People + Policy
= Positive Change for the Public Good
Craig Aaron, President and CEO, has led Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund since 2011. He joined Free Press in 2004 and speaks across the country about media activism and the future of journalism and the Internet. Craig is quoted often in the national press on media and technology issues and is a frequent guest on TV and the radio. His commentaries appear regularly in The Huffington Post, and he has written for The Daily Beast, The Guardian, The Hill, MSNBC, Politico, The Progressive, The Seattle Times, Slate and many others. Before joining Free Press, he was an investigative reporter for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch and the managing editor of In These Times magazine. He is the editor of two books, Appeal to Reason: 25 Years of In These Times and Changing Media: Public Interest Policies for the Digital Age. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Michael Copps is a former commissioner and acting chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, where he served from 2001–2011. Prior to joining the FCC, he served as chief of staff to Sen. Ernest Hollings for almost 12 years and was later appointed assistant secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department. Before coming to Washington, he was a professor of history at Loyola University in New Orleans from 1967–1970. Born in Milwaukee, he is a graduate of Wofford College and holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Copps continues to be active in the fight for media democracy, ubiquitous broadband and an open Internet as a special adviser to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative.
Olga M. Davidson is a visiting associate professor in the Middle Eastern Studies program at Wellesley College, where her teaching focuses on Persian and Arabic languages and literature. Prior to joining Wellesley, she served as chair of the concentration in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University and also taught in the women's studies program. She is the author of Poet and Hero in the Persian Book of Kings and Comparative Literature and Classical Persian Poetry — both translated into Persian — and has published numerous academic articles. Besides her academic duties, she serves as chair of the board at the Ilex Foundation.
Kim Gandy is the president and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, where she leads the nation's foremost voice for domestic abuse victims and the advocates and programs that serve them. She previously served as vice president and general counsel at the Feminist Majority and the Feminist Majority Foundation. In 2001, Gandy was elected president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and chair of the NOW Foundation and political action committees. She served as president until being term-limited in 2009. Gandy also served as NOW's principal spokeswoman and is a well-known media commentator on women's rights. After leaving NOW, Gandy accepted a resident fellowship at Harvard University's Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government. She was one of the lead organizers of the 2004 March for Women's Lives and a key organizer of the 1989 and 1992 marches. Gandy’s expertise in mass actions ensured that 1.2 million activists made the 2004 march for women's reproductive freedom the largest and most diverse grassroots mobilization in our nation's history.
Robert W. McChesney co-founded Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund. He is a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and author or editor of 13 award-winning books, including Telecommunications, Mass Media, and Democracy: The Battle for the Control of U.S. Broadcasting, 1928–1935; Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy; The Global Media: The New Missionaries of Corporate Capitalism (with Edward S. Herman); Our Media, Not Theirs (with John Nichols); Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times; The Problem of the Media: U.S. Communication Politics in the Twenty-First Century; Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections and Destroy Democracy (with John Nichols); Communication Revolution: Critical Junctures and the Future of Media; The Death and Life of American Journalism (with John Nichols); and Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America (with John Nichols).
John Nichols is the Nation's Washington correspondent and editorial-page editor of the Capital Times in Madison, Wis. He is the author of Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire; Jews for Buchanan; and Dick: The Man Who Is President. He is co-author, with Robert W. McChesney, of It's the Media, Stupid!; Our Media, Not Theirs; Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections and Destroy Democracy; The Death and Life of American Journalism; and Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America.
Liza Pike founded Resource Media's California office, where she helped shape the overall growth and direction of the organization and was lead strategist on a number of campaigns and projects. Resource Media is a national environmental communications nonprofit that provides strategic communications and media-outreach services to a diverse group of clients, including foundations, advocacy campaigns, nonprofit organizations and individuals working to protect the environment and improve public health. Before joining Resource Media, Liza was a press officer for the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco and worked with the Center for Investigative Reporting as program and marketing director and in a number of other capacities. She is currently developing a social media mentors project for nonprofits.
Ben Scott, Board Chair, is the senior adviser to the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute in Washington, D.C., and the director of the European Digital Agenda program at the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung in Berlin. He previously served as policy adviser for innovation at the U.S. State Department, where he worked at the intersection of technology and foreign policy. In a small team of advisers to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he helped steward the 21st-Century Statecraft agenda with a focus on technology policy, social media and development. Before joining the State Department, he served as policy director for Free Press for six years. Before that he served as a legislative aide handling telecommunications policy for then-Rep. Bernie Sanders in the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds a PhD in communications from the University of Illinois.
Josh Silver is the co-founder and former president and CEO of Free Press. He is the founding CEO of United Republic, an operating foundation challenging the undue influence of moneyed interests over government policymaking. Josh speaks and publishes widely on media, government corruption and technology issues. He was previously campaign manager for the successful Clean Elections in Arizona ballot initiative and director of development for the cultural arm of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
People + Policy
= Positive Change for the Public Good