WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND…

Diane Farsetta

Diane Farsetta is the executive director of the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice and reports for Madison's community radio station, WORT 89.9 FM, including for their weekly feminist news show, "Her Turn."

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Diane Farsetta's Blog Introduction

Women, Media, AND... Public Relations

I was an activist for many years -- mostly on international human rights and women's issues -- before I realized that there were entire industries devoted to shaping media coverage, public perception and policies for their clients. Now I realize that individuals and groups working for progressive social change need to take those forces into account. Consider it "media self-defense."

The bad news is that regressive forces -- like exploitative corporations or lying government officials -- almost always have more money and better access to the media megaphone than the communities organizing in defense of their rights. But the good news is that deceptive campaigns only work when they remain unquestioned. To extend a metaphor, it's the jujitsu of the well-informed. Take that, Enron!

But what does this all have to do with women?

The people designing and waging perception management campaigns realize that women are much more influential than might be guessed from the well-documented, shocking gender inequities in pay, political representation and access to the media. After all, women are more likely to vote -- and are more likely to be coveted "swing" voters -- than men are. Women still make the majority of household purchases. And women often play a central role in defining and perpetuating family and community values.

On the positive side, women often lead efforts for social change, as I know from my work with grassroots groups across Wisconsin. I'll also be drawing on my experience reporting for "Her Turn," a weekly feminist news show on WORT 89.9 FM, Madison's community radio station and Pacifica affiliate. And I'll be looking forward to your feedback!

Diane Farsetta's Biography

Diane Farsetta is the executive director of the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice. She has worked with progressive nonprofit organizations for over a decade, focusing on international human rights, environmental, media, civil rights and feminist issues.

Diane received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Cellular and Molecular Biology Program in 2000, having published eight original research articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. She also has a background in journalism and activism. Since 2000, Diane has reported for WORT 89.9 fm, Madison's community radio station and a Pacifica Network affiliate. Her free-lance radio features and articles have run nationally on Free Speech Radio News, in Off Our Backs and Z Magazine, and via the Progressive Media Project. She has been involved with international solidarity work as a member of the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network/U.S. since 1994, establishing the first official United States-East Timor sister city relationship and serving as ETAN's national field organizer. She previously led the Center for Media and Democracy's No Fake News campaign.

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