We Are New York Values

Media & Democracy


Mission: Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process. In this spirit, Common Cause serves as an independent voice for change and a watchdog against corruption and abuse of power. Together with our sister organization, the Common Cause Education Fund, we employ a powerful combination of grassroots organizing, coalition building, research, policy development, public education, lobbying and litigation to win reform at all levels of government. To make our democracy work, we must claim it as our own. John Gardner, Common Cause’s founder, wrote that, “The citizen can bring our political and governmental institutions back to life, make them responsive and accountable and keep them honest. No one else can." Common Cause New York issues include voting and elections, media and democracy, ethics, money in politics, redistricting.

Website: http://www.commoncause.org/states/new-york/
Volunteer signup: http://tinyurl.com/gt2e6u
Phone: 212-691-6421
Email: slerner@commoncause.org

What volunteers do:

  • issue-based phonebanking
  • advocacy at rallies and press conferences
  • Election Protection at polls

Mission: IndyKids was formed in 2005 by a group of independent journalists, students, parents, teachers, and activists who saw the need for a progressive, ad-free news media to be presented in a way that would interest and engage young kids. Since publishing its first black and white issue in the fall of 2005, IndyKids has grown into a vital, multi-platform current events and social justice news source that is produced by kids, for kids. Our work encompasses the free, nationally distributed print edition of the IndyKids newspaper published five times a year, an active website with exclusive articles, interviews, podcasts, open dialogue and resources, workshops for kids to learn journalism and media literacy, and support for educators with teaching guides and classroom visits. Through our programs, we inspire a passion for social justice and learning to empower the next generation of critical thinkers, community leaders, journalists and activists.

Website: http://indykids.org/main/get-involved/volunteer-with-us/
Volunteer application form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScQMx07M-CbgBROJ6aX3H0RqO-4qwEb8mbQeRQVgZ_tst8Crg/viewform
Email: volunteer@indykids.org or malik@indykids.org for distribution volunteering
Phone: 212-592-0116

What volunteers do:

  • mentor kid reporters (ages 10-13) through brainstorming, research, writing and editing articles (commitment of three three-hour Saturday sessions from noon-3 p.m.)
  • edit articles for IndyKids newspaper (commitment two-five hours every two months and attend one editorial meeting at the Manhattan office)
  • distribute the newspaper at local cafes and libraries
  • participate in Saturday “bundling” parties to hand-pack issues of the newspaper for national distribution (kids and parents welcome)
  • artists and graphic designers help produce newspaper
  • plan fundraising events, reach out to donors, subscribers, and foundations


  • background in writing, journalism, or editing required to mentor reporters
  • experience with AP style a plus for editors

Mission: The LAMP is bringing 21st-century media literacy and survival skills to youth, parents and educators. We provide vital, hands-on services that help people in our New York City communities and beyond navigate and thrive in this loud-media environment. The LAMP empowers people of all ages to live, learn, and create with media and technology. Our project-based workshops enhance critical thinking, production, writing, collaboration and much more. With Macarthur Foundation backing, the LAMP developed “Media Breaker,” an online video editing tool to enable students to remix and talk back to commercials, news clips, music videos and more. Students learn how to exercise fair-use rights, and demand more from the people who produce the media in our lives by “breaking” media and changing the message.

Website: http://thelamp.org/
Phone: 917-295-6811    
Email: info@thelamp.org

What volunteers do:

  • volunteers who work in the digital media/technology field talk to students about career paths (2-3 hour workshops)
  • volunteers with digital media/technology backgrounds assist in hands-on workshops during the workday (weekly meeting for 8 weeks)
  • volunteers with coding ability help debug the Macarthur Foundation-funded tool that enables students and others to talk back to misleading or harmful messaging in the media

Mission: Our mission is to defend and promote the fundamental principles and values embodied in the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, and the New York Constitution, including freedom of speech and religion, and the right to privacy, equality and due process of law for all New Yorkers. We believe that all New Yorkers have inalienable rights that cannot be taken away by the government or by majority vote. They are: 1) Freedom of speech, press, petition and assembly. Even unpopular expression is protected from government suppression and censorship. 2) Freedom of religion. Each of us has the right to exercise his or her own religion, or no religion, free from any government influence or compulsion. 3) Privacy. We have the right to be free from unwarranted and unwanted government intrusion into our personal and private affairs, papers and possessions. 4) Due process of law. We have right to be treated fairly by the government whenever the loss of liberty or property is at stake. 5) Equality before the law. We have the right to be treated equally regardless of nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, disability or socio-economic status. The NYCLU fights for civil liberties and civil rights through a multi-layered program of litigation, advocacy, public education and community organizing. Our clients are men and women, rich and poor, gay and straight, black, white and brown, young and old, religious and atheist, able-bodied and living with a disability, citizens and immigrants. When we vindicate their rights, all New Yorkers benefit.

Website: http://nyclu.org/content/our-advocacy-program
Volunteer sign-up form: https://action.aclu.org/secure/volunteer-nyclu
Phone: 212-607-3300
Email: n/a

What volunteers do:

  • online activism
  • grassroots lobbying
  • community organizing
  • lobby with NYCLU in Albany (next day of action March 13, 2017)
  • monitor protests
  • writing/journalism
  • research
  • help with fundraising
  • graphic design
  • multimedia support
  • translate (Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi, Korean, Kreyol, Polish, Spanish, Russian, Urdu)
  • photography/videography
  • education

Mission: Paper Tiger Television (PTTV) is an open, non-profit, volunteer video collective. Through the production and distribution of our public access series, media literacy/video production workshops, community screenings and grassroots advocacy PTTV works to challenge and expose the corporate control of mainstream media. PTTV believes that increasing public awareness of the negative influence of mass media and involving people in the process of making media is mandatory for our long-term goal of information equity. Paper Tiger has produced over 340 videos covering international and local social justice struggles. Our archive is a unique resource for activist organizations who can use the videos as part of their campaigns.

Website: http://papertiger.org/get-involved/collaborate/
Email: papertigertv@gmail.com
Phone: 212-420-9045

What volunteers do:

  • members join collaborative, participate in bi-weekly steering meetings, produce programming, raise funds, and conduct outreach
  • non-members can contribute to skill-share sessions every other month (e.g., graphic design, video editing, curating)

Mission: Investigative journalism is at risk. Many news organizations have increasingly come to see it as a luxury. Today’s investigative reporters lack resources: time and budget constraints are curbing the ability of journalists not specifically designated “investigative” to do this kind of reporting in addition to their regular beats. New models are, therefore, necessary to carry forward some of the great work of journalism in the public interest that is such an integral part of self-government, and thus an important bulwark of our democracy. ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Our work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with “moral force.” We do this by producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.

Website: https://www.propublica.org/getinvolved/about
Phone: 212-514-5250
Email: n/a

What volunteers do:

  • crowdsourcing
  • citizen journalism
  • contribute to tip line
  • interact with investigative reporters
  • join online discussions

Borough: Manhattan office, work can be done online

Mission: Every day, activists and citizens risk their lives to expose the truth. We help make sure their efforts aren’t in vain. WITNESS trains and supports activists and citizens around the world to use video safely, ethically, and effectively to expose human rights abuse and fight for human rights change.

Website: https://witness.org/category/jobs_internships/
Phone: 718-783-2000
Email: n/a

What volunteers do:

  • translate Video for Change materials into Arabic, French, and Spanish translators to make them more widely available