Media .... Journalism ......Nab Protest.....

root - Posted on 01 January 2000

“Low income people never get heard in the mainstream media.”

by Barbara Huntley-Smith

Writing the words and preparing Graphics for the Posters we would take to the protest planned for the National Association of Broadcasters to be held at the Mascone Exhibition Center, was a once in a life-time learning experience for me. Having some perception of the importance for the industry of Micro Media to remain a vital thriving source for disseminating the concerns of the voiceless; I would on September 21, 2000, experienced first-hand the reality of Poor’s “Mission Statement.” “Low income people never get heard in the mainstream media.”

With signs in hand, The Poor News Media Contingent left the office hyped for our morning of protest. We boarded the Mission Street Bus and we were off. Our Instructor and Mentor Lisa, had briefed us on the morning’s activities prior to this day, but took us through an impromptu rehearsal. As the bus raced us to our destination, anticipation rose within me. Here I was going to be part of a National event. The implications are staggering in that, until two months ago I was Anonymous. Arriving at our destination before exiting the bus, the performers from Los Cybrids, Members for the Billionaires for Bush and Gore, the people with whom we would join forces were crossing the street. Together we began the theme of the morning’s action, as the Performers took Anna’s slogan for their theme: “National Association of Brainwashing.”

The skits were effective, and all of Poor’s News crew were given access to vent their venom against the NAB. The Presence of Micro Media was outstanding. I was interviewed by two Micro Media organizations, and one of the NAB’s affiliate, the Chronicle.

At the end of the protest our Dynamic Co-Director of Poor would push the envelop. Marshaling her news crew she invaded the eminent domain of the exhibition auditorium of the NAB, our assignment, “get registered.“

As the crew marched behind our Fearless Leader we were given instructions where to obtain the registration identification. After several attempts we were there. As we waited in line, it was brought to my attention that the Poor group was being monitored. Important-looking employees were huddled together trying to determine how to eliminate us from receiving a Pass. As that scene was in progress, Anna was given an assignment to take photographs of any important scenes. One of San Francisco’s Finest would be her Subject. This imposing looking African-American Policeman got irate at having his picture taken. He then began to throw the weight of his office, while trying to intimidate Anna by calling for his supervisor. At that curtail moment, in stepped Civil Rights Attorney and Advocate Martha Bridegam to the rescue. She effectively countered the Police officer’s argument and in the end had him apologizing, and inferring that it was all a misunderstanding. While this drama was unfolding, our Dynamic Leader was embroiled in a process I will call:

“put up or shut up!”

She was forced to prove the validity of Poor Newsnetwork on Line for the NAB Brasses. It was the best piece of irony for one of our news crew, our beloved “Joe.” Very particular person about anonymity, it was his face that was printed off the Internet....Gotcha!...Gotcha! Amid all this action, it was obvious there was a stall for time. Minutes later we would learn the purpose of the stall was to enable the Keynote speaker Colin Powell to deliver his address without interruption. The perception was, since we were demonstrating, we had ulterior motives, which they have decided would be malicious. When it was announced that Mr. Powell’s speech was concluded, the secretary worked tirelessly to get us out of their sight.
One obvious observation I made inside the auditorium was, the absence of “people of color” as viable representative. What was obvious was the presence of African-Americans, manning the service posts. I wonder, could that obvious display be due to the fact that the keynote speaker was a man of color?

I walked away from the Moscone Convention Center with a new admiration for the news media with whom I am affiliated. I am more convinced than before of the need for Community News media, and the importance of it remaining a vibrant, thriving part of the lives of the voiceless.


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