Communications strategy + design for print, web and community projects

Teaching about democracy through media heroes

heroes-parkerLast month, Rev. Everett Parker celebrated his 100th birthday. In 1963, at the request of Martin Luther King, Parker led a civil rights campaign to fight racist bias on local television broadcasts in Jackson, Mississippi. Appealing to the FCC for help, and eventually the courts, Parker’s campaign succeeded in getting the station shut down. Perhaps more importantly, the campaign established for the first time that members of the public have standing to demand fair treatment from private broadcasters making use of the public airwaves.

Let’s expand community radio!

There’s a new buzz across the country around low-power (LPFM) community radio, now that the FCC has announced an upcoming window for organizations to apply for new licenses. As director of Reclaim the Media and a member of the Prometheus Radio Project’s national LPFM advisory board, I spent several years working with many others to expand LPFM–so it will be very exciting to see the fruits of that effort, as hundreds of new stations begin serving their cities and towns. Here are a few articles I wrote during that campaign, trying to convey why community radio is such an important resource for many underrepresented communities:

Poverty jobs at Sea-Tac Airport

Poverty jobs at Sea-Tac Airport

Art direction and overall design for a white paper on economic inequality among Sea-Tac Airport’s largely immigrant workforce. Briefing paper…

Video clips send the people’s message

When the state legislature is in session, many organizations are doing their best to capture the limited attention of legislators and their staff, often coming to the Capitol in person, and in numbers, to bring important messages. It can be hard to feel like you’re getting through, with state government’s busy schedules and many distractions. On top of that, the Capitol press corps is a shadow of its former self–and much of the news coverage and analysis of state politics is created from a distance.

One good way to help amplify or reinforce a message to lawmakers, or help promote news coverage of creative demonstrations or a delegation visit to the Capitol, is through online video. Shot with personal equipment and lightly edited to tell a brief story, a web video can be emailed to lawmakers, staffers, journalists or constituents to help them get the message you want to deliver.

Lumps of coal for greedy CEOS

santaFather Solstice and his elves prepared for Christmas in Seattle this year by delivering lumps of coal to a few greedy CEOs who are demanding tax cuts for themselves, but austerity measures for the poor. Bah humbug! Santa’s memo to the elves was my last design chore of 2012, and a fun way to end the year.

Celebrating International Human Rights Day

airportworkers-dec12Sea-Tac Airport workers marked International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, as part of their ongoing campaign for good jobs at Seattle’s airport. The placards we designed for a rally involving both workers and community faith leaders took two approaches: First, the quiet yet forceful image of a lit candle. This striking image is a detail borrowed from a painting by Gerhard Richter. The second image of multicolored, raised hands echoes imagery used by the United Nations’ own Human Rights Day campaign, recreated to fit the specific concerns of Sea-Tac airport workers.

Flotation Device

kbcs_logoI’ve been producing the creative and improvised music program Flotation Device at Seattle’s community radio station KBCS since the summer of 2001–feels like a long time! My biweekly cohosts have included “El Fred” Gilbert, composer Chris DeLaurenti and, now, bassist and local music organizer John Seman.

On any given Sunday evening, listeners are likely to hear a range of action-packed and exciting sounds from free jazz practitioners like William Parker, modern composers such as Pauline Oliveros, acoustic collagists, genre refugees and electronic envelope-pushers of the highest degree. The program is both highly international and insistently local–highlighting the live and recorded work of some of Seattle’s best young outside jazz and experimental sound artists.

Flotation Device airs each Sunday, from 10pm to midnight, on KBCS 91.3fm. Recent archived audio and playlist archives are on the station’s website.

Older playlists are archived on the program’s Facebook page (give us a like!).

A Seattle Buddhist Centennial

The Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple (Seattle Buddhist Church) celebrated its centennial in 2001. For the temple and its multigenerational community, it was a year full of celebration and contemplation–and for Susan Gleason and I, an opportunity to capture an incredible story about a quietly resilient community.

Before ever visiting the temple, Susan and I were struck by a sense of wonder at what it meant for a Japanese-American community institution to have planted immigrant roots in a West Coast city at the beginning of the twentieth century; to have endured the indignities and horrors of racism, displacement and internment; and to have continued to flourish in the decades and generations since.

We took our audio recorders to the temple and spoke with temple members of different generations–mostly Nisei (children of Japanese immigrants) and Sansei (grandchildren of immigrants), along with the temple’s head priest, Rev. Don Castro. The result was a 10-minute radio feature, first broadcast on KBCS’s program Voices of Diversity.

Listen here: A Seattle Buddhist Centennial (mp3).

There’s no depth to this guy (photos)

romney Folks will argue about what ultimately cost Romney the presidential election, but I think it must have been in part due to the visuals at this demonstration in Bellevue. I produced the banners and stand-up Romney; Get Money Out of Politics brought their money sacks and corporation costume; and the Backbone Campaign brought the projections and the giant Bill of Rights. More photos here.

Pennies for Rob McKenna

penniesChallenge: grab attention for a rally calling out gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna’s position opposing a twelve-cent minimum raise increase. Our solution: twelve giant dancing pennies, featuring a metallicized version of the candidate’s face–along with some goofy wordplay branding him as the candidate of the one percent. In place of “E Pluribus Unum,” the latin motto on each coin translates “The one percent over all.”