This year several members of Flying Focus had the honor of attending the first Media & Democracy Congress organized by the Institute for Alternative Journalism in San Francisco. Held over four days from Feb 29th to March 3rd, the conference focused on bringing together "alternative" investigative reporters from print, radio, television and Internet organizations. It was an exciting place to be, as this was the first congress of its kind, and most of the major players from alternative media were there, such as Laura Flanders and Janine Jackson from Counterspin, Larry Bensky, Amy Goodman and other Pacifica reporters, folks from Deep Dish and Paper Tiger, and Peoples Video Collective. Jim Hightower, Norman Solomon, Susan Faludi, Barbara Ehrenreich, Katha Pollitt and Jeff Cohen were also among the conference presenters, as well as a representative of the New Party, which is gathering grassroots strength and momentum in several states.
There were at least three really good panel discussions going on simultaneously at any given time, and lots of networking going on between. We taped several of the panels and have already run two half-hour programs of highlights, including the panels on race, gender, class and the media. Patty Leahy, Robert Brading and Ann Mitchell of Multnomah Community TV also attended and Patty has offered to help us put together a series on the conference, running full-length programs of the panels we taped. We'll give you further details as the series progresses.
A group of young pirate radio activists from Seattle caused quite a sensation with their portable ad hoc radio transmissions from various sites around the conference. They were having some trouble getting their signal through on some occasions, but their tireless rebel energy was appreciated by many of the conference-goers.
Equally important, we spent a lot of time getting to know the folks from People's Video and Paper Tiger and discussed sharing materials on a more regular basis. More than anything, it was extremely worthwhile to learn to recognize and get to know others throughout the country who are engaged in the same struggle we are: that of broadening and democratizing the base of the media by covering issues of meaning and relevance to the daily lives of people everywhere.
We'd like to thank the Mackenzie River Gathering for the grant which covered our travel expenses to San Francisco, and also the Institue for Alternative Journalism who, despite the numerous tasks and challenges, had the strength and organization to convene an amazing gathering like this one. We hope this will become an annual event. .
The Flying Focus mailing list has grown to almost 1000 people. It's great that we have so many people that are interested in Flying Focus, and want to support our organization. Unfortunately, while we do have a bulk mailing permit, the cost of mailing to 1000 p