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Jason Pramas Publications, 1988 - 2016

 Collection
Identifier: 113
The Jason Pramas Newsletters Collection consists of 1 published article from “Radical Student Notes” (1988); 3 volumes of news packets from the “New Liberation News Service” (1990-1993); NLNS newsletter subscription guidelines; printed guidelines for NLNS contributors; 2 volumes of “As We Are" magazine (1993-1995); printed publicity clippings covering “As We Are” magazine; and the Resume of Jason Pramas (2016).

Missing from the collection are Volumes 2.1-2.4, 2.10, 3.2, 3.4, 3.6 of the New Liberation News Service.

"Radical Student Notes" was a Boston-Based student publication.

The NLNS collection consists of approximately 22 issues of alternative “underground” newsletters, and contains coverage of both local and global current events, satire, culture, sex, calendar, cartoons, poems, photographs, and ads. The contents of this progressive student publication address youth movement issues, national security issues, protests, demonstrations, police brutality, civil rights issues and developments, feminist issues and developments, war and government, elections, climate, and more. Strongly represented in the newsletters is coverage of the First Gulf War. The newsletters were published in Cambridge, Mass.

The collection of “As We Are” magazine consists of 4 issues of articles, graphics, reviews, interviews, creative writing, and think-pieces aimed at a young, grass roots, working-class readership. The national quarterly was published in Cambridge, Mass.

Dates

  • 1988-2016

Creator

Access to Collection

This collection is open to research.
Conditions Governing Access The Cambridge Public Library Archives and Special Collections does not hold copyright on the materials in the collection. It is the responsibility of the user to understand and observe copyright law and obtain copyright from the original creator.

The copyright law of the United States, Title 17, U.S. Code, governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of the specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction of copyrighted material is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research" (17 U.S.C. § 108). If a user makes a request for or later uses a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable to prosecution for copyright infringement. The Cambridge Public Library Archives and Special Collections reserves the right to refuse to accept a copy order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Extent

.4 Linear Feet

.4 Cubic Feet

1 boxes (Hollinger box)

50 Items

Biography

Jason William Pramas was born in Boston, Mass. on November 7, 1966 to Ellen and William Pramas, and was raised in Peabody, Mass. He is a photojournalist, artist, activist, educator, and longtime resident of Cambridge, Mass. Not only a community organizer and activist, Jason has 30 years of experience in mainstream, alternative, community, and grassroots media. He was the founding editor/publisher of "New Liberation News Service" (1990-1993), founding editor/publisher of "As We Are: the magazine for working young people" (1993-1996), and has written for hundreds of publications in several countries. Currently, Jason is Network Director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism (an independent non-profit investigative journalism incubator serving publications in the Boston area), Contributing Editor at "DigBoston" (a metropolitan weekly newspaper serving Boston and environs).

As evidenced by his radical post-secondary academic history, Jason’s progressive sensibility, unabashed commitment to social change and interest in alternative media began early. Though he enrolled and attended more than a few institutions for higher learning around New England, Jason’s leadership of campus protests and clashes with administrative conservatism often led to his expulsion or withdrawal. However, he ultimately received his Bachelor of Arts in June 2006 from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for his major in Community Media and Technology/ Community Planning minor. Concluding his post-secondary education, Jason received his Master of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Boston, where he was a student in the MFA Visual Arts Program, in June 2013.

As an experienced community organizer and activist, Jason’s extensive activist history begins in 1985. He was a member of the Boston University South Africa Task Force; a Writer/Editor at the "Boston University Exposure" (’85-86’); he canvassed for the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) in Cambridge; and Co-Coordinator of the New England Students Against Apartheid, Boston, MA. His participation in the UMass Amherst CIA Off Campus Movement/ “Northampton 15” Trial as Northeast Field Organizer and Defendant began a string of his involvements in alternative media projects and progressive student movements.

From 1986-87, Jason was a Writer and Editor at "Street Magazine;" he acted as National Field Organizer for the Rutgers National Student Convention ’88 (a major attempt to relaunch the 1960s Students for a Democratic Society); and served as Editor of the Cambridge-based newsletter for the convention organizing effort, "Radical Student Notes," 1987-88. Prompted by his interest in new and networked media projects, Jason grew focused on providing circulation of news coverage otherwise censored or omitted altogether by traditional, mainstream media outlets. At this time, he worked as Organizer for the Network of the Alternative Student Press (1987-1992), and Co-Coordinator for the Northeast Student Action Network (1988-1989) - which spun off from the ultimately failed Rutgers convention effort. Jason also became a Writer and Editor for "The Gadfly" in 1988 – the student and community paper based at the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT, whose staff co-founded NASP in 1987. Although the organization was originally headquartered in Vermont, NASP moved its base operations around the country in effort to keep it decentralized. Its primary function was to maintain a mailing list of alternative student papers that would, in theory, mail their papers to each other using the list. NASP (and Jason) eventually moved operations to Cambridge, and to "The Thistle" – MIT’s radical student bi-weekly publication. It quickly became evident that a news wire service would greatly expand the circulation of new media outside the bounds of mainstream press coverage. With that, Jason, with the assistance of Thistle staff, founded and ran the "New Liberation News Service" in May 1990. A progressive wire service for community and alternative media outlets, NLNS’ circulation grew quickly. By early 1991 at the height of the first Gulf War, it served over 100 news outlets - including mainstream media - with an estimated 2,000,000 readers across the US and Canada. The news service was released in a number of formats – including digitally. In its first year alone, NLNS received praise from the Boston Globe, USA Today, Z Magazine, Utne Reader, and – most notably – MIT Professor of Linguistics, Noam Chomsky (who contributed several thousand dollars to the project).

Having already taken another job as halftime Director of the National Writers Union/United Auto Workers (NWU) Boston Local in fall 1992, Jason left NLNS in 1993 to launch Cambridge-based "As We Are" magazine – a 10,000 circulation for-profit national magazine for working young people based at a quirky writers’ center run by Ruth Housman called The Company of Writers at 930 Massachusetts Avenue. With only a $1,500 budget, and cheap office space from Housman that also housed the NWU Boston Local, Jason sought to publish the grassroots, alternative quarterly with the help of Charlie Provenzano, a childhood friend from Peabody, MA. "As We Are" magazine printed its first issue in spring of 1993 and went on to receive acclaim from underground and notable mainstream media outlets alike until its conclusion in 1996.

Throughout the early 1990s, Jason also coordinated a number of conferences and helped organize projects focusing on advocacy for a broad array of disenfranchised communities. These include: the 1994 National Writers Union Electronic Media Conference in Cambridge, Mass.; 1995 Economic Inequality Forum in Boston, Mass.; the youth track of the 1996 Media and Democracy Congress in San Francisco; and the 1996 Age and Youth in Action Conference in Washington, DC. Jason participated in a number of conferences thereafter, focusing on (but not limited to) Social Justice, Digital Media and Media Reform - notably the 2004 Boston Social Forum. He has also held membership in a number of Non-Profit Membership Boards, including: the Gray Panthers National Board (1994-1996, 1998-199), Working Massachusetts Board (1999-2014), Citizens for Participation in Political Action Board (1996-1997); Initiative for Change, Inc. (2004-2008); Commonwealth Coalition Board (2005-2006); Media Working Group (2007-present); Citizens Media Corporation (2008-2009); and the Press Pass TV Advisory Board (2008-present).

Notable awards received include the 2013 Alumni Award for the Faculty of the MFA Visual Arts Program at the Art Institute of Boston, and 2008 Richard Cloward and Francis Fox Piven Award (American Political Science Association, Caucus for a New Political Science) for founding Open Media Boston. Jason’s rich history of activism and advocacy continues to grow and develop today as he lives and works in Cambridge, Mass.

Organization of Collection

Series 1: As We Are Magazine, 1993 - 1995

Series 2: New Liberation News Service, 1990 - 1993

Series 3: Radical Student Notes, 1988

Approximately 50 items arranged alphabetically by file title; contents of files arranged chronologically. Ancillary papers will be placed next to related newsletter issue.

Custodial History

This collection was donated by Jason Pramas in March 2016.

Processing Information

Processed by Rosalie Montenigro in October 2016 under the supervision of Alyssa Pacy.

Source

Creator

Title
Finding aid to the Jason Pramas Publications, 1988-2016
Status
in_progress
Author
Rosalie Montenigro (EAD conversion 2016), under the supervision of Alyssa Pacy
Date
October 12, 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • October 2016: Converted to EAD by Rosalie Montenigro under the supervision of Alyssa Pacy.

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge Room, Cambridge Public Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Cambridge Public Library
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