Community Media: Selected Clippings – 02/11/07

Our Opinion: Lawmakers should reject Cox request
Tucson Citizen

Cox Communications, which has been unable to agree with Tucson on a new franchise, is again asking the Legislature to take its side. The Legislature should reject this underhanded tactic by Cox. Lawmakers should tell Cox quickly and firmly that this is a local matter between the company and Tucsonans and the state won’t intervene. —>

Connecticut Conservative Congress Meeting
by Doc Pesci
Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes from a Blue State

—> The pleasant and unexpected surprise of the afternoon meeting was African American Hartford Republican mayoralty candidate Reverend Stanley McCauley, the Executive Director of Hartford Public Access Television, who was called to the dais in the absence of another speaker; the Hartford minister regaled the conservatives with an improvised talk that was both captivating and effortlessly delivered. Barack Obama move over. —>

New legislation would let AT&T, others quickly enter TV business in competition with Charter
By Harris Blackwood
The Gainsville Times (GA)

Two years ago, there was a Texas-style shoot out between traditional telephone providers, cable companies and communities in the Lone Star state. The squabble was over a 2005 bill that would take away cities’ right to negotiate franchises for cable television. SBC Communications, which is now AT&T, wanted to enter the video programming business without having to negotiate individual agreements with the state’s 1,210 incorporated cities and 254 counties. Bennett Sandlin, general council for the Texas Municipal League, said the proposal was met with hostility by the cities. —>

Currently in Georgia, cable franchise agreements are negotiated between local governments and cable providers. However, the federal Telecommunications Act has eliminated local control of fees and program content. But unlike the situation in Texas, cities in Georgia are not vehemently opposed to the proposal. “The city (of Gainesville) is supportive of any efforts which will increase competition for video service because of some issues that we’ve had in the past several years with the only provider in town,” said Bryan Shuler, Gainesville’s city manager.

While cities like Gainesville, where AT&T currently provides voice and data services, would not require any additional construction of lines, there is a concern about other operators coming in and building new systems. “We’re concerned about the ability to protect our rights-of-way,” said Shuler. Another concern for both the city and the cable association involves public, educational and government channels. The cities want to insure that such channels are provided, but cable operators want to make new providers adhere to identical requirements about adding government channels.

While the various interests in Georgia work to hammer out an acceptable compromise, AT&T has internal problems to solve. —>

URTV finds early success
In 6 months, public access channel fills community niche, faces bumps
by Dale Neal
Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE — Seven generations of Burnettes have been exploring the trails and streams around the North Fork Valley near Black Mountain. Last summer, Van Burnette jumped at the chance to share his family passion, checking out a video camera from the URTV public access studio in Asheville to hit his favorite trails. The results can be seen on Tuesdays when Burnette hosts his one-man show, “The Trail Explorer,” bringing the outdoors into living rooms of Buncombe County’s cable TV subscribers tuned into URTV’s Channel 20. —>

Access vs. Censorship, Part IV: Net Neutrality
from MIT Convergence Culture Consortium

This is the fourth of a six-part series on public policy and the trouble the U.S. government has with balancing its role in providing access, on the one hand, and policing content on the other. This part focuses on the the current debate on net neutrality… While Congress was enmeshed in debates about the ill cognitive effects of screens on children, increasing indecency fines, and banning social networking use among teenagers from libraries and schools, there were important issues of access being raised on the blogosphere, in the popular press, and in Congress as well…

They also include the struggle of citizens to gain some abilities to be able to quote effectively from visual and audio texts through their own video commentaries and parodies (look at Kembrew McLeod’s Freedom of Expression: Overzealous Copyright Bozos and Other Enemies of Creativity), as well as potential ways to bridge the digital divide to provide access to digital and broadband technology across geographic and socioeconomic boundaries. Seth Shulman writes in Owning the Future, page 183, “The Internet stands at a crucial juncture: This new communication tool could benefit all citizens, or it could line the pockets of select groups, reinforcing existing disparities.” However, the battle for a free market and more equal access does not have to inherently be opposed, as the question about which aspect of “free market” a libertarian perspective would take into account indicates.

Yet, perhaps the most central online legislative issue of the past year has been net neutrality. —>

Citizen Media: Fad or the Future of News?
The rise and prospects of hyperlocal journalism
from Knight Citizen News Network

Table of Contents; Introduction by Jan Schaffer —>

Notes from We Media Miami
by Neal

The day and a half long conference explored the way communities (either real or virtual) are coming together and changing through media. The sessions included —>

Associated Press Connects With Citizen Content
Debate on ‘citizen journalism’ continues at We Media conference
by William Pollard
Ohmy News

Announced during the “We Media” conference in Miami, Associated Press(AP) and NowPublic are working on an innovative initiative designed to bring citizen content into AP newsgathering, and to explore ways to involve NowPublic’s on-the-ground network of news contributors in AP’s breaking news coverage. —>

compiled by
Rob McCausland
Director of Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, citizen journalism, community media, net neutrality, PEG access TV, public access television, user-generated content, video franchising

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