This year several members of Flying Focus had the honor of attending the first Media & Democracy Congress organized by the Institute for Alternative Journalism in San Francisco. Held over four days from Feb 29th to March 3rd, the conference focused on bringing together "alternative" investigative reporters from print, radio, television and Internet organizations. It was an exciting place to be, as this was the first congress of its kind, and most of the major players from alternative media were there, such as Laura Flanders and Janine Jackson from Counterspin, Larry Bensky, Amy Goodman and other Pacifica reporters, folks from Deep Dish and Paper Tiger, and Peoples Video Collective. Jim Hightower, Norman Solomon, Susan Faludi, Barbara Ehrenreich, Katha Pollitt and Jeff Cohen were also among the conference presenters, as well as a representative of the New Party, which is gathering grassroots strength and momentum in several states.
There were at least three really good panel discussions going on simultaneously at any given time, and lots of networking going on between. We taped several of the panels and have already run two half-hour programs of highlights, including the panels on race, gender, class and the media. Patty Leahy, Robert Brading and Ann Mitchell of Multnomah Community TV also attended and Patty has offered to help us put together a series on the conference, running full-length programs of the panels we taped. We'll give you further details as the series progresses.
A group of young pirate radio activists from Seattle caused quite a sensation with their portable ad hoc radio transmissions from various sites around the conference. They were having some trouble getting their signal through on some occasions, but their tireless rebel energy was appreciated by many of the conference-goers.
Equally important, we spent a lot of time getting to know the folks from People's Video and Paper Tiger and discussed sharing materials on a more regular basis. More than anything, it was extremely worthwhile to learn to recognize and get to know others throughout the country who are engaged in the same struggle we are: that of broadening and democratizing the base of the media by covering issues of meaning and relevance to the daily lives of people everywhere.
We'd like to thank the Mackenzie River Gathering for the grant which covered our travel expenses to San Francisco, and also the Institue for Alternative Journalism who, despite the numerous tasks and challenges, had the strength and organization to convene an amazing gathering like this one. We hope this will become an annual event. .
The Flying Focus mailing list has grown to almost 1000 people. It's great that we have so many people that are interested in Flying Focus, and want to support our organization. Unfortunately, while we do have a bulk mailing permit, the cost of mailing to 1000 people even three times a year is pretty high. And while we want to keep you in touch with all of our events and programs, we also hate to think that some of our newsletters may be going straight from the mail carrier to the landfill (or the recycle bin).
So, we're asking people who no longer want to be on the mailing list to contact us, either through the mail, a phone call, or e-mail, and tell us that they'd like to be removed from the list. Equally important, we ask that people who have moved recently also contact us and tell us their new addresses, or tell us if they no longer wish to receive the Flying Focus
Newsletter three times a year. If you have e-mail, and prefer to receive the newsletter or any mailings in that method, then contact us and we can add you to our bulk e-mail list, thus saving a small portion of a tree.
The Flying Focus Lending Library Program has nearly reached its original goal of distributing 23 tapes to two locations -- and, beyond that, we have several tapes at two other locations. Laughing Horse Books and Oregon Peace Institute were the original sites, and you can find all of our currently available tapes at either one. The 223 Freedom and Mutual Aid Center and Underground Video carry some, but not all titles.
The latest to show up on the shelves have been "Portlanders Protest Terrorism" (VB #15.10) featuring demonstrations in support of Judi Bari and War Tax Resistance. Judi Bari is one of the two Earth First! activists who were bombed -- possibly by the FBI. Also newly out: Barbara Ehrenreich on "War and Society," (ZMI #1.11) tracing the roots of war to human sacrifice and other rituals, "When Police Kill" (VB #14.9) featuring three parents of police shooting victims from California and New Mexico, and "The Risks of War Tax Resistance" (SE #31) (see article on public showings).
By the end of this month, you will see the last of the originally planned tapes on the shelves: "Allan Nairn: Genocide in East Timor" (SE #49), taped in April 1994 and featuring the crusading journalist who witnessed slaughter by Indonesian troops in a Timorese graveyard, "Being Critical of Mass Media" featuring the de-construction of a mainstream TV news piece about the bike riders in Critical Mass, and "Peter Newman: Cities and Auto Dependence"(VB#14.3&4) in which the well-known city planner describes ways to get out of the car and onto your feet, among other things. From now on, we will be taking requests and putting programs out based on demand and donations generated by the lending library. On tap is the Noam Chomsky lecture on "Class War" (SE #80) taped at PSU last fall.
But we really need your support to help keep this program going! Use the enclosed slip to request shows for the lending library, direct your donation to the program, or order a tape, then donate it back to us so we can put it on the shelf!
Have you ever wondered where your money goes when you donate it to Flying Focus? Unlike many video organizations, we have no paid staff and, because nearly all our work is for cable access, our equipment use and maintenance costs are very low. In fact, our annual budget is only about $5000.
If you'd like to make a large difference to a small, local, alternative media organization, you can help by underwriting some of our major costs. For instance, if you donate $60, that will cover one year of our e-mail account. Just $75 will keep our voicemail number listed in the phone book. The permit which allows us to send you this in bulk mail (for an average of 10˘ per piece) costs $85 per year to renew. We’re also looking at some equipment to allow us to edit in our office, which would mean better quality programs, faster and with wider distribution possibilities. The Time Base Corrector we’re looking at now goes for $650; a character generator to put titles on the screen would cost $300 to $600. You don’t have to donate the whole amount, just write in the memo field what you'd like us to use the money for. Remember, our tax-exempt educational work means you can claim us as a deduction (if you want to).
In January, we produced a two-part episode for the Video Bus called "The Gulf War, 5 Years Later." (VB 18.9&10) It showed clips from two events put on by Portland Peaceworks commemorating the anniversary of the beginning of the U.S. bombing campaign which took the lives of some 150,000 Iraqis. Speakers pointed out that now the death toll is near one million with the ongoing effects of U.S. sanctions. The program also includes analysis of mainstream media portrayals of the events and the "war" in perspective. This program was featured at the April Public Showing to some success (see accompanying article). Since Flying Focus was founded during that war, this program also very briefly shows clips from our earliest efforts as well as other programs we have with information on Iraq, the war, and its aftermath.
Flying Focus has been getting a lot of progressive press attention lately, and we haven't solicited any of it!
If you were lucky enough to receive the February, 1996 Portland Vegetarians newsletter, you may have seen a mention of Flying Focus regarding our Wes Jackson tape (SE #82: "Becoming Native to This Place"). This is what they said: "Flying Focus produces and collects videos that you will not see any where else dealing with a very wide range of societal questions. The collection covers everything from civil rights to foreign affairs. They are an excellent resource for material for discussion or teaching." The Wes Jackson tape was also prominently mentioned in the "Eco-Ministry News", a newsletter of the Interfaith Network for Earth Concern.
Also, in the April, 1996 Z Magazine, reporting on the Media and Democracy Congress (see other article), the editors note that a national alternative media federation could: "bring into alliances film and TV producers like Global Vision, Flying Focus, and Paper Tiger."
But the most enthusiastic mention we got is in a radical 'zine called "The Sinner's Bible". They write, "Political videos from around the globe focusing on insurgency, US imperialism, indigenous peoples, the economy and other topical issues. The prices are fuckin [sic] reasonable as hell, and if you've got half a brain, you'll be stimulated to start using the rest (if you've got a full brain, you might explode from the excitement). The catalog's free, and I suggest you learn more about your own country's fierce domination and subjugation of the world."
Flying Focus with Laughing Horse Books has been presenting monthly showings at Laughing Horse. Since March we've had two showings: A successful April viewing & discussion centered around "Risks of War Tax Resistance." And in March Portland Peaceworks helped commemorate the "Gulf War, Five Years Later." The public showings are presented on the second to the last Saturday of each month, and we're trying to coordinate the showings with current events. We're also co-sponsoring the evenings with groups who work on the issues featured in the videos. If you have a show you'd like to see, or just want more information, call our office, or check out the schedule on our web page.
Five one-hour segments taped in Chicago, October 1995 To be cablecast May 16-June 20
Thursdays:(except 6/6)4:00 pmCh 11 Citywide
reruns ch. 9 TCI Tualatin Valley: Thursdays, 9 pm;
Fridays, 3 pm; following Thursdays, 3 am
PART I: 5/16 The Criminalization of Black and Latino Youth (keynote address)
PART II: 5/23 Policing the Homeless
PART III: 5/30 National and State Level Issues and Initiatives
PART IV: 6/13 (ch. 11) 6/6 (ch 9) Dealing with Media: (40min.) Police Asssociations and Police Accountability (part 1) (20 min.)
PART V: 6/20 (ch. 11), 6/13 (ch. 9) Police Asssociations and Police Accountability (part 2) (30 min.) Educate, Organize, Struggle (30 min.)
For a full list of who appears on which program, contact us!
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