On the third day, Saturday, I watched Bill Moyers online while waking up, and then hit the convention floor looking for interviews.
The first workshop I checked out was Campus Organizing for Media Reform, which was in fact a simple overview of how to strategize your message when doing outreach. It is amazing to me how straightforward and simple these strategies are, and I only wish I had thought about messaging this way when I started at Evergreen.
Camille Cyprian of Wellstone Action led the discussion, and offered this great rap as an example: “The internet as we know and love it is at risk! Big, private, companies want to block, filter, and discriminate who has online access. Join us and call your Senator today and demand that they support the Net Neutrality Bill, which will ensure that the internet remains accessible for all.”
According to the workshop this rap meets the criteria test for an effective message; it is credible, concise, relevant and compelling. The other key is tailoring an argument to your targeted audience, whether voters, politicians or victims of the problem faced. This net neutrality rap is strong because it addresses a problem, offers a solution, and gives a solid action. WashPIRG is considering a media literacy campaign in the 2008-2009 school year, and this basic criteria seems like it can really help student activists.
After the workshop I interviewed Sam Husseini from the Institute for Public Accuracy who asks powerful people tough questions. I also caught up with Diane Farsetta, Center for Media and Democracy, and we spoke on mic for a half hour! This audio will be featured on Digital Crossroads June 13th and June 20th.
I attended a workshop called New Media, New Models, New Journalism. The panelists were amazing. Dan Gilmour, the director of the Knight Center for Digital Media at Arizona State anchored the discussion, suggesting institutional approaches and so-called citizen journalism are both worthy of attention and investment. Linda Jue talked about the Chauncey Bailey Project in Oakland. Ellen Miller talked about the work of the Sunlight Foundation. And Marcy Wheeler of FireDogLake.com stressed the power independent journalists can have covering tough stories.
Before the end of the afternoon I spoke with Malkia Cyril from Center for Media Justice. She is a visionary who is working toward a better understanding of the structural problems of institutionalized racism we need to overcome in this movement and society at-large. Audio from our interview will air on Digital Crossroads June 13th or 20th.
After dinner with the Paper Dolls Mag ladies and Robert Kam of TCTV, I headed to the Dinkytown neighborhood for the Yo! The Movement benefit. Toki Wright and Big Quarters performed onstage with DJ Benzilla rocking wax. It was a great hip hop show, but I completely missed Shamako Noble of Hip Hop Congress and Julie C of B Girl Media.
This was a huge after-party for conference attendees and many of my favorite media activists were in the house. I talked with Katie Fleming of Common Cause and the Media & Democracy Coalition, based in Denver. They have big plans surrounding the Democratic National Convention, which I want to cover for Free Speech TV. I’m hoping to have Katie Fleming on Digital Crossroads between now and the end of August.
So then Sunday I checked in on a panel regarding FCC localism requirements and filing comments on the FCC website.
I had a chance to meet Bruce Fife, whose Portland-based coalition just received their construction permit. I told him they ought to hire or at least discuss supporting independent musicians via strategic music direction with Bryan Johnson, who not only helped shape KAOS music policy while serving as Music Director for two years, and interned at Prometheus Radio Project during the full-power license application window last year, but is also helping to organize the Grassroots Radio Coalition convergence in Portland coming up July 24-27.