NOTE: There will be no Z Media Institute in 2014. Read more about ZMI below. For questions and further information, contact Lydia Sargent at firstname.lastname@example.org
Z Media Institute was founded in 1994 by cofounders of Z Magazine (1988) and South End Press (1977) to teach radical politics, media and organizing skills, the principles and practice of creating non-hierarchical institutions and projects, activism, and vision and strategy for social change.
Classes are held around Eel Pond in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
The members of the initial South End Press collective had all participated in various 1960s and 1970s movements, but knew little about publishing books or magazines. We felt the Press (and later Z Magazine) should become an alternative, democratic, self-supporting left institution. As activists we would continue to participate in various movements, in addition to our publishing work. We would also publish books and articles dealing with strategy and future vision, not just analysis and critique.
We had lived through a time of incredible social change, from civil rights and black power movements to student and antiwar movements to counter-culture, women’s, and gay and lesbian movements to labor, Native American, and ecology movements. A new politics was developing and we felt left media had to relate this politics to existing movements, to those just becoming radical, and to a larger public. Otherwise, they would be ignored, revised, or misrepresented by mainstream media outlets.
South End Press is now 30-years-old and Z Magazine is 20 years old. Over that time we’ve learned a great deal, not only about publishing, but also about mainstream media and how it prevents any real structural critique of society. Also, through participation as an “alternative press” in the mainstream publishing industry we have seen censorship (subtle and blatant); we’ve learned about control of promotion and distribution, from reviews to bookstore sales to shelf placement.
In 1994 we decided to pass along what we knew, partly to encourage others to start radical, self-sustaining institutions that could educate, inspire, and organize; partly to meet people interested in creating and joining a future larger left media network; partly to teach a democratic, participatory, radical politics and a democratic workplace structure and process.
Over 700 students have attended ZMI so far. Many are now working with media/organizing projects, others have started new projects, some have joined our staff, others have become ZMI faculty, still others have written articles and reviews for Z Magazine and ZNet, as well as other progressive publications.
Political courses (vary year by year but) typically include: principles of workplace democracy, foreign policy, ecology, political science, queer theory, women and revolution, labor, race, youth liberation, economic and social vision and strategy, and more.
Media courses typically include: Analysis of mainstream media; starting a media project (newspaper, radio, video, magazine, Internet, organizing); challenges of alternative media; pressuring mainstream media; research and investigation techniques; more.
Skills courses typically include: Finances, promotion, fundraising, design, production, promotion, editing, facilitating meetings, and more.
Recent Faculty include: Michael Albert, Jessica Azulay, Chip Berlet, Michael Bronski, Noam Chomsky, Rosa Clemente, Ron Daniels, Brian Dominick, Sean Gonzalves, Ria Julien, Mandisi Majavu, Cynthia Peters, Justin Podur, Lydia Sargent, Juliet Schor, Stephen R. Shalom, Chris Spannos, Brian Tokar, Marie Trigona, Tom Wetzel, and more.