MAG-Net Launches Two Regional Sites in 2011

Brandi Collins
Posted December 7th, 2011 by Brandi Collins
In CMJ Home
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This year saw MAG-Net experiencing over 20% membership growth. We also had some significant media justice victories across the country – check out our visual map featuring regional successes.

We also launched two MAG-Net regional chapters in Chicago and Los Angeles.

In the beginning of the year we kicked things off on the right foot when it was announced in January that Chicago would become the site of our second MAG-Net midwest regional site, anchored by Community Media Workshop.

Chicago currently has the third-largest media market in the United States (after New York and Los Angeles) and is the largest inland market. Often when the media talks about the urban communities of Chicago, the story is limited in scope and nature.  It’s often a tale of crime and political corruption, and despite being home to one of the few remaining black newspapers in the country (The Chicago Defender), the voices of the ethnically diverse communities and their stories and experiences are often ignored or rewritten by mainstream media.

For over 20 years, Community Media Workshop (CMW) has worked to diversify the voices in news and public debates by providing a unique mix of communications coaching for grassroots, arts and other nonprofit organizations and sourcing grassroots and community news for journalists. Connecting the community with media, the Workshop promotes news that matters. Every year CMW hold an annual conference for nonprofit leaders and communicators, as well as regularly scheduled trainings and one-on-one coaching. CMW also hosts the annual Studs Terkel Community Media Awards honoring outstanding media professionals for excellence in covering and reflecting Chicago’s diverse communities and for writing about social issues such as housing, poverty and education that impact average people’s daily lives. We’re proud to have CMW as our Chicago anchor and a member of the MAG-Net family.

In October, it was formally announced that the new Los Angeles MAG-Net Chapter would be anchored by the long running social justice group IDEPSCA.  IDEPSCA is a non-profit community-based educational organization founded in1991. IDEPSCA organizes immigrant families: day laborers, household workers, adult learners, parents, youth and children to develop and promote self-sufficiency.  Several years ago, IDEPSCA members launched the Voz Mob (Mobile Voices) project. VozMob is a platform for immigrant and/or low-wage workers in Los Angeles to create stories about their lives and communities directly from cell phones. VozMob appropriates technology to create power in our communities and achieve greater participation in the digital public sphere.

There is a growing digital divide in California and the need for a strong Los Angeles media justice movement is more important than ever.

According to the New York Times, an estimated one in five adults in California do not use the Internet, and 30 percent do not have broadband access at home — about the same as the national average. Those left behind are increasingly isolated and disadvantaged as more of life’s basic information, like vital community news or transit schedules or job listings, has moved online.  The divide is most severe in California’s Latino community, where 35 percent of adults do not use the Internet at all, and only 50 percent have broadband access at home.

These two MAG-Net Chapters, like the rest of the MAG-Net Chapters, will engage community members and organizations in the larger media policy and communications rights fights that affect our civil and human rights.  “It’s vital we stay vigilant and can be ready to take action on different media justice and policy issues that affect our communities and social justice movements,” Pedro Joel, an organizer with IDEPSCA asserts. “It’s important that we have strong organized networks who are ready to take action and push forward on issues like the open Internet, wireless protections, broadband adoption and access and other media justice issues.”

If your organization is in Chicago or LA, please consider joining  a regional MAG-Net Chapter or becoming a member of your own regional Chapter or a general member. Contact National Organizer Betty Yu for more information.

Do you want to support this amazing media justice alliance building? Make a tax deductible donation to MAG-Net today.

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