Create a Convening of ALL Independent News Media

Saturday morning, May 16

Host: Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, The Media Consortium


Chris Faraone, Dig Publishing, Boston

Juana Ponce de Leon, NYC Council Speaker’s Office, formerly NY Independent Press Association

Richard Logan, The David and Reva Logan Foundation

We didn’t take detailed notes because we were too busy taking action steps. However, we did write out ideas on paper, and I will include those images here.


On Thursday, when we mapped the landscape of the Independent News Sector, almost every group put independent news outlets at the center. Yet, by Friday morning, we all realized that we really believe community is at the center.

On Thursday, we put “ethnic media” on the landscape map. Yet by Friday morning we realized that a key problem with the sector is that foreign language, black and other media by and for people of color is put in silos away from “independent media,” which mainly is produced by (if not for) white people.


One way to break down these silos is to put everyone in the same room. To expand what we did at Pocantico, which would mean a large conference to which ALL independent media are invited.

We envision a conference that would principally invite editors and publishers of foreign language, black, Hispanic, and other outlets by and for people of color along with editors and publishers who belong to The Media Consortium, the Association of Alternative Newspapers, the Investigative News Network, ACM, NFCB, and LION members.

Conference Goal:

Open up the landscape, connecting “independent” and “community” news outlets in order to facilitate disruptive and explosive collaborations that will transform what people believe is news.

Conference Outcomes:

-Strengthen the flow of information between different members of the sector

-Create explosive collaborations

-Create a peer-to-peer network for sharing business ideas and failures

-Create concrete ways for community media to expand their voices

-Create concrete ways for community media to step up to another level in their business practices

Funding. To make this conference happen we will need 3 different types of funding:

1) Funding to Organize the Conference (foundation dollars). This includes travel money so that Jo Ellen and another organizer can visit at least 3-4 communities and speak directly to ethnic outlets about what would inspire them to attend such a conference and get their input on programming.

2) Funding to Make the Conference Happen (foundation dollars + sponsorships).  We will need travel money for community media outlets (including some foreign language and black outlets but also community radio and community media centers) that will probably have to come from foundations. We may need to have space donated for the conference itself. We will seek corporate sponsorships to cover the cost of food, etc. at the conference so that we can keep the actual registration cost low (but we will charge registration fees on a sliding scale).

3) Funding for Post-Conference Activities, esp Editorial Collaborations (foundation dollars).  Too often people “kumbaya” at a conference and then go back to business as usual. To prevent that, we have to have dollars lined up in advance to incentivize these groups to work with each other, including dollars for project management to support these activities.

Timeline and Commitments:

May 2015:     Identify hosts for the conference (talk esp to CUNY and NAM) and potential stage 1 funders—Jo Ellen and Juana

June 2015      Grow Committee to represent all stakeholders—Jo Ellen, Juana, Chris

June 2015    Separately, Jo Ellen to set up quarterly meeting of heads of independent news organizations: June, Sept, Dec, March

June 2015      Write proposal for Stage 1 funding –Jo Ellen, Chris, Richard to review

July-Oct 2015   Travel to different communities to talk to local community media about what would bring them to a national conference—Jo Ellen plus organizer (hopefully from foreign language media)

Aug 2015      Set conference date; Set conference location; Create conference website; Identify venue—Jo Ellen with input from committee.

Sept-Dec 2015    Sell sponsorships and exhibit areas for conference—tbd; Plan program—Committee to be formed; Write proposal to funders for travel money and for post-conference work.

Dec-Feb 2016     Marketing campaign to bring as many individuals as possible to conference; Continue to sell sponsorships, etc.; Plan strategy for post-conference projects.

Feb-Apr 2016     Conference

May 2016     Follow-up tbd by what happens during pre-conference planning and conference itself.