Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

30 March 2008

WAM! - Sunday Morning Sessions

I'm going to be jumping between 3 different sessions this morning, so here are my notes.

Strategies for Making Change: Models for Feminist Media Justice

Not that I'm biased or anything, but this is the cutest panel of the entire conference. Jennifer Pozner, Anne Elizabeth Moore, Betty Yu, and DeAnne Cuellar

Jenn is talking about the POWER Sources Project. This is the oldest feminist project to bring more women's voices to media (newspaper columns, op-eds, sources, talk shows, etc.) by helping journalists connect to expert women in a multitude of areas. Thus removing the excuses of "We'd love to put a woman on the panel, but there aren't any women in [insert field not health care, children's issues, and abortion] OR I just can't find any women in [insert field not health care, children's issues, and abortion]. Everything that WIMN does involves not just women as a monolith, but women as a diverse group (ethnicity, geography, socioeconomic status, careers, age, on and on). This allows WIMN to change media on a palpable way on a case by case way.

WIMNs Voices
is a group blog that uses the resources of over 50 diverse women blogging about different fields and how media is covering that issue. Women, media and....Economics, health care, science, disabilities, sports, on and on. There are journalists, media activists, bloggers, etc on this blog.

The best example how WIMNs Power Sources and the group blog worked together to move the media conversation is during the Don Imus controversy is that journalist and WIMNs Voices blogger Jill Nelson wrote a piece which got picked up by other blogs and then corporate media. Ta-da! Finally a black woman talking about what Don Imus did instead of just straight white men debating whether Don Imus was racist, but also sexist.

Anne Elizabeth Moore is discussing her recent trip to Cambodia, zine making, and the FCC hearings in Chicago.

Resisting Walls and Bars: Amplifying Voices from Death Row and the Prison Industrial Complex

Barbara Becnel, Alice Kim

I came in just as Alice was wrapping up about how the increase immigrant arrests means that more immigrant women are in prisons.

Barbara is talking about Stanley Tookie Williams and the work they did together to keep young people from joining gangs. Told her that he did not want his legacy to be founding the Crips and he wanted to write books for kids. When she took the books to publishers they wouldn't sell it because the books were targeted to poor inner city kids - who have no money to buy books. But Barbara didn't let up. She went to the American Booksellers Association con in Chicago around 1995. 6500 booths and she went to every one of those booths pitching the books over two days. In the end she got 3 interests and one finally published the books. She did end up self-publishing a book, which a lot of people thought was published by a major publishing company, without any censorship. She was there on the day of his execution. After his execution, she was able to get Simon & Schuster reprinted his memoir. Again, no censoring in this memoir.

The mainstream media (MSM) very biased against prisoners and their allies. The prison system is also biased. A lesson learned....$9B spent on prison system, but 43rd among the states on how much they spend on public education and #1 on prisons. This is what we have to fight. The MSM doesn't want to buck the $9B institution. Prison official who was dishonest about Stanley admitted a year and a half later in the New Yorker that he had been dishonest, gotten approval by the system and the state atty general to lie. He implied that the Gov was in on it too.

There is an opera in the works on Tookie Williams with some of the leading young black opera stars. AWESOME! There is also a documentary in the works. Pacifica also gives Barbara 2-3 times a week a small time to talk about whatever she wants.

Fact vs. Fiction: Advancing the Truth in Today's Media Maelstrom

Rebecca Wind and Janna Zinzi

I walked in on a writing exercise to simplify a sentence full of stats. Be careful of acronyms. Remember that you are talking about real people. Use real experiences.

Ex. Recent study in Ghana, talked to teens about HIV, STDs, etc. Janna just read a few lines from the study conclusion that is total expert speak. NOT the way you should be blogging, writing for the public, or talking with teens. You need to translate it into real speak - Humanize the qualitative evidence.

Rebecca will now discuss trouble shooting & crisis management.

What if your data is used incorrectly? If it is a major media outlet, you can write a letter to the editor and contact the outlet. You can send out a press piece about the correct data. You can also use an editorial to correct the information. You need to always calculate whether it is worth your time and energy to correct the misrepresentation of your data.

Remember that not engaging is a way to DISARM people who are misusing your data & information.

When the NYTimes wrote about a Chinese drug maker's tainting of the abortion pill as inflammatory (compared to a well written piece by the Wall Street Journal) the makers of the pill circulated some talking points about the issue and the errors/misrepresentations in the NYTimes piece.

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Overall an amazing morning session. Well worth the early rise. This is what I hate about conferences. There are always overlapping kick ass sessions. The dilemma of picking one or trying to get a little bit of multiple sessions.

Technorati tags: WAM!, WAM! 2008

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