This is from my friends Una Osata, Ora Wise, Shreya Shah and a bunch of other folks I'm mistakenly forgetting in my sleep haze:
Hello Media Makers!-
YES, media is really important. BUT sometimes it actually isnt the most important thing. The bottom line of the media trainings we do is that if our messaging is sincere and we internalize it, we will not only succeed in making better media, but we will succeed in movement building...which IS important.
Although there is concern about people who are unclear or unaccountable to the broader movement speaking in the media, many people at Occupy Wall Street have the messages, in some ways, and what we really need to think about at this point is the process of representation in a larger and deeper way, more than "good interview" or "bad interview".
- Based on conversations with people involved in the OWS PR working group, media working group, and POC working group, it seems that there needs to be a three part process for moving forward:
1) Media trainings that offer a wider and more diverse circle of people the experience and skills they need to feel confident and competent representing OWS in the mainstream and community media. These trainings need to address the systems and experiences that can be barriers to a more diverse group of people feeling empowered to engage in media-making or being in the media. We can only transform this movement and the media we produce through directly addressing how white supremacy, patriarchy, ageism, ableism, and other oppressive systems of thought and resource allocation have been holding our movement media-making back. We can change that!
2) The media working group of OWS has awesome ideas and really powerful and skilled people in it but it needs more support in creating positive, educational, and personal media pieces that can be easily used in a broad range of contexts and that are supported by a realistic and effective distribution strategy that reaches the widest number of people. Podcasts, digital stories, and other 3-10 minute engaging and dynamic media pieces that people can learn how to produce and then provide for download (as well as distribute on flashdrives, cds, etc) are great ways to make media accessible because they necessitate skills sharing within the movement and then provide tools for outreach and education that are short and sweet and to the point.
3) The overall strategy for OWS media- both engaging with mainstream media and producing our own- needs to be strengthened and streamlined. The effort and accomplishments of the people who have been working their asses off over the past month or so is evident and impressive. Now we are moving into the next phase during which we need to figure out better ways of channeling and controlling the mainstream media's approach to OWS coverage (including but not limited to figuring out how to channel more of their interviews to accountable and clear representatives, us shaping the narrative more,etc).
Strengthening our strategy for OWS media might include training a larger number of people to be confident and accountable representatives, increasing our capacity to produce our own media and get it out into the world, developing systems of trained people intercepting and escorting mainstream media when they arrive on the scene, etc.
In light of all of this and in response to concerns and requests for support from OWS organizers working on PR and producing media, we have formed an ad hoc media training facilitation group. We are offering two trainings this week: