2015 Annual Conference

Posted Jan 7, 2015 @ 12:31 pm by
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2015 Annual Conference
February 5-7, 2015
San Francisco, CA

The Media Consortium’s 2015 Conference will bring together over 250 leaders of independent news. Join us to network with your peers, learn about new business and digital strategies, and find out how your outlet can make more impact in the coming year.

All of the conference information can be found on our convenient mobile app at http://tmc2015.org

Register: Be sure to use code TMC2015 when you register to get the TMC member special price! Early bird registration ends January 12! Go here to register.

Hotel: The conference hotel is the Argonaut. We’ve arranged a discounted rate of $195/night (note that their double bedded rooms are exceptionally large)–use this link to book your room. We’ve also set up a google sheet for folks looking for roommates or local couches to crash on.

Program: Find the updated program at http://tmc2015.org

Sponsors: There are still some opportunities left to sponsor or exhibit at this conference. Get in touch with Jo Ellen at joellen [at] themediaconsortium [dot] org

TMC Outlets on #FergusonDecision

Posted Nov 25, 2014 @ 1:07 pm by
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Media has been criticized for its coverage of the Ferguson– criticized for inciting violence by focusing on violent protests; criticized for only giving the police point of view; criticized for lack of context and for a focus on what’s wrong instead of next steps.

To find alternatives to these critiques, we invite you to spend time with the independent news outlets listed here. Gain context on blackness in America and the role of police in shootings; find out what really happened at protests and what solutions we can implement. We will update this post over the next week, then save it as an archive of what was published.

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, Executive Director, The Media Consortium

Blackness in America

The American Prospect


The Nation

Washington Monthly

the Police
Chicago Reporter

Mother Jones

In These Times

Democracy Now!

Political Research Associates

The Real News
Should the Community Control the Police?

the Media
Chicago Reporter


Colorlines (storify)

American Prospect

Democracy Now!

RH Reality Check

RH Reality Check

Oakland Local
Next Steps

The Progressive

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2014 Impact Awards Announced

Posted Mar 4, 2014 @ 2:00 pm by
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Second Annual Media Consortium Impact Awards Announced!

The Media Consortium has announced the Second Annual Impact Award Winners at its annual conference in Chicago. The winners are:

The Life and Death of Crystal Wilson” (Monica Potts, American Prospect)
The Horror Every Day” (Emily DePrang, Texas Observer)
Fed Up” (Michelle Chen, Ms. Magazine)
The Wage Theft Epidemic” (Spencer Woodman, In These Times)
The Science of Citizenship” (Belle Boggs, Orion Magazine)

Judges for the contest were the staff at The New Press. Twenty outlets submitted stories for these awards, which are given out to the stories that had the greatest impact on public conversation in the previous year.

Julie McCarroll of The New Press summarized the entire group of submissions as focused “very powerfully [on] the problem of inequality. …[W]hether it’s income inequality, lack of equitable education or simply powerful institutions that go unchecked, the scope of inequality [is] exposed here … without flinching, or minimizing, or shutting down.

The impact of these stories was significant. Monica Pott’s piece in the American Prospect spurred a Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging to hold a hearing on differences in life expectancy due to income inequality, education level, and race. As a result of the Emily DePrang’s story for The Texas Observer, the Houston Police Department announced a pilot program to outfit 100 officers with body cameras to help resolve citizen complaints. Michelle Chen’s piece for Ms. became a rallying point for Los Angeles’ fast food workers, while Spencer Woodman’s piece for In These Times helped convince the Virginia General Assembly to vote to restore funding to the state’s wage-and-hour enforcement unit. The Orion story will have a longer tail, raising questions about testing, citizenship and democracy that will resonate over years.

The Media Consortium is a national network of independent progressive news organizations. A non-profit, its mission is to support and grow the impact of the independent news media sector.

Here is what the New Press said about each award winner:

1- The Life and Death of Crystal Wilson, by Monica Potts for the American Prospect
We loved the way this piece showed the power of narrative to bring a statistical anomaly to life. The piece was empathetic and deeply moving, and especially haunting for the glimpse it gave of the millions of women who have died in circumstances similar to crystal Wilson. The piece spurred a Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging to hold a hearing on differences in life expectancy due to income inequality, education level, and race.

2- The Horror Every Day by Emily DePrang for the Texas Observer
This piece serves as a reminder that despite the progress people THINK we’ve made since Rodney King, police departments still operate with impunity. DePrang’s story showed patterns and describes a really shocking lack of accountability in the Houston PD, and holds it up to public accountability. In response to the piece, HPD announced a pilot program to outfit 100 officers with body cameras to help resolve citizen complaints.

3- Fed Up by Michelle Chen for MS magazine
We loved the way Chen’s piece integrated a number of social issues (education, poverty, access to work, access to healthcare, access to opportunity). And the revelation that, because so many of the workers must rely on social services to make ends meet, taxpayers are actually shouldering costs that fast-food companies should be paying. In terms of impact, Chen’s piece became a rallying point for protests by fast-food workers in Los Angeles in December 2013.

4- The Wage Theft Epidemic by Spencer Woodman for In These Times
As a stand alone piece, this does an amazing job of putting a name and a face on the phenomenon of wage theft – something that most salaried individuals are not aware of. It delves into the personal impact of this corporate policy and also hints what the practice means on a national level. A little over a week after the story was published—and after copies had been sent to Virginia legislators—the Virginia General Assembly voted to restore funding to the state’s wage-and-hour enforcement unit, ensuring that these workers now have advocates once again.

5- The Science of Citizenship by Belle Boggs for Orion magazine
This piece is a substantial contribution to the conversations on standardized testing and inequality in education. But it goes farther than that, to examine science education’s role in democracy and citizenship.

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” (www.mediaforthe99percent.com), 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.