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Join WIMN at WAM!2007: Women, Action & Media: Making Noise, Making Change conference 3/30 - 4/1

jpozners Icon Posted by Jennifer L Pozner

March 29th, 2007

WIMN on the Road: Join WIMN’s Executive Director, Jennifer L. Pozner — and several WIMN’s Voices bloggers — at WAM!2007

Friday, Mar. 30 - Sunday, Apr. 1
Cambridge, MA — see here for logistics

I’m on the road right now, traveling to Cambridge, MA to attend the fourth annual Women, Action & Media conference, a powerful, energetic and fun (!) gathering hosted by the Center for New Words — and, this year, cosponsored by Women In Media & News.

On Friday, March 30, WAM2007 will begin with an intensive preconference from noon - 5:30, and a benefit reception with keynoters Thenmozhi Soundararajan (director of Third World Majority, and WIMN’s Voices blogger) and Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman. Thenmozhi’s speech will mark a turning point for WAM - a concerted, collective understanding of the need of feminists and women journalists to prioritize structural media change, and to be involved as a primary media justice constituency.

Each year, WAM! brings together some of the best minds in journalism, feminism, the non-profit advocacy arena, and academia to discuss, debate and agitate for better, more accurate, more diverse, more engaging media content, production and policy — for women, and for all of us. (For some retrospective inquiry, see last year’s WAM site, with photos and session descriptions preserved for posterity.) WIMN has participated in and organized panels, roundtable discussions and workshops at every WAM conference, and have been deeply inspired by the energy generated among the media activists who participate.

This year, WAM will be crawling with WIMN’s staff, bloggers and partners, including Jessica Valenti, Christine Cupaiuolo, Andi Zeisler, Jan Strout, Thenmozhi Soundararajan, E.J. Graff, Echidne of the Snakes, Mikhaela Reed, Loretta Ross, Samhita Mukhopadhyay (and others I’m sure I’m forgetting at the moment).

And, on behalf of WIMN, I’ll be organizing and participating in the following three sessions - and I hope you’ll join me there:

1. Strategies for Making Change: A roundtable on feminist action for media accountability and media justice
With co-facilitators:
Jennifer L. Pozner, Women In Media & News (WIMN)
Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Third World Majority and WIMN’s Voices blogger http://www.wimnonline.org/WIMNsVoicesBlog/?author=45&profile
Scherazade Daruvalla King, Project Think Different
Jan Strout, Reclaim the Media; NOW (National Organization for Women)

Many of us know that corporate media often fail to fairly represent or serve women, people of color and others most directly affected by media content and who most need access to media and communication technologies. Fewer of us know how we can begin to affect real change. In this strategy-building roundtable, media critics, media justice activists and independent media producers will help you develop tactics and tools to challenge biased or inaccurate content through systemic media monitoring and accountability campaigns; work for structural change in the media industry; seek just media policy and regulation; and, produce (and monitor) independent media.

2. Feminist Blogs: Activism, Journalism or Masochism?
With co-facilitators
Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Feministing
Jennifer L. Pozner, WIMN’s Voices
Kim Pearson, Professor Kim’s News Notes and BlogHer
Deanna Zandt, AlterNet

The feminist blogosphere has been a tremendous site of debate, dialogue and controversy. While clueless media keep asking, “Where are the women bloggers?”, this session will flesh out some of the key debates in the feminist blogosphere, and the risks and rewards for women engaging politically online. In a moderated roundtable discussion with ample Q&A, we’ll explore the personal, political and journalistic experiences of feminist bloggers, including topics such as: What have controversies over feminist blogs shown us about their significance? What are the challenges facing women blogging about gender and race, from building a diverse and loyal audience (in an age of digital divide), to advancing a progressive message, to controlling flame wars? Is blogging a form of media activism, is it a form of advocacy journalism, and how can activists and journalists benefit from producing (or using) blogs? Can women adopt strategies to cope with personal attacks and harassment online, or is enabling comments on your blog a form of political masochism? What is the significance of the rise in online “trolls,” vicious comments and hate email targeting feminist women’s blogs, and what does that tell us about the general culture and its attitude towards women and feminist media? How can feminist blogs enter mainstream political discussion and move public debate within and outside of media? Finally, how can women use the latest Web 2.0 tools to advance their messages? (Note: This session will be relevant to people in all different interest levels, including bloggers who want to compare notes, blog readers, people who want to start blogs, people interested in learning about the politics of feminist blogging, and journalists and other writers interested in entering the feminist blogosphere.)

and a special Action Brunch session:
3. Amplifying Women’s Voices in Public Debate: How You Can Help Connect Diverse, Dynamic Women Sources with Working Journalists And Producers
With Jennifer L. Pozner, building support for Women In Media & News’s POWER Sources Project

At every WAM conference since the beginning, WAMmers have asked the same question: how can we solve the continued, well-documented problem of women’s underrepresentation as sources in print news stories, guests on cable news debate shows, and experts interviewed on nightly national news broadcasts. Each year, there has been great energy and interest in working on projects that would close the gender sourcing gap and palpably change the media landscape for the better. Now, at WAM 2007, Women In Media & News invites you to engage that wonderful WAMmer interest and energy in helping us expand our POWER (Perspectives Of Women Expand Reporting) Sources Project, a program founded in November, 2001 as the first-ever national network of diverse female sources developed specifically to help journalists increase the quantity and diversity of women’s voices appearing in corporate and independent print, broadcast and online media.

We’ve been extremely successful in building relationships with reporters and changing tone of key stories – for example, we were able to get ColorLines publisher Rinku Sen (and fellow WAMmer) on ABC News Now for one of the very first discussions of race, class, gender and Katrina in the initial aftermath of the hurricane. Yet budgetary restrictions have always limited our scope, since we don’t have a full time staffer dedicated solely to this project. This year, we would like to build a working advisory committee of people who can bring their expertise to the table and dive in: goals can include expanding the network with hundreds of additional media-savvy sources, developing an active database of media to pitch, pitching reporters and producers regularly, and/or promoting the efforts via strategic communications campaign. Bring your volunteer interests, ideas and your energy. We’ll help you put that all to good use.


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