Women's media networking at the NCMR

by Sarah Kuck

The combination of feminist camaraderie, southern hospitality and general excitement to see what women would bring to the National Conference for Media Reform electrified the air at the Women’s Media Networking Breakfast.

Feminists of all ages, genders and races gathered in downtown Memphis bright and early to kick off a weekend dedicated to hope for a better, more just media, and therefore society. I knew the breakfast would be spectacular when I saw this group of enthusiastic and diverse people ebbing and flowing from room to room, rubbing elbows, gathering feminist media sources and devouring delicious breakfast treats; I was personally excited to see someone brought the soy milk.

The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, a non-profit organization that encourages philanthropy, leadership among women and children, played host to the networking breakfast, which the Women in the Media & News founder and executive director, Jennifer Pozner, organized. Pozner said her goal in coordinating the breakfast was to plant the seed to make the conference as useful, progressive, feminist and positive as possible.

After the eating and schmoozing, the women, men and children congregated around the marble descending and ascending sections of the stairway of the building, and along the platforms above and below as Pozner spoke with great passion in the entry way of the building at 8 South Third Street.

She said that if there was not representation for women and people of color at each plenary and panel, we should be the ones to make sure the conversations include those issues. We are all experts, she said, speak up.

“You be those people to bring (feminist) issues up,” Pozner said. “Ask those questions, bring up that debate and address it.”

Pozner talked about her experience at the last conference, at which she felt like the conversation about women’s issues was missing. She implored everyone there to stand up and talk about the correlation between media reform and women’s issues, to make sure that all the conference attendees, not just the ones in this room, realize that there is no media justice without women. Indeed, Pozner did her part by fighting for a year and a half to encourage those organizing the conference to let her form a panel with that title.

She invited us all to “There Is No Media Justice Without Women: Models for Feminist Media Action.” The panel, she said, would address what women are doing to reform the media and how they are doing it.

I felt compelled by all those things, including her final advice -- to sustain the energy we all felt at that moment.

Sarah Kuck, an editorial intern at YES! Magazine, attended the National Conference on Media Reform as a Reclaim the Media scholarship recipient.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey