Getting Ready for Our “Local Media for Social Change: A Southern California Regional Summit”

Dominique DiPrima

About this time last year, Sharon and I were so taken with a media summit we attended at Caltech called “Local Media for Social Change” that we joined its organizing committee to help prepare for the next one, which is going to be held in two weeks, this time at Occidental College.

We found that the people at the media summit—speakers, panelists, and attendees alike—shared many of our concerns about the changing shape of media in America. This concern fueled our desire to start our own online magazine, the LA Progressive. Corporate media consolidation, the lack of minority representation in media, and net neutrality were addressed in the workshop, along with discussions of the opportunities that the Internet and other new forms of media such as low-powered radio and social networking afford ordinary people.

Speakers last year included dissident FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, media firebrand Bree Walker, Bradblog’s Brad Friedman, Congresswoman Hilda Solis, and Kevin Urich from the Pasadena Weekly, to name a few. What struck us was that so many were as exasperated as we were with the current state of news coverage and just as excited about the new technologies.

So, for the past six months, we have been attending monthly—and now weekly—meetings to help put on this year’s event. Along the way, we’ve made a new group of friends among the core team that shows up meeting after meeting: Jim Rhyne, the group’s leader; Vincent Jones; Sylvia Moore; Timothy Hall; Tapia Martinez-Russ; Amanda Leigh Shaffer; and Tricia Clark.

California Common Cause, the Center for Media Justice, and the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute are presenting this year’s half-day summit on local media and democracy Saturday, March 23, this year called “Local Media for Social Change: A Southern California Regional Summit.

Dominque DiPrima to Keynote
To keynote this year’s event, we’ll have community activist and Emmy-winning radio host Dominique DiPrima (pictured here), who currently hosts the early morning talk radio show “The Front Page” on Los Angeles radio station KJLH 102.3-FM. Among other awards, she earned L.A. Weekly’s “Best of L.A.” award and a Grace Award from the American Women in Radio and Television.

Issues about media access, the changing media landscape, and ways citizens can navigate this new frontier and activists can get their messages heard will be addressed by a distinguished panel of media experts that include investigative journalist and blogger Brad Friedman; writer and activist Linda Milazzo; educator and columnist Anthony Assadullah Samad; and radio personality Mario Solis-Marich. The panel will be moderated by political analyst Tanya Acker, a veteran of CNN, FOX, and MSNBC.

You’ll recognize Anthony and Linda from the LA Progressive. Here’s a recent article by Linda: “Congolese Populist Movement Requests Urgent Meeting With S.O.S. Clinton and U.N. Secretary Rice,” and one by Anthony, “New York Post “Chimp” Cartoon—Incendiary Satire Has a Dangerous Past.”

The break-out sessions include:

  • Citizen Journalism and the Internet: You Be the News;
  • Holding News Accountable;
  • Social Networking;
  • Creating and Spreading Your Message Online;
  • Not Being Heard? Start Your Own Story;
  • You, the FCC and Congress;
  • Internet Freedom;
  • Will Public Access TV Have a Future in Los Angeles?; and
  • Indigenous Media.

Our Two-Part Breakout Session
Sharon and I are putting on the two-part “Citizen Journalism and the Internet” breakout session. In the first part, Sharon and I will give the how and why of starting our LA Progressive. We’ll tell how a married couple with demanding day jobs, kids to raise and nurture, and law school classes to attend, in Sharon’s case—but with no venture capital at hand—managed to start such a widely recognized online magazine. We’ll talk about drafting the vision, designing the website, learning how to upgrade it ourselves, recruiting writers, and learning about online advertising and marketing—and then especially why we put so much energy into it. We hope to show how regular Joes and Janes like us do it, too.
Local Media for Social Change
For the second part, we’ve got three regular contributors to our LA Progressive—Linda Milazzo, Tom Hall, and Mary Lyon—to tell us how and especially why they participate on the Internet, how they go about writing for the Internet, and what effect its had on them and society around them. Again, the idea of showing others how they might follow in their footsteps.

The three take very different approaches. Linda is a teacher and political activist who doubles as a professional journalist, writing for Huffington Post, Smirking Chimp, and OpEdNews, among others. Tom is a family lawyer and life-long activist who organized draft counseling centers during the Vietnam War and brings an historical and legal perspective to his columns for the LA Progressive. Mary Lyon is also an award-winning journalist, who achored, reported, and wrote for the Associated Press Radio Network, NBC Radio, and a number of LA television stations.

Here’s a recent article by Tom: “Republicans: The Tough-on-Crime Hypocrisy.” Republicans: The Tough-on-Crime Hypocrisy.” Here’s one by Mary: “Three Little Words.”

We hope to see you at the event and at our two-part breakout session.

Tabling and sponsorship opportunities are still available, if you’d like to get the word out about your organization and events.

The summit will be held from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., in Norris Hall at Occidental College

View Larger Map, 1600 Campus Road, Los Angeles on Saturday, March 21, with a reception to follow. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, $10 for students (with valid ID) and youth (18 and under). This event is free for Occidental College students, faculty and staff. Boxed lunch are $8.To register, go to www.commoncause.org/mediasummit or call 213.252.4552.

This event is organized by the Los Angeles Media Reform Group, a project of California Common Cause, and co-sponsored by: Access Humboldt * Alliance for Community Media, Western Region (ACMWEST) * AfterDowningStreet * California National Organization for Women (CA NOW) * Campaign for Progressive Radio – San Diego Center for Governmental Studies * Communication Workers of America Local 9000Courage Campaign * Dick & Sharon’s LA Progressive * Free Press * Future of Music CoalitionLA Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) * Leadership Conference on Civil Rights * Little Tokyo Service Center Media Alliance * Media and Democracy Coalition * National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture * National Hispanic Media Coalition * OpEdNews * SmirkingChimp * Valley Democrats United

Thanks to Sylvia Moore for putting together so many of these facts in her recent press release.

Dick Price and Sharon Kyle

LA Progressive

Published by the LA Progressive on March 8, 2009
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About Dick and Sharon

As a husband and wife team, Sharon Kyle and Dick Price publish several print and online newsletters on political and social justice issues. Sharon serves as Publisher for Dick & Sharon's LA Progressive and Dick serves as Editor.