Media Reform Episode 5
From watching some of my episodes this week, it may seem that there was a very large presence of Black, and other minorities at the 2007 National Conference for Media Reform. That was far from the case. There were certainly journalists, students, and activists from around the country, but we were greatly outnumbered. I'm not one to make race an issue, but it is certainly worth discussing especially since the 2007 National Media Reform Conference was held in Memphis, a city that has so much civil rights history.
There were a few workshops that dealt with urban or minority media issues. Danny Glover, and Van Jones were featured speakers, but other than that, we were the pepper amidst a whole lot of salt.
Others made similar observations. Here's a quote from an e-mail from Lisa Vives:
Black journalists did not get a panel, altho they asked for one. They arrived, many of them, as an afterthought, with some last minute foundation funding. They didn't get to tell the majority white audience how their papers covered Katrina, gentrification, police brutality, racial profiling, and many other social and economic stories overlooked or under-reported in the mainstream press. So the audience lost a major opportunity to look at a media they may know little about.
Chaka Ngwenya, producer of SARFMradio.com wrote:
This trip is one of those things you take for granted yet issues that were discussed at the Conference are so valuable and help shape our day to day lives. I am so glad I made the trip because it enlightened me on a lot of things about Media in America. It also confirmed some of the fears I have, that Media is controlled by a few individuals or a few corporate companies.
Finally, here's a link to a very insighful article.
This last episode is a tribute to the men and women who are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. On my last day in Memphis, I met Oswald Nelson, who was displaced from the storm. He walked up to me as I was interviewing a couple of other locals. Coincidentally, the workshop on Hurricane Katrina was apparently cancelled at the conference, as pointed out by hip-hop activist Rosa Clemente with Know Thy Self Productions.