Community Media: Selected Clippings – 09/15/07

Shoving democracy farther from view
by Howard Troxler
St. Petersburg Times (FL)

—>  A fine example was the recent dramatic meeting of the Pinellas County Commission. Everyone could watch as the commission debated the fate of the county attorney and the county administrator.  For the rest of the week, I heard from viewers of the meeting. They dissected the meeting point by point, quoted the commissioners’ exact words, critiqued their attitudes and their tones and even their facial expressions.

… Bright House Networks, the biggest cable company in the area, is moving access channels out of its basic tier.  Our democracy will be stuck up somewhere on the high end of the digital channels. Customers will have to pay extra to find it.  It’s not the end of the world. Some folks already have digital service. Some will take the extra step. But some won’t.

Shouldn’t a private company be able to do as it pleases? Shouldn’t the free market decide these things?  Sure – if you’re talking about Publix or Wal-Mart deciding which brands of cereal to carry.  But Publix didn’t build its industry on the public’s right of way, or by extracting long-term contracts from the public, or by making all kinds of promises about serving that public in return.

Channel 999? Nuts to that. Let’s put it right where folks have to click past it to see Entertainment Tonight.  But, the worm always turns. One day, Bright House will again need public goodwill or local approval for some purpose. That will be a good day to remember this.

Did I just say, the worm always turns? I confess to getting a little pleasure from the squawks of local governments as their own TV channels get booted up the dial.  After all, the governments of Hillsborough and Pinellas are trying to do even worse to the citizens, by cutting out public access altogether.

Sure, there’s some wacky stuff on public access, but there’s good stuff, too. Public access was part of the promise of cable. Every citizen would have a voice.  Hillsborough and Pinellas should cut out the propaganda part of their channels and save public access. Bright House should keep our local government where the most people can see it.  In return, I promise to keep my HBO subscription, and not to switch to a rival company, or satellite TV.

Your loss of privacy is a package deal
by David Lazarus

The all-you-can-eat packages of voice, video and Internet services offered by phone and cable companies may be convenient, but they represent a potentially significant threat to people’s privacy.  Take, for example, Time Warner Cable, which has about 2 million customers in Southern California. The company offers a voice-video-Net package called “All the Best” for $89.85 for the first 12 months.

But for anyone who has the wherewithal to read Time Warner’s 3,000-word California privacy policy, you discover that not only does the company have the ability to know what you watch on TV and whom you call, but also that it can track your online activities, including sites you visit and stuff you buy.

Remember all the fuss when it was revealed last year that Google Inc. kept voluminous records of people’s Web searches, and that federal authorities were demanding a peek under the hood? Multiply that privacy threat by three.  Internet, TV, phone — it’s hard to imagine a more revealing glimpse of your private life.  “All your eggs are in one communications basket,” said Beth Givens, director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego. “If a company wants to, it can learn a great deal about you — and it probably wants to.”

More often than not, it’ll also want to turn a fast buck by selling at least a portion of that info to marketers.  Find the privacy policies of three providers:  AT&T U-Verse ; Time Warner Cable ; Verizon FiOS TV —>,0,5087648.column

News show a hit at Duniway
by Starla Pointer
News-Register (OR)

Although he had successfully auditioned and really wanted the job, Chad Springer was nervous the first time he went on air as an anchor for “Duniway News.”  The seventh-grader tried to keep calm as the cameras began rolling. He made it through the show, which features activities and people at Duniway Middle School, but knew he could do better next time.  Chad went to lunch the day his debut was aired on the in-school television system. “The lunch ladies and everybody said, ‘Good job,’ and complimented me,” he recalled. “I felt great.”

Now starting his eighth-grade year, Chad is more confident of both his on-air and behind-the-scenes skills. He and a baker’s dozen other experienced “Duniway News” staff members are helping novices learn digital video production, story development, directing and interviewing.

Led by technology teacher Brent Fodge, the popular class will produce a 10- to 15-minute news and feature show about three times a month.  Duniway’s sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders also see Channel One, a nationally produced newscast for students that features high school-age reporters and anchors. Some middle schoolers show only mild interest in Channel One, but every student pays rapt attention to “Duniway News,” Fodge said.

Marilyn Salter, who retired in June, started the video production class six or seven years ago. The class did taping and editing, but didn’t produce a regularly scheduled show.  “Duniway News” started last year.

It’s run in conjunction with the school’s leadership class to make a full-year elective course. Students spend half the school year in video production and half in leadership, switching in January.  The classes have a lot of similarities, according to Chad and fellow “Duniway News” staffer Sadie Linder.  In both, students share responsibility for planning and organizing things, Sadie said. They get to know students and teachers, and become well-known themselves. They take satisfaction in doing something for their school.

“This teaches you lots of technology and life skills, like working together and who you work best with,” Sadie said.  Students are eager to participate in “Duniway News.” This fall, 83 eighth-graders applied for 28 slots.   —>

Carlsbad Files Suit Over Lapsed Cable Franchise (CA)
by Linda Haugsted
Multichannel News

—>   Because Time Warner can’t yet shed its local agreement, Carlsbad officials, in October 2006, proposed a franchise extension through January 2008 that would increase support for public, educational and government channels to 2% from 1% of gross revenue.

Time Warner counters that state law directs cities to allow operators to extend current franchises or to let them expire but keeping the incumbent operator in place.  The city counters that state law allows for a local franchise extension but doesn’t mandate it. City officials notified Time Warner in December 2006 that it was operating without city consent, but local regulators assert in their suit that the cable operator did not respond.

The city suit asserts that, because Time Warner is operating illegally on the city rights-of-way, Carlsbad is entitled to 100% of the operator’s gross cable revenues earned while it was without a valid local or state franchise through the date of a trial. The city also seeks court costs and attorney fees.

Loochoo nu Kwa Culture/Identity Workshop at Jikoen
by Norman Kaneshiro
Ukwanshin Kabudan (HI)

On August 25, 2007, in collaboration with the Young Okinawans of Hawai‘i, we presented our first culture/identity workshop in Honolulu at the Jikoen Hongwanji Hall from 5pm to 9:30pm. Indeed, the ancestors seemed to have had a big hand in guiding this event. Though the date and location of the venue were chosen strictly for logistical reasons, it happens that August 25th was Uukuyi, the first day of the 3-day Okinawan Obon (feast days to celebrate the visitation of the ancestral spirits to our world based on the lunar calendar) and that on such a day, it would be held on the grounds of the temple that was built by Okinawan immigrants decades ago and served as an early meeting place for the Okinawan community on O‘ahu. Under these auspices and in the presence of almost 150 people, we proceeded with the task of building bridges to days long past and to things forgotten by many.

…Of course, we owe thanks to many people. First of all, to the Young Okinawans of Hawaii for agreeing to co-sponsor and support this event and for providing all of the volunteers. A big mahalo also to Jikoen Hongwanji for welcoming this event with open arms, especially Rev. Shindo Nishiyama and President Lily Horio. Thanks to Donna Shiroma-Nakasue and Shari Kawamura for filming the entire event for ‘Olelo public access television. And last but not least, to all of the attendees who made the time to spend with us. Nifee deebiru.   —>

Day 2, 9/7/2007
by C Bonkowski
My Internship Experience (MI)

The second day on the job and already a field trip! A trip to Grand Rapids to the meeting of the Alliance for Community Media (ACM). This was pretty darn sweet, because I got to spend a whole day hanging out with people who have been working with Public Access Media stuff for a long, long time and really know the field- a great networking opportunity for sure, and everyone was really nice and welcoming.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: government access, municipal programming, PEG access TV, privacy, public access television, video franchising, youth media

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