People + Policy
= Positive Change for the Public Good
Craig Aaron, President and CEO, has led Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund since 2011. For more than a decade, he has been a leader in major campaigns to safeguard Net Neutrality, stop media mergers and consolidation, oppose unchecked surveillance, defend public media and sustain quality journalism. He works in Washington and speaks often to the press and the public on media and technology issues. His commentaries appear regularly in The Huffington Post, and he has written for The Daily Beast, The Guardian, The Hill, MSNBC, Politico, The Progressive, The Seattle Times, Slate and many others. Before joining Free Press, he was an investigative reporter for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch and the managing editor of In These Times magazine. He is the editor of two books, Appeal to Reason: 25 Years of In These Times and Changing Media: Public Interest Policies for the Digital Age. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter @notaaroncraig.
Alvaro Bedoya is the founding executive director of Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology. He is an expert on digital privacy issues, including face recognition, commercial data collection and government surveillance, with a focus on their impact on communities of color. Prior to joining the Center, he served as chief counsel to Sen. Al Franken and to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. Alvaro is the co-founder of the Esperanza Education Fund, a college scholarship program that is blind to students’ immigration status. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, where he received the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. You can follow him on Twitter at @alvarombedoya.
Michael Copps is a former commissioner and acting chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, where he served from 2001–2011. Prior to joining the FCC, he served as chief of staff to Sen. Ernest Hollings for almost 12 years and was later appointed assistant secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department. Before coming to Washington, he was a professor of history at Loyola University in New Orleans from 1967–1970. Born in Milwaukee, he is a graduate of Wofford College and holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Copps continues to be active in the fight for media democracy, ubiquitous broadband and an open internet as a special adviser to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative.
Olga M. Davidson earned her Ph.D. from Princeton University in Near Eastern Studies. She is on the faculty of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations at Boston University, where she has served as a research fellow since 2009. From 1992–1997, she chaired the concentration in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University. Since 1999, she has chaired the board of the Ilex Foundation. She is the author of Poet and Hero in the Persian Book of Kings and Comparative Literature and Classical Persian Poetry, both of which have been translated into Persian and distributed in Iran.
Victor Pickard is an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. He previously taught at New York University and the University of Virginia. Before that he worked on media policy in Washington, D.C., as a senior research fellow at Free Press and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, and as a media policy fellow for Rep. Diane Watson. He has written or edited four books, including America’s Battle for Media Democracy: The Triumph of Corporate Libertarianism and the Future of Media Reform; Media Activism (with Guobin Yang); The Future of Internet Policy (with Peter Decherney); and Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lights (with Robert McChesney). Currently he is working on a book about journalism’s future. His popular writings have appeared in The Guardian, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, The Huffington Post, U.S. News, Newsweek, Common Dreams, Jacobin and The Atlantic.
Liza Pike is the founder and director of New Media Mentors, a hands-on learning program that trains nonprofits to design and run winnable campaigns, expand their reach and influence and transform their leaders so they can have maximum impact and achieve lasting social change. She also founded Resource Media's California office, where she helped shape the overall growth and direction of the organization and was lead strategist on a number of campaigns and projects. Before joining Resource Media, Liza was a press officer for the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco and worked with the Center for Investigative Reporting as program and marketing director. She has a B.A. in English literature from UC Berkeley.
Ben Scott, Board Chair, is the senior adviser to the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute in Washington, D.C., and the director of the European Digital Agenda program at the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung in Berlin. He previously served as policy adviser for innovation at the U.S. State Department, where he worked at the intersection of technology and foreign policy. In a small team of advisers to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he helped steward the 21st-Century Statecraft agenda with a focus on technology policy, social media and development. Before joining the State Department, he served as policy director for Free Press for six years. Before that he served as a legislative aide handling telecommunications policy for then-Rep. Bernie Sanders in the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds a PhD in communications from the University of Illinois.
Robert W. McChesney, a co-founder of Free Press, is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has written or edited 27 books. His most recent books are Blowing the Roof off the Twenty-First Century: Media, Politics, and Post-Capitalist Democracy; Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America, which he co-authored with John Nichols; and Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Away from Democracy. McChesney’s work has been translated into 33 languages and in 2008 the Utne Reader named him among its “50 visionaries who are changing the world.” Along with John Nichols, McChesney was awarded the U.S. Newspaper Guild’s 2010 Herbert Block Freedom Award.
John Nichols, a co-founder of Free Press, is the Nation's Washington correspondent and editorial-page editor of the Capital Times in Madison, Wis. He is the author of Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire; Jews for Buchanan; and Dick: The Man Who Is President. He is co-author, with Robert W. McChesney, of It's the Media, Stupid!; Our Media, Not Theirs; Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections and Destroy Democracy; The Death and Life of American Journalism; and Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America.
Josh Silver is the co-founder and former president and CEO of Free Press. He is the founder and director of Represent.Us, a national campaign to end the undue influence of money in U.S. politics through passage of comprehensive anti-corruption laws. Josh was the campaign manager for the successful 1998 Arizona Clean Elections ballot initiative campaign, and was the director of development for the cultural arm of the Smithsonian Institution. Josh speaks and publishes widely on money in politics, government corruption, and media and technology issues.
People + Policy
= Positive Change for the Public Good