A Day at the NCMR

A Day at the NCMR


UPDATE: If you missed the webcast of Bill Moyers’ speech this morning, scroll to the end of this post to watch the highlights on YouTube.

I’m writing from the cavernous Minneapolis Convention Center, where the 3,500 attendees of the National Conference on Media Reform are taking up about five percent of the space, leaving literally enough room for each attendee to convene her or his own breakout session.

The conference organizers at Free Press have gone to great lengths to allow you to experience the show from your home. You can listen to live streaming video and audio from the main plenaries. In a few minutes Bill Moyers is scheduled to take the stage to open this second day of the NCMR. Watch it live here from 8:00 to 9:00am Central time.

Here’s what else you’ll find online:

**Video streams of the main events and keynote speakers, including Moyers, Amy Goodman, Arianna Huffington, Dan Rather, Lawrence Lessig, Naomi Klein, Van Jones, FCC Commissioners, members of Congress and many more;

**Full audio clips from nearly 70 panels and workshops;

**Live blogging and updates throughout the conference;

**Flickr photos.

Our friends at Free Speech TV are also providing live coverage throughout the conference. Tune in to Dish Network Channel 9415 or go online to www.freespeech.org to see more than 20 hours of coverage from the Twin Cities.

The conference kicked off with a bang yesterday morning with keynote speeches from Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.); Lessig, Stanford University law professor; Adrienne Maree Brown, head of The Ruckus Society; Janis Lane-Ewart, with KFAI-FM; and Josh Silver, co-founder and executive director of Free Press. I’d never seen Rep. Ellison speak live before and he impressed. I was most moved by dynamic Ruckus Society leader Brown who opened up her comments with a wake up song — “Woke up this morning with my mind set on freedom” — and then confessed that she felt like an unlikely speaker on the plenary because she wakes up every morning dreaming of freedom — not of reform. She then urged the crowd to spend more energy on broad and deep visions for freedom and justice and fundamental change using media as a tool toward those goals.

Another of yesterday’s highlights, at least for me, was the first-ever screening of the fifth episode in the Brave Nation video series featuring Naomi Klein and Tom Hayden. Walking in, we were gratified to see the 250 seat room packed to the proverbial rafters. Even more gratifying was the audience response and the engaged hour-long question period that followed in which filmmaker Robert Greenwald and I talked to teachers, students, historians, activists — even a fundraiser wanting to help raise money for the project (Susan — Don’t lose my card!).

The day wound up with another huge event — a screening of Phil Donohue‘s important new antiwar documentary, Body of War. Most of the 500 people arriving at the 8:00pm start time were able to find seats but the roughly 200 people who showed up shortly thereafter had to be turned away — and this screening was taking place at the same time as myriad conference receptions, parties and get-togethers featuring free food and booze!

Speakers scheduled for today and tomorrow include legendary journalists Moyers and Dan Rather, former anchor of CBS News; North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan; FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein; Huffington; Van Jones of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!; Klein, Nation columnist and author of The Shock Doctrine; Tim Wu of Columbia Law School; Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show; and Baratunde Thurston of Laughing Liberally.

What I consider perhaps the marquee panel of the day –a discussion of Iraq and the media featuring Klein, Goodman, Donahue, the Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Norman Solomon and the author of the wonderful and harrowing book, Bleeding Afghanistan, Sonali Kolhatkar — starts in an hour.

Wish you were here! I’ll have another Minneapolis post later today exploring, in part, the rumors that Fox’s Bill O’Reilly has dispatched a camera crew to document the “nut jobs” that one of his favorite targets, Dan Rather, is hanging with this weekend. O’Reilly promised on-air to show a video on Monday highlighting the “crazies” here.

Bonus Links: A few friends of The Nation are live blogging the NCMR. Check our Samhita Mukhopadhyay (our March guest blogger) on Feministing.com and Thomas Coen and Kay Steiger at CampusProgress.

Here’s Bill Moyers addressing the NCMR this morning, June 7, 2008.

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