Media forum: Finding voice beyond the dominant

The importance, and the difficulty, of gaining a voice to tell one’s own story was the underlying theme of the annual Twin Cities Media Alliance Fall Forum Nov. 8. The forum’s keynote speaker, Nekima Levy-Pounds, expressed concern that minorities, especially African-American men, are portrayed in only one dimension in the local media, and are seldom the authors of their own narratives.Levy-Pounds, Professor of law at St Thomas University, told the audience at the early November event that television, print and online news play a huge role in how people of color are seen, and that role is often not a benign one. She noted that most news stories about minority men describe either athletes or those in contact with the criminal justice system, and that “negative perceptions of young black men influence laws and policies.” She also stressed that “the African-American community in the Twin Cities is not monolithic, and we deserve to be heard in all our differences.”Watch video from the Daily Planet’s Fall Media Forum.Levy-Pounds referred to the recent KSTP story in which Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges was allegedly “flashing gang signs” during a videotaping of an encounter with a young man registering voters in North Minneapolis as an example of media-driven misconceptions. She called the story “appalling” and said it was “a false narrative about the Mayor and the young African American man standing beside her in the photo. Continue Reading

Russell Cowles will match your gift to the TC Media Alliance / TC Daily Planet

Who was that masked man, anyways?No, it wasn’t the Lone Ranger, and he wasn’t actually wearing a mask, but at the Daily Planet’s Pick of the Market fundraising dinner last Sunday, one man, who requested anonymity, did step up and offer to match all donations to the non-profit Twin Cities Media Alliance and TC Daily Planet, up to a maximum of $5,000.(Donating is easy: just follow this link to the secure donation page at .)Our benefactor didn’t want any attention at the dinner, but he has since given permission to reveal his identity: he is Russell Cowles. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because the Cowles family has long been associated with philanthropy and journalism in the Twin Cities. The Cowles family owned the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Des Moines Register, and numerous other media properties. Members of the Cowles family established the Cowles Media Foundation, which later became the Star Tribune Foundation, and have been prominent supporters of Twin Cities cultural institutions, ranging the Guthrie Theater and the Cowles Center for Dance to the Humphrey Institute and the first women’s  fastpitch professional softball league in the country, as well as causes including Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.Russell Cowles’ generosity is part of an old American tradition. In the heyday of American newspapers, many of the best American dailies were owned by prominent local families, such as the Cowles in Minneapolis and Des Moines, the Binghams in Louisville, the Chandlers in Los Angeles and the Sulzbergers in New York City. They saw themselves not just as businessmen and women, but as community leaders, and saw their philanthropy as a smart investment in the vitality of their community.So why does Cowles, whose family made its fortune in print, want to support an online publication? Continue Reading

Twin Cities Media Alliance Fall Media Forum

Please join us for the Twin Cities Media Alliance’s 2009 Fall Media Forum on Saturday November 7, at the Hennepin County Library Central branch, 300 Nicollet Mall, downtown Minneapolis, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.The theme for this year’s forum is Networking And The New Media Landscape: Reporting News, Building Community, Making Money: “In the new media landscape, information, audiences and resources all travel across networks. This participatory forum offers journalists, bloggers and news consumers the opportunity to make connections and share best practices for news reporting, building audiences, and raising revenue.”The focus for this year’s forum will be on networking and participation. If you want to participate in planning the program, by proposing a presentation or workshop, or suggesting a speaker, you can join our Twin Cities Media Alliance Fall Forum Facebook group , and add your ideas to our wiki page at Or email with your suggestions.Presenters so far include:Wade Beavers, DoApps: “Mobile News – Accessing and contributing wherever and whenever” John Daenzer, Director of New Media at WCCO-TV / – “The Wire” Peter Fleck, PFHyper:  Going Hyperlocal: creating and sustaining hyperlocal newsMike Griffin, Macalester College: What’s Happening With Media ReformBob Ingrassia, Internet Broadcasting System: NewsBobber – a new Minnesota News AggregatorRick Mahn, Social Media Breakfast MS:  online and offline communities and the benefits they bring. Julia Opoti, Ahmed Wassie and Doug Mcgill: Covering African Diasporas in Minnesotas.Matt Peiken, Three Minute Egg: “Go Independent, Go Video: How to conceive, launch and fund your own video blog.”Justin Piehowski, Internet Broadcasting System: “How I Help TV Stations Make Money With Online ContentBruce Schneier: Blogging, the New Media, and the Generation GapAshley Schweitzer, Nonprofit Assistance Fund: The L3C Model for Funding JournalismDavid Skarjune, “Community Building in the Real and Online Worlds.” Susannah Schouweiler and Andy Sturdevant of How New Media is Changing Arts CriticismGreg Snow, Perfect Porridge: Social Media 101: Strategies and ToolsMatt Thompson, online community manager for the Knight Foundation: The media ecosystem in the Twin Cities – what I hope we are creatingAdmission is free, but donations to the Twin Cities Media Alliance will be cheerfully accepted.To register, click here. Sponsors: Continue Reading