Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/30/07

Culver signs cable television expansion bill
Governor vetoes Missouri River panel changes
by Dan Gearino
Sioux City Journal (IA)

DES MOINES — Gov. Chet Culver closed the books on this year’s legislative session Tuesday, signing 11 bills, including a measure that will allow cable television providers to apply for the right to sell their services statewide.   —>

Perdue signs new laws, vetoes 41 bills
The Associated Press
Access North Georgia

>   Under the new cable law signed by Perdue, cable operators would be able to apply for a franchise through the state instead of having to go through the lengthy process of negotiating deals with individual counties and cities.  The measure was among the most heavily lobbied at the state Capitol this session, with AT&T leading the charge. The bill would make it easier for AT&T to debut television services to compete with cable providers. Consumer advocate say it could drive prices down….

AT&T, which purchased Atlanta-based BellSouth last year, was the largest contributor to Perdue’s inaugural fund. The company forked over $200,000 to help pay for the governor’s inaugural festivities in January.   —>

Ohio Senate Bill 117 is not “TV4US”
by Sibley Arnebeck
Common Cause Blog

SB 117, Ohio’s “state video franchising reform” bill is yet another business friendly scheme borrowed from Michigan.  A previous effort was the successful “buying” of (through illegally funded “issue ads”) a business friendly supreme court.  This time telco giants are spending large amounts of money through their phony “astroturf” front groups to advertise and lobby to “buy” legislation favorable to their shareholders, with no regard for their obligation to provide diversity of information and service to all of the people.   —>

Public has a right to know where bill proposals are coming from
by Stan Milan
Spooner Advocate (WI)

MADISON– It’s surprising even by Madison standards – the issue of whether lobbyists can review bill drafts when the drafts are still out of public view is still swirling around inside the Capitol.  Former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager thought it was improper for lobbyists to have access to legislative documents, mainly bill drafts, when the public was barred from having the same access.  She felt strongly enough to sue Rep. Scott Gunderson (R-Waterford) and then-Sen. Dave Zien (R-Eau Claire) after they refused to share with her bill drafts relating to a concealed weapons bill in which the National Rifle Association had a hand…

By the way, if the suit is successful in stopping lobbyists’ access to confidential material, lobbyists will still write legislation. Does anyone believe that AT&T didn’t write the proposed anti-cable bill?  Let the lobbyists, special interest groups and constituents help write bills and bill drafts. The issue should be to let the public know who is participating in the process.   —>

PEGASYS facing financial shortfall
Enid News (OK)

PEGASYS board members had their 2006-07 budget ready for approval at their meeting Tuesday, but after hearing a proposal from City Manager Eric Benson, the board decided to wait to see if they will have any money to spend.  Executive Director Wendy Quarles said Benson’s proposal will cut city funding to the public-access television station by 33 percent, or $100,000, the next fiscal year and eliminate it totally in three years.

When asked, Benson did not say he would eliminate PEGASYS funding, but he said every city department is being examined closely, and every opportunity to save money will be studied.  He said nothing is off the table, and there are no “sacred cows.”…

“We looked at every single line item in the city and reviewed it for appropriateness, effectiveness. It’s not our budget. The city council makes it up,” he said.  Benson said the city is facing a $1 million bridge collapse repair that was not foreseen.   —>

Video Summer Camp open
Enid News (OK)

PEGASYS, Enid’s public access television station, is offering its fourth annual Video Summer Camp June 12-16.  The camp is geared toward students ages 12-17 and will include 40 hours of intensive, hands-on training covering all aspects of television production. As a final project, students will produce a video that will air on Suddenlink Cable Channel 11 throughout the summer.

“By the end of the week, each student will be able to include television producer on his or her resume,” said Wendy Quarles, PEGASYS executive director. “This will be a great learning experience, and they’ll have a lot of fun.”   —>

Welgraven a semifinalist in film competition
by Bob Williams
The Daily Journal (MN)

Alex Welgraven has been nominated as a semi-finalist in the Film Your Issue 2007 International Film Competition. Alex Welgraven, 19, of Fergus Falls, has been selected as a semi-finalist for a major international film competition for young people, Film Your Issue (FYI) 2007. An online voting platform on Yahoo! will end May 31 and will decide the winners for the next round. Locals are encouraged to vote online for the semi-finalist from their area or their favorite film.

Welgraven’s film, “Move Your Feet,” is one of 36 entries from around the globe from young adults 16 to 25 to be selected.  “I love film because of its ability to inspire people to act,” Welgraven said. “I chose to make this film because the world suffers from inaction. It is inaction that destroys the world.”

Welgraven is currently finishing his two-year degree at Minnesota State Community and Technical College-Fergus Falls. Next fall, he will be transferring to Minnesota State University, Moorhead, to major in film, with an emphasis in production.

“I’ve lived in Fergus Falls for the last couple of years, and my time here has a great deal of influence on my interest in film,” he said. “PEG Access Television made the equipment available with discounted memberships for students like myself. I owe a great deal to this facility.”  Aside from local equipment, Welgraven used the talents of local actors as well.   —>

The politics of online journalism
Polis – Journalism & Society

>   But Ros Taylor of Guardian Online said there was a danger of universalising.  Online reaction to events like 7/7, a kind of “Internet imperialism”, when in fact access to the internet is limited:  “It is a fantastic medium if you speak English, have the bandwidth, and are articulate. I would argue that online the most articulate are at the forefront of the content to the exclusion of others. We are English/UK/American centric in our discussions and we need to remember that there is a whole world that is not online.   —>

With the Decline of Traditional Journalism in California There is a Challenge
by Frank D. Russo
California Progress Report

A very thoughtful and mourning (no misspelling here) column appeared in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle, “The Decline of News,” by Neil Henry a Professor of journalism at the University of California who was a correspondent for the Washington Post. I highly recommend reading this article, even though there are parts that I’m not sure I agree with.

The main point of Professor Henry’s article is that, with the decline of traditional journalism, we are losing “access to important news, gathered according to high standards.” He says that “increasingly it is highly skilled professional journalists committed to seeking the truth and reporting it, independently and without fear or favor” who are being let go by the “old” media. He takes as a given that this will and must result in a net loss, stating, “The fact is there will be nothing on YouTube, or in the blogosphere, or anywhere else on the Web to effectively replace the valuable work of those professionals. ” In short, we are left with “a society increasingly fractured, less informed by fact and more susceptible to political and marketing propaganda, cant and bias.”

… There are other media that have threatened the captains of the printing press. Television and radio were seen as upstarts in their infancy, and there were disputes by the Capital Correspondents Association here in California over whether they should be credentialed as “reporters.” While generally the broadcast media have given shorter glimpses into politics and public policy in this state and in the country, there are exceptions. CSPAN, the California Channel, public radio and television, and public access channels allow for longer and sometimes unfiltered content to be viewed or watched. —>

[ Sound familiar?  He could just as easily be describing community access channels. rm ]

The Blue Highways Journal
Dispatches from a Latter-Day Johnny Appleseed
by Jock Lauterer
The Carrboro Commons

Let’s get this straight: Newspapers are not vanishing. At least not my kind of newspapers.  Yes, many major metros are in a circulation free-fall. But not my guys. The small, local or what we call “community newspapers” – papers with circulations below 50k, many of them found off the interstates on the so-called “blue highways” of this nation – are doing very well, thank you.  In fact, these “relentlessly local” papers are so quietly successful that big-city papers have finally noticed and are copying them! Ex: pick up today’s N&O and count the number of local stories on the front page.


North Carolina has only eight papers that might be considered major metros – all the rest are “my peeps” (as my hip Carrboro daughter calls “her people”) – this includes the 192 weeklies and small dailies of the Old North State.  If you’re like me, numbers make your eyes glaze over. So I’ll make this quick. Of the 9,321 newspapers in the U.S. only 217 are considered “large.”  Now listen to this stat: statewide and nationwide 97 percent of our newspapers are SMALL PAPERS. And they reach almost three times as many readers as do “big” papers.

OK, enough math. Let’s cut to the chase.


Veteran Chapel Hill editor/professor Jim Shumaker used to demand that of his reporters when they pitched him a story: Tell me why this matters!

These are the papers that tell you when your garbage pick-up has changed, what the town council is up to, who’s going to be playing at quarterback this week, when the library will open, why the school board decided to adopt a year-round calendar, what’s for lunch at the school, who made the honor roll, when that road widening project will be done and how best to avoid traffic jams…

These are also the papers where many of our students get their first internships and many grads get their first jobs. Just looking at the sheer numbers, wouldn’t you think it’s the job of a great public university to service this industry?

That was my thinking when in 2001 we launched the Carolina Community Media Project as a way to help strengthen the state’s community papers – both rural and suburban. The real reason “Shu” would pay attention to my pitch: the better the community paper, the more likely it is that that community will have a vital civic life and a sense of pride in place – both keys to high livability in a free democratic society.  The better the paper; the better the community.   —>

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

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, citizen journalism, community media, community newspapers, PEG access TV, redlining, video franchising

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