Office of Communications, Inc.

Parker Lecture 2011

The Parker Lecture 2011: From Vast Wasteland to the "Best Media System America Has Ever Had"

For the 29th year, the United Church of Christ Office of Communication Inc. honored outstanding leaders in the field of media access, holding the Everett C. Parker Lecture and Awards Breakfast at the Washington post Conference Center in DC. The event, named after civil rights and media access champion Rev. Dr. Everett C. Parker (who was in attendance), named four awardees.

The Parker Lecturer, Steven Waldman, former CEO of and the author of the FCC’s recent “Future of the Media” report, spoke on the relationship between faith and the media, and covered the findings of the FCC report, covering some of the finding about loss in news content but concluding that "If we can work together to preserve the tremendous benefits of the new technologies, while at the same time addressing the serious challenges, we will in fact have the best media system we have ever had.”

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps was honored with the Newton Minow Award, named after the 50th anniversary of the “Vast Wasteland” speech by FCC Commissioner Minow, decrying the state of television. Copps, retiring this year, received a standing ovation for his years representing the public interest on a broad range of issues, including local media, community radio, and the democratization of the airwaves and Internet.  

The Donald MacGannon Award for stewardship in the private sector went to Joe Waz, recently retired Senior Vice President of Comcast, who spoke about representing the public interest with the National Citizens Committee for Broadcasting and how he was able to carry that into his work at Comcast. Waz, who was recognized for his work promoting diversity in the media, is currently at Altura West LLC.

The Parker Award went to Alex Nogales, President of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, for his years working to ensure inclusion and representation of Latinos (and other underrepresented groups) in the media. Nogales described the discrimination he had encountered as the child of migrant farm workers in California, and described how Rev. Parker had served as a model for his own advocacy. 

Citing statistics showing that the incidence of hate crimes against Hispanics has grown dramatically in recent years, he said, “Hate speech hurts all of us. Those who hear it and those who speak it.”

This year’s Parker Lecture was simulcast to a meeting of the National Council of Churches Communication Commission and Odyssey Networks in New York.

Videos of all the speeches are available online. 

For more information about past honorees, click here

Parker Lecture 2011 - Part 1 from United Church of Christ on Vimeo.

Parker Lecture 2011 - Part 2 from United Church of Christ on Vimeo.

Together we will honor four individuals who exemplify Dr. Parker's achievements:

Parker Lecture

Steven Waldman, special advisor to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and principal author of the FCC's Future of the Media report. Waldman was the co-founder of, the largest multi-faith website on religion, and served as its CEO from 2002 to 2007. He is the author of the best-selling book Founding Faith: How Our Founding Fathers Forged a Radical New Approach to Religious Liberty.

Everett C. Parker Award

Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, for his work to promote diversity in the programming, news coverage and hiring of mainstream media organizations, particularly on behalf of Hispanics.

Donald H. McGannon Award

Joseph W. Waz Jr., former senior vice president of external affairs and public policy counsel of Comcast, for his work to promote opportunities in the cable industry for young women and persons of color.

Newton Minow Award

This year, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of former FCC Commissioner Newton Minow's "vast wasteland" speech, advocating on behalf of the public interest in television programming, OC Inc. is awarding a special Newton Minow Award to retiring FCC Commissioner Michael Copps for 10 years of exemplary work at the commission in support of the public interest and the goal of preserving diverse media voices in the United States.

For more information about past honorees, click here.

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