Speakers and Facilitators

Belinda Acosta

Belinda Acosta is a writer based in Austin, Texas. In addition to reviews and features on books, film, and the arts, she writes a weekly column on television (TV Eye) for the Austin Chronicle. Her work has also appeared in Alternet.com, RottonTomatoes.com; NuevoEdge.com (now offline), Latino USA, the radio journal of news and culture (National Public Radio), and Poets & Writers, among others. Acosta was a Michener Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin where she received her MFA in Writing in 1997. Last year, she was a Flaherty Fellows, which allowed her to study narrative strategies in film at the Flaherty Seminar held at Vassar University. Acosta is assembling her TV Eye columns that address race, class and gender on TV in a book of essays titled, Watching While Latina.

Charles Benton

Since 1981 Charles Benton has served as Chairman of the Benton Foundation. He now also serves as Chief Executive Officer. Charles has also had a long career in the media education and entertainment businesses, including Public Media Inc. He has led the Foundation through its evolution from a grantmaking to an operating foundation devoted generally to the field of communications. In 1978, President Carter appointed Charles as chairman of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science and as chairman of the first White House Conference on Library and Information Services, held in November 1979. In 1980, he was re-appointed for an additional 5-year-term, during which time he was elected chairman emeritus by unanimous vote of NCLIS commissioners.

Sue Buske

Ms. Buske has been involved in the field of cable television and local cable and community programming since 1972. In her practice she represents local governments, community and civic groups, and educational institutions. She has provided advice in the areas of communication policy relating to cable and telecommunications corporations and their delivery of video, voice, and data communications. This has included topics such as initial franchising, franchise renewal, transfer of ownership, cable operator performance monitoring, ascertainment, and all aspects of local cable programming. In 2006, Ms Buske played a key role in negotiating for language that was included in California state law that protects PEG access channels, funding resources, and support.
Ms. Buske is recognized as one of the foremost national experts in the field of public, educational, and government access. She has written several books and numerous articles on access and is in demand as a consultant and speaker.
She has established or assisted in the establishment of public, educational, and government access channels in hundreds of communities. She is currently working in San Jose and Marin County, CA to establish PEG access channels and a Community Media Center, and has recently completed such a project in Humboldt County, CA.

Tammy Gomez

On the CHIC-LIT listserv, Tammy Melody Gomez was dubbed "avant-garde Chicana writer," but the Austin Chronicle critics' called her the "Best In-Your-Face Poet (in two languages, no less)". She has written about her love of bicycling; her frustration with gringo tourists in Mexico; and La Malinche’s imagined reappearance as a mad-as-hell chuca with a tongue-lashing for historical revisionists. Tammy has been publisher, radio producer and talk show host, events organizer, and activista. Her provocative performance art work deals with issues such as domestic violence, environmental racism, and the impact of mass incarceration on families of color. She adores writing as an early 21st century cultural hybrid and, more importantly, living like one.

Laura Stein

Laura Stein is an Assistant Professor in the Radio-Television-Film Department. She researches and writes about communication law and policy, political communication, and alternative and public media. Her RTF courses include: Communication, Law and Power; Media and Communication Law; The Social Documentary; Alternative Media; and Communication Technology and Society.

Sharon Strover

Dr. Strover teaches and researches various topics related to communications and telecommunications, including communication theory, research methodology and telecommunications policy, in the College of Communication at the University of Texas. She also directs the Telecommunications and Information Policy Institute there. One of her latest projects at the Institute is heading up the national Telecommunications Panel for the Rural Policy Institute, a national, multi-university think tank devoted to rural issues. The Panel will work on various national rural telecommunications policy issues.

Michael Verdi

About Michael Verdi