Join us in Chicago February 27-March 1!

Posted Oct 28, 2013 @ 10:24 am by
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The Media Consortium is pleased to announce that registration is open for our annual conference. Join us in Chicago, February 27-March 1!

Now in its 7th year, the Media Consortium’s annual conference draws decision makers from the leading independent news organizations. Join publishers, editors, and executive directors from Mother Jones, Orion, Truthout, In These Times, Raw Story, AlterNet, the New Press, KCETLINK TV, Rabble, Dissent, and many others to discuss the issues facing the independent news sector.

The first day of the conference, February 27, will focus on in-depth fee-based workshops. In an innovation, you not only choose your workshop–you choose the price you are willing to pay!

A reception then kicks off a 36 hour networking event like none other. No need to try to nab people in the hallways–at the Media Consortium conference, an entire afternoon is given over to working groups and open discussions. Drop into a group or set up your own! And, with all this, get ready for selected speakers who offer rich content and panels that speak to you as a peer.

We know price matters, so this conference is low-cost. For Media Consortium members, Friday and Saturday are free–and you pay what you want for workshops on Thursday. If you aren’t a Media Consortium member, you can attend just a workshop, or get workshop and conference access for one very low price!

Our hotel for this conference is the well-appointed Wyndham Blake in the heart of the Loop. Rooms with the Media Consortium discount are just $99/night!

So don’t delay:

See you in Chicago!

Jo Ellen

Collaborative Project Shines Light on Plan B Availability

Posted Oct 7, 2013 @ 12:47 pm by
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By Jason Zaragoza

As part of the Reproductive Justice Reporting Project announced this summer, the Media Consortium and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN)  have launched the website, Where is Your Plan B?, an investigation into the availability of Plan B emergency contraceptive.

In June, the FDA approved Plan B as an over-the-counter drug, making it available to all women of childbearing age without a prescription or point-of-sale restrictions. With a grant from the Quixote Foundation, ten news outlets from TMC and AAN went out to see how pharmacies were putting this into practice.

Are stores making the product available on the shelf or forcing customers to ask a pharmacist? Are stores putting it behind a locked cabinet, requiring assistance from a store employee? Are clerks asking for ID, even though the FDA does not require it? In other words, are stores turning what should be a personal, private health decision into an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience for women during what is already a stressful time?

Participating in this project to find answers are: Austin Chronicle, Bitch magazine, In These Times, Jackson Free Press, LEO Weekly, Making Contact/ National Radio Project, Ms. magazine, People*Power*Media, Portland Mercury, Public News Service, and Santa Fe Reporter.

“Independent news organizations care about impacting people’s lives,” says TMC Director Jo Ellen Green Kaiser. “With collaborations like the Reproductive Reporting Project, we can leverage our different skill sets, platforms and geographies in order to create a story that has reach and impact beyond the sum of its parts.”

The website features a mix of articles, audio and video content from the participating outlets, as well as a resource section and form for users to report their individual experiences. The user-submitted data will be used to create a map showing the availability of Plan B across the country.

“This project is a perfect example of what alts do best — use their reporting muscle to shine light on an important topic that affects the lives of real people everyday,” said AAN executive director Tiffany Shackelford. “At a time when women’s reproductive rights are under attack in so many states, I’m proud that AAN members are part of this effort with the Media Consortium to inform the public and make an impact on the ground-level.”

Where is Your Plan B? from altweeklies on Vimeo.


2013 Media Consortium Impact Awards

Posted Mar 19, 2013 @ 9:12 am by
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The Media Consortium is pleased to announce the winners of our first annual Impact Awards. The winners for 2013 are:
American Prospect
Berrett-Koehler Books
Mother Jones
Washington Monthly
The awards were announced at the Media Consortium’s annual meeting in Baltimore. Our judges were the editorial team from New Press. For more on each winner, check out our video

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Media Consortium Annual Meeting Program!

Posted Jan 14, 2013 @ 11:23 am by
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Make an Impact!
February 6-8, 2013
Baltimore @ The Wyndham Peabody Hotel

Not a member of the Media Consortium? Don’t worry, you are invited! Cost is $250. Get your ticket here!

Are you a Consortium member? Your meeting registration is included in your dues. However, please register so we know how many lunches to order!


Wed. February 6: Pre-Meeting Focus on Print (open to all meeting registrants)

8:30 Pre-Meeting Registration
9:00 Welcome

9:15 Why Stay in Print?
Moderator: Maxine Phillips, Publisher of Dissent with Rinku Sen (Colorlines), Dan Dineen (In These Times) and Bhaskar Sunkara (Jacobin)
A panel of your peers will discuss why they have chosen to stay in print
(or not); A lively discussion will follow.

10:30 Coffee Break

10:45 Best Practices for Building Single Copy Sales
Maire Walsh, VP for Next Steps Marketing
Frank Locantore, Green Paper Project
In an age of shrinking newsstands and newsstand sales, find out key ways to increase single copy sales in stores, online, and through tablet devices. This session will include information for you to better understand the changing retail environment and will provide creative solutions for you to build awareness, sales, and efficiency.

12:00 Lunch with Guest Speaker: Bo Sacks
Bo Sacks speaks regularly at Folio, MPA and other mega-publishing industry conferences, but as a co-founder of High Times has a soft spot for independent media. He’ll tell us what we can expect to see in 2013.

2:00 Print Grab-Bag
Rod Arakaki from Yes!
Steve Katz from Mother Jones
Join this informal discussion designed to look at the nitty gritty of print, from retaining subscribers to advertising to printing.

3:15 Coffee Break

3:30 Tablet Strategy for Print Publications
Bob Cohn, Editor of Atlantic Digital
Kit Rachlis, Editor of the American Prospect
Bob and Kit discuss the Atlantic’s strategy, then open the floor to questions.

5:00 Dinner on your own

6:30 Meeting Registration
7:00 Welcome from Steve Katz, Publisher of Mother Jones

7:15 Opening Plenary: Why You Should Be a Media Entrepreneur
Chris Rabb, author of Invisible Capital
Chris Rabb is a writer, consultant, and speaker on the intersection of entrepreneurship, media, civic en­gagement, and social identity. He is a visiting researcher at Prince­ton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs as well as a Fellow at Dem­os. He formerly ran Afro-Netizen, a Media Consortium member outlet.

Thursday, February 7

8:30 Registration
9:00 Plenary: How You Made an Impact in 2012
Emcees: Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, TMC and
Marc Favreau, New Press
Hear presentations from the top 5 impact-making TMC publications of 2012, plus the Media Consortium’s own May Day effort

10:15 Coffee

10:30 Concurrent Sessions:

Create a Multiplatform Campaign with Steve Michelson, The Video Project
Understand what documentary filmmakers mean by a transmedia campaign, and how news organizations can use this strategy to their advantage to obtain high quality video content.

Tools for Online Donors with Joe Macare, Truthout; Kate Lezniak, Bitch Media; and Jason Barnett, The Uptake
How do you attract online donors? Learn from your colleagues with tips on email newsletter, social media, and crowdfunding strategies.

Fact-Checking without Fact-Checkers with Peter Rothberg, The Nation and Linda Jue, GWW Center
Face it. If we fact-check at all, we use interns. Learn when and what you really need to fact check, and how you can train interns to do the job.

11:30 Concurrent Sessions
Package that Content! with Sara Critchfield, Upworthy
Upworthy publishes “a steady stream of the most irresistibly shareable stuff [mainly video] you can click on without feeling bad about yourself afterwards.” Find out how to package your content so it’s irresistible too!

Working with Local Outlets with Tiffany Shackleford, Executive Director, AAN
The best news has a concrete, specific angle–which means it’s local. If you are a national outlet, get that content by partnering with someone already there. Four local outlets will talk about what they offer to–and what they need from– national outlets.

12:30 Lunch with Guest Speaker: Michael Copps
Now Common Cause’s Senior Advisor for its Media and Democracy Reform Initiative, Michael Copps served two terms with the Federal Communications Commission. His tenure was marked by a consistent embrace of the public interest. As a strong voice in opposition of consolidation in the media, he notably dissented in the Comcast-NBC Universal merger. He has been a consistent proponent for localism in programming and diversity in media ownership.

1:15 Panel: What’s Next for Media Policy? with Bartees Cox (Public Knowledge), Matt Wood (Free Press) and Todd O’Boyle (Common Cause)
Media Policy impacts news outlets directly via issues like net neutrality and free speech. Even more, complex issues like data caps and spectrum purchases can have very direct–and negative–impacts on the low-income, minority populations that need the voice of the independent media.

2:00 Consortium Reports (sequential)

  • Media Policy Project with reporters Ken Rapoza (ITT) and Alice Ollstein (FSRN)
  • Natural Gas Reporting Project with editor Maureen Nandini Mitra (Earth Island Journal)
  • Community Journalism Training Institute with Susan Mernit (Oakland Local)
  • Metrics Innovation and Incubation Lab with Gary King, Harvard (via skype), Ariel White and Benjamin Schneer

3:00 Coffee

3:00 Affinity Groups
Open Space to network, create collaborations, and plan for next year.
Please feel free to join one of these networks, or create your own:
–Natural Gas Reporting Project
–Reproductive and Gender Justice Project
–Media Policy Workshop

5:00 Next Steps from Affinity Groups
Report Backs

5:30 Dinner on your own

7:30 Party at the Real News Network! Cash Bar and Bands

Friday, February 8

9:00 Plenary: Mobile Strategy
Amy Mitchell, Associate Director of PEW’s Project for Excellence in Journalism
Amy Mitchell is acting director for the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. She manages all aspects of the project including the design, analysis and writing the project’s in-depth research reports. This includes the Annual Report on the State of the News Media. She will break down for us her recent report, The Demographics of Mobile News.

10:15 Coffee

10:30 Concurrent Sessions
Why Stream? with Michelle Holmes, Ustream
Streaming often seems to be the province of citizen journalism. Michelle Holmes, a former Knight Fellow and newspaper editor, will describe how journalists can use streaming for high quality reporting.

Hybrid Business Models with  Lark Corbeil, PNS; Zuade Kaufman, Truthdig; and Steve Piersanti, Berrett-Koehler
Independents need to find new ways of bringing in revenue. Hear from three colleagues who have experimented with simultaneous non-profit and for-profit organizations.

11:30 What’s the Role of Advocacy in Impact Journalism?
Moderator: Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, Media Consortium with Maya Schenwar, Truthout; Alex DiBranco, Public Eye; and tba
After two days of talking about impact, let’s reflect on the meaning of impact. To what extent must journalists become advocates in order to move audiences to action? We will parse the difference between “solutions journalism,” “engaged journalism” and “advocacy journalism” and talk about what journalists gain–and lose– from going from informers and educators to “solvers” and advocates.

12:30 Lunch

1:00 Public Meeting Ends; Media Consortium Members-Only Meeting Begins

1:00 Report from the Executive Director
1:15 Reports from Committee: Finance, Development, Program, Membership
1:30 Nominations and Votes for Coordinating Committee
2:00 Workshop
3:00 Next Steps and Vision for 2014

3:30 Media Consortium Annual Meeting Concludes

3:30-5:30 A Coordinating Committee meeting will follow the end of the annual meeting.

Media Consortium to Meet in Baltimore

Posted Nov 26, 2012 @ 2:19 pm by
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This February, the Media Consortium will hold its annual meeting in Charm City. Join us in Baltimore February 6-8 at the Wyndham Peabody Hotel to find out how the city got its moniker; to learn the latest in digital, video and print media; and to connect with your colleagues. Book your room now at TMC rates (scroll down to the second “reserve” button)

For the first time ever, the Media Consortium will welcome up to 15 non-members to our meeting. To apply, please fill out this form. Cost for non-members is $250 for up to 2 staffers, and covers Feb 6 through the morning of Feb 8.

TMC members, the cost of the meeting is included in your dues. But we still need you to register! Register here!

February 6 Pre-Meeting: Still in Print!

This pre-meeting, from 10-5 on Wednesday, February 6, will focus on print media. Come for:

  • Best practices for converting readers to subscribers/donors
  • Digital versions (from formatting to monetizing)
  • Advertising, sponsorship, and creative external revenue sources
  • special guest speaker tba soon!

February 6, evening: cocktails and more! 7-9

February 7 Media Consortium Meeting, 8:30-4:30

  • Sessions on metrics, mobile strategy, long form journalism, collaborative fundraising, and much more!
  • Affinity groups to plan editorial collaborations around natural gas, reproductive health, media policy, and more!
  • Special guest speakers, tba soon!

February 7, evening: cocktails and film: 7-9

February 8 Media Consortium Meeting  8:30-12:00; Members only 12-3:30

  • Business planning
  • Affinity groups II
  • Afternoon Media Consortium member-only lunch and business meeting

The last Media Consortium meeting led to our hugely successful May Day 2012 event. Magic happens when we all get together. Make your plans now for Baltimore in February!

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Media: Embed Our May Day Tools

Posted Apr 29, 2012 @ 9:38 pm by
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Mediaforthe99percent is offering all media–from individual bloggers to professional news sites–the opportunity to use our tools for your May Day coverage. Please find the embed codes below, along with details about copyright:

MAP: The map is a google fusion map. We are offering an embeddable graphic with code in two sizes. When users click on the graphic, a window will pop up with the map. The map tool itself is owned by Google. The content of the map is created by John C. Osborn for The Media Consortium under a Creative Commons license.

300px by 300 px graphic with text and “Find out Here” button :

600px by 334 px screeenshot of map:

LIVESTREAM:  The video tool is created using Livestream. The tool itself is owned by Livestream. The content of this video is created by Free Speech TV and those who contract with Free Speech TV, including the Thom Hartmann Show and Democracy Now. Content from the Thom Hartmann Show is (c) Thom Hartmann. Content from Democracy Now! is (c) Democracy Now! Content from Free Speech TV’s Occupy the Media show is Creative Commons license.  Embed code for the Free Speech is available here:




Storify: This live blog tool is created by Storify. The tool itself is owned by Storify. The content of this particular storify is created by Samantha Oltman for The Media Consortium under a Creative Commons license.

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‘Media for the 99 Percent’ Challenges Corporate Media with Joint Coverage of May Day Protests Nationwide

Posted Apr 26, 2012 @ 1:14 pm by
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This year, International and Immigrant Workers’ Day, May Day, will usher in a spring of protests fueled by the rise in anti-immigrant legislation and enforcement, a lopsided economic recovery that favors the few, and a reemergent Occupy movement poised to challenge corporate power.

If past coverage is any indication, corporate media will not tell the May Day story accurately or with depth or analysis. That’s why more than 25 independent media outlets belonging to The Media Consortium are collaborating to provide coordinated, national coverage of May Day events from around the country.

Calling themselves “Media for the 99 Percent” (, these diverse outlets will offer a live TV and streaming broadcast, an interactive map, breaking news reporting, and coordinated social media coverage across their sites, reaching a combined audience of more than 50 million Americans.

“With this May Day collaboration, independent media will show that live national coverage can reflect the breadth, diversity, and complexity of the American people,” says Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, executive director of The Media Consortium.

Independent media outlets have stayed with the Occupy story through the winter with unparalleled reporting: books by YES! Magazine and AlterNet; a weekly “Occupy the Media” TV program by Free Speech TV; cover features by In These Times, The American Prospect, The Nation, and Mother Jones; in-depth and breaking news reporting by Truthout, Making Contact, the Public News Service, Free Speech Radio News, and many others.

On May Day, the Media for the 99 Percent outlets will leverage their existing platforms and reporters to provide coordinated national multimedia coverage, featuring:

  • An interactive Map: Find out where actions are happening across the country and follow the independent media’s by-the-minute coverage with links to video, audio, photos, and blog reports.
  • Television and Live Stream Broadcast: Free Speech TV will broadcast live (and live streamed) news coverage throughout the day, featuring reports from around the U.S., as well as in-studio commentary.
  • Curated Social Media Coverage: Using the Storify platform, Media for the 99 Percent will offer a curated narrative of breaking news via blog updates, along with photos and social media posts from reporters on the ground.

All three content tools will be available for embedding by other news outlets and the public.


Media Policy Briefing: Will Your City Have Community Radio?

Posted Apr 9, 2012 @ 12:36 pm by
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The FCC has finally announced it will accept new applications for LPFM stations. Yet, will those licenses actually go to all urban communities? Not unless advocates succeed in changing FCC rules to give those applicants a better shot.

[read more » ]

Nonprofit status for News Media: problems and consequences

Posted Apr 2, 2012 @ 1:40 pm by
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News organizations are increasingly turning to a model that was pioneered by independent media, a nonprofit model based on individual donors and foundation-funded projects. The two barriers to non-profit status have been based in IRS questions around politics and mission.

[read more » ]

Media Policy Reporting and Education Project, Year Two

Posted Feb 28, 2012 @ 4:25 pm by
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“Media policy,” and its related friends “FCC” and “rulemaking,” may conjure an image of grumpy old men in a back room. Yet media policy in this digital age turns out to be the key to free speech and transparent politics. Understanding how pages of jargon define and delimit how public content is communicated is not easy, however, which is why the Media Consortium has embarked on year two of our Media Policy Reporting and Education Project (MPREP).

Thanks to a generous grant from the Media Democracy Fund, we are recruiting 10 TMC reporters to learn the media policy beat through one-on-one mentorship with policy experts and through in-depth policy briefings open to all journalists. Check here and on our twitter feed for more information about our upcoming briefings! Our first briefing will be “Broadcast Disclosure Rules” March 7, 1:00 ET, with Free Press Senior Policy Counsel Corie Wright.

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