Resource Guide: Democratic Media

media conferences

National Conference for Media Reform, May 13-15 2005, St. Louis, Missouri, will bring together activists, media creators, academics, and policy-makers for networking and movement-building. Participants will learn about media policy, build skills for media reform activism, and hear about models for successful campaigns and actions. Sponsored by Free Press, a national organization working to increase public involvement in decisions about media. Free Press offers action alerts., 866/666-1533

Allied Media Conference, June 17–19, 2005, Bowling Green State University in Ohio brings together grassroots media makers from across the U.S. for hands-on workshops, film screenings, artist presentations, discussions, and workshops for educators on using independent media in the classroom.

independent news sources

AlterNet offers stories on human rights, climate change, civil liberties, the war on Iraq, medical news, and more. You can sign up to receive free e-mail newsletters on topics that interest you. The site also contains WireTap, an online magazine by and for youth.

Columbia Journalism Review offers an array of news about the news, links to newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio from around the world, free research tools for journalists, and journalism job listings.

Free Speech Radio News offers daily broadcasts of news from independent journalists around the world. Available through Pacifica network on the KU satellite.

Free Speech TV, an independent television channel available nationally via the DISH satellite network and on community access channels, provides documentaries examining social, political, cultural, and environmental issues from a perspective you won't find in corporate-owned media.

National Radio Project is an independent non-profit production, distribution, and training organization. Produces the syndicated public-affairs series Making Contact. NRP takes a critical and close look at stories being missed or glossed over by the mainstream media.

MediaRights is a New York-based group using social justice documentaries to inspire people to work for change. Hosts the Media that Matters Film Festival, which screens short documentaries from independent filmmakers around the country. , 646/230-6288

Paper Tiger Television, based in NYC, makes documentary films and provides resources to learn how to make your own media and documentary films, including weekend digital video editing workshops.

PR Watch, a quarterly publication of the Center for Media & Democracy, is dedicated to investigative reporting on the public relations industry. It serves citizens, journalists and researchers seeking to recognize and combat manipulative and misleading PR practices.

media by youth

Video Machete is a Chicago-based collective of youth and adults that produces films that challenge the stories being told by the mainstream media, creating a youth-driven dialogue on criminal justice policies, education reform, immigration, gentrification, and other issues.

Youth Radio offers free classes to 14–17–year–olds in the San Francisco Bay area on radio broadcasting, web and television production, and how to be a deejay. They also offer community outreach to at-risk and incarcerated youth. Visit their website to read and hear broadcasts by youth.

Pacific News Service provides a channel for youth voices and opinions to enter into the public forum through print and broadcast journalism. Their website features stories from Yo! Youth Outlook Magazine.

media advocacy

Alliance for Community Media represents over 1,000 Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) access channels on cable television systems, and the interests of those who use the channels, from charitable organizations to public schools to religious institutions to NASA., 202/393-2650

Center for Digital Democracy offers information and resources to get involved in broadband policy in order to keep digital media open to all. Assists the public and non-profit groups and communities shift into digital technology.

Center for International Media Action (CIMA) offers research and consulting services and support for media activists., 646/249-3027

Future of Music Coalition brings together members of the music, technology, policy, and copyright law communities to advocate for the rights of both the public and musicians., 202/429-8855

Media Access Project (MAP) is a public interest telecommunications law firm that promotes the public's First Amendment right to hear and be heard on electronic media., 202/232-4300

Media Alliance organizes campaigns to challenge media corporations' licenses, cable monopolies, and FCC policies. Offers actions alerts., 415/546-6334 provides information on community wireless and broadband projects around the U.S. and the world, current policy, and events and conferences like the Freedom to Connect conference March 30–31, 2005.

Prometheus Radio Project offers legal, technical, and organizational support to help groups start their own microradio stations and facilitates public participation in FCC rulemaking and legislative processes., 215/727-9620

Reclaim the Media is a coalition of independent journalists and media activists in the Pacific Northwest, promoting press freedom and community media access. Publishes a daily media newswire, conducts media literacy workshops and media policy campaigns, and develops online, broadcast, and print materials for media education and activism.

Third World Majority offers community digital storytelling curriculum and national youth digital storytelling workshops and festivals to train and provide resources for people of color to tell their own stories., 510/465-6941

media literacy and critique

Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME) creates free monthly curriculum and discussion guides for media literacy education (censorship, advertising, etc), which can be downloaded from their website. They hope to create regional chapters all over the U.S., and thus far have chapters in New Mexico and Vermont. 505/828-3377

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) analyzes media practices that marginalize public interest, minority, and dissenting viewpoints. Exposes neglected news stories and defends working journalists when they are muzzled. Publishes the bimonthly magazine Extra! and media action alerts, and broadcasts CounterSpin, weekly on 125 radio stations. , 212/633-6700

Girls, Women + Media Project works to increase awareness of how pop culture and media represent, affect, employ, and serve girls and women, and to advocate for improvement. Offers lists of books, films, and speakers and runs the Involved Consumers Action Network, which provides action alerts on these issues.

Institute for Public Accuracy, in order to broaden public debate, offers journalists a list of policy analysts, including experts from academia, public-interest groups, and grassroots organizations, reachable on short notice. , 415/552-5378

Media Channel features media criticism, breaking news, and investigative reporting from hundreds of organizations worldwide. , 212/246-0202

Media Education Foundation produces and distributes video documentaries to encourage critical thinking and debate about the relationship between media ownership, commercial media content, free flows of information, and informed citizen participation. , 800/ 897-0089

New Mexico Media Literacy Project offers media literacy education to hundreds of thousands of children and adults across New Mexico and the nation. Provides speakers, multimedia workshops, videos, and CD-ROMs. , 505/828-3129

Project Censored gathers stories that have been blocked or ignored by the mainstream media. See their 25th anniversary edition, an overview of a quarter century's worth of censored news (Seven Stories Press, 2001)., 707/664-2500

Women in Media and News (WIMN) is a media analysis, training and advocacy organization. Offers female sources to reporters, speakers on representation of women in media, and a listserve on media analysis and reform.


Hey Kidz! Buy This Book, by Anne Elizabeth Moore and illustrated by Megan Kelso, encourages short people to make sure their voices and ideas are heard and lends tips on how to question media messages creatively. Soft Skull Press, 2004.

In The Creation of the Media, Paul Starr shows how press and politics in America have been intertwined throughout U.S. history. Basic Books, 2004.

Into the Buzzsaw, edited by Kristina Borjesson, is a collection of stories from leading journalists exposing the reality of reporting in a corporate environment, including reporters who were pressured to tell stories a certain way and those who were fired when they refused. Prometheus Books, 2004 (revised edition).

The New Media Monopoly, by Ben Bagdikian, originally published 20 years ago, now in an updated and revised version, warns about the effects of corporate ownership and mass advertising. Beacon, 2004.

The Open Media Pamphlet Series includes Media Control, by Noam Chomsky, Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy, by Robert W. McChesney,
Microradio and Democracy, by Open Media co-founder Greg Ruggiero, and The Progressive Guide to Alternative Media and Activism, edited by Project Censored. See for a complete catalogue.

Stories that Changed America: Muckrakers of the 20th Century, edited by Carl Jensen, is a collection of short biographies on the people who told the stories that challenged Americans' perception of the world. Includes pieces on the lives and work of Betty Friedan, Malcolm X, John Steinbeck, Rachel Carson, Frances Moore Lappé and others. Seven Stories Press, 2000.

We the Media, by Dan Gillmor discusses how media is changing from the bottom-up as more and more people take a part in the conversation through the Internet. O'Reilly Media, Inc., 2004.

What Liberal Media? by Eric Alterman refutes a common assumption of public opinion. Basic Books, 2003.


Fear and Favor in the Newsroom shows how the free-flow of ideas and information in the newsroom is restricted as pressure from corporate owners of media outlets increases. Journalists who have been censored, reprimanded, or fired for investigating and reporting stories that offended the powerful tell their stories on this documentary narrated by Studs Terkel.

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism reveals the continual lowering in quality and complexity in the news as Fox News and other media empires control more news outlets and more of the information reaching the public. Includes interviews with former Fox employees. (Get it through our partner, the Film Connection.), 800/525-8212

Independent Media in a Time of War is part of The Indymedia War and Peace Trilogy by the Hudson Mohawk Independent Media Center. Features a speech by Amy Goodman underscoring the importance of including dissenting voices in media; illustrated by clips of mainstream media's portrayal of the Iraq war juxtaposed with clips from independent reporters. (can also be downloaded from

Weapons of Mass Deception, by Danny Schechter of Media?, documents the media's coverage of the Iraq war, and the gaps, bias, and misrepresentation of events that mislead the public.

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