Explore the Future of the Web

Reinventing Mass Media with 10,000 Little Jon Stewarts

Emily Long

Despite the potential for media as a tool for engagement and democracy, the media industry today acts largely as a one-way flow of information and ideas. News, advertising and entertainment reflect only a handful of dominant narratives, and messages countering those narratives are easily shut down by corporations with the money and influence needed to shape the conversation. Major copyright and patent holders can – and do – intimidate those who challenge their products, and a lack of rights awareness combined with a tightly centralized media industry put innovation and freedom of speech in jeopardy.
However, a handful of voices have permeated the mainstream, and demonstrated that it is possible for nuance and dissent to take root and effect broad change. Popular critics like Jon Stewart, W. Kamau Bell and others are using humor and remix to challenge the media industry even while working within it, and a surge in the ethos of self-creation has given rise to the Maker Movement, MOOCs, crowdfunding and more. As a new generation of media producers grows up in these new systems for empowerment, our concepts of what it means to access, control and create media and technology are at a critical moment of shift.
In this session, The LAMP’s Emily Long will discuss this sea change in media-making and technology use through the lens of working with low-income communities to create “10,000 little Jon Stewarts,” and what’s next in a venture that confronts how we learn, create and interact with media messages.

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