Community Media: Selected Clippings – 10/17/07

[ A new ‘experiments in citizen journalism’ review blog has just been launched:  PBS’ MediaShift Idea LabThis may be one many of you will want to bookmark.  See Mark Glaser’s full story at the bottom of this entry.   – rm ]

AT&T suit challenges Blumenthal
by Rob Varnon
Connecticut Post

HARTFORD — Attorney General Richard Blumenthal blasted AT&T’s Tuesday court filing challenging the latest order by Connecticut regulators that would force the telecom giant to get a cable franchise license for its U-Verse TV service.  This sets the stage for a possible showdown between the federal government and the state over regulating television service.   —>

Blumenthal: AT&T wasting its time on litigation (CT)
by John O’Brien

HARTFORD – Despite a recent federal court ruling, AT&T still refuses to apply for a cable license in Connecticut and state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal refuses to let the company get away with it.  Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Alderton decided she would not reconsider her July ruling that requires AT&T’s U-Verse Internet Protocol Television service be regulated as a cable service. The company responded Oct. 10 with a motion to alter judgment.

“AT&T shareholders and consumers should be outraged by the company’s colossal waste of resources on litigation simply to avoid vital consumer protections,” Blumenthal said. “We are ready to wholeheartedly to assist AT&T in obtaining a full cable franchise, but they are flagrantly breaking the law — seeking to avoid the franchise and all of the consumer protections that go with it.”   —>

St. Paul City Council debates available online
by Paul Demko (MN)
The St. Paul Neighborhood Network is taping debates for all seven city council races. The discussions are being show on public-access TV, but can also be watched via the group’s web site. So far Ward 6 (featuring Dan Bostrom and Pakou Hang) and Ward 7 (with Kathy Lantry and Janine Kelly) are posted.

Residents Seek Fairness in the Media
by Mark Jenkins
Residents hold a community forum questioning fairness in the media.   It was presented by the Bay County Chapter of Rainbow PUSH Coalition and was held at the Glenwood Community Center.  News 13s Jerry Brown represented News 13 at the forum and talked with those in attendance about how we cover the news on a daily basis.

Some of those at the forum voiced concerns about the way African-Americans are presented in news coverage, saying all to often only the negative is reported.  “On a stereotypical basis you know we’re drug dealers, we’re pimps, we’re lazy, all different types of criminals,” says Rainbow PUSH Coordinator Gregory Dossie.  “That’s how we’re portrayed in the media we know that news needs to be reported, but also we have doctors, lawyers, other people who are athletes and entertainers so we want to let the media know there’s another side to us.”   —>

Straight to the Point
Media reform is a way out of our political crisis
by Jon Ungphakorn
Bangkok Post
—>   The objective of media reform will be to enable all types of media to play a supportive role in educating and supporting the population for active democratic participation in the affairs of the country.  The first task will be to break down the barriers obstructing the growth and development of civil society media, such as web blogs and community radio stations. To free the internet for public access to information and political debate, the Computer Crimes Act (which I discussed two weeks ago) will need to be amended to eliminate restrictions on political expression.

This may be achieved through a civil society signature campaign in accordance with the constitution.  Public pressure must be put on the relevant authorities, particularly the still-to-be-established joint Telecommunications and Broadcasting Commission, to support the development of genuine, independent and non-commercial community radio stations throughout the country.   —>

Reinventing Community News
MediaShift Launches Idea Lab Group Blog
by Mark Glaser

few weeks back, I heard gunshots outside my window. It was pretty scary, and reminded me of my urban environment here in Potrero Hill, San Francisco. But where could I turn to get the story on what happened? Was someone killed? Do police know what happened? In the past, I might have heard something about it on the local TV news or radio news, or perhaps read something in the local newspaper.

But in this case, no one was hurt or killed, so there was nothing to see in any of the bigger media outlets in my local area. Later, I got the details on what happened from a local email list related to the Potrero Hill Parents Association. I found out that people in two passing cars had fired upon each other and hadn’t hurt any bystanders.

This case illustrates to me the disconnect between the local news happening in my neighborhood down at the real block-by-block level and the way local news outlets fail to cover that news. We have an opportunity, thanks to technology and the Internet, to serve communities better than ever before, give them a voice in news coverage and make local news a much more interactive experience.

MediaShift Idea Lab will be a place where you can read about what innovators are doing to help reinvent community news. The dozens of authors at this new group blog — hosted by and funded by the Knight Foundation — have received grants from Knight in their 21st Century News Challenge, and are going to report first-hand on the status of their projects. Some of them are actually being given grants just to blog about a topic related to reinventing journalism in communities.

Some of the featured projects include:

>  MIT’s new Center for Future Civic Media, designed to build stronger communities through innovation in digital media applied to journalism.

>  MTV’s “Knight Mobile Youth Journalists” program to help cover the 2008 U.S. elections in a different way. These young people will create video news reports for distribution on cell phones. Viewers will rate the videos and those with the highest ratings will be broadcast on MTV.

>  Gotham Gazette’s development of games to inform and engage players about key issues confronting New York City. The games will help people create solutions to civic problems that will be passed on to city officials.

Plus, well known new media thinkers such as NYU’s Jay Rosen, Ourmedia’s J.D. Lasica, EveryBlock’s Adrian Holovaty and Placeblogger’s Lisa Williams will be blogging regularly on the site. The dozens of authors on Idea Lab run the gamut from academia to the private sector, and as more people worldwide get 21st Century News Challenge grants the next few years, they will be added to the mix on Idea Lab.

As the editor of this group blog, I’ll mainly be overseeing the content and design of the site, and will stay out of the way of all the people posting their own stories. The authors will be able to post and publish directly to the site, and I’ll be editing after they have posted content — keeping the content timely and fresh. As readers of Idea Lab, you’ll be able to post comments to any blog post, rate the posts that you like best, and directly contact the authors.

The main MediaShift blog received a grant from Knight to produce Idea Lab and also to launch new multimedia features, such as a regular audio podcast, video reports and a citizen media project. I’m looking forward to having those features come to fruition and hope there will be many chances for collaboration with the Idea Lab authors on MediaShift as well. I will continue to laud and criticize Knight’s many intiatives, as I did with the News21 program recently, remaining editorially independent and transparent.

As with most things on MediaShift, I am trying to “walk my talk” even with underwriting for the blog. I often write about advertisers and funders trying to work in new ways online with media outlets to better serve their audience. So when I approached Knight, I wanted to do something more than simply get funding; I wanted to create something deeper, a collaboration that would equally serve Knight, MediaShift, PBS and our combined community of involved readers and doers.

After many months of hard work from everyone involved in this project, I’m really proud (and relieved) to have it go live online. I look forward to your readership, participation and feedback as we reinvent community news together on the new MediaShift Idea Lab site.

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, citizen journalism, citizen media, community radio, election programming, hyperlocal, IPTV, media criticism, media justice, media reform, PEG access TV, public access television, social media, U-Verse, user-generated content, video franchising, Web 2.0, youth media

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