June 15, 2005

Media Consolidation Conference archives complete 

I finally finished all the archives from the May 10th and 11th conference at the University of Illinois: "Can Freedom of the Press Survive Media Consolidation?" organized by Bob McChesney and the Illinois Initiative for Media Policy Research. (Let's also give a big hand to Victor Pickard who probably did all the actual organizing work). The conference archives are encoded as steaming RealVideo and RealAudio files, and as downloadable MP3 audio files. Since streaming video won't work well unless you have a broadband Internet connection, I wanted to provide the audio alternative. You don't need the video to get lots of great moments and ideas from this excellent conference. Check out the smackdown of Viacom executive (and U of I fundraising heavyweight) Dennis Swanson in Session Three on May 11th, and then marvel at why he agreed to appear on the panel so unprepared. WILLblog is a big advocate for freedom of the press, and we loved this conference. I gotta say that it felt dangerous, since many of the views expressed were highly critical of the current administration's policies on media ownership, and its attempts to control what gets reported by news organizations. In today's political climate, can we even talk about what's wrong with the media? If we do, will the news media cover it? Actually this conference garnered almost no coverage from the mainstream media, even with the likes of Seymour Hersh, Amy Goodman, and Phil Donahue as presenters. All I can say is the WILLblog videocam was there, and you can get the archives here.

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