NCMR 2011: The Heart of the Movement
By Megan Tady / conference.freepress.net

“Change the Media, Change the World” was the theme at the National Conference for Media Reformin Boston last weekend. But if it didn’t sound like a self-help book from the bargain bin, we could have added “Change Yourself.”  Because we all walked away a little changed, didn’t we?

So much of the work we do to change the media happens online, or in our own communities, that it can be easy to forget that others are out there, miles away, feeling the same frustrations and sharing the same visions for the future. So when NCMR brings thousands of people together, face-to-face, it’s a little magical. The “heart” of the media reform movement doesn’t necessarily refer to the center; it’s the openness, kindness and generosity we express when we meet, and our shared love and work for humanity, for social justice and for a genuine democracy.  

It’s now three days after journalist John Nichols gave his incredible speech to send everyone home energized, and that magic is still hovering. At Free Press, we’re hearing NCMR stories that bolster our own work, and should bolster you, too – whether you were with us at the conference or not.

Here’s what we heard from 20-year-old Miguelina “Erikka” Diaz, a member of the New York Public Radio initiative Radio Rookies:

I learned so much at the conference, it’s impossible to state it all. But what I can say is that we as the youth have so much to branch into and so much to change for the better. In some ways I felt intimidated and in other ways I felt as if I was supposed to be there for some reason. It changed my whole point of view about media (positively). The way I will use the information that I learned there is by creating something for the public that will help the people – something new that no one has ever thought of. It’s the only way things would become at least a little bit better. It [the conference] is an experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

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