Ten years ago, a group of friends and I began working on what is today the Open Media Foundation. It all started with the realization that our perspective is shaped through communication. We recognized that large media corporations served as gatekeepers for mass communications, the shapers of our collective perspective. We saw the perspective of the media invariably slanting towards the audiences advertisers want to reach, and towards messages advertisers want to support and we set out to shift that conversation in Denver.
More people receive more information through TV than any other medium. In the past few years, the Internet has overtaken Radio and Print as the #2 source of information for the average American. This is why OMF focuses on TV and the Internet. OMF is a social-change organization first, but we’re using the most powerful tools available to bring about social change. We’re a very different kind of media organization because we are focused on transforming—in many ways eliminating—the traditional role media institutions play in social communication.
OMF believes that we’re all better off when everyone is engaged: when everyone has an opportunity to contribute to their full potential, and that can only happen through a shift in the way we communicate. Fortunately for us, changes in the media are making it possible to turn the models for mass communication on their head, and there is an opportunity to shift the collective perspective to reflect not only the most privileged communities, but the entirety of our population. That kind of a perspective shift leads to policies and laws that benefit the entirety of our population, not just the wealthy.
The goal we set out to accomplish is as daunting as it was ten years ago. The income gap is still expanding. Our collective perspective is still dominated by consumerism and corporate values and public policy is following-suit. In the past few years, OMF has expanded our focus beyond media engagement to civic engagement and government transparency. We’ve built software to make it easier for people to see the work of their government, and this year, more people than ever logged-in through our coloradochannel.net website to see their government than ever before. Change is happening, and today I am as certain of this fact as I was ten years ago: if we are going to make a difference, this is how we’re going to make it. We shift the collective perspective to represent the concerns of all Americans, and position the people to shift public policy to reflect their concerns.