Are you listening?
Jan. 31, 2008
This weekend I attended the Publicizing Truths with Consequence media summit in Santa Cruz, CA representing MTR News Network; an event sponsored by Project Censored, 911Truth.org, and Be The Media. Turnout surpassed projected expectations 3 hours into the first day of this three day conference despite a winter storm that produced relentless rain and wind. At it’s high point there were upwards of 250+ people. The organizers adapted to the overflow and hosted a great event.
A pow-wow of sorts to brainstorm and put into action a more effective means of communicating to a public in desperate need of truth and substance. The event brought together an eclectic mix of concerned citizens, activists, and community writers as well as breaking news Bloggers like Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG. Award winning investigative journalists David Ray Griffin, Ray McGovern, and Bob Fritrakis mingled the room with Whistleblowers like Barbara Honegger and retired FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley. Doug Abort – a representative for the Kucinich campaign, Congressional candidate Cindy Sheehan, and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney also attended.
All speakers, sponsors and organizers made themselves accessible in order to network, creating – maybe for the first time, a chain of media professionals that run from small town USA all the way to the influentials of DC. Speaking truth to power could get a little easier.
Fellow attendees Matt Sullivan, Editor of the Rock Creek Free Press in DC and Lenny Charles of the I.N.N. World Report said it best the first day of the summit.
“We control the web, but we are not powerful in the street”.
While Lenny brings it home with,
“It’s time to think outside the browser”.
With a participant list that reads like a virtual who’s who of today’s alternative media, this summit produced an inspired new army of motivated individuals ready to take on the challenge and rise above the corporate media. The theme seemed to be we are the new mainstream media and although workshop style gatherings were a bit disorganized most seemed to understand the theme and the need to find ways to apply it in their everyday lives.
OH-D Congressman Dennis Kucinich rallied the audience via a piped in conference call the first night emphasizing that,
“Independent media is critical” and the “Last best defense our Nation has” reminding us it is our civic duty as citizens of this democracy.
“I have heard every excuse in the book” for not trying.
She concluded that train of thought with a powerful call to action voiced by two little words when she said,
Breaking off into affinity groups we learned the deeper meaning of communicating by listening and the importance of real news versus mere opinion. We were coached on identifying the propaganda and told by 25 yr CIA Veteran Ray McGovern that,
“We need to sensitize our co-ctizens” and “we have to speak truth to power” and that in order to do that, we need to,“get them to identify” with our issues “by identifying theirs”.
Other tools were offered by David Mathison of Be The Media – who spoke on building community media, providing resource ideas and tips for doing so.
As invited guest I was privileged to conduct many on and off camera interviews from this event, including a one- on – one with Cynthia McKinney, later pairing her with her long time friend and true Patriot Ray McGovern – who we learned is being treated for lymphoma and will be beginning chemo therapy soon. Stay tuned…