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 they work alongside our amazing allies and activists to create a more just and equitable media system.
- Media 2070 Director Alicia Bell spoke at the Knight Media Forum about dismantling systemic racism. Alicia advocated for media reparations to undo centuries of harm inflicted on Black people and noted that “we need a comprehensive plan for racial justice and equity.”
- Alicia also took part in a panel discussion at the Storytelling for Change Summit, an event hosted by Photographers Without Borders. The panel, “Decolonizing Storytelling,” explored how photography has historically reinforced harmful stereotypes.
- News Voices: Colorado Manager Diamond Hardiman joined panelists from the Just Media Project, Scalawag Magazine and The Texas Observer for the discussion “Movement Journalism: The End of Objectivity,” which highlighted the need for community-centered reporting.
- Diamond also spoke to Colorado College students as part of News Voices’ efforts to help map information resources throughout the state. She discussed relationships, power and Media 2070’s fight to secure media reparations.
- Senior Director for Strategy and Engagement Joseph Torres and MediaJustice founder Malkia Devich-Cyril discussed Black lives and the media system in a conversation moderated by MediaJustice Executive Director Steven Renderos. “Our media system is the same as any other system in this country,” Joseph said. “It wasn’t created to help Black folks, it was created to harm Black folks.” Learn more about this powerful conversation here.
- Co-CEO Jessica J. González and Senior Policy Counsel Carmen Scurato joined allies and Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D–California) in an emergency briefing calling on Facebook to address the Spanish-language disinformation crisis on the platform. During the briefing, the groups announced the launch of #YaBastaFacebook (enough is enough Facebook), an action plan that the social-media behemoth must implement to protect Spanish-speaking users.
- Policy Manager Dana Floberg joined other leaders of the #NoShutoffs coalition for a demonstration outside the Department of Health and Human Services. The coalition is calling on the Biden administration to stop broadband, electricity and water shutoffs during the pandemic.
- Senior Policy Counsel Gaurav Laroia took part in a Real Facebook Oversight Board discussion exploring the debate over Section 230, a fundamental internet law that is critical to combating hate and disinformation online.
- Senior Digital Director Dutch Cosmian participated in the talk “Hidden Figures: Bias in Big Data and Predictive Analytics” at the NTEN conference. The discussion offered guidance to nonprofits seeking an ethical approach to data-driven decision-making.
- News Voices: New Jersey Manager Vanessa Maria Graber took part in a panel at Temple University’s Klein School of Communication about journalists’ access to public records. She discussed our work at Free Press and her efforts as a journalist to obtain COVID-19 data and arrest records.
The video series Free Press Live featured a host of provocative conversations, with Vice President for Cultural Strategy Collette Watson and Vanessa Maria alternating as hosts:
- Collette spoke with Dana and Vice President of Policy and General Counsel Matt Wood about the $3.2-billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which will provide a monthly discount to millions of people struggling to avoid internet access. Months of advocacy from Free Press Action helped shape this benefit.
- Vanessa Maria spoke with Diamond and News Voices: Philadelphia Project Manager Tauhid Chappell about a damning audit of The Philadelphia Inquirer and the fight to transform local news and win media reparations.
- One year ago, the federal government declared a state of emergency in the COVID-19 pandemic. Collette spoke with Dana and Policy Counsel Leo Fitzpatrick about what the declaration meant for broadband and other utility expenses, and what they’re asking Congress to do now.
- Vanessa Maria interviewed Carmen about the Spanish-language disinformation crisis and the #YaBastaFacebook campaign.
- To wrap things up for March, Collette interviewed Joseph and historian Jeff Chang about the media’s history of fomenting anti-Asian hate and violence. Joseph also wrote a powerful explainer on the same topic.