A View from the Field: Confronting Racist Media
A View from the Field is an ongoing feature that highlights the efforts of Free Press’ team of organizers and advocates.
Once a month, we provide updates from the field as staffers work alongside our amazing allies and activists to create a more just and equitable media system.
- Media 2070 Campaign Manager Venneikia Williams took part in the conversation “Black Media: Makers and Keepers of History” at CUNY. During this gathering, she gave a presentation on what media reparations might look like.
- Co-CEO Craig Aaron gave a talk on “The Future of the Media — and What You Can Do About It” at Kansas City’s All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church. Craig’s talk explored ways to rebuild local media with innovative policies and reimagine the future of news.
- The Media Power Collaborative is an organizing space coordinated by Free Press to build power and develop equitable, community-centered media policies. Under the leadership of Senior Director of Journalism Policy Mike Rispoli and Policy Fellow Sanjay Jolly, the MPC hosted a group discussion on the history of local media policy in the United States. The 40-plus participants had small-group conversations on topics including the role government policy has played in entrenching racial hierarchies and economic exploitation.
- As part of its second annual Black Narrative Power Month, the Media 2070 team and Jordan Carr of My Photosynthesis Shop hosted a guided meditation and movement session for Black media-makers and other media-makers of color.
- Media 2070, Georgetown Law and the University of Houston Law Center held a remarkable two-day conference on race, racism and American media. Speakers included Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, UCLA Professor Safiya Noble and MediaJustice founder Malkia Devich Cyril. The event featured a powerful presentation on the fight for media reparations from Senior Director of Strategy and Engagement Joseph Torres, Free Press alum Alicia Bell and Trevor Smith of Narrative Change Liberation Ventures.
- Joseph Torres also took part in a #TwitterSpaces discussion of the critical need for culturally competent Black news media.
- A number of bills circulating through Congress are designed to hold tech companies accountable but are riddled with loopholes. In the Disinfo Defense League event “Unpacking the Latest Tech Legislation,” Senior Counsel and Director of Digital Justice and Civil Rights Nora Benavidez and Associate Legal Director and Senior Counsel Carmen Scurato explored what’s at stake.
Nora Benavidez participated in many other activities in February:
- She discussed tech, media and democracy to graduate students taking part in a NYC-wide partnership about the impacts of the information ecosystem.
- She moderated a discussion on the science of misinformation at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference.
- She spoke at the Knight Media Forum about how to address disinformation targeting communities of color.
- She took part in the panel discussion “Disinformation and Polarization: Is Libel Law a Cause and/or Curse?” at the Georgia State Bar Annual Media Conference. During the event, she delved into statutory solutions to disinformation and Free Press’ success in pushing DIRECTV to drop the right-wing propaganda network One America News.
- And last, Nora led an information session at the Georgia Alliance for Social Justice on legislative proposals to censor speech. Her talk was called “Can We Stop Hate While Protecting Freedom?”