The National Conference for Media Reform Wants You!

Want to present a session at the next National Conference for Media Reform? We’re already busy planning the conference, which will be held in Denver in April 2013, so now is the time to send us your proposals.

But before you dive in and start typing something up, take some time to learn more about our conference priorities, selection criteria, themed tracks and submission process.

And if you want us to help you brainstorm, feel free to contact us at — we’re happy to set up a time to chat. All proposals are due by Sept. 10, 2012, so get in touch early on with any questions.

Conference Mission

First and foremost, the conference is dedicated to changing our media and building a better democracy. So we need you to show us how your proposal relates to media reform, justice, activism, education or policy.

Your proposal should strive to meet our conference priorities. Proposals should:

  • Have creative and varied formats. Sessions should move beyond the traditional panel-and-Q&A format. We’re looking for sessions that are interactive, creative and engaging.
  • Be hands-on and participatory. Interaction, training and audience participation are essential.
  • Inspire action. Sessions should inspire and energize participants to change the media and leave attendees with next steps and concrete action items.
  • Be diverse. Diversity of views may reflect diversity in age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ideology, physical ability, socioeconomic background and professional or political views, among other identifying features.
  • Be grounded in the region. Sessions should include people, examples and topics relating to the Colorado region.
  • Include networking opportunities. Sessions should enable participants to connect with others.
  • Align with Free Press’ values of democracy, integrity, diversity and public engagement.

You should also keep our selection criteria in mind:

  • Objective and fit: Is the session objective clear? Does this session fit with the priorities of this conference and our audience? Does it offer solutions to problems in our media system? Can the session subject be addressed in 90 minutes? Is the session topic too broad or too narrow?
  • Willingness to collaborate: Is the session designer open to collaborating with Free Press and with other session designers to merge sessions in instances where the proposed topic, speakers or format are similar? Is the designer open to working with Free Press to further shape the session format to ensure it meets our conference priorities?
  • Need: Is this one of the most pressing topics in media reform?
  • Presenter qualifications: Are the proposed presenters the most qualified available to address the proposed topic? Will they be engaging, knowledgeable, inclusive and well-prepared? Will the proposed presenters be able to attend the conference?
  • Audience: Does this session fit the needs and interests of a broad swath of conference participants? What level of knowledge or familiarity with the topic does it assume?
  • Votes: How did voters respond to the proposal? (Scroll down for information on voting.)

Similarly, your suggestions should fit into at least one of the conference’s themed tracks:

  • Policy and Politics
  • Social Justice and the Fight for Media Equality 
  • Journalism and Public Media
  • Culture, Creators and Media Makers
  • Internet Freedom
  • Workshops and Trainings

For more information on conference tracks, click here.

Now that you’ve brainstormed some of the key elements of your proposal, we thought you would like to know about our decision-making process.

Proposal-Selection Process, Part 1:

If your proposal receives initial approval, it will go through a two-part selection process.

  1. The first part will consist of an online voting system that’s open to the public.
  2. The second part will consist of review by the Free Press conference committee.

The online voting system will allow people to provide feedback on session ideas by “voting” for their favorites. The voting system provides a transparent way for us to show the media reform community the ideas we received in our call for suggestions.

Proposal-Selection Process, Part 2:

Once voting closes the Free Press conference committee will determine the final program. Vote count is one of several factors we consider when evaluating proposals.

The committee oversees and shapes each track. The committee may suggest that you combine or merge your proposed session with another session, shift the focus of your session or alter your proposed lineup of presenters.

The committee is headed up by Mary Alice Crim (that’s me!) and includes Candace Clement, Josh Levy, Misty Perez Truedson, Libby Reinish, Josh Stearns, Joseph Torres and Chancellar Williams. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at

We look forward to receiving your proposals and feedback. Click here to access our online submission form. Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas!

Would you like to support the planning of the National Conference for Media Reform? Kick in $5 today. This conference is not a moneymaker for Free Press: Registration fees cover less than half of the costs. And because Free Press is funded solely by gifts from individuals, foundations and public charities, contributions from everyday people are our lifeblood. Thank you!