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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.

  • News Voices: Colorado Manager Diamond Hardiman led a training with Colorado radio station KUNC: Greeley about community organizing, relationship building and tactics for transformation and listening. News Voices Program Manager Lish Wang Savson joined the conversation.
  • News Voices: New Jersey Manager Vanessa Maria Graber led a hands-on workshop at the Online News Association Conference about how journalists can better engage underrepresented communities and ensure equitable access to information.
  • Free Press and PEN America co-sponsored “Keeping It Local: A Town Hall Series,” which gave participants in Arizona, Atlanta, Minnesota and Pittsburgh tools to advocate for more responsive local news. Vanessa Maria led Free Press’ participation in the series, which underscored the need for a community-driven rescue mission for local journalism.

The ongoing video series Free Press Live featured a host of provocative conversations, with Vanessa Maria and Vice President for Cultural Strategy Collette Watson alternating as hosts:

  • Vanessa Maria spoke to Senior Policy Counsel Carmen Scurato and Policy Counsel Leo Fitzpatrick about a recent GAO report that criticizes the Trump FCC’s response to the collapse of Puerto Rico’s communications networks following Hurricane Maria in 2017. The report, which Carmen and Leo explore in detail in this explainer, came about in response to Free Press’ research and advocacy. The conversation highlighted the urgency of ensuring that Puerto Rico has resilient communications infrastructure in light of the worsening climate crisis.
  • Vanessa Maria talked to News Voices Director Mike Rispoli about the New Jersey Civic Info Consortium’s announcement of its inaugural round of grants. The consortium is the result of years of hard work from Free Press Action’s News Voices team, which organized community activists, local leaders and independent journalists across the state in the fight to secure public funding for quality local journalism. New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Stories of Atlantic City Project Manager Christina Noble joined the conversation.
  • In honor of Juneteenth, Collette spoke with Media 2070 Director Alicia Bell about Black media power and the fight for reparations. The conversation explored why reconciling and repairing media harm is the bridge to a safe, just future for all.
  • In a discussion of the fight to combat exorbitant prison-phone rates, Collette talked to special guest Bianca Tylek of Worth Rises, an advocacy organization working to dismantle the prison industry. The episode aired not long after Connecticut became the first state to make all prison-phone calls free, alleviating one of the biggest emotional and financial burdens faced by incarcerated people and their families.
  • Alicia, Collette and Senior Director of Strategy and Engagement Joseph Torres — who lead the Media 2070: Media Reparations projectheld a briefing with Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D–New York) the day after he and Reps. Yvette Clarke (D–New York) and Brenda Lawrence (D–Michigan) sent a letter urging the FCC to examine how its policy choices and actions have harmed Black people and other communities of color. The letter, which 22 additional House reps signed, cites President Biden’s executive order on racial equity and encourages the FCC to address its role in creating and perpetuating systemic inequities that have excluded people of color from media-ownership opportunities. Media 2070 has launched a similar petition aimed at the agency.

“It’s personal for me as I think about my daughter,” Bowman said during the briefing. “It’s personal for me as I think about my students. In all the ways we consume media, communities of color have historically been left out.”

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