Free Press Action Fund

Fight for your rights to connect and communicate

Florence, MA   |  https://www.freepress.net

Mission

Founded in 2003, Free Press Action Fund believes that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what’s actually happening in their communities. We believe that the struggle for racial justice must be at the center of transforming our media and our democracy. We focus on saving Net Neutrality, achieving affordable internet access for all, uplifting the voices of people of color in the media, challenging old and new media gatekeepers to serve the public interest, ending unwarranted surveillance, defending press freedom and reimagining local journalism.

Ruling year info

2004

President and co-CEO

Craig Aaron

co-CEO

Jessica J. González

Main address

PO Box 60238

Florence, MA 01062 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

04-3771598

NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

Media, Communications Organizations (A30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Free Press Action was founded in 2003 to give people a say in the crucial policy decisions that shape media and technology, out of the belief that an equitable media system is essential to transforming democracy and realizing a just society. Now more than ever before, media and technology are intertwined in people’s daily lives, vital to the health of communities, and integral to democracy. Media and technology can be used to oppress people — or to liberate them. The media shape our political debates and who’s included in them, the outcomes of our elections, and our identities. Powerful corporations — aided by policymakers — are undermining people’s digital rights, consolidating market power, squelching diverse and independent voices, and profiting from hateful activities happening online. Free Press focuses on these powerful platforms and tools because they have an outsized influence not just on the U.S. political system but on our entire society.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Internet freedom

The free and open internet is a powerful tool for everyone fighting for social change and racial justice.

Net Neutrality:
Net Neutrality keeps the internet free and open — enabling anyone to share and access information of their choosing without interference. Our Save the Internet campaign fights for Net Neutrality.

Internet Access:
Affordable high-speed internet access is a necessity for our communities and central to our ability to connect, communicate and organize for justice.

Population(s) Served

When giant out-of-touch corporations own the news, the stories of people of color and other communities go untold. We fight to hold these companies accountable, defend press freedom, strengthen local journalism and protect public and community media.

Local Journalism:
Too many newsrooms are disconnected from the communities they’re supposed to serve. Our News Voices project organizes events, workshops and collaborative projects to build power with communities seeking a stronger voice in local news.

Press Freedom:
The First Amendment protects all acts of journalism. But threats to people working to uncover government and corporate wrongdoing are on the rise.

Media Accountability:
We must hold media companies accountable for harmful practices and narratives that misrepresent, dehumanize and endanger our communities.

Public Media:
Public and community media outlets can provide platforms for diverse voices and local programs that the commercial media won’t put on the air.

Population(s) Served

Powerful corporations want to decide what you're able to watch, listen to, read and share. And runaway media consolidation among news organizations has squashed diverse, local and independent voices, leaving us in the dark about important developments in our communities.

Media Consolidation:
Media mergers and monopolies silence our voices, raise prices and limit our choices.

Diversity in Media Ownership:
Thanks to decades of runaway media consolidation and the FCC’s failure to boost diverse ownership opportunities, women and people of color own only a fraction of our news outlets.

The FCC and the Justice Department should protect our ability to connect, communicate and organize for social change by blocking dangerous mergers and boosting diverse media ownership.

The FCC needs to fulfill its obligation to promote ownership opportunities for underrepresented communities. It’s just as critical that media outlets adopt policies that will diversify newsrooms.

Population(s) Served

Technology lets us communicate to the world, connect to our loved ones and organize for change. But the government and corporations can exploit these same tools to spy on innocent people, silence dissenting voices, criminalize communities of color and violate everyone’s privacy.

Corporations and government are increasingly joining forces. If we don’t take steps to keep them in check, our online privacy will only continue to erode, putting the most vulnerable populations at even greater risk.

See our campaign to reduce hate online at www.ChangeTheTerms.org

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of list subscribers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

number of members/activists

Number of advocate or trained spokesperson citations in the media

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Tracked quotations and mentions in the media, an indicator of how we are shaping public debate

Number of research or policy analysis products developed, e.g., reports, briefs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Legal filings at the Federal Communications Commission and other federal correspondence, legislative proposals and fact sheets for decision-makers, major research reports and court briefs, etc.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Long-term goals:

1. Internet Freedom: An Uncensored and Open Internet Everywhere
The internet is now the primary engine of commercial, cultural, democratic, economic and educational innovation and exchange. It is also the foremost battleground for free speech in the 21st century. Yet internet users' rights to free expression, communication and privacy are under constant attack.

Most people in the United States have little or no choice for high-speed internet service, and many are stranded on the wrong side of the digital divide. The lack of affordable options for high-speed internet is the primary obstacle to universal access in the United States. Americans are paying twice as much for service that is half the speed typically available throughout the developed world.

Free Press' aim is to promote policies that protect and expand the internet's free and open architecture; enable everyone to get online; and safeguard our fundamental rights and freedoms.

2. Platform Accountability

Platform companies profit from collecting vast quantities of data, which they’ve used along with ad-targeting tools and algorithms to discriminate against people based on their race, gender and other identities. Hate groups are using online platforms to funnel resources, spread propaganda and organize, leading to targeted harassment and violence. Free Press pushes tech companies to do more to protect the civil rights of targeted communities; reduce the spread of online hate; and address how their business model harms vulnerable communities, local news and fair elections.

3. Journalism's Future: Serving Communities and Protecting Press Freedom

Free Press seeks ways to sustain and improve journalism so that it can better hold the powerful accountable, uncover the truth and respond to community needs.

A healthy media system is characterized in part by the diversity of owners, perspectives and sources of news, information and cultural fare available to the public. Too often the thing missing from debates over journalism's future has been the public, the very people journalism is supposed to serve. This is especially true for communities of color and others that are too often misrepresented and aren't media owners. Free Press aims to build an active and sustainable community that supports quality journalism at the local level and includes voices that historically have been excluded.

Through our News Voices projects in multiple states, we're engaging communities and newsrooms in two-way conversation, using this dialogue to inspire collaborative local news projects. We're also launching advocacy efforts on the state and local level to push novel and innovative ways of funding local journalism and community media. Free Press also continues to work to protect press freedom while simultaneously holding the media accountable for dishonest, false and racist coverage.

Free Press Action Fund is committed to an outside-inside strategy to ensure public participation in policymaking. We combine deep policy knowledge, direct advocacy in Washington and media outreach with broad public education efforts and innovative organizing strategies both online and off. We:

*Build public interest champions by deepening relationships with members of Congress, the FCC and their respective staffs.

*Lobby elected officials, amplifying the public’s voice in media and technology debates.

*Monitor and analyze federal and state policy; identify legislative goals, opportunities and threats.

*Craft policy proposals, fact sheets and communications for policymakers.

*Coordinate, inform and assist allies in direct and grassroots lobbying.

*Raise the profile of its issues on Capitol Hill by organizing congressional briefings and other events.

*Shape the media narrative by speaking with reporters, issuing press releases, organizing press briefings and other events, and driving social media engagement.

Free Press Action Fund’s staff of 36, coupled with a base of 1.4 million activists and thousands of active volunteers, offer the field a unique combination of public-interest lobbying; grassroots advocacy; legal, research and policy expertise; digital advocacy and media outreach; and network-building and strategic coordination. It is bolstered by the educational, organizing and communications capacity of Free Press, its allied 501c3 organization.

In 2003, Free Press joined a movement at its nascent phase. Initially we focused on building the visibility and legitimacy of media reform issues. Since then, we've built a base of more than 1.4 million people engaged in the fight for our rights to connect and communicate. And we've won significant victories -- securing strong Net Neutrality protections and privacy at the FCC, defeating harmful media mega mergers and saving public media funding time and again. Through a combination of online and in-person action-taking, we are continuing to develop a better understanding of how to maximize and expand this power.

Our analysis is continuing to evolve. We recognize that structural racism in the media system and the lack of inclusion in the media and technology policymaking process are real barriers to having a media system that works for everyone, particularly communities of color that have gone underserved for so long. To address this, Free Press is prioritizing racial equity, elevating diverse voices and leadership in policymaking, building strong coalitions, and bringing the people who are most impacted into policy debates.

Financials

Free Press Action Fund
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Free Press Action Fund

Board of directors
as of 04/20/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ben Scott

Luminate Group

Craig Aaron

CEO, Free Press and Free Press Action Fund

Olga Davidson

faculty, Boston University

Michael Copps

former commissioner, Federal Communications Commission

Ben Scott

director of policy and advocacy, Luminate Group

Alvaro Bedoya

founding executive director, Center on Privacy & Technology

Victor Pickard

associate professor, University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication

Ashley Allison

executive vice president, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Joan Donovan

director, Technology and Social Change Research Project, Shorenstein Center

Martha Fuentes-Bautista

professor, School of Public Policy and the Dept. of Communication, UMass Amherst

Bryan Mercer

executive director, Movement Alliance Project