The International Journal of Communication has a new issue critically engaging with the media reform movement (Vol. 3, 2009). It is edited by Dan Berger and C. Riley Snorton, both radical scholars at University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication.
As a new movement (just over 10 years in the making), media reformers have adopted a centrist lobbying strategy to influence national media and telecommunications rulemaking. While national, this focus on media regulation and D.C. politics makes for a narrow coalition. Berger and Snorton along with Makani Themba-Nixon are just a few of those discussing alternative strategies, notably the work of grassroots media justice organizers who are rooted in social movements led by marginalized communities. As Themba-Nixon writes, “for many activists working for racial and gender justice, addressing the way media content defames and denigrates their constituencies is a central part of their media change agenda” — one that the media reform movement has deliberately sidestepped in favor of bipartisanship.
For radical librarians, issues of national and local information policy along with conversations about equity of access that directly address structural injustice overlap a great deal with the vision and principles of media justice. This journal edition presents a critical history of media reform by Berger and Snorton with responses from four scholars including Themba-Nixon, Robert McChesney, Richard Collins and Peter Dahlgren.