Saturday, January 13, 2007

Beeping and Blogging: The Beginnings of Reforming the Media

The most annoying beeping sound is coming from somewhere in this overcrowded lobby of Memphis’s Cook Convention Center. You’re probably wondering what that has to do with anything, but I promise you I have a point. I was peacefully sleeping, hidden behind the America Forum’s booth, when Vanessa pointed out the beep. At the moment, it doesn’t seem like the activists, students, journalists, independent media personnel, and free-lance writers notice the noise. However, that little noise is probably the only reason I’m writing right now. Honestly, I didn’t get much sleep last night and if it wasn’t for that “beep, beep, beep” in the background of all the media reforming happening all around me, I would be knocked out on this table.

So since I’m going to be “blogging,” like the rest of my generation, I might as well talk about my experiences thus far at The National Conference for Media Reform. I’m starting to realize that I’m not only here because of someone’s generosity and my own curiosity, but here because I have a responsibility to “make the connection.”

Christopher Rabb from Afro-Netizen said, in a panel discussion this morning about citizen journalism, that his privilege -- as an educated person with access to gadgets and credit -- does not burden him with guilt, but motivates him to inform and aid those who do not have the same access and resources. I feel like this conference and all the knowledge I am gaining from it is a privilege, one I didn’t have to have. So many young people have the ambition and desire to pursue careers they are passionate about, but they do not have the support, guidance, and resources they need to move forward. They many not have people or mentors in their lives who are pushing them, informing them, and helping them see the opportunities in their lives. I do not feel burdened; I feel liberated.

Liberation -- freedom -- is something Danny Glover also covered in his speech yesterday morning. I listened intently and strained to see over people’s tripods as he explained the logic behind Dr. Martin Luther King’s definition of freedom. “[Freedom] is, first, the capacity to deliberate alternatives,” Glover said. “Freedom expresses itself in decision making…if we do not choose we sink into thinghood.” Glover then went on to say that it is our responsibility to make change and make decisions that will promote positive change in the world. And as I make my rounds around the lobby, filled to the brim with enthusiastic writers, thinkers, and activists, I’m quickly learning it’s time for me to play a role in actually making things happen.

--Irene Rose De Lilly
Spelman College ‘09