Community Media: Selected Clippings – 06/25/07

FCC Faces Public at Official Hearing on Media Localism in Portland
Interviews Available with Public Interest Groups, Labor Leaders, Local Activists
June 25, 2007

PORTLAND, Maine — A broad coalition of local and national groups is urging the public to attend the Federal Communications Commission’s next official localism hearing – an opportunity for residents of New England to weigh in on how responsive local radio and television broadcasters are to the needs of their local community.  The FCC public hearing will take place Thursday, June 28t 4 p.m. – 11 p.m, Portland High School, 284 Cumberland Ave, Portland, Maine.  All five FCC Commissioners are expected to attend the hearing. The event will feature an “open microphone” session for the public to offer testimony on a first-come, first-served basis.  The following people are available to comment on the event:

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., Founder, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
Jon Bartholomew, National Media and Democracy Organizer, Common Cause Maine
Linda K. Foley, President, The Newspaper Guild — Communications Workers of America
Gene Kimmelman, Vice President of Federal and International Affairs, Consumers Union
Yolanda Hippensteele, Outreach Director, Free Press
Brian Hiatt, Director of Communications and Online Organizing, League of Young Voters, Portland Chapter
Matt Power, Producer, Liberty News TV
Craig Saddlemire, Professional Media Maker
Jim Haigh, Mid-Atlantic Community Papers Association
Tony Vigue, Community Television Association of Maine

For more information, visit or

Another Media is Possible
Reclaim The Media

Reclaim the Media and many of our friends and allies are in Atlanta this week [June 27-July1] for the first United States Social Forum, an ambitious meeting of a “movement of movements,” modeled upon the World Social Forums held for several years in Porto Alegre, Mumbai, Caracas, Bamako and Nairobi. Thousands of social justice activists are gathering at the forum, uniting many struggles for social, economic and environmental justice with a shared vision of a transformed America in a just and peaceful world. Along with our organizational partners in the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net), RTM is spreading the message that there’s no justice without media justice.

Check out a list of media-related workshops at the forum. We’ll be posting our USSF photos here. If you make it to Atlanta, be sure to say hello!  Some Media Justice and Community Media Workshops at the US Social Forum: —>

Join Us for Journalism That Matters: The DC Sessions at George Washington University
August 7 and 8, 2007

JOURNALISM THAT MATTERS hosts conversations with a purpose.  It engages the entire system of journalism – reporters, editors, publishers, camera people, photographers, academics and audience, from newspapers, radio, television, and online media, including both mainstream and alternative sources – with the changing nature and definition of news in a changing world.  The point is to recommit journalism to what is fundamental for connecting news with its audience so that it serves and sustains us.   —>

Collecting MadVideos — Five promos for WYOU Channel 4
by Kristian Knutsen
The Daily Page (WI)

Only weeks after presenting its third annual awards show at the Overture Center, Madison’s community access television station WYOU Channel 4 is taking another step in building community awareness and promoting its slate of local programming. The station has just released five promotional spots highlighting the breadth of homegrown TV and opportunities for creating your own programming, all now available online for viewing.  The longest of the five is titled “Opera” and features old-time country singer and WYOU show host Jesse Walker, introducing a sequence of highlights from station programming, including The Splu Urtaf Show, performances by the Capitol City Band, HerbTV, and DW’s Show.  All five promos follow below, including the trailer-length version set to the aria “Habanera” from Georges Bizet’s Carmen.   —>

Exeter viewers to get public access channel
By July, residents could be deciding what is aired
by Jennifer Feals
Sea Coast Online (NH)

EXETER — What would you like to see more of on your town’s cable television channel? By the beginning of July, Exeter residents could have their say.  Within the next few weeks, Exeter’s Channel 22 will transition to a public access channel, meaning the town’s public will have the ability to air their own programming on the channel, according to Selectman Joe Pace, who is also a member of the CATV Advisory Committee.

“What Exeter has now can be described as an education and government channel. The only programming available is put on by the schools or town so you get graduations, parades, library shows, meetings … that sort of stuff,” said Pace said. “A public access channel will allow members of the public who live in Exeter or represent organizations in town to produce material or content to be broadcast on that channel. It’s really wide open.”  Residents voted in favor of a warrant article for the creation of a public access channel two years ago, said Pace.   —>

Local TV stations vie for viewers
by Steve Lynn
Vail Daily (CO)

EAGLE COUNTY — Four local television stations may sound like a lot for a county of around 50,000 that’s mostly rural.  For Jason Katzman, general manager for Plum TV, it works.  “The different channels serve a different purpose,” Katzman said.  Whether viewers are watching an argument about a barbwire fence at a Minturn Town Council meeting or watching mohawk-wearing skier Glen Plake, those in the industry say the stations provide unique content for locals.  But in a local lineup with two resort-oriented channels and two government television stations, it’s not easy to run a TV station with competition for advertising dollars or with a lack of funding from the county, some say.   —>

Rewriting the broadcast regulation rules
by Nolan Bowie
The Boston Globe

Over-the-air broadcast regulation now violates the spirit of the First Amendment’s defense of freedom of the press.

Broadcast regulation is still rationalized under an outdated assumption that the radio spectrum and channels are scarce resources, but new communications technologies — cable TV, VCRs, DVD-ROMs, digital recorders, direct satellite broadcasting, PCs and the Internet, cellular phones, multicasting via digital compression of channels, Wi-Fi, Wi-Max, HD radio, and using white space and spectrum hopping technology, smart antennas that electronically focus radio toward their intended targets for high speed broadband connectivity — have successfully undermined all the old assumptions about scarcity.

If broadcasting is to continue to be regulated, a common carrier model like the one used for the Postal Service or transportation would allow the radio frequencies or airwaves to be made available to anyone on a first-come, first-serve basis and without censorship of content.  The scarcity rationale is a relic of the early 20th century that allows government to censor broadcasting by grants of exclusive licenses to some, but not to all. We now live in a world of channel or portal abundance, if not super-abundance. This is why it is increasingly difficult for traditional media to aggregate a huge mass audience.

… Cable access TV services operate as common carriers. They provide access to community members on a first-come, first-serve basis and do not censor content. Moreover, different classes of users are expected to provide different types of programming content, e.g., public, educational and government programming.    —>

Google Fights Global Internet Censorship
by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP

WASHINGTON – Once relatively indifferent to government affairs, Google Inc. (GOOG, News) is seeking help inside the Beltway to fight the rise of Web censorship worldwide…  Censorship online has risen dramatically the past five years, belying the hype of the late 1990s, which portrayed the Internet as largely impervious to government interference…

A study released last month by the OpenNet Initiative found that 25 of 41 countries surveyed engage in Internet censorship. That’s a dramatic increase from the two or three countries guilty of the practice in 2002, says John Palfrey, executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, who helped prepare the report.

China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, India, Singapore and Thailand, among others, are increasingly blocking or filtering Web pages, Palfrey says.  Governments “are having more success than the more idealistic of us thought,” acknowledges Danny O’Brien, international outreach coordinator at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.   —>

Censorship as trade barrier
by Andrew McLaughlin, Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs
Google Public Policy Blog

The Associated Press is running a story headlined “Google Asks Government to Fight Censorship.” The story highlights some (until now) fairly quiet discussions we’ve been having with various parts of the U.S. government, including the Departments of State and Commerce, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and various House and Senate committees.  We’ve been making the following case:   —>

Citizen journalism’ battles the Chinese censors

In the strictly controlled media world of communist China, “citizen journalism” is beating a way through censorship, breaking taboos and offering a pressure valve for social tensions.  In one striking example this month, the Internet was largely responsible for breaking open a slave scandal in two Chinese provinces that some local authorities had been complicit in.  A letter posted on the Internet by 400 parents of children working as slaves in brickyards was the trigger for the national press to finally report on the scandal that some rights groups say had been going on for years.  The parents’ Internet posting was part of a growing phenomenon for marginalised people in China who can not otherwise have their complaints addressed by the traditional, government-controlled press.

… Also in Chongqing, parts of the city were this month set on fire following the beating of flower sellers by the “chengguan”, city police charged with “cleaning up” the city’s roads.  Witnesses to the beatings had appealed to local television journalists, but nothing was broadcast.  The incident only became known outside the city thanks to photos and stories published on the Internet, sparking anger among China’s netizens…

“The department of propaganda has sent out regulations to try and control the opinions being spread on the Internet, but every citizen has the right to criticise or to take part in public affairs on the Internet,” said Zhu Dake, a professor at Shanghai Tongji University.  “The government has to accept the criticisms of the people, it can no longer react crudely like in the past.”

Julien Pain, who monitors Internet freedom issues for Reporters Without Borders, is less optimistic.  “One cannot truly say that the Internet in China is becoming more and more free, because at the same time as the development of citizen journalists, the government finds ways of blocking or censoring content,” Pain said.  Reporters Without Borders, which labels the Chinese government an “enemy of the Internet,” says about 50 cyber dissidents are currently behind bars in China.

Refreshed: Getting Out Of The Internet And Into The Community
by J-Ro
The Seminal

This weekend I attended that Allied Media Conference in Detroit, MI. While there, I met people who are incredibly involved in their communities and looking outwards, working to change their blocks, their states, America, and the world. As a blogger, I try and work with as many people as I can. However, most of my interactions take place solely online, within the confines of email, Instant Messenger, and my web browser, and so it is all to easy for me to look at my work in an overly detached way. I write about national issues, issues that I will probably never have the capacity to directly change. I’m not saying the work of bloggers isn’t valuable, however it is nice to work outside of the Internet every once in a while.  So, it was incredibly refreshing to be around so many involved, committed people.   —>

100 Comments: # Sixty-something
by Laura Athavale Fitton
Great Presentations Mean Business

Chris Brogan’s Summer of Projects kicks off with the 100 Comments ebook project. Mojo 4 Video led as the first topic (thanks for picking my idea, Chris). I asked:  Why does some video content grab viewers by the throat, compel them to watch and then suck their mouse towards the bookmark/email/blog about link?  How do we get us some of that mojo for our productions?  Here’s my answer:

I am a total outsider to vlogging. I’m bearish about it, I don’t subscribe to any, I don’t have much interest in watching them. But, I can see where in the right hands, they could catch on. The whys and the audience questions fascinate me.  I think degree of fit with/use of the medium is a significant chunk of what makes the experience suck/not suck for the audience… In no particular order… —>

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

Explore posts in the same categories: broadband policy, citizen journalism, community media, FCC, human rights, internet censorship, media justice, media ownership, municipal programming, PEG access TV, public access television, social media, user-generated content, video franchising

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