center For Media Justice; Jessica Hoffman, Make/Shift Magazine; Helen Brunner, The Media and Democracy Fund; Robert Robinson, Picture the Homeless; Eloise Lee, Media Alliance; Manju Rajendran, Left Turn and FUFA, Diana Nucera, Allied Media Projects

A Fishbowl Discussion

The term “media justice” describes a diversity of tactics, from holding corporate media accountable to lobbying against the digital divide to telling our own stories. As with all movements, at times, funder priorities and organizer priorities have differed. Join us for a fishbowl discussion that will start with stories about what media justice has meant and how it has been funded over the past 10 years. Next, we will highlight current projects that are broadening the definition of media justice. Through this conversation, we will work toward a collective vision of the future of media justice, including new conversations about how the work might be funded.

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