What's Next? A Million Ways to Do The Work.
It’s been almost exactly three weeks since my last day as publisher at Bitch Media. After six years working in independent feminist media with and for some of the smartest people on the planet, it was time to move on. I loved the challenge of funding the impossible. I loved the stone cold fact that Bitch was and is always ahead of the curve—both in its revenue model as well as its editorial work—and I am so proud of the work we did together while I was there. From shifting Bitch’s funding model to redesigning Bitch magazine to reorganizing our staff structure and hiring the brilliant directors, managers, editors, systems geniuses, and community-oriented folks who currently make Bitch as powerful as it is, the organization has never been stronger. (Here’s where I say that funding independent media is a constant investment, and Bitch needs your support today.)
But the challenges to amplifying the voices that must be heard in order for our world to shift are not limited to media. As inboxes continue to be flooded with petition requests and North Carolina literally gets flooded by Florence, we’re facing yet another turning point in what it takes to cut through the noise with critical messages. In other words, solving the longterm challenges facing media outlets and beyond requires commitment and sincere interest from all kinds of organizations. And that’s just one reason why I’m so excited to take my next steps with a firm here in Portland, ThinkShout.
The lessons that I brought with me to build Bitch Media’s funding model came from community organizing: Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals are just as important to values-based media as they are to political and social justice campaigns. As a senior strategist working with ThinkShout, a B-corp that works with some of the most impact-driven advocacy organizations in the US, (like the Southern Poverty Law Center, for example) I’ll be developing strategies that pull from media, political organizing, and from both digital and IRL tools for connection. The job will face the same core challenge as every job I’ve ever had: How do we help people connect in meaningful ways to the issues and communities that shape their lives?
We’re on the brink of a massive shift when it comes to digital spaces, one that demands us to value depth in relationships as much or more than we value breadth of reach. From membership models to daily podcasting, where does the internet offer us opportunities to deepen real relationships, and what tools can we create and build on that make humans feel more in touch with other humans? These two questions are the key to everything.
It took me a long, long time to know what my next step would be professionally. I had to be careful about unpacking my personal motivations and desires, taking care to parse out the pressures of what “success” looks like from others versus what it means to me when I wake up every day. Above all else, I am committed to dismantling white supremacy, interrupting misogyny, confronting racism, and challenging xenophobia and homophobia and transphobia in all of their iterations. These various hatreds have their nuances, but they all stem from one place: Fear of oneself; fear of the other.
So, how do we help people connect in meaningful ways to the issues and communities that shape their lives? For me, that’s where it all starts, and that’s where it all ends.
If you look at the timestamp on this post, you should know that as I write this, I’m watching Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testify in front of the Judiciary Committee, bravely revisiting the terrible trauma that Brett Kavanaugh caused when he sexually assaulted her in high school. By my estimate and by the measure of our country’s history, he will be swiftly confirmed tomorrow morning. There are so many ways to do the work that needs to be done. What’s your next step?