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NYC Grassroots Media Conference Selections

In Direct action, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Netroots, New York City, Progressive Politics, Technology on February 19, 2007 at 7:38 pm

The fourth edition of the NYC Grassroots Media Conference schedule has been released and there are plenty of great workshops. Sessions I’m eyeballing include…

Beyond Googling It: News and Government Information “Web 2.0” style

Do you feel like you have to check 50 websites just to keep up with a single news item? Do you ever hear about a pending bill, send off a letter to your legislator, and then wonder what became of the issue? Just what DO people mean when they talk about “Web 2.0”? Come explore approaches to using the Internet to monitor, track, share, and manage information. This presentation will demonstrate how so-called “Web 2.0” tools like RSS, news aggregators, and social tagging can help you get organized online and be a more effective independent journalist or community activist. Librarian volunteers from the collective Radical Reference (radicalreference.info) will give real-life examples of how journalists, researchers, community organizers, and informed citizens are using these technologies to track information from around the globe—and how you can too. Rad Reffers will give the basics of each tool, introduce websites and sources, take questions from the audience, and provide detailed handouts.

Talking to Mainstream Media

Indy media isn’t always enough—sometimes we want to look for mainstream press coverage, and sometimes they come looking for us. Be prepared!! This workshop will help you get ready to deal with mainstream news media, telling your story, and “managing” your message. It is NOT a workshop on the mechanics of organizing a p.r. campaign or how to write a press release—it WILL help you understand how the media works and what they look for in news stories, so your campaign can be successful. This workshop is back by popular demand.

The Impact of Mainstream Media Ownership on the Ethnic Press in New York

In September 2006, Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation, bought out Courier Life Publications, a group of black and Caribbean newspapers in the city, including Caribbean Life, Brooklyn-Courier, Brooklyn Heights, Flatbush Life and Fort Green Courier. Two months later, an inside source said that a representative of Mr. Murdoch came to the office of Manhattan Borough community publications in the city. We can only wonder what impact Murdoch will have on the editorial content of the ethnic and immigrant communities. Chinese, Russian, Filipino, Black and Spanish-language newspapers tell their stories from their point of view. In fact, they don’t care if English speakers cannot read their papers. If Murdoch’s buy spells the beginning of a trend, what effect will this consolidation of ownership have in shaping public opinion among immigrant and low-income communities? Are the media avenues that immigrants use to air their views to policy-makers in danger? What measures can be taken to ensure that that this media sector continue to thrive? Hear representatives of the ethnic press take on these issues.

New York’s Wireless Future
New wireless technology provides an efficient and affordable way to deploy new broadband infrastructure. You can use it to turn your local park into a hotspot or to give affordable access to all of your neighbors. Across the country, local governments are considering whether to build – or to let corporations build – wireless networks that cover an entire city. New York City is just beginning this process. This is the best chance in a generation, if not a century, to come together as a community to decide what we want and need from our communications infrastructure. This panel will bring you up to speed on the discussion.

Also of note: Josue Guillen of May First/People Link will lead US Social Forum 2007 – Exploring Media Opportunities

The first ever US Social Forum will take place in Atlanta, GA from June 27 – July 1, 2007. Because it brings together so many activists from so many diverse movements and highlights different struggles that are worth covering, it will be a unique opportunity for progressive and alternative media people to meet each other, strategize together and cover a major event. This discussion will provide insights on the current plans of the National Planning Committee and challenge participants to help this event have even more impact.

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