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BE THE MEDIA: A Mini Conference Promoting Democracy, Access and Social ChangeEdit

617-896-9309

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Time: 11:30 am - 6 pm

Lunch at noon. A box lunch will be provided

Third Sector New England's NonProfit Center Lincoln Plaza 89 South Street Boston, MA 02111


Sponsored by: Progressive Communicators Network-Boston and Third Sector New England

Co-Sponsored by: Project Think Different, the Community Media and Technology program at the College of Public and Community Service at The University of Massachusetts/Boston, and Teen Voices

The media is a powerful tool for social justice organizers and non-profits working on community and social issues, but it can also present formidable challenges, particularly for under-resourced groups. This mini-conference will help participants understand the link between strategic communications and organizing strategies, and to learn essential communications tools and techniques. More importantly, the conference will help build awareness about the Boston media landscape and ways to improve access for community and social justice groups in the future. It will include workshops, discussions, and presentations on: the use of new media technology to enhance your communications capacity; understanding current media reform proposals and their challenge to media democracy; how best to frame your stories in the media to highlight your issues; and ways to pitch your stories to mainstream media. The conference is geared for beginning communications staff persons and those who are doing communications work as part of their current positions, such as organizers, executive directors, or policy advocates.

Lunchtime Panel

Discussion: "The Boston Media Landscape: The Challenge of Access"

Panelists Include: Scherazade Daruvalla King, Project: Think Different (Moderator) Charlotte Ryan, UMass Lowell and The Media Research and Action Program (MRAP) Nettrice Gaskins, Mass College of Art, Community Media and Technology Program, CPCS/UMass Boston Coleen Marren, WCVB-TV Jeff Adair, Community Newspaper Company Adanma Ude and Ellyn Ruthstrom, Teen Voices

WorkshopsEdit

  • Session 1 - 1:40 - 3:30 p.m

Workshop 1 - Media Reform - Yolanda Hippensteele

"While progressive communicators are working to increase coverage of their issues, advocates for public interest media policy are working to reform our corrupt media system that marginalizes our messages. The policy battles to be waged over the coming few years couldn't be more crucial, as the resulting policies will shape our media for decades to come. Yet these policy issues are often wonky and esoteric, and many media activists don't know how to get involved. This workshop will offer a review of pending policy issues such as media ownership rules, cable franchising, public broadcsting, and internet policy - and what these battles mean for the future of our media. We will also discuss how average citizens can get involved in media policy activisim, brainstorm political organizing tactics, and share a variety of tools, web sites, and organizations that participants can tap to support their activism on media policy issues."

Workshop 2 - Boosting Visibility Through New Media - Nikhil Rajpal

"Myspace, Youtube, Google, oh my! A whole new world of marketing has manifested itself on the internet, connecting demanders and suppliers with information, entertainment, communication, products and services. Always wanted that prime time slot on TV or radio to advertise your cause? How about you hold on to your money and I'll show you how to create and use your own low cost new media to get your point out to a broader audience with more impact than you could ever imagine? This is a workshop for the big dreamers who just need some guidance to help them convert their passion into cultural phenomena."

Workshop 3 - Mainstream Media Strategies that Work - Part 1 - Betsy Leondar-Wright

"Why don't progressives get more coverage? Non-profit groups have newsworthy stories to tell, but too often they are only covered in sympathetic alternative media, which narrows our audiences. Improving our media practices is part of the answer. This workshop will teach a pragmatic approach to fitting with media norms and piggy-backing on news hooks. Real-life examples and a "newspaper scavenger hunt" will enable participants to think big about their media goals. Participants will practice five key skills on a real or hypothetical non-profit, and will leave with a concrete plan to get more coverage."

Workshop 4 - How to Frame Your Message: A Basic Introduction - Charlotte Ryan

"This workshop introduces participants to basic tools for framing organizational messages. Participants will learn how to use a framing caucus, a messaging tool that helps groups craft a shared message that builds on the entire group's experience. Presented with a scenario, participants will then practice developing a frame. At the end of the session, 30 minutes will be set aside so that five workshop participants can present their organizations's current message dilemma for instant feedback. To be selected as a case, participants must sumit a 1-2 page description in writing describing their organization's situation and the related message dilemma. Case form is below.

CASE FORM: 1. What is your organization's mission? (What do you do uniquely well?) 2. Briefly, describe the project around which your communication work is currently focused? 3. Who are the priority audiences? 4. What problems are you having with the message?"

Session 2 - 3:40 - 5:30 p.m

Workshop 5 - Boosting Visibility Through New Media - Nikhil Rajpal

"Myspace, Youtube, Google, oh my! A whole new world of marketing has manifested itself on the internet, connecting demanders and suppliers with information, entertainment, communication, products and services. Always wanted that prime time slot on TV or radio to advertise your cause? How about you hold on to your money and I'll show you how to create and use your own low cost new media to get your point out to a broader audience with more impact than you could ever imagine? This is a workshop for the big dreamers who just need some guidance to help them convert their passion into cultural phenomena."

Workshop 6 - Building Real Clout: Savvy Ways to Make Communications Work in Social Activism - Deborah Halliday and Yawu Miller

"Using the public Policy Institute's Si Se Puede! Real Clout Training - which gives social activists hands-on tools and strategies to make change happen in the advocacy arena - Deb & Yawu will address how communications specialists can leverage successful organizing tactics to make news and build organizational power. Participants will reflect on past experiences with organizing and communications efforts, better understand how policy is made and how to to best impact it, and learn tools to best use communications work in advocacy. The training will include brief lecture, small group work and role plays."

Workshop 7 - Mainstream Media Strategies that Work - Part 2 - Betsy Leondar-Wright "Why don't progressives get more coverage? Non-profit groups have newsworthy stories to tell, but too often they are only covered in sympathetic alternative media, which narrows our audiences. Improving our media practices is part of the answer. This workshop will teach a pragmatic approach to fitting with media norms and piggy-backing on news hooks. Real-life examples and a "newspaper scavenger hunt" will enable participants to think big about their media goals. Participants will practice five key skills on a real or hypothetical non-profit, and will leave with a concrete plan to get more coverage."

Workshop 8 - Digital Story Telling - Danielle Martin "Based on the curriculum developed by Creative Narrations for the MASS Impact(Spreading the Stories: New England Digital Storytelling Capacity Building Institute), this session will include review of the digital storytelling creation process (script and storyboard development, digital photo and video edition and preparing video for the internet, DVD and other formats). This presentation will include several digital story examples, questions & answer, and discussion. Participants will also get a chance at trying their hand at script & storyboard development, and briefly touch upon online distribution techniques and stories as a tool for non-profit community organizing."

WORKSHOP PRESENTERS


Yolanda Hippensteele, Free Press Betsy Leondar-Wright, former Communications Director at United for a Fair Economy and author of Class Matters Deborah Halliday, The Public Policy Institute Nikhil Rajpal, Project: Think Different Charlotte Ryan, University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and (MRAP) Media Research and Action Project Danielle Martin, University of Massachusetts at Boston and MASS Impact Yawu Miller, The Public Policy Institute, The Bay State Banner

Presenter Biographies

Nettrice Gaskins:

Nettrice Gaskins is an artist, educator, youth advocate and community practitioner. Currently, she is the Computer Arts Academic Liaison with the Massachusetts College of Art (MassArt) and an adjunct faculty member at College of Public and Community Service at University of Massachusetts Boston's Community Media and Technology Program. Recently, she has handled the administration and development of all aspects of the Commonwealth Broadband Collaborative.

Nettrice has over ten years experience in multimedia/digital media, education/training, leadership, youth work and program development. She was the director of the Multimedia Center at Boston Neighborhood Network (BNN). She also founded DigitalArt Communities and provided resources to nearly 20 community media and technology centers across the United States interested in creating their own local digital art youth programs, including several HUD Neighborhood Network sites and the BNN Multimedia Center.

Deborah Halliday:

Deborah Halliday is Deputy Director of the Public Policy Institute, providing training and coaching services to small and not-so-small non-profit organizations building advocacy capacity. Deb has spent over 15 years as a policy analyst, organizer, and writer with local and national social and economic justice organizations. She holds an MPA from Columbia University and is a member of the Progressive Communicators Network.

Yolanda Hippensteele:

Yolanda Hippensteele oversees all outreach and organizing projects for Free Press. She develops public education materials and activist tools, implements campaign strategies, and coordinates special events. Since joining Free Press in 2003, she has created Free Press' Media Reform Toolkit, organized FCC hearings and local town meetings, and directed the National Conference for Media Reform in 2003 and 2005. Prior to joining our staff, she worked at the Independent Media Institute in San Francisco and with the D.C. public affairs firm Bass & Howes to advocate for women's rights and progressive health care policy.

Betsy Leondar-Wright:

Betsy Leondar-Wright is an author and lecturer on economic justice issues. Betsy was the Communications Director with United for a Fair Economy for nine years in which UFE got 400 to 2000 media hits per year. Her Boston College masters thesis was on media strategies for toxic waste groups. She has led media strategy workshops for activists all over the U.S.

Betsy is the author of Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists. She also co-authored The Color of Wealth: the Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide (The New Press 2006), Shifting Fortunes: The Perils Of The American Wealth Gap (United For A Fair Economy: 1999) and the classism chapter in Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge, 1999.)

Coleen Marren:

Coleen Marren has served as the News Director at Hearst-Argyle's WCVB-TV since August 2000. Under her leadership, the station has been recognized with more than three-dozen prestigious national and regional awards.

With Marren at the helm, WCVB has been honored with three national Gabriel Awards for "Television Station of the Year," "News Station of the Year" from the Associated Press and five Edward R. Murrow Awards for Best Newscast and Continuing Coverage of high-profile local news stories.

Marren is a popular speaker on college campuses including Harvard University, Emerson College, Boston University and Quinnipiac University. She is a nationally recognized expert on freedom of information issues and has been quoted in national trade publications.

Nikhil Rajpal:

Nikhil Rajpal is the Creative Digital Media Specialist of Project: Think Differentis, President of Represent One Records (a socially conscious South Asian hip hop record label,) and lives a double life as recording artist One Signata Nach. After graduating from Boston University with degrees in marketing, management and finance, Nikhil spent several years in strategic marketing in the Boston area, London, and India. His intense focus on resourceful, grassroots viral marketing practices brings a unique perspective into the ability of young organizations to expand their visibility and recognition with often no capital at all.

Charlotte Ryan:

Charlotte Ryan is a sociologist at UMASS Lowell. She also co-directs the Media Research and Action Project with William Gamson at Boston College. MRAP studies how social change groups develop and disseminate messages. MRAP has worked with unions, domestic violence groups and community based organizations to integrate communication into broader change strategies. With Karen Jeffreys, she is publishing a manual in Spring 2007. Charlotte is the author of Prime Time Activism: Media Strategies for Grassroots Organizing (South End Press 1991).

Yawu Miller:

Yawu Miller is a community organizer and communications specialist with The Public Policy Institute. He also serves as a senior editor at the Bay State Banner, which for 40 years has been Boston's African American newspaper. Yawu's writing has chronicled the political and social justice movements in the Greater Boston area for the last 16 years. A life-long Boston resident, Yawu graduated from Dartmouth College in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science degree in English Literature.

Scherazade Daruvalla King:

Scherazade King is the Executive Director of Project: Think Different, a nonprofit organization that uses music, film and video to animate democracy and fuel positive social change. She is committed to creating a renaissance in the media arts that promotes a culture of responsibility and informed action. She does this by working with artists to produce socially conscious music, film and video media that "entertains change" and provides an entry point into civic dialogue and action.

Scherazade is also the president of Empowerment Records, a subsidiary of The Power Company. This record label is dedicated to the promotion of socially conscious and responsible music. King's artists have been seen and heard on radio, network and cable television. In 2006 Empowerment Records and Project: Think Different released its first full-length, multi-genre compilation album, Empowerment: The Power to Break You Free, featuring artists such as Roger Miller, Bounty Killer, Soulfege, Foundation Movement, Iyeoka Okowao, and 17 year-old spoken word artist Sofia Snow.

Prior to launching Project: Think Different, King spent over a decade working in strategic management consulting and change management from the mega firms in the US to micro-enterprises and nonprofits worldwide. In 1995, King was awarded a fellowship to teach Management at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, West Africa.

Danielle Martin

Danielle Martin is a VISTA Leader at the CTC VISTA Project and massIMPACT. Her work includes supporting two online collaborative social networks (CTCVISTA.org and StoresforChange.net), conducting digital storytelling workshops, and developing new programs and collaborations for technology centers. Previously, she led the Charlestown (MA) Computer Clubhouse and was a MIT Media Lab IDEAS Institute Fellow.

Jeff Adair

Jeff Adair is the managing editor of the 17 weekly newspapers in the West Unit of Community Newspaper Company. CNC is an affiliate of GateHouse Media, publishers of 75 daily newspapers, 231 weeklies, and over 230 locally focused Web Sites across the United States. He has worked for CNC for 18 years as a reporter and editor at several weeklies, and a reporter for The MetroWest Daily News. He is a recipient of several writing awards given by the New England Press Association and Massachusetts Press Association. A native of Ohio, he is a 1981 graduate of Bowling Green State University.

Adanma Ude

Adanma Ude is a 16-year-old junior at Health Careers Academy in Boston. She joined Teen Voices as a Teen Editor in February 2005.

Ellyn Ruthstrom

Ellyn Ruthstrom is the Editor-in-Chief of both the Teen Voices magazine and website. She�s had a 20 year career working for a variety of publications and nonprofits.

Register


Registration Fee: a sliding scale fee of $10 - $20 to be collected at the door. Cash or Check preferred. Space is limited.

To R.S.V.P or for further information, call: 617-896-9309

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