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Our Lives are NOT for the Taking
Nov12

Our Lives are NOT for the Taking

Dear friend, Corporate-owned media contributed to Trump’s win as much as this country’s entrenched racism and white supremacy, patriarchy and xenophobia. At Making Contact we value transformative storytelling and create a space for OURcommunities to be heard. An alternative to the empty calories of breaking “news” shows.Let’s take our stories back! People are in motion and in this period we’re redoubling our work: Slow cooking radio pieces that provide historical and political context, and highlight people’s solutions, to stimulate reflection and action. On Giving Tuesday we need you to join in and keep this work strong. And in this moment, we particularly want to hear from you: What topics and angles should we explore in the coming months? Give us feedback on our programs, and share programs with your friends. Tell us your own stories to add to the mix. We’re setting up a Twitter Chat soon. Stay tuned and join the conversation! Share your thoughts and ideas here and chat with us on Facebook and Twitter As you respond + regroup, take heart from the voices of these women: It’s chilling to think about Trump’s energy and environmental policies…  Countering that, are the voices of veteran activists working to phase out nuclear energy, power and research. Women Rising Radio revisits Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Mile Island –  and you’ll hear about real solutions to the problem of nuclear energy. Women Rising: Phasing Out Nuclear Power Aileen Mioko Smith, Director of Green Action Japan Ursula Sladek, Founder of Shoenau Energy Company in Germany Claire Greensfelder, International Forum on Globalization, Women in Europe for a Common Future, and the Global Women’s Call for Climate Justice Recent Releases Greg Palast on Voter Supression and Buying Democracy  Greg Palast, is an investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker. His new film, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: a Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits”, unmasks the continuing and unrelenting Jim-Crow attempts by America’s “Billionaire Bandits” to prevent people of color from exercising their constitutional right to vote. Produced by Anita Johnson. Imigrants & Elections Pt. 2: Barriers to the Ballot In this second installment of Making Contact’s Immigrants and Elections series, ” we explore some of the barriers immigrants and other historically disenfranchised voters face in gaining access to the polls. Produced by Monica Lopez with special reports from Paulina Velasco and Valeria Fernandez. DONATE Making Contact is a nonprofit organization. We rely on you to support our community journalism.  Please make your generous donation...

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New Rates! Call for Pitches July 2016

Do you have a story with perspectives on an ongoing local, national, or global issue? Do you have access to voices and perspectives that get lost in mainstream media landscape? Do they have ideas about how to cope, and how to change things? If so, consider pitching to Making Contact!  We’re looking for pitches from freelancers on several themes. NewsFlash #1 We’ve increased our freelance rates! See below. NewsFlash #2  With software from Hearken, our Ever Wonder? widgets ask listeners to suggest questions for reporters to ask. Come experiment with getting these crowd-questions. If your story would benefit from seeking audience input upstream, tell us about that. Seeking Pitches Immigration and Elections: We want your pitches! We’re looking for character-driven stories that focus on how immigrant communities engage in U.S. electoral politics. Here are some themes we’re interested in exploring: How are undocumented communities working around elections to mitigate the U.S. Supreme Court decision halting the expansion of DACA and DAPA? What factors contribute to disparities in electoral participation within different communities? How are immigrant communities addressing mis-information about how to vote, new voter ID laws, and other barriers to participating in elections? Are immigrant communities organizing to put politicians in office?  What are the opportunities and challenges? How are communities organizing outside of the electoral process to influence politics locally and/or nationally? How are groups working against Trump and Trumpism beyond the conventions? How is campaign financing influencing immigration rhetoric and policies? Got an idea, let us know!  Open to all and we are especially  looking for reporters who are themselves immigrants for our Immigrants and Elections miniseries. Guns: We’re looking for stories that bring new perspectives on guns, gun violence, mass shootings, and masculinity. These could be personal stories. They could also be more investigative or explanatory pieces. We’d also welcome other pitches related to guns, maybe a look at one of several states’ legislation to allow or ban concealed carry on college campuses. Occupy, 5 Year Anniversary: For this show, we’re looking for a story about a small town in the U.S. that responded to the call to Occupy a public space as part of Occupy Wall Street. We want to know why they decided to participate 5 years ago. What difference did it make? And what lessons did they carry into their organizing today? People in Prison and Sentencing: We’re looking for stories detailing the effects of the prison systems on children and families, delving into life after incarceration, and stories examining sentence reduction reforms at the state level. For instance in California, Prop 47 passed in Fall 2014. It reduces drug possession and five...

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Call for Pitches: April 14, 2016

We’re looking for pitches from freelancers on several themes. See list below. If you feel you have a story that fits or you have a new idea, please let us know! We’re also always interested in pitches on any of our ongoing beats: prisons, poverty, corporations’ undue influence, reproductive health, climate change and the environment. We’re still looking for reporters who are themselves immigrants for our Immigrants and Elections miniseries–per that recent call for pitches. **NewsFlash — We’ve gotten a non-profit subsidized license to try out Hearken software. We’re stoked to have our freelance producers and reporters experiment in using it with us. See http://www.wearehearken.com/ and if your story would benefit from seeking audience input upstream, tell us about that. Incarceration Issues: We’re looking for stories detailing the effects of the prison systems on children and families, delving into life after incarceration, and stories examining sentence reduction reforms at the state level. For instance in California, Prop 47 passed in fall 2014. It reduces drug possession and five other felonies to misdemeanors. Are other states making changes similar to California’s Prop 47 ? What have been the preliminary results in California and what of the backlash by those opposed to the sentencing reform? Climate Change: “Climate Resilience” and “Social Cohesion” are terms used by environmental justice advocates and academics to mean various things. We want sound-rich stories that explore these terms in practice. It could be a local clean energy project, local economies. How are communities working not just to survive but thrive? How are low-income communities, expected to be hit hardest by climate change developing ways now to cope “later?” How are people of color led organizations and networks particularly exploring the justice angle in “climate justice?” We’re looking for stories that break out of the gloom and doom, wonk-talk or science-load, and instead give a glimpse of people coming together to take steps now.   Pitch us stories about various bottom-up and grassroots organizing methods and tactics. Perhaps a profile of someone who was either uninterested or overwhelmed and depressed about the crisis but is now engaged. How did that personal and political transformation take place? Guns: We’re looking for stories that bring new perspectives on guns, gun violence, mass shootings, and the ways in which they affect women and men differently. These could be personal stories. They could also be more investigative or explanatory pieces. We’d also welcome other pitches related to guns, maybe a look at one of several states’ legislation to allow or ban concealed carry on college campuses. Transgender: There is an organized backlash running astride transgender political movements. More than a dozen states have introduced...

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Diversifying Radio with Disabled Voices
Apr04

Diversifying Radio with Disabled Voices

  Radio can be a familiar friend, source of knowledge, a marker of time and place. But as a cultural institution, what constitutes a “good voice” in radio reflects and transmits cultural norms and structures. When I started my Community Storytelling Radio Fellowship at Making Contact, I prepared by reading articles from Transom and AIR media about interviewing, storytelling, and production. I felt more intimidated as I read about advice on ‘how to do radio,’ especially since some parts were very physical (e.g., holding a microphone close to a person for a significant length of time). I wondered, “Where do disabled people like me fit in the radio community? Why don’t articles about diversity in radio ever mention people with disabilities?” Al Letson’s 2015 Transom manifesto explores the the default straight white male voice. It resonated with me immediately and I’d also add that the “default human being” on radio is able-bodied as well. Good Voices/Bad Voices By centering the default “good voice” of radio as one that is able-bodied, one that is pleasant, clear, articulate and devoid of any markers of disability, you erase disabled people, rendering them the Other (or in fancy terms the subaltern). Media and cultural studies scholar Dr. Bill Kirkpatrick wrote about the problematic nature of the invisibility of disabled voices and bodies in radio in a 2013 book chapter, “Voices Made for Print: Crip Voices”: … there is no shortage of self-evident reasons why non-disabled voices thoroughly dominate radio, not least of which is the commercial imperative: broadcasters want listeners to stay tuned, therefore they find speakers and speaking styles that audiences are willing to listen to, with voices that listeners can easily understand and find pleasing to the ear. While undoubtedly sensible as a matter of capitalist logic, however, we need to question the aesthetic reasoning at the root of this supposedly listener-centered approach to speaker selection as well as the idea that “pleasing to the ear” is somehow a sufficient explanation for the absence of disabled voices on the radio. We cannot begin to expand the range of permitted voices on radio without simultaneously undermining the ideologies of ability and disability that disqualify those voices in the first place. In the broader discussion of diversity in media, I see parts of myself included as a disabled woman of color. But more often than not disability is not included because many do not regard it as a culture. For radio, this is total bullshit. If you think about it, disabled voices are the missing instruments in this symphony that is public media. Letson stated in his Transom manifesto: Stories are told that...

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Making Contact’s dialogue on Women, Media and Community Activism
Mar15

Making Contact’s dialogue on Women, Media and Community Activism

Join us for a live recording session in San Francisco! On March 16th The Making Contact team is happy be partnering with the California Institute for Integral Studies for an evening of important discussion and public journalism. Race, police violence and criminal justice reform have been at the top of headlines nationwide with no signs of slowing as we move into the election season. Join us for a dialogue with two inspiring community organizers and media makers on the front lines, pushing for systematic change and providing accurate media portrayals of the activists, their struggles and their motivations. Cat Brooks of San Francisco’s Anti Police-Terror Project and Manolia Charlotin of The Media Consortium and who is working on our Making Contact’s special Immigration and Elections miniseries, will participate in a discussion on Black Lives Matter, community journalism social justice activism. Our Executive Director Lisa Rudman, will MC and we will be recording this discussion for broadcast on the air and on our website. March 16, 2016 7:00 pm California Institute of Integral Studies 1453 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94103 Buy tickets Cat Brooks is an artivist and mother who’s spent her life working on many social justice issues. In 2009, Cat joined the fight for Oscar Grant and was instrumental in developing organizing and communications strategies and leading multiple demonstrations. In 2013, Cat co-founded the Anti Police-Terror Project whose mission is to eradicate police terror in communities of color. Manolia Charlotin is a multimedia journalist, strategist and the Director of Special Projects at The Media Consortium where she manages editorial collaborations among member outlets, spearheads #TMCinColor and curates independent media coverage of the movement for Black lives. Lisa Rudman is the Executive Director of Making Contact. She brings over 20 years of experience in production and management in community radio and public television. She serves on the coordinating committee of The Media Consortium and believes in “practicing journalism for...

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