A View from the Field: Exposing Systemic Racism
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.
- The Media 2070 team continued to tour its award-winning documentary Black in the Newsroom, which chronicles a young journalist’s experience with systemic racism at The Arizona Republic. In February, the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University hosted a screening. Afterwards, Joseph Torres, Free Press’ senior advisor of reparative policy and programs, moderated a discussion featuring several distinguished journalists.
- The film also played during the opening night of Phoenix’s Indie Film Fest. Vice President of Cultural Strategy and Media 2070 Project Director Collette Watson, who directed the film, spoke about the issues it raises in this video.
- Collette and film subject Elizabeth Montgomery appeared at a screening at San Diego State University. The event was hosted in partnership with the San Diego Association of Black Journalists, the Online News Association and the School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State. Prior to the event, Collette and Media 2070 partner Alicia Bell appeared on local-TV station KFMB San Diego to discuss the film.
- Media 2070 Campaign Manager Venneikia Williams and Reparative Journalism Program Manager Diamond Hardiman hosted a private screening of Black in the Newsroom for the staff at Colorado Public Radio. Venneikia and Diamond connected the film to Media 2070’s fight for media reparations. The two also discussed the Black Voices and Latinx Voices working groups Free Press helped convene in Colorado to push newsrooms in the state to reflect the experiences and needs of communities of color.
- Venneikia also attended Liberation Ventures’ “Reparative Narrative Lab,” where participants examined different ways to advance popular conversations around reparations specifically and liberation broadly.
- Mike Rispoli, senior director of journalism and civic information, took part in the Lenfest News Philanthropy Summit. Mike spoke during a panel discussion on how public funding can be used to inform communities. He discussed the New Jersey Civic Info Consortium, which Free Press Action played a key role in establishing. Since 2021, the consortium has distributed millions of dollars in grants focused on diversifying journalism, improving government transparency, providing community-health news and better serving communities of color and immigrant communities.
- Joseph Torres took part in “The Crisis This Time: Media, Movements, and Abolition in a Time of Rupture,” a conference co-hosted by the Media, Inequality & Change Center and Rutgers University. The event examined how social, economic and ecological crises are deepening longstanding inequalities on a global scale. Joe spoke during the panel discussion “Mediating the Crisis,” which explored how the media can support social movements.