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We provide regular updates from the field as staffers work alongside our amazing allies and activists to create a more just and equitable media system. This installment covers all of the activity that happened in December and January:

  • Senior Counsel and Director of Digital Justice and Civil Rights Nora Benavidez took part in “Disinformation, Social Media Platforms and Threats to Democracy.” Nora and other experts offered a roadmap for how policymakers can implement guardrails that protect users and our democracy.
  • Nora co-chairs the State Bar of Georgia’s annual Section 1983 Litigation Conference. At this year’s gathering, she led a panel discussion on “Protecting Constitutional Rights from the Gold Dome to the Courtroom.”
  • Nora also attended the Association of American Law Schools Conference in San Diego and took part in the panel discussion “Does the Dearth of Media Diversity Contribute to Disinformation & Defamation and Disserve Democracy?” She spoke about Free Press’ work to protect people’s digital civil rights and hold social-media platforms accountable. She also discussed the need for policy frameworks to foster new models of engagement online.
  • The award-winning Media 2070 documentary Black in the Newsroom, which Vice President of Cultural Strategy and Media 2070 Project Director Collette Watson directed, screened at the Denton Black Film Festival in Texas and the Chandler International Film Festival outside Phoenix. The film explores anti-Blackness in the media through the story of a talented young journalist who experiences systemic racism at The Arizona Republic.
  • Reparative Journalism Program Manager Diamond Hardiman, Senior Advisor, Reparative Policy and Programs Joseph Torres and Media 2070 Campaign Manager Venneikia Williams took part in a strategy session with movement journalists at a retreat that Borealis Philanthropy hosted.
  • The Journalism Accountability Watchdog Network won the Pen and Pencil Club’s award for Collaborative Journalism Project of the Year, beating out establishment organizations including The Philadelphia Inquirer and WHYY. The network is comprised of Free Press, the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists and the Philly chapters of both the Asian American Journalists Association and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. At Free Press, News Voices: Philadelphia Project Manager Tauhid Chappell, News Voices Director Vanessa Maria Graber and News Voices: Philadelphia Program Manager Cassie Owens lead the organization’s Philly work, which focuses on holding local news outlets accountable for their treatment of both journalists of color and communities of color.
  • Senior Director, Journalism and Civic Information Mike Rispoli met with journalism innovators and philanthropists in California to discuss the best way to support community-information needs. The meeting explored the findings in The Roadmap for Local News: An Emergent Approach to Meeting Civic Information Need, a major report that Mike co-authored with Elizabeth Green of Chalkbeat and Darryl Holliday of City Bureau. The report sets forth a visionary and actionable plan to ensure that every U.S. community has access to necessary civic news and information.

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