Hyphen at the National Conference on Media Reform, April 8-10 in Boston

March 29, 2011

A few months ago fellow hyphenator Nina Fallenbaum told me about the upcoming National Conference on Media Reform in Boston. Once upon a time, before her Hyphen days, she attended. Now I am, and so is Hyphen.

Hosted by Free Press and now in its fifth year, NCMR 2011 is taking place in less than two weeks, from April 8-11. Every year NCMR is host to thousands of journalists, policy makers, academics and activists that meet to discuss and advocate for the future of media and journalism in America. Free Press has kindly awarded me a scholarship to go. Hyphen is also a media sponsor this year.

Over the course of three days I'll have a chance to attend workshops and panels on media reform and meet other cool media-advocates. Several big names are going to be there, including the keynote speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as notably a number of Asian American journalists, activists and policy makers. They include:

1. Ben Huh (Founder, Cheezburger Network)
I can has cheezburger? Yes, you can. CEO and founder Ben Huh of Cheezburger Network shall be speaking at the closing plenary about media and culture, and presumably the latest on the lolcat phenomenon.

2. Rinku Sen (President, Applied Research Center)
Activist and writer Rinku Sen, also speaking at the closing plenary, is the president and executive director of the Applied Research Center and publisher of Colorlines. A racial justice advocate, Sen is known also for her activism and writings on feminism, immigration and economic justice. Looking forward to hearing a behemoth in the racial justice movement talk about her work.

3. Reihan Salam (Journalist)
Reihan Salam is a veteran journalist and has worked for the New York Times, NBC News, The New Republic, and The Atlantic. He runs a domestic policy blog called "The Agenda" for the National Review Online and is interested in, among other things, technology and democracy, warfare and crime, and migration. At NCMR he'll be talking about censorship in the new world of social media. 

4. Mehan Jayasuriya (Director of Outreach and New Media, Public Knowledge)
Mehan Jayasuriya is "the director of Outreach and New Media at Public Knowledge, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group that fights for the rights of innovators, creators and Internet users." He's also a freelance writer and photographer, and will be speaking at the "Copyright, Copyleft, Copycenter: Can Copyright and Remix Culture Co-Exist?" panel about copyright limitations on the creation of art. Especially important because I hope artists continue to remix "Like a G6" for a very long time (not that the original isn't the best version).

5. Jenny Lee (Co-director, Allied Media Projects)
Jenny Lee is the co-director of Detroit-based Allied Media Projects, the goal of which is to harness and enhance tools for media-based organizing. She's also the founder of the Detroit Summer Live Arts Media Project, a summer leadership program for students that uses journalism, hip hop and online media to address the education crisis in Detroit. A few years ago she secured $2 million in broadband stimulus funds for Detroit's media-based economy. She'll be sharing her experiences at the "Connecting Communities: Did the Recovery Act Stimulate More than Debate?" panel about the effect of the 2009 stimulus on internet policy.

Even if you're not too familiar with media reform efforts, come to learn about media-policy and the future of journalism in America, and to connect with other like-minded folk. It's not too late to sign-up. Online registration ends Friday April 1 at 9 PM EST. To learn more and to register, visit http://conference.freepress.net/. And if you're planning on going, don't be shy: holler at a hyphenator.


Saif Ansari


Saif Ansari graduated recently from UCLA with a BA in philosophy and is now an MA student at NYU, also in philosophy. He is interested mostly in political philosophy, ethics and law. Saif wrote for two years as a columnist for UCLA's student-run newspaper The Daily Bruin. He wrote for and edited several other publications at UCLA and maintains a personal blog at www.sansari.wordpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @vetoshield.



Cool! Everyone should go, it's a great event! Thanks for the shout out Saif.