The goal of the Twin Cities Media Alliance is to strengthen relationships between professional journalists and engaged
citizens, and to provide citizens with the knowledge and skills they need to play a more active and constructive role in the
Twin Cities emerging interactive media environment.
The activities of the Twin Cities Media Alliance will include:
Public media issues forums, real and online:
A public forum
held on June 4, 2005 built on last December's FCC hearings, and focused on constructive ways that citizens and professional
journalists can collaborate to improve the quality, diversity and accountability of local journalism.
Brown bag lunches with local journalists and media executives
, as well as informal meetings with visiting
Screenings of locally produced independent documentaries
, and other documentaries on media themes. Screenings
could be held as house parties, or in partnership with local arts and journalism organizations.
Media Project Partnering
: This project would establish a registry of local media professionals (writers,
editors, radio producers, photographers, web designers and videographers) willing to volunteer their time to collaborate with
non-professionals on small-scale journalism and media projects. Priority would be given to projects that enable members of
marginalized communities to tell their own stories.
: TCMA and its partner were recently awarded a grant
from J-Lab, the Institute for Interactive Media
to support the creation of a community newswire and syndication service for freelancers and community media.The newswire
will make it easier for these organizations to share resources, and increase the audience for minority media (including African-American,
Hispanic, Hmong and Somali).
Media skills workshops for individuals and non-profit organizations
. Topics to be covered could include basic
public relations skills for non-profits; web design for community organizations, digital photography skills, and how to start
a successful blog.
WHY A MEDIA ALLIANCE?
The dissatisfaction and distrust that many members of the Twin Cities community feel toward the local news media is something
that professional journalists are exposed to on a daily basis. Last December, when the FCC held local hearings on media consolidation
and the proposed loosening of restrictions on ownership, overflow crowds packed the Hamline University auditorium. Many participants
testified about the inadequacy of local news coverage, especially in serving minority communities/ (Media reports say 500
people attended; organizers claim the number was much higher.)
Many professional journalists are also frustrated and dissatisfied, feeling that their ability to fulfill their professional
responsibilities is being increasingly undermined by market-driven pressures. The Twin Cities Media Alliance will address
the needs of both communities: It will provide citizens with constructive ways to increase media accountability, and to become
more active and responsible participants in the news process. And it will help professional journalists to cultivate a constituency
that cares about quality journalism, in order to counterbalance market pressures to compromise journalistic values.
Many of the advisors to the TCMA already have distinguished records of working to increase media access, including Lynda McDonnell,
whose Urban Journalism Workshop has trained hundreds of inner-city youth; Mike Hazard, whose Center for International Education
has taught video production skills at local elementary schools, Ann Alquist, who has trained volunteer radio news producers
at KFAI, and Griff Wigley, former salon keeper for the Utne Reader, who is putting the city of Northfield MN online, and teaches
blogging skills to citizens and corporate executives.