Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/20/07

New Hampshire Film Office Launches High School Short Film Festival
Film New Hampshire

High school filmmakers from around the state will showcase their works on the silver screen this May when the New Hampshire Film and Television Office launches the first-of-its-kind, statewide high school short film festival. New Hampshire Technical Institute’s Sweeney Hall Auditorium in Concord will set the stage for the inaugural fest on Saturday, May 17, 2008 beginning at noon.

The festival is open to students currently enrolled in a New Hampshire public or private high school (grades 9-12). Submissions will be accepted for festival consideration until March 14, 2008. Films will be selected by a panel of judges to screen at the festival. Five winning films will be packaged onto a DVD, which will include brief interviews with the films’ respective directors, and distributed to every community access television station in the state for future broadcast.

Rules and guidelines, film submission forms and other festival information can be found online at

Cable shift irks officials
by Scott Spielman
Journal Newspapers (MI)

The Canton Community Cable Channel is moving up in the world, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.  For residents with Comcast cable, the channel—now 12—will soon be moved up to 915.  “We’re disappointed, as a lot of communities are,” said Canton Supervisor Tom Yack.  Channel 12 on Comcast is the government access station, where Township Board of Trustees meetings and Planning Commission meetings are shown. It’s also where other Public, Educational and Government (PEG) programs such as the Canton news magazine, interviews and special event programs are telecast.   —>

Plan needs turned off
Journal Newspapers (MI)

Comcast Cable recently announced a change that will make it more difficult for viewers to access their local government.  It’s a subtle change, but one that has the potential to harm many customers, particularly those on fixed incomes.  In many communities—including Canton Township—officials have indicated that they will switch the local government channel to a number higher than most ‘cable ready’ televisions can access on their own. In Canton’s case, the local government channel will switch from 12 to 915.

That means many residents will need a converter box to watch the meetings and other local events and that means—you guessed it—they’ll have to pay extra for a privilege they once enjoyed for free.  Welcome to the new cable marketplace.  With the state-wide video franchise agreement now in place, there’s nothing communities can do to stop this kind of change. If it hasn’t happened where you live, you can bet that it will sooner or later. —>

Consultant: City of Red Bluff could send cable company $1 million bill
by Cliff Larimer
Red Bluff Daily News (CA)

Charter Cable should get a bill from the City of Red Bluff for at least a million dollars – possibly nearly nine times that much. That was the recommendation Tuesday night from the consulting firm hired by the city to investigate the lack of compliance by Charter, the company that has held the city’s television cable service franchise for about 20 years.

At the end of this year, the state takes over the awarding of local cable franchises and Charter will continue to operate in Red Bluff. City Manager Martin Nichols wants to make sure the firm does a lot of things it agreed to do years ago. The lever the city still has is to pursue legal action to assess penalties of up to $200 a day for all the infractions over the many years.

The consulting firm, CBG Communications Inc. of Paoli, Pa., in its report recommends Charter be required to remedy all non-compliance issues and says the city “may also wish to invoke at least the minimum penalty of $1,403,400 for past non-compliance.”  If the city went after the cable firm for all non-compliance, which it is unlikely to do since Charter has plans to upgrade local service next year, the penalties could total $8,919,600.   —>

Marlborough – Verizon Gets Local Access
by Lisa Koclan
Boston Globe (MA)

Verizon cable-television subscribers in Marlborough can now watch local-access programs. Although Verizon has been providing cable television in the city since last December, local program offerings were unavailable to its subscribers while Verizon and Comcast, which also provides cable TV services, worked to coordinate the integration of the cable feed, according to an announcement from the mayor’s office. Verizon subscribers can view WMCT-TV on channels 33 (education), 34 (government), and 35 (public).

Rural America has stake in public airwaves battle
by Wally Bowen
Asheville Citizen-Times

The Internet is changing from an “information highway” where all traffic is treated equally to a divided “toll road” where the traffic of favored users gets express treatment, while all others ride second class.  Cable and telephone companies now control more than 95 percent of all broadband Internet connections. This duopoly control — combined with new digital switching technology — allows these companies to change the Internet’s original nondiscriminatory operation.

The Internet arose on the nondiscriminatory “common carrier” platform of the U.S. telephone system. Phone calls placed from a pay phone in the most impoverished hamlet of Appalachia are treated the same as calls from the White House or Wall Street. So it was for traffic on the Internet until regulatory actions by the Supreme Court and the Federal Communications Commission in 2005 in effect legalized discriminatory routing.   —>

Universal Affordable Broadband for All Americans
How to Modernize Universal Service for the 21st Century and Connect Americans to a New Era of Digital Opportunity
by Jim Kohlenberger
Benton Foundation

For more than 200 years, Americans have approached the future the same way that Huck Finn looked at the bend in the river: even though we didn’t know for sure what was coming next, we always had a sense of limitless possibility about where we were going and where it could take us. Americans, whose ideas have changed the world, are the ones who have been able to see around that bend, catch a glimpse of the future, capture its potential, and ensure that all Americans can partake.

Today, as we reach a new bend in the river, we must strive once again to look around that bend in order to harness the full power and potential of what the future may bring. Never before have we seen a river of opportunity as expansive or swift as the data that flow over the Internet. The opportunities are potentially endless and as significant as the invention of the steam power and electricity that fueled American prosperity at earlier junctures. But America’s digital prosperity won’t happen by accident, nor continue by inertia. It will only happen if we make pragmatic and smart choices about our communications future.

Kohlenberger calls for universal broadband service for all Americans and lays out a plan with pragmatic steps for getting there.   —>

MTV Taps 51 State-Based Citizen Journalists for ‘Choose or Lose ’08’
PR Newswire
Fox Business Network

MTV, as part of its Emmy-winning “Choose or Lose” campaign (, today unveiled “Street Team ’08”: a specially recruited group of 51 citizen journalists — one from every state and Washington, D.C. — who will cover the 2008 elections from a youth perspective and tailor their reports for mobile devices. The members will contribute weekly, multi-media reports (short form videos, blogs, animation, photos, podcasts) that will be distributed via a soon-to-launch WAP site, MTV Mobile, and to the more than 1,800 sites in the Associated Press Online Video Network. Carefully selected by MTV after an extensive nationwide search, the one-of-a-kind press corps will be armed with mobile media like laptops, video cameras and cell phones, and charged with uncovering the untold political stories that matter most to young people in their respective states.

“Street Team ’08” members represent every aspect of today’s youth audience — from seasoned student newspaper journalists to documentary filmmakers, the children of once-illegal immigrants to community organizers. They are conservative, liberal, from big cities and small towns. The tie that binds them all is a passion for politics and a yearning to amplify the youth voice during this pivotal election. All of the “Street Team ’08” correspondents will begin reporting early next month, after an intensive MTV News orientation in New York City.   —>

“Recent MTV research shows young people believe their generation will be a major force in determining who is elected in the upcoming local and national elections,” said Ian Rowe, VP of Public Affairs and Strategic Partnership, MTV, “and Street Team ’08 will be a key way for our audience to connect with peers, as well as get informed and engaged on the local and political issues that matter to them most. We’re proud to join with the Knight Foundation on this innovative experiment — which will also explore how coverage of youth- centric election issues can be an effective pathway to increased youth voter turnout and greater political and civic engagement.”

The “Street Team ’08” program is made possible by a $700,000 Knight News Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Knight News Challenge is an annual worldwide competition awarding $5 million for innovative ideas that use digital media to inform and inspire communities. The Knight Foundation plans to invest at least $25 million over five years in the search for bold community news experiments.   —>

Gratiot public access station has new director
The Saginaw News (MI)

Gratiot County’s cable TV public access studio here has a new leader.  Mid-Michigan Cable Consortium, which oversees the studio, has hired Lori Broast, former Central Michigan University professor of broadcasting and communication arts.  Broast, a Wisconsin native, has a doctorate in mass communications from Indiana University.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: broadband policy, cable franchising, channel slamming, citizen journalism, digital divide, election programming, FCC, government access, high school television, municipal broadband, municipal programming, net neutrality, PEG access TV, public access television, rural broadband, video franchising, youth media

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