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Amy Goodman to deliver annual Mario Savio Lecture

20 November 2003


In an era when corporate conglomerates control most mainstream media, independent journalist Amy Goodman is known for asking the hard political questions that most correspondents on bottom-line-oriented news programs can’t or won’t. She’s put an impressive roster of politicos on the spot over the years — from Newt Gingrich to Bill Clinton — while most recently presenting an alternative, critical view of the war in Iraq. This Thursday, Nov. 20, Goodman will be on campus to deliver the 7th annual Mario Savio Memorial Lecture, at 7:30 p.m. in the MLK Student Union’s Pauley Ballroom.

Goodman’s topic will be “Fomenting Democracy: Independent Media in a Time of War and Elections.” The event is free and open to the public.
Goodman is the host of Pacifica Radio’s award-winning “Democracy Now!,” a daily news program broadcast on 140 radio stations nationwide (including Berkeley-based Pacifica flagship KPFA-FM), as well as on cable, satellite, and public-access TV stations, shortwave radio, and the Internet.

Goodman is an apt choice to speak at the annual lecture that honors the leader of Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement, who died in 1996. Like Mario Savio, Goodman’s modus operandi is to “go where the silence is and say something.”

In 1991, Goodman and journalist Allan Nairn journeyed to East Timor to cover the U.S.-backed occupation of that island by Indonesia. She and Nairn joined a Timorese memorial procession that turned into a mass slaughter when Indonesian troops fired on the gathering, killing 270 men, women, and children. Soldiers beat the American journalists, leaving them bruised and bloodied from head to foot. Their subsequent documentary, Massacre: The Story of East Timor, garnered many awards.

Goodman, along with Pacifica producer Jeremy Scahill, had previously reported on the activities of U.S. oil companies in the Niger Delta. The team won the prestigious George Polk Award in 1998 for the radio documentary that resulted from their investigations.

Though Goodman induces squirming and discomfort in some of her mainstream counterparts, she has won (in addition to the Polk Award) such honors as the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton, as well as recognition from the Associated Press, United Press International, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, among others.

Thursday’s event will also mark the presentation of the sixth Mario Savio Young Activist Award to a young person or group “with a deep commitment to human rights and social justice and a proven ability to transform this commitment into effective action.” The award carries a cash prize of $3,000, which is divided equally between the winner and his or her organization.