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Conference Focuses on Media Reform

Speakers include artists, former FCC commissioner, Free Press President

The National Conference for Media Reform, an event that says it’s devoted to media, technology and democracy, brought 2,000 people to the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel April 5–7.

“We’ve gathered this weekend to push back against corporate control of our media, to reclaim our airwaves, and to move toward a just and sustainable world,” said Mary Alice Crim, organizing and events manager.

Saturday, April 6, featured a keynote session on “Celebrating Our Media Moment,” showcasing speakers including Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron; former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps; former White House technology adviser Susan Crawford; Grammy-winner Kimya Dawson; “Democracy Now!” co-host Amy Goodman; comedian Jamie Kilstein; “Lost” actress Evangeline Lilly; artist An Xiao Mina; Nation correspondent John Nichols.

“United Citizens vs. Citizens United: Challenging Big Money and Big Media” was also held on Saturday, featuring Amy Ngai, Sunlight Foundation; Elena Nunez, Colorado Common Cause; Andrew Jay Schwartzman, Free Press; Josh Silver, United Republic and David Sirota, columnist, author and commentator.

Susan Crawford, former White House technology adviser; Gene Kimmelman, Internet Freedom and Human Rights Project; Rob Pegoraro, journalist; S. Derek Turner, Free Press; and Corie Wright, Netflix, joined together to ask if “Liberating Cable’s Captive Audience: Can Consumers Cut the Cord?”

A session entitled “Covering Race in the Time of Obama” featured Davey D, hip-hop historian and Hard Knock Radio host; Eric Deggans, Tampa Bay Times; Achy Obejas, In These Times; Rinku Sen, Applied Research Center and and Laura Washington, journalist, commentator and editor.

The conference kicked off on Friday with sessions on subjects ranging from women in the technology industry, the media’s influence on the immigration debate, to the roles of media and technology in times of crisis.

Friday also included NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue; columnist, author and commentator David Sirota; civil rights activist and “Little Rock Nine” member Carlotta Walls LaNier. In addition, artist Staceyann Chin and Albuquerque poet laureate Hakim Bellamy performed.