What We Do at the Conference

At the National Conference for Media Reform, you’ll learn about today’s pressing media and technology issues, meet amazing activists from around the country and build new skills — all while experiencing the fantastic programming we’ve got lined up for you. Check out the info below for a sneak peek at what awaits you in Denver.

  • Keynote Rally

    Keynote Rally and Plenaries

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    Once a day we’ll all gather in a single room to get inspired, feel the energy of our fellow conference-goers and demonstrate our power as a movement working to change the media and build a better democracy. On day one, we’ll look back at the history of the media reform movement — and how we got to where we are today. On day two, we’ll celebrate our victories and achievements. And on the final day, we’ll look to the future and plot our roadmap for change.

    These sessions will feature award-winning artists, Hollywood luminaries, visionary activists and organizers, veteran journalists, D.C. heavyweights and more. Look for can’t-miss performances, stirring speeches, musical interludes and other surprises.

  • Break out sessions


    The conference will feature 80 sessions focused on policy and politics; social justice and the fight for media equality; journalism and public media; culture, creators and media makers; and Internet freedom, technology and innovation. Workshops and trainings, panels, debates, roundtable discussions, game shows — you name it, we’ve got it.

    Here are our themed tracks:

    • Policy and Politics

      Policy and Politics:

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      Sessions will highlight today’s most pressing media policy debates, discuss how to advance the public interest in Washington and explore how the media impact the world’s most pressing political issues.

    • Social Justice and the Fight for Media Equality

      Social Justice and the Fight for Media Equality:

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      Sessions will explore the connections between media and organizing efforts aimed at improving the lives of everyday people. Sessions will also examine the media’s role in shaping public and political discourse about the critical social justice issues of our time.

    • Journalism and Public Media

      Journalism and Public Media:

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      Sessions will focus on the future of journalism and the First Amendment in the digital age. These sessions will spotlight innovative projects, tackle controversial debates and explore policy ideas through the lens of community, ethnic, alternative and public media.

    • Culture, Creators and Media Makers

      Culture, Creators and Media Makers:

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      Sessions will look at cultural production — the making of media, how creators use media and technology and the influence of pop culture in our society. This track will feature artists ranging from musicians and comedians to radio producers and documentary filmmakers. The track will include workshops on the creation of media in its many forms and the policies that support — or threaten — media making.

    • Internet Freedom, Technology and Innovation

      Internet Freedom, Technology and Innovation:

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      Sessions will investigate how the free and open Internet is central to people’s freedom to communicate, share, advocate and innovate in the 21st century — and will look at the policies that could help us achieve Internet freedom for all.

    • Workshops/Tech and Media Playground

      Workshops/Tech and Media Playground:

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      Let’s roll up our sleeves and make something. You can assemble a mini radio transmitter or your own data maps. You can work on a project in the hacklab or learn production skills as you cover the conference for a local radio station and video channel. Visit the tech and media playground to share and learn handy skills.

  • Film Festival

    Film Festival and Screening Room

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    The National Conference for Media Reform Film Festival will blur the boundaries between art, politics, academia and activism. It will feature award-winning films that take us to different and often inaccessible worlds. Witness the art, citizen journalism and social activism of China; peek inside a U.S. maximum security prison; take a close look at the culture of professional sports. Learn how the misrepresentation of women and people of color affects all of our lives, and travel to the dark corridors of the U.S. media system, where global conglomerates call the shots. Don’t miss these remarkable films. And don't forget to check out our screening room in the Conference Commons, where we’ll be showing continuous loops of community media and advocacy videos.

  • connections


    Click here to view the Connections

    Connections sessions will allow you to check out what Denver has to offer while you connect with other conference-goers. You can go for a walk, enjoy a beer or a snack, visit an independent media organization or check out some art.

  • Party


    Click here to view the party schedule

    What’s a conference without time to relax, unwind and hang out? We’ve got a welcome party on Thursday featuring live music, dancing and a film screening. After you’ve taken in a few great sessions on Friday, get ready to shake your media maker on the dance floor with us that evening. Our Friday bash will rage into the wee hours with a lineup of all-star performers, theater, a DJ and plenty of shenanigans. And round out the conference on Sunday with our after-party and comedy showcase.

  • connections

    Conference Commons

    Click here to view everything going on in the Commons

    The Commons is a public square where activists, authors, media makers, students, vendors and others engage in discussion, share information and skills, deliver dynamic presentations, demonstrate products and sell their wares.

    There are all kinds of options here. You can stroll through the art gallery and poets’ corner. You can learn new skills in the tech and media playground’s hands-on workshops. You can browse the bookstore, or get a book signed in our “meet the authors” corner. You can join the crowd gathering around the soapbox, seek out a vendor or chat with a fellow activist. The Commons is a space for random thoughts, inspired innovation and creative connection. Be sure to leave time in your schedule to enjoy the experience.

    Here are some places to check out in the Commons:

    • The Soapbox

      The Soapbox:

      Have you ever wanted to get up on a soapbox and tell the world what you think? Well, here’s your chance! You can have your 15 minutes of fame on our virtual soapbox right in the middle of the Commons. It's a unique place where you can give a speech, sing, read a poem, perform a Hamlet soliloquy, do a standup bit — it’s all up to you. We’re offering a limited number of 15-minute "soapbox sessions" to attendees on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up here to reserve your slot!

    • Book Signing

      Meet the Authors/Bookstore:

      Amy Goodman, Juan González, Staceyann Chin and Joseph Torres are just a few of the authors you’ll get to meet at our conference book signings. Meanwhile, our friends at Boulder Book Store will be on hand to sell titles related to media, technology and democracy.

    • Live Music

      Live Music:

      What's a party without music? Step into the Conference Commons to hear a few tunes and check out some innovative music projects from Denver’s best. Meet students and staff from Youth on Record, a program of Flobots.org that trains young people to tell their personal stories through digital media. They'll be spinning their own music, from hip-hop to electronica to reggae and beyond. Hang out, talk, listen and maybe show us a few of your best moves.

    • Information Exchange

      Information Exchange:

      Visit exhibitors from independent media outlets, college programs, community media groups and other organizations. You’re sure to make some interesting and useful connections here.

    • Art Gallery

      Art and activism go hand in hand in social movements — and our two galleries highlight how art is used to strategize, organize and deliver powerful messages. Our galleries feature graphic art curated by Susie Cagle and Erin Polgreen, and political posters and prints curated by Favianna Rodriguez.

    • emergent

      Emergent Digital Practices:

      Wearable computing, intelligent textiles, 3-D printing, multiplayer games, interactive sound and video —students and professors from the University of Denver’s Emergent Digital Practices Program will be on hand to show us some of their super-cool projects.

    • Poets Corner

      Poets’ Corner:

      Live reporting on the conference through poetry? Yes! Poets will write, display and perform poems in the Commons.

    • theater


      If you're lucky you might catch some live theater in the Commons. Keep your eyes open for surprise performances led by director Jose Mercado.

    • Campus Action

      Campus Action:

      Students are not just the future of our movement; they are already leading the way. College students are presenting their projects, research and journalism throughout the conference.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good