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Be the Media - Free Speech Media Conference takes place in Fresno

by Mike Rhodes (editor [at]
Alternative/independent media groups in Fresno held a Free Speech Media Conference on Saturday, February 20, 2010. The 38 minute video (below) shows some of the opening remarks by the keynote speaker and presentations from conference sponsors. For more information about the conference and contact information about participating groups, see the article below.
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Profound changes in how we get information on radio, TV, and in print are taking place. Responding to this rapidly changing media landscape in Fresno, local media activists held a conference to discuss ways of engaging more people to produce content for alternative/independent media outlets.

Conn Hallinan, the conference keynote speaker and a journalist from the Bay Area, said that “in 1983, in the first edition of Ben Bagdikian’s Media Monopoly there was 50 corporations that controlled 90% of the media. By the last edition in 2004 that figure had been reduced from 50 to 7.” Hallinan said that it is the relentless drive for profit that is destroying corporate media, not the development of new technologies, like the Internet.

Democracy needs a vibrant and active media to survive. Hallinan said “we have to mount a campaign in this country to return to the days of our founding fathers and the current situation in the rest of the world. For instance, Sweden and Norway spend about $30 billion a year subsidizing their media. We need to return to a period where it was recognized that democracy requires a media and that advertising and wealthy foundations simply can’t cover the course.” This argument is described in great detail in the cover story of this month’s Community Alliance newspaper. See:

Hallinan later led a writing workshop for participants at the conference. Other workshops were held, training participants in investigative journalism techniques, how to conduct an interview, and how to post stories on Indymedia.

Each sponsoring organization had about 10 minutes to discuss their group and how participants can become involved with their media organizations. Participating groups included the Community Alliance newspaper, KFCF 88.1 FM, Radio Bilingue 91.5 FM, Indymedia (, El Concillio de Fresno, The Undercurrent newspaper, CineCulture at Fresno State and FresYes!

The Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) also gave a presentation about the new opportunities that will exist when the public access TV studio is opened. Randy Reed, CMAC chairperson, explained that we are less than a year away from the opening of a Community Media Center and Public, Education, and Government (PEG) channels on the cable network.

To contact local alternative/independent media and see how you can be a part of this exciting work, check out:

CineCulture (film series)

Community Alliance newspaper
P.O. Box 5077
Fresno, CA 93755
Ph. (559) 978-4502
AllianceEditor [at]

Community Media Access Collaborative (PEG access in Fresno/Clovis)

MaryJane Skjellerup
Director, Central Valley Region
Center for Multicultural Cooperation
P.O. Box 27442
Fresno, CA 93729
559.445.0015 (office) | 559.445.0056 (fax)
maryjane [at] |

Fresno Free College Foundation/Radio station KFCF
P.O. Box 4364
Fresno, CA 93744
Ph. (559) 233-2221
office [at]


Radio Bilingue
KSJV 91.5
5005 E. Belmont Avenue
Fresno, CA 93727
Ph. (559) 455-5777
mariax [at]

The Undercurrent newspaper
PO Box 4857
Fresno Ca 93744
editor [at]
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