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Rewriting the Future of a Free and Just Press with Media 2070’s Alicia Bell

We’ve talked at some length this season about the role of the media — all kinds of media — in fostering hate and division, and the massive opportunity that exists in our communication spaces to lift one another, to repair, to rebuild. Our guest this week is someone whose steeped in a major movement to rewrite media’s story in our society. 

Alicia Bell is director of Media 2070. What started as a research essay detailing the role that media has played in anti-Black racism and harm has grown into a growing consortium of media makers and activists, collectively working toward media reparations. What does Media 2070 say about themselves?

This work is an effort to radically transform who has the capital to tell their own stories by 2070 — 50 years from today. This work is an idea, welcoming critique and feedback. It is liberation work within a lineage of civil-rights activism, racial-justice organizing and calls for reparations. This work makes visible the ways in which the media have taken part in and supported state violence and harm against Black people.

Anti-Blackness is a global issue and we will never build the critical mass to transform our culture if we don’t marshal the political and cultural resources required to address it in our media, first. Alicia and her team are not just talking and writing about the need for reparations, they’re actively working on that change. They partnered with more than twenty lawmakers to call on the FCC to examine how media-related policies have harmed black communities and other people of color. They’ve created tools for newsrooms and journalists to assess their own cultural norms, and pledge to build more radically inclusive practices. They’ve presented the need for culture change in a way media itself never could have done.

Alicia is at the heart of this reckoning, one designed to move newsrooms to a place that can care for and support all people in the community and finally address the issue of anti-Blackness that has been present in our media for hundreds of years. 

We can’t wait to introduce you to this powerful force standing up for the future of a free and just press, Alicia Bell of Media 2070.

Links & Notes

  • (00:01) – Welcome to Mission Forward
  • (05:13) – Alicia Bell and the Transformation of Media
  • (09:08) – Vision
  • (14:38) – The Fifty Year Cycle
  • (19:23) – Delving into the History the “Multi-Racial Democracy”
  • (25:49) – What do media reparations look like?
This season, we are taking you on a journey to meet ten people influencing and shaping how we communicate at scale for social change. From advertising executives to coalition directors, news editors, campaign managers, and authors, they’re all people who are shaping and challenging the deep power of communication. If you’re working to become a more inclusive and thoughtful communicator, there’s nothing holding you back—except you.
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