Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/16/07

Not just ‘a bunch of hooey’
Public protections important in crafting cable reform bill
by Barbara Popovic
Daily Southtown (IL)

In “Cable wars” (Insight, May 13), the Southtown reports on AT&T’s push for statewide franchising, launched with House Bill 1500 at the beginning of this year’s Illinois legislative session. AT&T started out no differently in Illinois than it has in other states, pumping millions into its lobbying and advertising campaign to influence state lawmakers and consumers to support its interests.

But the state of Illinois isn’t following AT&T’s game plan, choosing instead to construct a bill that puts Illinois residents first. That promises to prevent what has happened in state after state where the statewide franchise battle rages. —>,161GUC2.article

CMC announces reduced hours as details of new state cable franchising rules hit home
Grand Rapids Community Media Center (MI)

Starting Monday, May 14, 2007 the Community Media Center will be operating on a reduced schedule, due to a funding interruption brought about by new Uniform Video Franchising legislation recently enacted by Michigan lawmakers. Because of this one-time funding loss, CMC is forced to reduce its total hours of operation by nearly 20 hours per week. —>

Consumer Groups Urging Another Crist Veto
by Jason Garcia
Orlando Sentinel (FL)

Gov. Charlie Crist’s veto pen will be well-used this year if some consumer groups get their way. Already lobbying the governor to sink the controversial cable-franchising deal struck between phone and cable companies, a coalition of groups are now calling on Crist to also veto legislation that would allow landlords to charge tenants up to two months’ rent if the tenants break their lease early. Critics have dubbed it the “double-rent” bill because landlords could charge the penalty even if they find a new tenant. —>

Taunton council opposes cable TV bill
by Donna Kulpa
The Enterprise (MA)

The City Council voted Tuesday to oppose a bill that would allow a cable TV company to bypass negotiations with communities when setting up a new cable franchise. Verizon has been lobbying for this legislation, Senate Bill 1975, “An Act Promoting Consumer Choice and Competition for Cable Service.”

A letter from Donna Colajezzi of Taunton’s Public Access Channel noted that if Verizon was allowed to avoid local negotiations and pay only 1 percent for public education and government funding for local-access TV, then Comcast could renegotiate to be on the same level field, meaning the 3.5 percent Comcast pays Taunton could drop to 1 percent. —>

Save Access!! (NY)
by Dee Dee Halleck
Hand Held Visions

On May 12, The Santuary for Independent Media in Troy held a day-long media event. Goerge Stoney lead a workshop about the history of cable access and why we need to get involved with recent attempts to defeat local franchising. For more information, go to

There was good representation from Ithaca. Many people from around New York are concerned about state telcom policies. To find out more about the struggle against the telcoms, go to for a wonderful discussion about why PEG (public, government and public access) is important. Nick Johnson, former FCC commissioner who was instrumental in initiating access in the 1970s is one of the panelists. If you care about access, don’t miss this discussion! —>

Greed powers foes of ‘net neutrality’
by Mike Lerley
Bangor Daily News (ME)

It’s all about the money. How many times have we heard that? Unfortunately, in the case of the “net neutrality” debate, it’s this timeless concept that is driving opposition to LD 1675.

A common misconception is that “net neutrality” represents a fundamental change in the way we access the Internet; in fact, net neutrality has been in place for decades — until last year, when the Federal Communications Commission reversed the policy that required Internet service providers to treat all content providers equally. This week the Maine Legislature’s Utilities and Energy Committee will consider LD 1675, “An Act to Protect Network Neutrality.” LD 1675 does not impose regulations that are new to the Internet; in fact, it seeks merely to preserve the status quo — to compel service providers to continue to operate the way they have since the inception of the Internet. —>

Film Screening: “The Future of Food” (KS)

Monday, June 4, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Liberty Hall, 644 Mass., Lawrence

Films for Action will be screening the documentary “The Future of Food” at Liberty Hall. The screening is receiving support from The Farmer’s Market, The Casbah Market, and Central Soy Foods, with Local Burger and The Community Mercantile providing free food after the film. A $2 admission will be used to fund future film screenings and our Public Access TV show…. Does Lawrence know where its food comes from? —>

Harwich Community Learning Center Gets Television Showing
by William F. Galvin
Cape Cod Chronicle (MA)

The Harwich Community Learning Center has long been a model of afterschool and summer programs for the youth here. Its operations have been recognized on the national level as a School of the 21st Century by the Bush Center at Yale. But these days the buzz around the center is about a 34-minute documentary scheduled to premiere next Thursday evening at the Harwich Elementary School and to run on Channel 17 in several Cape communities beginning in June.

Entitled “Harwich Community Center Programs: Heart of a Small Town” the documentary was produced by Amy Davies of the Cape Cod Community Media Center and has been a year in the making… The Cape Cod Community Media Center is an offspring of the now defunct local news station, funded through Comcast, and provides staff to assist in productions, especially for non-profit groups to get their message out. —>

Could Wikis Help Achieve Consensus on Edtech Policy?
by Andy Carvin

If you had the opportunity to help craft federal education technology legislation, would you participate? The idea isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds, as politicians are beginning to explore wikis as a tool for collaborative policymaking. And educators could become pioneers in these experiments.

Last week I blogged about the recent feedback request by the U.S. Secretary of Education on the role of technology in the classroom. The secretary’s office has set up an online form and email address allowing educators and other interested parties to offer suggestions on edtech policy based on their professional and personal experiences.

In the blog, I encouraged educators to participate and make their answers public, so we could all engage in a broader online conversation about edtech policy. Blogs excel as platforms for conversation, and RSS technology makes it possible for us to conduct those conversations in a distributed fashion. It’s a great way to debate issues and share ideas, but it’s not necessarily the best tool for collaboration. In contrast, wikis are designed for this very purpose, allowing a group of people to access a shared space for writing and editing documents. That’s the fundamental idea behind Wikipedia and pretty much every other wiki on the Internet: a group space for crafting content.

Given this fact, it doesn’t take a major stretch of imagination to ponder the possibility of using wikis to craft public policy. Last August at Wikipedia’s annual conference, technology entrepreneur Mitch Kapor made the case for wikifying politics. “If I had one idea to offer,” he told the audience, “I think we need to have tools and software that help us argue better.” He argued that wikis are designed specifically for developing consensus, an aspiration we often fail to reach offline when it comes to politics. Online discussions related to policymaking are generally dominated by blogs, he said, but the tit-for-tat nature of blog discussions tend to calcify our political opinions rather than identify areas of common ground. —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Dir., Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, net neutrality, PEG access TV, public access television, video franchising

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