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Thousands Headed to Memphis for the National Conference for Media Reform

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Geena Davis and Helen Thomas Join List of Notable Speakers; Nearly 100 panels and workshops announced for Jan. 12-14 event

MEMPHIS - Thousands of activists, educators, policymakers and leaders in the rapidly growing movement to create a more diverse and democratic media system will gather in Memphis on Jan. 12-14 for the 2007 National Conference for Media Reform. This rousing weekend will bring together legendary journalists with new media visionaries, grassroots organizers and Washington policymakers, civil rights trailblazers and the hip hop generation.

"In the past few years, we've witnessed unprecedented public awareness and involvement in media issues - with millions of people creating their own media, critiquing mainstream outlets, and demanding a say in how we use the public airwaves and what the future of the Internet should look like," said Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press. "The National Conference of Media Reform is a rare opportunity for all of the different fronts in the fight for better media to connect, broaden our ranks, and build momentum for real change."

The National Conference for Media reform will be held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center and features PBS journalist Bill Moyers; Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; Academy Award-winning actresses Geena Davis and Jane Fonda; and FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein; as well as numerous musical performances, film screenings and book signings.

Today, Free Press released the preliminary schedule of events for the conference, which includes more 100 hands-on workshops and panel discussions with a diverse array of speakers on a wide range of media issues. Among the highlights:

--- "Inside Corporate Media: Can it Tell the Truth?" - a panel moderated by Phil Donahue featuring Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News, MSNBC commentator Flavia Colgan, author and media critic Jeff Cohen and Chicago Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington.

--- A discussion on "Winning Alternatives" with Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, filmmaker Robert Greenwald and Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation.

--- "Media Policy is a Civil Rights Issue" with former FCC Commissioner and NAACP Executive Director Ben Hooks, Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, Mark Lloyd of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and others.

--- A panel on hip-hop activism with Davey D of KPFA-FM, Rosa Clemente of R.E.A.C.Hip-Hop, Detroit hip-hop artist Ilana "Invincible" Weaver, San Diego's Brotha Los, Adrienne Maree Brown of the Ruckus Society and Youth Media Council's Malkia Cyril.

--- "The Press at War and the War on the Press" featuring famed White House correspondent Helen Thomas, media critic Eric Boehlert, Sonali Kolhatkar of the Afghan Women's Mission and Paul Rieckhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

--- "Watchdogging the Media" with David Brock of Media Matters for America, Janine Jackson of FAIR, media critic Norman Solomon and radio host Laura Flanders.

--- A look at the new media landscape with Dan Gillmor from the Center for Citizen Media, Jay Rosen of New York University, Afro-Netizen's Chris Rabb, Ellen Miller of the Sunlight Foundation and Chris Nolan of Spot-on.com.

The full schedule - which also includes sessions on "Saving the Internet," Hurricane Katrina, public broadcasting, ethnic media and global media policy - is available at http://www.freepress.net/conference

Press credentials for the National Conference for Media Reform are available to members of the media who will be covering the event. Send requests to credentials@freepress.net or fax to (202) 265-1489.

There will also be a limited number of spaces available for radio programs that wish to broadcast live from the Memphis Cook Convention Center. Broadcasters interested in joining "Radio Row" should contact the Free Press staff at credentials@freepress.net

Many conference speakers, media policy experts, and the event planners are also available for interviews in advance of the conference.

More information about the National Conference for Media Reform is available at http://www.freepress.net/conference

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Thousands Headed to Memphis for the National Conference for Media Reform