Facing the Media Crisis:
Media Education for Reform, Justice and Democracy
October 6-8, 2006
ACMEBoston is co-sponsoring this year’s Action Coalition for Media Education Fall Summit. There is still time to register!
Here’s a list of some of the great plenary sessions that will be taking place at the summit:
PLENARY SESSION #1
Crashing The Gate: The Re-Localization Of Media: How are blogs going to impact local voices again being heard in local communities? How do online and handheld media sources radically re-connect individuals? “Crashing The Gate” author and national blogging presence Jerome Armstrong explores the communication transformations that are ongoing, how they are going to impact our media consumption, and what it means for our society.
See Jane: How Children’s Movies And TV Hide Gender Distortion In Plain Sight: In the most popular G-rated films and children’s television, male characters outnumber female characters by a lopsided margin, and narrow and bizarre gender stereotypes are widespread. The findings come from the most comprehensive content analysis ever conducted on G-rated films and children’s television, commissioned by the See Jane program of Dads & Daughters and conducted by UCS’s Annenberg School for Communication. Dads & Daughters President Joe Kelly describes the study results, how very young children watch these images repeatedly, and how advocates in and outside the industry can turn the tide.
Media Effects: What We Know, What We Need To Know, And What We Can Do About It: Douglas Gentile, developmental psychologist and director of the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University, teams with Michael Rich, pediatrician and Director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Harvard, to present the current state of knowledge on the effects of media, positive and negative, on the physical and mental health of children. Dr. Gentile will explain the science of media effects research, explore his and other scientists’ findings particularly in the area of media violence and aggression, then Dr. Rich will examine the body of research to date, investigating outcomes including anxiety and depression, substance use, attention problems, body image, and obesity, among others, and will share examples of health-positive uses of media. Together, they will explore the strength of the research, what more is needed, responses of the health community, and what can be done given our current state of knowledge.
U.S. Media: The Burgeoning Movement And Prospects For Reform: Reforming the US media requires the collaborative efforts of independent media makers, media critique and literacy activists, and policy advocates. Former NMMLP executive director and current ACME Vice President Bob McCannon and Free Press Executive Director Josh Silver will discuss the confluence of these strategies, the state of national media reform efforts, opportunities and threats presented by current policy debates and prospects for reform.
PLENARY SESSION #2Does Hollywood Need A Mother?: Join nationally syndicated film critic Sara Voorhees and Susannah Stern, Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies Department at the University of San Diego, for a frank exploration of Hollywood’s culture of assault – sex, drugs, violence, vulgarity and other anti-social behaviors. Does Hollywood produce “art,” or are movies and television more often appealing to our basest instincts solely because the first amendment says they can? How might we introduce personal responsibility in their quest for the box office gold?
Confronting A Pornographic Culture: Fighting Mass-Mediated Racism And Sexism: Of the mass-media genres in the United States today, nowhere is the racism and sexism of the culture on display as bluntly as in contemporary mass-marketed pornography. Is it possible to shape a progressive critique of pornography without being lumped together with reactionary forces? Yes. In his presentation, University of Texas professor of journalism Robert Jensen will offer an analysis that gets us past the conservative/liberal gridlock on the issue.
What’s Reality? Fake News, Real News and Weapons Of Mass Perception: Americans are awash in a hidden sea of media propaganda, the sophisticated product of a multi-billion dollar PR industry that manages public information, perception, opinion and policy on behalf of business and political elites. Corporate and government propaganda is the nemesis of democracy. Come join the Center for Media and Democracy’s John Stauber to explore how we can engage in a process of dissecting, revealing and confronting this propaganda: one of the keys to practicing 21st century media education and to revitalizing democratic values.
Digital Destiny: Democratic Media At The Crossroads: The U.S. media system is in the midst of a profound transformation. We are at an important crossroads. If w make the right decisions and collectively act, we might have a communications environment that nurtures civic participation, social justice, economic opportunity and creative expression. But if we fail to fight for the soul of our electronic media, we will witness the most powerful communications system ever developed under the control of a very few super-monopolies. Their vision for our media future is a 24/7 digital “brandwashing” machine that personally targets us with programming and advertising wherever we are – via TV, on-line, and through mobile services. Come join the Center for Digital Democracy’s Jeff Chester and MAIN Internet citizen activist Wally Bowen for a conversation about these issues.
PLENARY SESSION #3
Hacktivism 101: Carrie McLaren of Stay Free! magazine presents unusual strategies for countering corporate media: satirical pranks, stunts, and viral messaging.
“Optimism of the Will:” Media Literacy, Education & Politics: Come join Media Education Foundation (MEF) Executive Director Sut Jhally, executive producer of “Hijacking Catastrophe” and dozens of other topical media education films on a wide variety of topics, for an exploration of the connections among media education, politics, and education, broadly conceived.
Victories In The Struggle Against Commercialism!: Here’s a story you won’t see in the mainstream media: we’re winning plenty of victories against the commercialization of every nook and cranny of our lives and culture. Join Commercial Alert Executive Director Gary Ruskin and the Center for a Commercial Free Childhood’s Josh Golin to find out what the victories are, what they mean, and why we’re winning.
Aether Madness: Join Prometheus Radio Project’s Hannah Sassaman and Pete Tridesh for an exploration of the awesome potential of the radio airwaves for social good, their sordid misuse in the hands of mendacious corporations, and what we all can do about it!
PLENARY SESSION #4
Sexualizing Childhood: How Big Media Represents Our Kids: Join renowned speaker and author Jean Kilbourne for a presentation and discussion about the ways in which Big Media sexualize our children, and what we might do about it.
TV For Everyone: How Community Cable Television Is Changing The 21st Century Media Landscape: Join Anthony Riddle of the Alliance for Community Media and local CCTV Executive Director Lauren-Glenn Davitian for an inspiring presentation about the importance of community cable television, and what you can do to get involved in the CCTV effort in your community.
Taking Critical News to Critical Mass: Strategies for Mainstreaming Muckraking: Independent journalist and veteran investigative reporter Kristina Borjesson discusses her ideas for creating a new paradigm for bringing real, relevant and hard-hitting news and information to a critical mass audience. For the last five years, Borjesson has been documenting the limitations of the current news paradigm in her books of conversations with and essays by dozens of this nation’s most distinguished journalists. Prior to publishing, Borjesson produced award-winning documentaries and news magazine pieces for network and cable television.
US Public Relations Propaganda and the New American Censorship: Come join Project Censored Executive Director Peter Phillips to discuss the increased use of public relations firms by the US government and private corporations to build news stories that corporate media outlets are uncritically accepting as real news. For action solutions, Phillips addresses the continuing importance of building the media democracy movement – especially the creation and expansion of independent news sources.
To learn more and register today, visit the ACME Summit 2006 on the web.