Community Media: Selected Clippings – 09/09/07

Comcast facing protests
by Carrie Napoleon
Post-Tribune (IN)

Seven producers from Comcast’s public access Channel 21 have formed the United Producers for Public Access to speak out against the telecom giant’s decision to close its public-access studios in Hammond and Portage, as well as some of its bill payment centers.  The group will have a news conference at 1 p.m. today in the parking lot of the Hammond studio, Bryan Scott Johnson, one of the group’s founders, said.

Johnson is the producer of “Speak Out,” which airs 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. Tuesdays on Channel 21. He said the producers of the channel’s programs want to inform the public of Comcast’s decision to close the public- access studios in Northwest Indiana.  “The second reason is to let Comcast be even more aware of the growing amount of people opposed to this decision they made,” Johnson said.

Due to changes in state legislation enacted in March 2006, Comcast is no longer obligated to provide the studio or equipment necessary for local residents to produce public access television programs.  The legislation transferred responsibility of public access studios to municipalities, though Comcast is still obligated to provide public access channels.

Comcast spokeswoman Angelynne Amore said the company has been attempting to work with the local municipalities to transfer operation of the studios. She did not know where that effort stands.  “In the new law, the responsibility of the studio belongs with the city,” Amore said.

… The group is concerned local municipalities will not be able to maintain the studios and public access will end.  Johnson said the cable company informed producers by letter last week that the last day for live programming will be Sept. 28.  Producers may continue to submit tapes of their programs until Dec. 15.  After that time, programming will be transferred to the municipalities, he said.,comcast.article

Bismarck Park Board premieres on CATV
by Gordon Weixel
Bismarck Tribune (ND)

The Bismarck Park Board will makes its television debut next week, appearing on Community Access Television for their regular meeting and subsequent 2008 budget hearing.  Televising local government meetings on the other side of the river is taking on some momentum.  For more than a year Susan Beehler and her group RPM (Revitalize & Preserve Mandan) have taken it upon themselves to videotape meetings for rebroadcast on CATV.

This past week Beehler approached the Mandan City Commission requesting $16,800 to handle the expenses involved with the process. The money will be used to buy tapes, transportation and a small stipend for those volunteers willing to sit through the meetings to do the camera work.  The amount requested represents 10 percent of what Mandan receives for cable television franchise rights. Of the total, $10,800 will go to CATV and the rest to RPM.   —>

Trusting the public to watch government
by Phil Kadner
Daily Southtown (IL)

Elected officials in at least one southwest suburb actually want people to see how they conduct themselves at public meetings.  Mokena not only has live video of its village board meetings streaming on the Internet, but it also places the videotape in an archive on its Web site so anyone with a computer can see it at any time.

The coolest part is that the Web site allows viewers to skip through the parts of the meeting they don’t care about, such as the Pledge of Allegiance, and get right to the part where trustees rave about the local wine and food festival.  On Friday, I wrote a column about the reluctance of some public bodies to have their actions recorded on videotape.  I suggested that not only should all such meetings be recorded, but the tapes should be made available on the Internet.   —>,090907kadner.article

Should Board of Education be on TV?
by Macklin Reid
Ridgefield Press (CT)

An aspiring starlet in a skimpy dress doing the tango with a 300-pound ex-NFL lineman — people will watch that. But would anyone with an functional clicker within reach spend more than nine seconds tuned in to a Ridgefield Board of Education meeting?  What if RHS football games were on, like in the old days of Tiger TV?

An online survey is attempting to gauge Ridgefielders’ interest in having school board meetings shown on cable television. At the same time, a group of local education supporters is trying to raise private money to re-equip Ridgefield High School’s TV studio, which pre-dates television’s digital revolution.

Some board members have mixed feelings about spending tax dollars that could otherwise go to education to put themselves on television — especially when the high school’s TV studio has gone begging.  “I just want to hear from the public that this is something we should be doing,” board member Katherine McGerald said of televised board meetings. “I think it’s something we should be doing. But when you’re spending school money to do something — I’m just more comfortable hearing from the public that this is something they want us to do.”   —>

Ada’s public access TV show to go on OETA
by Julie Bisbee
NewsOK (OK)

ADA — Viewers who saw a profile of former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Robert S. Kerr on OETA this week probably didn’t realize the documentary was an outgrowth of a monthly public access program in Ada.  And the statewide public television network plans to air future offerings from “Explore Ada,” validating years of hard work by producers Mark Bratcher and Will Boggs.

The one-hour documentary on the Ada-born Kerr will be followed by a 30-minute show featuring the stories of World War II aviators from Ada, scheduled by OETA to air on Sept. 16.  Beginning in November, segments from “Explore Ada” will be shown monthly on OETA.  “Explore Ada” is the first city-produced television show in the state to have segments picked up by Oklahoma’s public television network, said Bill Thrash, station manager with OETA.   —>

Glory Pack
Portland Community Media (OR)

Glory Pack is a class project created through Portland Community Media’s Digital Storytelling Class. This project focuses pack behavior, dog ownership and loss Students determine their production topic through group discussion, plan, shoot, and edit a complete story through this class. Upon completion of the DS class, students go on to produce their own programming though the facilities of Portland Community Media.

Feeling a disconnect
Verizon to pull FiOS service from some homes (NY)
by Richard J. Dalton, Jr.

When Verizon salespeople came to Paul Sundick’s home in the village of Great Neck to sell him its FiOS TV service, it didn’t take much convincing. He had received direct mail and watched TV ads for the service, so he signed up.  But on Thursday, just a few months after he signed up and began receiving the service, a Verizon manager called him to pull the plug, saying the company hadn’t yet gotten approval for the franchise in the village.   —>,0,1814403.story

Communications measurement from a municipal perspective
by Katie Delehaye Paine
KDPaine’s PR Measurement Blog

—>   She started a public education campaign called “move it, yes you can” using traditional PR, plus print, radio, public tv and outdoor and online. Her measures of success were four:

1. provide visibility for mayor on traffic issue
2. raise awareness among drivers of the need to move a disabled vehicle
3. modify behavior
4. reduce congestions

Here’s how it worked: Billboards generated a 30% increase in awareness at a cost of $44,000, or a cost per point of awareness of $1466.66. Here’s how the various tactics stacked up in terms of cost per point of awareness:

28% of respondents said that they had seen the message via other signage, ie busses, signs at toll booths etc. This generated awareness at a cost of $1487 per point of awareness.

18.3% of respondents saw the message on Public Access TV at a cost per point of awareness of $934.18.3

Only 11.8% of respondents remembered hearing the message on the radio at a cost per point of awareness of $6964.   —>

Seeking Feedback on Web Video Platforms
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition

Over the past year, I’ve been exploring online, and talking with community media workers about, a variety of “web 2.0″ tools being used at Community Media Centers. Blogs, podcasts, wikis, social bookmarking, video mapping, and other social media platforms have generated much interest and discussion around which tools are most relevant to their center’s work and community’s needs.

Out of all of these areas, participatory Internet video seems to be the most exciting and relevant discussion most directly related to the medium of PEG access TV. So, I’ll be moving towards developing a framework upon which to further investigate, provide context, and invite feedback on the uses and narratives (e.g., YouTube v. Public Access TV debate, etc.) surrounding the implementation of participatory web video at community media centers.

I’m looking for feedback and discussion around some of the following questions:

1. Which web video platform does your center use (eg, YouTube, Google Video,, etc.)?
2. What was your motivation for choosing this platform?
3. Is this platform participatory (is it a videoblog, etc.)? If so, do you offer an RSS feed?
4. What metadata schemes are you using? Meaning, how do you tag your videos?
5. What difficulties are you finding in using, or teaching your producers about, these online video platforms?
6. What has the response been from your community?
7. Has there been any positive impact or social change that has resulted from using a web video platform at your center?

I’m sure there are many more questions and points to consider. So, if you work at this intersection, I hope you’ll join the discussion. Thanks!

Social Networking for (young) Adults
Mobile Voter

Over the last several days I’ve been working on my chapter about social networking. In the chapter intro, I’m trying to put together a discussion about the structural reasons for the rise of social networks. Naturally, I’ve been going through danah boyd’s treasure trove of papers dedicated to the topic. She makes many compelling arguments that revolve around the idea that young peoples’ (meaning: teens) public spaces are increasingly structured and mediated by adults.

This fact means that teens have few spaces (or time) in which to hang out+explore/define identity without the watchful eye of an adult – or at least the influence of an adult. She pegs this trend largely to middle-class suburban teens and makes the point that poor teens don’t have access to public spaces in the first place. [ref. p20] She summarizes this argument (and some others that she makes in the paper) by saying that “collectively, four critical forces – society, market, law, and architecture – have constructed an age-segregated teen culture that is deeply consumerist but lacks meaningful agency”[p.21]

Thus, social networks fill this void. They offer non-adult regulated spaces in which teens can explore identity, socialize, and engage publicly. And teens can do it from within adult-regulated places (eg: home, school). She wraps up by stressing the importance of ‘publics’ to society. A pithy quote: “Publics play a crucial role in the development of individuals for, as Nancy Fraser explains, “they are arenas for the formation and enactment of social identities.” By interacting with unfamiliar others, teenagers are socialized into society. Without publics, there is no coherent society. Publics are where norms are set and reinforced, where common ground is formed. Learning society’s rules requires trial and error, validation and admonishment; it is knowledge that teenagers learn through action, not theory.”[p21].

OK, I buy it. But I have questions. And I think there might be more at work here. This theory works for teenagers. But it doesn’t do much to explain the popularity of SNs among older people. What about the 29 year old who logs onto Facebook 3x daily? She owns a home and manages a team of 5 people at work. I’m sure there’s some identity definition going on, but it’s not the driving force behind her usage. She regulates her own space. She is an adult. She didn’t grow up with social networks, but she loves Facebook.   —>–a.html

Black Media Activists Push for Prime Time
by Angeli Rasbury
Womens eNews

Whatever Don Imus does next he can add unintentional media advocacy to his resume. The slurring incident sparked the formation of a media commentator coalition, a study of minority women in TV news and a congressional hearing later this month.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: high school television, Internet TV, municipal programming, social media, video franchising, Web 2.0

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