A View from the Field: Fighting for Media Accountability
A View from the Field is a biweekly feature that highlights the efforts of Free Press’ team of organizers, advocates and leaders. Every other Friday, we’ll provide their updates from the field as they work alongside our amazing allies and activists to create a more just and equitable media system.
- News Voices: Philadelphia Project Manager Tauhid Chappell moderated a conversation about how journalists can better cover threats to safety and democracy this election season. The discussion, which explored police and state violence, online disinformation, and white supremacy, generated many questions from reporters who want to improve their coverage of these issues. Participants included Free Press board member Joan Donovan of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Al Letson of investigative-reporting nonprofit Reveal and Amity Paye of Color Of Change.
- Free Press Co-CEO Jessica J. González participated in the Real Facebook Oversight Board’s discussion of armed militias and Facebook’s role in facilitating violence. The board is composed of Facebook critics who are alarmed at the company’s failures to crack down on hate and disinformation. “It’s hard to watch how much concerted effort goes into the dehumanization of Black and Brown people [online],” Jessica said during the conversation. “There’s an organized effort to normalize this suffering.” Other panelists included fellow board members Rashad Robinson of Color Of Change, Naheed Qureshi of Muslim Advocates, Derrick Johnson of the NAACP and Heidi Beirich of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism.
- That same day, Jessica received the Muslim Advocates award for national allyship. And later in the week she took part in a panel discussion focused on fighting online hate. David Jay of the Center for Humane Technology moderated the conversation, which included Sasha Havlicek of the Institute for Strategic Dialog, Imran Ahmed of the Center for Countering Digital Hate and Fadi Quram of Avaaz.
- News Voices: New Jersey Manager Vanessa Maria Graber facilitated a discussion about information inequity at one of the table talks at the Online News Association conference. Next week she and others are kicking off a community circle on information inequity with folks from ONA and other journalists, funders and academics. Vanessa also appeared on Latino Motion with Bert Lopez to discuss her career as a movement journalist, Hispanic Heritage Month and News Voices: New Jersey’s work.
- News Voices: Colorado Manager Diamond Hardiman and Campaign Manager Madeleine Bair are presenting at the Trends Reporting Fellowship at the Community Foundation of Boulder County over a four-month period. They’re working with 12 fellows who are trying to increase equity in reporting. The previous presentation explored community mapping; this one focused on ways to build trusting, reciprocal and sustainable relationships with community members.
- Earlier this month, Free Press’ Media 2070 team released a groundbreaking 100-page essay that documents how U.S. media outlets have harmed Black communities since colonial times. The core Media 2070 team — Organizing Manager Alicia Bell, Tauhid Chappell, Diamond Hardiman, Digital Campaign Manager Lucia Martínez, Operations Manager Christina Pierce, Senior Director of Strategy and Engagement Joseph Torres and Vice President of Cultural Strategy Collette Watson — held a webinar about the essay for Black, Indigenous and other people of color. Joe presented an overview of the essay before attendees broke into small groups to reflect on the history of anti-Blackness in the media and discuss what the essay raised for them. People explored the practices, habits, experiences and spaces they want to leave behind to move toward a future where equity, liberation and freedom are real across all forms of media and technology.