Friday, June 06, 2008

National Conference for Media Reform: Day 1

So I’m writing this from my hotel lobby in Minneapolis where I’m in town for Free Press’s annual conference for Media Reform. This is my first time at the conference (and actually my first non-DC conference) and I’m amazed at the size!

The first panel I attended, Media and Elections: Covering 2008, was in a room large enough to have an entire conference in. One thing that I noticed right off the bat, everyone from participants to panelists are constantly referring to “the media” as if it’s a singular entity that has a brain. As in “the media does this.” During the panel Dave Sirota started to say that we talk about the media in a paternalistic way, which for a moment I thought he was about to talk about the fact that “the media” is not one big clockwork, but closer to saying “the blogosphere” than people might think. I wish Jay Rosen was at the conference so he could explain this in person.

It just concerns me because how can you reform something if you misunderstand the flaws?

At another panel I attended Eric Deggans said “making allegations without backing them up is not good (media) criticism” a point I would love to stress. Complain all you want but gather real facts to back up complaints. I found it interesting that last week Project for Excellence in Journalism released a study of the media that demonstrated that, collectively, they did not treat Hillary Clinton harsher than either McCain or Obama (although coverage between media outlets might differ) but there still persists the sense that “the media” treated Hillary Clinton *worse* than Obama.

Other notes: I saw Fox News filming at the Media Critics panel. Meant to stop and ask them if they were a Fox local or Fox national. Bitch Ph.D apparently figured out they are here to show the conference as full of crazy conspiracy nuts.

Had a wonderful time at the Media Consortium’s mixer (excellent beer and I’m not even a beer drinker). Photos will have to wait until I get home, I left my camera cord at home. (Drat!)

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