Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/19/08

‘Unfinished business’
Star Tribune (MN)

—>   Charlayne Hunter-Gault will be the keynote speaker at Monday’s 18th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast at the Minneapolis Convention Center, sponsored by the General Mills Foundation and the United Negro College Fund. The event is sold out but will be broadcast live at 8 a.m. on Twin Cities Public Television. For more information, go to  Editorial writer Denise Johnson recently spoke with Hunter-Gault about King’s legacy, race, and civil and human rights. Here are excerpts from the conversation…

Q:  During your career, you have been the first woman, first African-American or both in several positions. Now we have a presidential campaign with the first black and first woman as frontrunners — and one in which race has been raised in interesting ways. What’s your assessment?

A:  Race is featured in a very contentious primary — again that reminds us to be vigilant. But I’m not pessimistic. I’m encouraged even when the discourse is contentious. However uncomfortable that makes us, we talk about it, we debate it and that’s healthy. This is some of the most-energetic debate about race I’ve seen in a long time — especially since 9/11, when people were so traumatized. Americans are coming out of that dismal period to actually engage in what democracy means and take on some of the unfinished business of the civil-rights movement. Race is that unfinished business.

Q:  And how should it be addressed?

A: Debate, discussion, honest conversations. MLK said the movement must include blacks and whites, young and old, north and south. We need organizations that embrace all kinds of Americans who will talk openly, more groups that include people who disagree. No one can do it alone. We need people of all races, classes and backgrounds.

That’s why this campaign is so exciting; it has awakened young people, poor people. Having the discussion involving two people with good [civil-rights] credentials helps. [Obama and Clinton] are not symbolic figures. They are people of substance who have earned their positions.

In America, we’ve had periodic eruptions around race. We talked about two separate societies after riots in 1968, then discussions occurred again after Rodney King. But there isn’t an ongoing, constructive conversation. We need to figure out how to harness this energy into something lasting that benefits we the people. —>

Community TV tackles in-depth news
by Shanna McCord
Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)

A new local news source is taking on the mainstream media with a show aimed at in-depth story-telling in Santa Cruz County — touted by its producers as substance over sound bites and nightly stories that only skim the surface.  Scoot over KSBW, KION and KCBA, the network affiliates with coverage in the county. Community Television of Santa Cruz County has developed a new current affairs program called “Epicenter,” which airs on channels 25 and 71 at 7:30 p.m. every Monday

The one-hour news show is designed “to fill a void” left by local media outlets, and cover topics its producers believe are ignored or under-reported by the daily press.  “With the nightly news, you only get two-minute run and gun, just the facts ma’am,” producer Emery Hudson said.  Topics covered by “Epicenter,” which first aired earlier this month, so far include immigration, health care reform, biodiesel and issues plaguing Watsonville.  When it comes to local network news, KSBW, headquartered in Salinas, is the only station with a reporter permanently assigned to Santa Cruz.   —>

Muscatine Community College’s new Community Television Theater open house
New TV studio livens up production at MCC
by Cynthia Beaudette
Muscatine Journal (IA)

Area audiences can see locally produced television shows in a whole new light, now that the renovation of the Muscatine Community College Community Television Theater is complete.  Studio director Chad Bishop said the improved, expanded facility makes it possible to create higher quality local programming.

Expenses for approximately half of the updates were funded through a grant Bishop applied for through the Muscatine-based Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust.  The rest of the approximately $36,000 project was funded through the studio’s regular budget, the Eastern Iowa Community College District and Muscatine Power & Water.  The project has doubled the size of the studio to 1,200 square feet, Bishop said…

Texas Community Media Summit
by jon

I’ll be attending the March 1 Texas Community Media Summit – I was at a similar gathering 2-3 years ago, which was useful, but citizen media was new; it’s matured since then, and I suspect we’ll have more to talk about this year. This summit is for “Texas community media makers, stakeholders, activists, and advocates.” If you’re a Texas blogger, you should be there.

Switch To Digital TV Leaves Some Viewers Outside The Box
Tampa Tribune (FL)

If you can’t find your government and education channels on your TV, you’re probably among the Bright House customers left behind in its channel realignment last month.  Unless you have a digital-ready TV or the right brand of converter box, you can no longer watch your local government boards in action.

There is a possibility the change won’t stick. A federal judge in Michigan has temporarily prohibited another cable company, Comcast, from making a similar move. She correctly found it was not in the public interest to deprive some subscribers of easy access to government channels.  Tampa is making a similar legal argument here. The reasonable complaint is that the minimum offer to every cable subscriber should include the ability to watch the government, education and public-access channels.

Instead of joining the lawsuit, Hillsborough County commissioners worked out a deal with Bright House to equip the TVs at County Center with free converter boxes. The deal, approved last week, also gives the county $150,000 in free TV advertising over two years.  The only commissioner voting against the arrangement was Rose Ferlita, who observed, “It’s a matter of people looking at this like we got hush money to do what we want to do, and they have to pay the buck to continue watching us protect their community.”   —>

Greece school district rejects giving towns cable access
by Meaghan M. McDermott (7 comments)
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (NY)

The Greece Central School District has rejected a proposal to allow west-side towns to use a television studio at Olympia High School for cable access services.  Kathryn Firkins, director of constituent services for the town of Greece, said she was notified earlier this week by district officials who said the district decided not to move forward with the proposal.  She called the development “unfortunate” and said local town leaders will meet in coming weeks to discuss their next steps.  “I don’t know what those options might be,” she said.  Board of Education President Roger Boily declined to comment.

Talks about cable access have been ongoing among the district, Greece, Ogden, Gates, Parma and Clarkson since 2004. The towns initially wanted to hire the district to provide cable access television.  In June, the Board of Education voted down that plan. Negotiations have been going on to allow the municipalities to find an independent provider who would contract with the school to broadcast from the Olympia facility.

Gates town Supervisor Ralph Esposito blasted the move.  “I think the school district made a very bad decision,” he said. “I think they neglected their taxpayers and their students. This was a no-brainer.”  Funding for cable access comes from franchise fees that Time Warner Cable pays local municipalities. Towns and villages provide a portion of those fees — about 4 percent — for public cable access.  Esposito noted that municipalities would have paid for using Olympia’s studio, and that Greece students would have been able to learn television production skills at the studio. The district currently offers one television production course using the $660,000 studio.   —>

Time Warner Cable responds to city’s fears
by Ed Gebert
Times Bulletin (OH)

VAN WERT – Is the city of Van Wert losing control over cable television and video service at the end of the year 2011? Pat McCauley, government affairs manager at Time Warner Cable, says that the city will continue to enjoy the same benefits it receives right now, including the franchise fee.  “You know there has been a lot of confusion with the state franchises and how they will affect communities,” McCauley said. “Cable companies do not have the authority to reduce franchise fees. That is done only with the direction of the city. We have to set those at what the city tells us to set them at. We can’t change those.”

City Councilman Gary Corcoran, who represents the city on the Van Wert Public Access Television Board, still isn’t convinced that the city won’t lose out eventually.  “I would agree with that until the franchise agreement expires,” he stated. “Nothing will change until 2011. At that point, something could change.”   —>

The Right Tool for the Right Job
Exploring the possibilities and opportunities of the Open Media Web and developing the methods, formats and protocols to make it possible.
by Tara Hunt

One of the core messages that came out of the Media Web Meetup III: the Producers was this:

“Copyright laws, DMCA, etc. were tools that were instituted to help large organizations protect themselves from large organizations, it did not imagine the negotiations of individual producers in the Open Media Web. Instead of bringing the massive amount of baggage these tools wield into our communities of indie content producers, we should start talking about how – as a community – we need to figure out an ethical set of protocols for how to handle these negotiations…and these protocols needs to be flexible, relationship-based and anchored in social capital.”

Ironically, these protocols appear to exist moreso in the world of text than they do in the world of multi-media. What do I mean by that? Think about what happens in blogging communities. Very early on in the days of blogging, a community protocol was established around attribution, even when attribution desires were not voiced. If you were blogging about an idea that someone else had or using a quote from another blog, it was attributed and there was a link back to the original idea/text. Now, if you didn’t do that, you weren’t served a takedown notice, you may be seen as a jerk (relationship based) and people would lose respect for you (the loss of Social Capital) and they would stop reading your blog (real social consequences). There are grey areas to this (flexible), but in general, successful bloggers err on the side of caution and attribute as much as possible.

And this works great. It not only keeps people honest, but it has benefited the entire community, circulating ideas and helping encourage more people to contribute those ideas (the myth of the ’stolen ideas’ is busted when bloggers get recognition and prestige from publishing theirs openly, which encourages others to do the same). There were no laws separating bloggers from bloggers here. No centralized rulebook. It happened organically through a series of communications and experiences in the early growth of the community.

But when it comes to multi-media, we somehow passed over an early opportunity to establish similar protocols. Images, audio files and videos are constantly passed around online without attribution, used without permission and then big, expensive, heavy legal tools are wielded to stop this behavior. When a photographer’s image is posted on a website that doesn’t attribute or get permission, the same social stigma doesn’t take place. Photographers are told, “That’s what happens when you post your work online”. And, more often, a photographer won’t find out that their work is being lifted anyway, since multi-media isn’t as searchable (a simple filename change throws off the trail).

Even though their heart is in the right place, Creative Commons doesn’t really alleviate this situation, and it may even exacerbate it.   —>

All Things Access 108
by Bonnie Schumacher
Find Your Voice on Community TV (MN)

Click to Play

This is an episdoe of St. Paul Neighborhood Network’s Access Department’s program All Things Access. It contains a technical tip on audio/video gear, a profile of an SPNN member, an interviw with a Non-Profit, and a community interest piece.

What is SPNN?
by Bonnie Schumacher
Find Your Voice on Community TV (MN)

Click to Play

Learn about the community Access television station, St. Paul Neighborhood Network. Find out how you can make your own program and cablecast it to the St. Paul community,

“Refusing to Kill” (video)
by dandelionsalad
Dandelion Salad

Payday sent us a video that we use to start off the show this week.  “Refusing to Kill” features seven Refuseniks from around the world speaking out against murder, rape & other torture. Payday is an international and multiracial network of men which works with the Global Women’s Strike. The range of participants in this project are impressive

“Indymedia Presents” is a 28 minute weekly cable public access program produced on behalf of the Seattle Independent Media Center (IMC) by PepperSpray Productions. In addition to SCAN Channel 77 in Seattle, “Indymedia Presents” also airs on channels in greater King County (Channel 23), Bainbridge Island (Channel 12), Port Townsend, WA (Channel 47 & 48), Olympia, WA (Channel 22), Vancouver, WA (Channel 11), Portland, OR (Channel 22 and a few others), Tucson, AZ (Channel 73), St Paul, MN (Channel 15), Minneapolis, MN (Channel 17), Fort Wayne, IN (Channel 57), and on New York City’s Manhattan Neighborhood Network, (Channel 34).  Indymedia Presents is also available as an RSS feed at: Blip TV–

Central Authors
Central Connecticut State University

Central Authors is an annual series of 12 half-hour programs produced for Connecticut’s cable television stations.  The format allows our faculty and staff the familiar comfort of the classroom lecture . . .but in the Campus Bookstore. It also provides them the luxury to wax over their work for the full 30 minutes without interruption. Essentially the full span of scholarship defines the topical domain with presentors ranging from seasoned veteran authors to ‘first-book’ pens.

Youth to mayor: ‘Facebook us!’
by Carol Martin
SooToday (MI)

Participants in today’s Youth Forum at Sault Ste. Marie City Hall were fully engaged.  And that’s just what everyone wanted.

“How do we get the amenities where the youth actually put their handprint in this community, so they’ve got something started and they want to stay because they want to follow through on that opportunity?” asked Mayor John Rowswell. “We’re bringing their ownership into where we’re going to grow the community in the future.”

Youth Community Forum Co-Chair Alvin Olar says that youth in Sault Ste. Marie are very active, have accomplished much so far and have many good ideas of where to go next.  “We have been effective,” Olar says. “We’ve taken research, we’ve identified the recommendations and we’ve implemented them – we have a Youth Council, we have an alternative youth publication [Fresh Magazine], we have Buskerfest. We’ve done a lot as a volunteer group.”  Olar says it’s now time to move forward and identify partners, such as the City, schools, YMCA and United Way that youth can work with to further identify their needs, act on recommendations and make the Sault more attractive to young people.

The mayor proclaimed 2008 ‘Year of the Youth’ at the beginning of the forum and in his proclamation he encouraged all citizens to join with local young people in showing their appreciation and admiration for our future leaders.  During the forum today, youth in attendance echoed that sentiment, wanting to see:

– A more positive portrayal of youth in the media.
– More recognition of youth achievement.
– More diverse opportunities for fulfilling employment.
– More access to art and entertainment they are interested in.

Several suggested using to organize and promote the things they are interested in.  Some also said they wanted to see less talk and more action when it comes to services for youth, such as a youth centre and an administrator to run it.  They liked the idea of a one-stop-shopping centre with information and resources about things that concern youth.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, channel slamming, community media, copyright, Creative Commons, educational access, fair use, PEG access TV, public access television, video franchising, youth media

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