On behalf of Women In Media & News, I'm taking our show on the road tomorrow. Over the next two weeks, San Francisco/Bay Area journalists, bloggers, media activists and generally interested folks will have three chances to meet up with several of WIMN's staff members, board members, bloggers and allies.
1. Thursday, July 17, 7-9pm: PARTY for Feminist Media Justice! (RSVP now, if you haven't already!)
Join me, Lisa Jervis, Martha Wallner, Sarah Olson, Jeff Perlstein and Lisa Rudman -- and other special guests -- at a house party to benefit Women In Media & News. More details in my previous posts, and via this Evite. Please RSVP directly to the Evite (if you haven't gotten an invitation you can add yourself via the "invite more guests" function), or by emailing info[at]wimnonline[dot]org.
2. Friday, July 19th, 10:30 - 11:45am: BlogHer 08 Workshop -- "Top-Notch Political Opinion Commentary," co-facilitated by WIMN's Jennifer L. Pozner and The Op-Ed Project's Catherine Orenstein
BlogHer 2008 is already sold out (not surprising, considering all the great speakers lined up to share ideas and community), but if you are already registered for the conference, Catherine and I welcome you to join us for this session, which should be a lively and highly participatory. Here's the description from the BlogHer conference page:
What We Believe: Top-notch Political Opinion Commentary -- How can you communicate your political positions with the highest quality, and then get those opinions propagated... on TV or the radio, in Op-Eds, blogs and even via blog comments? Two absolute experts, Jennifer Pozner from Women in Media & News and Catherine Orenstein from The Op-Ed Project are on hand to give you intensive instruction.
Last year attendees got just a teaser of Jenn, and we were asked for more. And several BlogHers have taken Catherine's Op-Ed Class and couldn't say enough about it.
If you are among the many women who feel politically activated during these very "interesting" times, then attend this session and make the most of your passion!
I won't regale you with the many wonderful sessions, speakers and attendees at BlogHer 2008, since the conference is already sold out. But, check back here because WIMN's Voices will feature liveblog posts from BlogHer, from me and from fellow WIMN's Voices blogger Shireen Mitchell, and possibly other guest bloggers.
3. Tuesday, July 22, 11:00 - 12:45 am, Media Plenary at Momentum 2008
At Momentum 2008, a conference organized by the Tides Foundation taking place from July 20th - July 22nd in San Francisco, "some of the most creative minds in the progressive movement come together to challenge, inspire and energize each other." (See here for a speakers' list.) Tides describes the conference as an invitational forum "designed for leaders and will be a dynamic and diverse group of no more than 300 forward-thinking philanthropists, activists and social entrepreneurs" who will "focus the spotlight on new, surprising, innovative perspectives and ideas, and the actions that lead to change."
I'm honored to report that I will be speaking on the media plenary at Momentum 2008 -- and will be liveblogging from the conference if wifi (and enough sleep) permit. And though I know it'll be an uphill battle to try to cover all of the following in the 18 minutes allotted to me, I'll do my best to use my brief presentation time to discuss:
* representations of diverse women in news media content (and, possibly, in entertainment content, possibly with some lively, if disheartening, reality TV clips)
* the position of women and people of color working in the media industry
* issues of race and racism in media
* the media's crucial role in hindering (or, with a different media climate, aiding) progressive efforts to achieve gender and social justice
* the "hows" and "whats" of WIMN's work to improve the media landscape through media analysis, education and advocacy
* the role of women, in particular women of color, in the grassroots, decentralized, but emerging and powerful media justice movement
* and, if there's time, a few key structural media reform/media justice campaigns to watch out for and plug in to over the next months and years.
I'm excited to be speaking alongside talented filmmakers, innovative journalists and influential bloggers including Robert 'Rosie' Rosenthal (executive director of the Center for Investigative Reporting), Robert Greenwald (founder of Brave New Films), Jim Miller (executive director of Brave New Foundation), Markos 'Kos' Moulitsas (founder and main author of the Daily Kos weblog), and Colin Finlay (documentary photographer and six-time Picture of the Year Award winner).
While I am deeply pleased to be included in this discussion with such a visionary set of media producers, I must admit I am also conflicted about the panel's lack of gender and ethnic diversity. I really don't want to call attention to the negative at what is sure to be such a fascinating, positive and productive event, I feel I would be remiss if I didn't mention that as WIMN's director, I made a commitment a long time ago that I would not agree to speak on all- or mostly-white and all- or mostly-male panels, in order to ethically serve our mission (which, in part, focuses on amplifying the voices of women in public debate, in particular highlighting the perspectives of women too often underheard, including women of color, youth and seniors, lesbians and bisexual women, immigrants). I made an exception to this rule for the first time in about seven years -- I will be the only female speaker on the media plenary (and each of my fellow panelists are white except for one speaker who is biracial) -- because I thought it was important to bring a feminist media justice framework to this crucial discussion about the media. I will do my best at this event to represent not only my own work but the work of visionary women of color at the forefront of the grassroots media justice movement.
Additionally, I decided to make an exception to my usual "if you want me, you have to bring in other women and people of color as well" rule for conferences in this case, because despite the demographic lineup of the media plenary, I know that the Tides Foundation organizers have worked really hard to prioritize gender and ethnic diversity in many of the plenaries, and have done a very good job in bringing together some really amazing women and people of color as speakers on other non-media topics at Momentum 08 -- including Gihan Perera, Tanya Harris, Angelica Salas, Debra Bowen, America Bracho, Eboo Patel, Melissa Lynn Bradley, Premal Shah, Deborah Peterson Small, Firoze Manji, Heidi Lehmann, Mary Anne Hitt, Tzeporah Berman, Annie Leonard and Shivon Robinsong, among others... not to mention the many visionary white male speakrs who are also crucial progressive leaders, activists and philanthropists.
In any case, I am looking forward to meeting with dynamic leaders working on issues as wide-ranging as microfinance, peace, democracy, environmentalism, fair housing, localism, health care, feminist philanthropy, and so much more.
And you can meet and brainstorm and strategize with these folks -- and with me! -- too, if you register to attend Momentum. The clock's ticking, so contact Tides if you'd like more information.
Momentum's Momentum's agenda will open with a pre-conference activist workshop on framing of social justice issues (as a provider of strategic communications workshops, WIMN is thrilled to see a framing workshop prioritized by Tides), and will feature seven plenary discussions on the following topics:
And, for some post-primary-season insights, PBS's David Brancaccio (of the stellar news and public affairs program Now) will interview former Senator (and 2004 Democratic VP nominee) John Edwards. (Regular WIMN's Voices readers may remember our conversation with Edwards about the need to break up the media monopolies and support media policy reform, and our commentary about media reactions to Edwards' presidential campaign.)
So, there you have it: three chances to connect up with WIMN in the Bay Area over the next two weeks.
If you're in California, I especially hope to see you at WIMN's benefit house party, because we can't fight for feminist media justice without your support. (If you can't come to the party you can still support WIMN -- please consider making a donation today.)