2018 Program: Media Justice
The media system, like the criminal justice, educational, and other systems, wasn’t created to help communities of color. The mainstream media has been a primary author of a racist narrative that supports destructive policies and practices that harm our communities.
This is why it is worthy remembering the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission report. The Commission was appointed by President Johnson to study the causes of the racial uprisings in 1967 in cities like Newark and Detroit. But the report also documented the media’s role in contributing to our nation’s racial divisions which persists today.
Meanwhile, it is almost impossible for people of color to achieve racial justice if we are unable to tell our own stories. But people of color own few broadcast outlets and fewer cable networks due to institutional and structural racism. This is why a small group of media makers of color have worked together this past year to tell the story of race and media by reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission report. During this session, we will explore in small group discussions what media makers can accomplish by working collectively to organize and tell stories that challenges systemic racism in the media. We will also discuss what media transformation looks like. And what should be the story of race and media 50 years from now?
Fifty years after the Kerner Commission report (and four decades after the founding of NABJ and NAHJ), “pipeline” efforts to bring more journalists of color into mainstream media are beginning to bear fruit. Even as we celebrate the increasing diversity in newsrooms, however, we recognize that these efforts have yet to tackle the structural inequities at journalism’s core. As Ade Emanuel found at the Chicago Reader, hiring journalists of color is not enough when bias is built into the fabric of a news operation.
Over the past several years, a group of journalists, justice advocates and radical communicators have been meeting to interrogate the choice points that lead to structural bias within journalism. We’ve found that a key difference between mass media newsrooms and outlets created by and for communities of color has to do with how journalism is framed. In equitable newsrooms, the practice of journalism is rooted in values, and centered within a culturally-specific community. We call this practice "movement journalism."
The work of defining movement journalism is just beginning. Our workshop will build on a Race Forward training in Philadelphia in 2016, an unconference in DC in 2017, and a movement journalism track that our group hosted at the AMC in June 2018. We will start by sharing what we learned at AMC, then engage workshop participants in brainstorming how journalists can best center communities. The work we do at Facing Race will feed into the birth of a new network of movement journalists launching in 2019.
The internet has been a home for queer people for a long time. With the rise of social-oriented spaces online, from IRC chat rooms and bulletin boards in the 90s and early 00s to blogs to Facebook and podcasts, queer people of color, especially those with limited access to offline queer spaces, can find and build community virtually. I like to say the internet saved my life - and it continues to enrich our lives, helping us share ideas, make connections, and fight for justice every day.
The internet is also fraught. From the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality, to online harassment, to the risks posed to organizers through infiltration and catfishing, there are a lot of threats out there. They make us very vulnerable.
However, our communities are, as always, fighting back. We have more agency online than we know, so what do we want the internet of the future to look and feel like?
This session is for both organizers who use the internet as well as casual internet enthusiasts who want to think about how our current online media environment creates opportunities and challenges, and shapes the way we build community for queer & trans people of color.
Racist and misogynist media narratives about our communities, challenges, and needs shape public policy, systemic discrimination, victim-blaming, and violence. And in the Trump era, corporate media have become bolder in normalizing white supremacy. Why is media literacy crucial to — and how can it bolster — our movements? Do media economics and consolidation impact our work? How can we generate positive, authentic media coverage? And, how can we create our own media for racial and gender justice?
In this hands-on workshop, facilitators will:
*introduce core media literacy frameworks
*link racist, misogynist media messages to corporate media’s structural and commercial biases
*highlight compelling media (video, radio, print, social media)made by artists, organizers, and educators
*share best practices for strategic communications outreach, framing/messaging, and narrative shift
Through group dialogue and interactive exercises, participants will learn how to:
*become active, critical media consumers
*challenge racist, misogynist framing and scapegoating
*link oppressive representations to media consolidation
*envision authentic, accurate media narratives about race/gender; then, plan to generate such narratives within self-created media, and by effectively framing and pitching racial and gender justice issues to journalists
Participants will leave with the enthusiasm, language, and tools they need to shift bigoted narratives, create anti-racist media, and generate effective media coverage. Tangible takeaways will include:
*an outline for crafting messages and pitching press to generate positive media coverage of their racial/gender justice advocacy work
*a preliminary plan to create one or more pieces of anti-racist media (video, film, print or online journalism, radio/podcast, #hashtag campaign, infographic, other)