Media Alert: Democracy suffers when broadcast stations own many outlets in one market

Media consolidation reduces the number of voices and views available in towns and cities across the county. The FCC has rules about this but, “companies like Gannett, Nextar, Raycom, Sinclair and Tribune have set up shell corporations that they then sell some stations to –while maintaining control of much of the content and revenue” according to this Seattle Times editorial. To read more about this issue and how to act, click

Media Alert: Massachusetts Passes Media Literacy Bill for Schools

NWARM thought you would be interested in this bill regarding Media Literacy in the Schools in Massachusetts just passed (Bill S.213) – An Act Concerning Media Literacy in Schools and perhaps you would want to support such a campaign here in Washington state. The group who sponsored the legislation is interested in seeing if they can help in other states.  While it focuses on teaching children the skills for “accessing, analyzing, evaluating, creating and participating in the 21st media culture” (The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2014), these skills can spill over into their own home and community, teaching these children how to better look at these cartoons, videos, etc. and learn what is fake and what is real, and use their critical thinking process on what to apply to real life and what to leave alone.

The Massachusetts Bill S.213 states the following:

SECTION 1. Chapter 69 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 1N the following section:Section 1O. To equip students with the knowledge and skills for accessing, analyzing, evaluating, creating and participating in the 21st century media culture, and to ensure students develop the independent thinking and critical analysis skills needed to navigate the messages of a media-saturated world, the department of elementary and secondary education shall authorize and assist in the implementation of programs on teaching media literacy. The components of media literacy covered in the program shall include: Accessing and evaluating information from a variety of internet and other media sources; Analyzing how media messages, including advertising, are constructed and for what purposes; Evaluating media’s explicit and implicit messages, how messages can be interpreted, how values and points of view are included and excluded, and how media can influence ideas and behaviors; Creating media and messages using a variety of media tools, including the use of words, images, sound and other multi-media tools; Participating in a global media culture.The department shall develop standards and objectives for media literacy for grades kindergarten to 12, inclusive, within the existing curriculum. The department shall make available to school districts a list of resources to aid in the selection of materials and resources that contain substantive provisions on media literacy, and will ensure that approved media literacy training opportunities are made available for professional development points within the teacher recertification program.

This Bill could be instrumental in teaching children important critical thinking skills, not only with video games and cartoons, but with any type of television they watch from the time they start learning these skills and throughout life. These skills can teach these children to start looking at media sources in a different way, especially young children who want to fit in with the crowd in middle school and high school. They can help them understand that models are air brushed to make them look better and delete their deficiencies, as well as help young women just coming into puberty understand that society is not interested in women who are skin and bones, but a woman who is strong and confident and believes in themselves. I believe that these media literacy efforts could possibly thwart different types of “growing pains” that children and young adults experience now-a-days and instill a sense of self worth by understanding that media is a portal to get a message out in order to sell money and basically control the populace in different ways.

For details go to:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (2014). Bill S.213 – An Act Concerning Media

Literacy in Schools. Retrieved February 26, 2014 from

Opportunity to support independent media about economic justice

The Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, A Charitable Foundation and Ron & Debbie Reed are hosting the community screening where proceeds will be donated to the 2nd Harvest Food Bank of Spokane. This screening is being produced in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the holiday that celebrates his courage, strength, and his life.

A discussion about community action to resolve inequality issues will follow the screening.

The screening will be held on January 20th, 2014 at 6:00pm at Spokane’s Bing Crosby Theater. The Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund will match all proceeds raised by the event for the 2nd Harvest Food Bank of Spokane to help feed the hungry this winter.

Sponsors include the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, Community Building Foundation, The Inlander, Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, Eco Depot, TicketsWest, PacifiCAD, Spokane Alliance, Laborers Local 238, Too Far North Productions, David Mercury Advertising, Hamilton Studio, Ron & Debbie Reed, KYRS Thin Air Community Radio, Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, Center for Justice, Teamsters Local Union No. 690 and Surviving the Future Film Group.

“Our community is no exception when it comes to stagnant wages and economic inequality”, said Ron Reed, the main force behind bringing this screening to Spokane. “And with food stamp needs and poverty growing in our community, benefiting 2nd Harvest wasn’t just an after-thought, but is a critical need. Our decision to honor Dr. King through this effort is wholly based upon his lifelong fight for equality and justice for all people.”

INEQUALITY FOR ALL is a documentary film directed by Jacob Kornbluth. The film examines widening income inequality in the United States. The film is presented by American economist, author and Professor Robert Reich. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the Documentary Competition section, and won a U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking. It also won the Audience Award Winner, Best Documentary Film Traverse City Film Festival 2013.

INEQUALITY FOR ALL allows viewers to start with little or no understanding of what it means for the U.S. to be economically imbalanced, and walk away with a comprehensive and significantly deeper sense of the issue and what can be done about it.

Advance tickets are available online through For group tickets or more information, call 509-326-8683. Admission the night of the event will be available for a suggested donation based upon space availability. Don’t miss this opportunity to educate yourself about the problems the widening inequality gap poses to our economy and our country.