Conference to mark IndyMedia’s 10th year

MEDIA | BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN

Occupy Rochester’s live streams from Washington Square Park could be maddeningly unreliable. The problems could’ve been related to the technology, or insufficient preparation, or any number of issues, says Andy Dillon of Rochester IndyMedia, an independent media outlet that generally focuses on progressive issues.

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Rochester IndyMedia is holding a regional conference to help groups like Occupy learn audio and video production skills, interviewing techniques, live streaming, and other skills. There will also be discussions on poverty and the media, attacks on the rights of journalists, and many other topics.

Dillon says he hopes the conference builds and strengthens relationships between independent media, activists, and the community. Another goal: to build confidence and technological competence among these groups so they can share their stories on their terms.

“It’s important we all tell our stories and interact as much as possible, especially people who are involved with social change work,” Dillon says. “A lot of organizations wait for the media to show up when they could be creating their own narrative.”

Presenters at the June conference include author and activist Yusef Shakur, Democracy Now! Producer Mike Burke, and Leslie Pickering, founder and former spokesperson for the North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office.

Dillon says it’s unusual for a collective like Rochester IndyMedia to last. The groups tend to form around a specific issue, he says, and dissolve afterward. Rochester IndyMedia’s longevity as well as its success sharing stories sometimes overlooked by more mainstream media are two of its most significant accomplishments, Dillon says.

Rochester IndyMedia’s “Transforming Media” conference will be held June 8 to 10 at the Flying Squirrel Community Space on Clarissa Street. Registration and other information: rochester.indymedia.org.

Learning media skills will help activists and others tell their own stories, says Andy Dillon of Rochester IndyMedia. PHOTO BY MATT DETURCK

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