Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Cynthia Lopez: Insider - Outsider

After observing the killing of an innocent man by the police in Latin America, she realized she needed to create media that tells the stories we don't usually here.

POV: Questioning how we live and shedding light on a variety of political issues. 19 Emmies, 11 Peabodies, independent documentaries shown on PBS.

Clip from "Made in LA" shown: the story of immigrant garment workers seeking basic labor rights. Dual strategy for English and Latino press. Screened at National Association of Hispanic Journalists Conference. 7,000 media placements garnered for film. Univision, CNN, and Fox News all featured the film-makers. The 3 women featured and the film-makers continue to work together for immigrant labor rights.

Where are women working in the media today? The bad news is that instead of finding where we're working, I found out where we're not working. Media Matters 2000 report notes that all guests on Sunday morning news shows, on average men out number women 4 to 1. American Society of Newspaper Editors: in 2008, 37.6% are women. Minority women are 14% of the newsroom. Meaning 60% of newsrooms are men deciding what is the news and what should be covered.

Boxed in Study done at San Diego State University: 22.7% of radio professionals are women. The Center for New Words describes a lot of rich research we should all take a look at.

The role of women in primetime television: how do women fare? In recent Nielsen reports for 2007-2008: women were averaging 43% of actors. Women 40 or older are less than 10% of characters.

The good news: the 5 major public t.v. organizations are all headed by women (it's never happened before). A Seat at the Table: an Insider's Guide for America's New Women Leaders, book written by, Patricia Harrison, one of those women. Public service media is contingent on public funding.

1. With proliferation of cable channels, people think PBS is no longer the most trusted media outlet. (It still is the most trusted, and then CNN, an Fox third.)
2. Nobody watches PBS. Why does it matter?
3. PBS doesn't produce a lot of documentaries.

Whether you're an outsider, or a hybrid outsider-insider, we understand that our role is to keep the flow of ideas going. Our challenge is to resolve that insider-outsider dynamic. To an activist who is trying to get me to film their story, I might be in an insider. To a journalist that I'm stalking day and night to pay attention to an issue, I might be an outsider.

Clip promoting new schedule that starts June 24 was shown: "New Muslim Cool," new film that will premiere in the new season.


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