Thoughts on Media Reform

I am back in Seattle, and still catching my breath from my trip to Boston last week.  It was absolutely phenomenal!  I will talk about that in more detail in it’s own post.

I met an individual from Free Press at the conference, and I was invited to attend their National Conference for Media Reform next year.  As part of the process for preparation, I wrote out my thoughts on media reform, and I kind of liked them.  Therefore, I’d like to share them with you all.  Enjoy.

Every change in this world, every revolution that has taken place, every movement that has been started, began with one thing: a change in the way that people think. There are many ways to change the way the people think about their position, their beliefs and their lives. One effective way to do this is to open their eyes to things, people, or ideas that they have had little or no exposure to in the past. To open eyes, to give light to, to expose people to facts and information is the mission of the media. Sadly, the media has lost sight of this mission and the integrity implicitly needed to carry it out. Catering to special interests, political motivations, and monetary incentives have become more important than the transmission of knowledge. A change must be made to bring this system back into line with its mission. When media is freed from these vices, it can be used to ensure that people think critically about world they exist in. Armed with unbiased truth, they will be able to change their situations. Equipped with disinterested facts, they will be able to revolt against forces that oppress them. Empowered by knowledge and wisdom, they can move forward. All of these are possible today. All of these can be achieved through media reform.

My website, The SuperSpade (, presents critical commentary on social issues and current events from the perspective of three twenty-something, college-educated Black Men inspired to create this space out of frustration with the media as it exists today. My role in the media reform movement involves critiquing current media outlets while simultaneously presenting an alternative that is not a slave to the entities that keep today’s press from handling its responsibilities. While attending the University of Michigan, the Black male support network that I chaired focused heavily on critiquing, combating, and providing alternatives to images and stereotypes of Blackness and masculinity perpetuated by corporate media. We held meetings on campus that showcased progressive media interpretations of Blackness and masculinity. We encouraged people to create media that managed Black images, not accepting the image given to them.

My NCMR experience will benefit everyone I touch. SuperSpade participants will benefit from my exposure to new techniques of presentation. My communities in the Greater Seattle and Detroit areas will benefit from communication of the importance of media reform and the need to reject agents of the press that lack integrity. Most importantly, individuals will gain confidence, knowing that groups like Free Press are working to ensure that their voices are given the credence they deserve.

My community’s involvement in media reform is threefold:
1. Spirit of support of alternative radio, television, and Internet media outlets and distribution channels. Old media cannot exist without an audience; neither can reformed media.
2. Spirit of proactive contribution. My vision of reformed media is a participatory one, where consumers evolve from readers/watchers to participants/co-contributors. We are doing this at The SuperSpade. I encourage my peer content producers to embrace the same participatory spirit in their own work.
3. Spirit of commitment. Creating sustainable and substantive reform today’s media takes loyalty to progressive media approaches and ideological endurance.

All of these apply concretely in the short and long term. I support, and will continue to support and encourage others to support new age media. I encourage proactive contribution from participants at The SuperSpade, and will push forward in changing the paradigm of interaction between producer and consumer of news and media with my future ventures. My ideological commitment to alternative media will be the foundation of my content creations for the rest of my creative existence.

One Love. One II.



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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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