If you’ve ever met, talked to, emailed or otherwise connected with Free Press Field Director Mary Alice Crim, you know she’s a visionary.
This isn’t hyperbole. Mary Alice is always hitting on the most innovative ways to make an impact — whether she’s developing campaign strategy, organizing an event, brainstorming with allies, mentoring staff or pushing Free Press to become the best version of itself.
Political-tech entrepreneur Nathaniel G. Pearlman recently interviewed Mary Alice for his podcast The Great Battlefield, which showcases progressives like the ACLU’s Faiz Shakir and NARAL’s Ilyse Hogue who are leading the resistance against the Trump administration’s hateful policies.
The discussion touched on everything from Net Neutrality to media gatekeepers to the need to foster journalism that serves local communities.
Here’s what Mary Alice had to say on ...
“The mainstream corporate news environment … has excluded a lot of people and the internet as a communications tool has provided a platform where everyone has a voice.
“When we look at important social movements like the Black Lives Matter movement, the #MeToo movement, the internet has been essential to the rise of those. I picked those two in particular because they highlight issues that have not historically been taken seriously in the corporate media system: police brutality, the murder of young people of color, the terror of having men doing all kinds of harassment in the workplace. …
“The internet can flip the tables and the media no longer has to be a tool of oppressors; it can be a tool of liberation. As my colleague Joseph Torres likes to say, we need media in the hands of our liberators and we can do that through Net Neutrality.”
“With our partners Demand Progress and Fight for the Future we banded together with a day of action last summer to save the internet. More than 125,000 sites participated that day alone. We paired that with the announcement that we wanted to do deep organizing with the launch of a project called Team Internet.
“So we launched that in July and thought maybe a couple thousand volunteers would sign up. Half a million responded to that call. We were overjoyed and overwhelmed.
“We worked together with our partners to organize those hundreds of thousands of volunteers and held protests and 1,300 meetings with members of Congress and their staff between August and December. We generated a million phone calls and 14 million emails to Congress. We followed that up in December with protests outside 700 Verizon stores in one day.
“Team Internet continues to move forward with as much congressional contact as we can muster around the country and we’re really responding to this big threat to our rights to connect and communicate.”
“A lot of newsrooms have shuttered, and the reporters who are left are trying to do really big jobs without the resources they used to have. We’ve been focused on thinking about how community members can engage with newsrooms and how newsrooms can engage with communities in new and different ways. We believe it’s time for a new model of engaged journalism to be taking the forefront, and this is a direct response to a lack of news and information.”
“I have a long-term vision of creating a media system that’s transformative, that’s full of justice and ready to take on corporate power in the digital age. Mass distributed-organizing projects like Team Internet are the future of Free Press work. It combines the best of online mobilizing techniques that so many people in the progressive sphere have expertise in and the best of deep organizing in communities that many of us have developed expertise in over the years. We’re talking about breadth and depth at the same time. ...
“I think it’s going to take that 10 or 11 million people, and millions more, to create a just world — to create a world we all want to live in.”