Our Democracy is at Stake!
The Alternative Media Conference is back. Independent media-makers creatively fighting back against the biggest threats to our democracy, climate and workers’ rights.
In 1970, Goddard College hosted a groundbreaking event featuring some of the most visionary and controversial media creators to emerge during that most tumultuous of eras.
The 2022 virtual event will honor the revolutionary legacy of the original conference, while adapting to the current reality of our sharply divided country and with the goal of creating media that “awakens rather than aestheticizes” remains the same.
In the run-up to the most important elections of our lifetime, mainstream media, with its “both-sides” obsession, has been falling short when it comes to informing its audience of the true threats to our democracy. This leaves far too many of us susceptible to bad actors and disinformation. Our panelists have risen to the occasion with independent journalism and groundbreaking digital media projects. By using social media tools—such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok—they have been able to reach millions of people directly in ways that previous generations could only have dreamed of.
Whether it is bringing to light the fascist threats to our democracy, raising awareness of the climate emergency, or helping to build a robust labor movement, all our panelists have found creative ways to connect with we-the-people that are not dependent on corporate advertiser driven media models and they will share their stories and tips with the Goddard community on October 12th.
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For press info, please contact the organizer, Joshua Auerbach, the Director of Marketing at Goddard College
Fighting Fascism with New Media | 12:00pm ET
Moderator: Sabrina Williams | COO, act.tv
Reed Galen | @reedgalen
Co-Founder & Podcast Host, Lincoln Project
Charles Lenchner | @clenchner
Co-Founder, Organizing 2.0
Ben Meiselas | @Meiselasb
Interview with Goddard College President Dr. Dan Hocoy & Danny Goldberg | 1:00pm ET
Messaging for a Climate Emergency | 1:20pm ET
Moderator: Jocelyn Macurdy Keats @JocelynMacurdyK | Host, The Pursuit of Happiness
Matthew Haugen | @MJHaugen
Research Fellow, Climate and Community Project
Jay Ponti | @JayPonti
Author & Narrative Strategist
Niko Georgiades | @UR_Ninja
Journalist & Co-Founder, Unicorn Riot
Climate Campaigner, New York Communities for Change
Pause | 2:10 – 2:15pm ET
Union Strong: The Rebirth of a Labor Movement | 2:15pm ET
Moderator: Elana Levin @Elana_Brooklyn | Host, Graphic Policy Podcast
Casey Moore | UnionCasey
Barista & Organizer, Starbucks Workers United
Educator & Organizer, West Virginia Teachers Alliance
CM Files | @calebfiles
Treasurer and Fundraising Director, Pride at Work
Hamilton Nolan | @hamiltonnolan
Tony Paterson, BFA-SEA 2021 and Current MFAIA
Time: 10 AM
Title: Memes: The Shaping of Culture Through Multi-faceted Language.
About: In this presentation I will examine the ways in which memes process cultural events and convey meaning through compound signifiers. The implications of this form of communication are vast and must be considered in a world where propaganda is rampant and democracy is at stake.
Christopher Wiersema, Co-Director and Community Engagement Manager for ORCA Time: 11 AM
Title: Think Globally, Film Locally! Youth Media in Vermont
About: Youth participation in local media, creative youth filmmaking, and engagement with local issues in our communities.
Glenn Koenig, Goddard Alumnus, B.A. 1975 (RUP)
Time: 1 PM
Title: Reflections on Media
About: “Reflections on Media – Glenn C. Koenig will lead a discussion based on his paper “Reflections on Media,” prepared specifically for this conference and now available for download prior to the session. We plan to discuss how media and the world have changed since 1970 and think about new options going forward.”
Lauren-Glenn Davitian, Executive Director CCTV Center for Media and Democracy
Time: 2 PM
Type: Round Table
Title: Community Media in Vermont Reaches Out – A Panel Discussion with CCTV Activist Producers
About: CCTV Center for Media + Democracy is one of 24 community media centers in Vermont. Our goal is to build community through media. Today’s panel illustrates how CCTV’s TV producers and programs engage locally and globally to support the well-being and political freedom of the people we serve. CCTV operates Town Meeting TV (regional public affairs channel(s)), Vermont Language Justice Project, youth media education, CCTV Archives and CCTV Productions.
Panelists: Dr. Jules Wetchi/ The African Variety Show, Bruce Wilson/ Arts So Wonderful, Alison Segar/ Vermont Language Justice Project
In 1970 alumnus Larry Yurdin (BA ’67) organized the first Alternative Media Conference at Goddard, a revolutionary event with the goal of creating media that “awakens rather than aestheticizes.” Goddard’s community radio station, WGDR, was one of the important outcomes of this ground-breaking conference.
The original Alternative Media Conference took place at Goddard College from June 17th through June 20 in 1970. The original Alternative Media Conference brought over 1,700 innovative FM radio DJs, a new breed of record company promoters, underground newspaper reporters, Freak Brothers cartoonist Gilbert Shelton, Art Spiegelman, Baba Ram Dass, Rolling Stone photographer Robert Altman, 60s radical Jerry Rubin, Founder of Mad Magazine Harvey Kurtzman, the Hog Farm Collective, Stan Lee, Danny Goldberg, and many others all the way to Plainfield. This conference covered topics including women in the media, black-oriented radio and low-budget films.
Atlantic Records donated 5,000 dollars and shipped in Dr. John, Cactus and the J. Geils Band to put on concerts. Many conference attendees went on to exciting media careers, including Hendrik Hertzberg, a senior editor at The New Yorker, and Danny Goldberg, whose company has managed the careers of rockers Nirvana, the Allman Brothers and Bonnie Raitt. The conference is remembered as the birth of alternative media and continues to be held as a time that was rich in urgency for change.
A day of TED-style talks, performances, panels and workshops. Progressive talk show host Thom Hartmann is keynoting and there will be talks by Bitch Magazine’s Andi Zeisler, and White House Correspondent and Bureau Chief for The Talk Radio News Service Ellen Ratner.
There will be film screenings with counter-culture video makers the Videofreex, a video collective that got its start at the original 1970 Alternative Media Conference, as well as in-depth panel discussions with former writers and video editors for The Onion Newspaper and News Network now currently writing at AdultSwim.com.
Artist Ben t. Matchstick is curating a series of performances throughout the day culminating in the Combustible Cabaret/Digital Vaudeville at 8 PM. The show will interweave old-world street performance styles of kamishibai, cantastoria, and puppet shows with the future in multimedia, video projection, and hip-hop linguistics.
Goddard has always been strongly committed to embracing and exploring the alternative. This conference will examine the continued role of alternative media in a world of free, 24-7 information.
This conference will explore how information and creators can continue to sustain their efforts and serve an often-anesthetized public continually in need of awakening. Journalists, policy experts, artists and satirists attendees will delve into new and old modes of communications.
In many ways this conference is about bridging the old and the new. The first Alternative Media Conference gave birth to WGDR – forty-three years later, what can we expect to arise from this new conference, which has been organized in the spirit of the original? We will also discuss how to adapt and sustain older styles and modes of communication that are still critical to community, activism and keeping the general populace informed.