Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/02/08

Future of town government TV heads to Hartford for debate
The Wilton Bulletin (CT)

Thousands of area residents who watch their town government in action on local cable stations may be in for a shock, according to a release from the Area 9 Cable Council.  While Cablevision continues to air such stations on channel 79, new competitors to the TV market may make such valuable programming harder to find, the group said. Area Nine Cable Council members recently submitted testimony at the state Capitol, as the legislature’s technology committee heard comments on the future of community access television-the public, educational, and governmental, or PEG, access stations that Wilton residents view on channels 77, 78, and 79.

Cable TV advisory boards, state officials, and public broadcasters argued that, like cable companies, AT&T should not charge local communities for carrying their local access stations on its new U-Verse video service and that local access channels deserve equivalent status to other channels on U-Verse’s line-up.

Last year the state legislature adopted a new law that allows AT&T and others to offer television services to state residents under a certificate system that contains fewer regulations than the current cable franchise system, the group said. The Area Nine Cable Council supports competition, but supports a regulatory level playing field for consumers to receive the benefits of true competition, according to the release.

Hal Levy of Westport, chairman of the cable council, said as an advocate for community access television, the council opposes not only charging municipalities and customers for interconnection costs, but also the way in which AT&T proposes to carry local community access channels and the Connecticut Network in its newly launched U-Verse system. Unlike cable TV, the U-Verse system employs a separate, drop-down menu, Web-based system in its channel line-up for broadcasting PEG channels, the group said.  “There’s no reason to make public affairs and town government TV a ‘second class citizen’ on the AT&T system,” said Mr. Levy.

Carole Young-Kleinfeld, who testified at the Capitol as one of Wilton’s representatives to the cable council, said that U-Verse demonstrations from other states show that AT&T’s system for viewing community access channels can take almost a minute to load these channels, offers poorer resolution and a smaller screen than regular channels, is not closed-captionable, and is not recordable.   —>

New Hampshire High School Short Film Festival approaching
Film New Hampshire

[ comments invited ]

Submissions for first-ever New Hampshire High School Short Film Festival have been arriving at the New Hampshire Film and Television Office for weeks, reflecting the state’s wide pool of talented young filmmakers—and their interests.  Designed to foster and reward interest in film for future members of the industry, the Festival is open to students currently enrolled in New Hampshire public or private high schools (grades 9-12), although submissions do not have to have been created as part of a school project… The deadline to submit films to the competition is April 4, 2008. They must arrive at the State Library in Concord by 4 p.m. on that date.

A panel of judges made up of New Hampshire film professionals will select films to be shown at the Festival, which takes place at New Hampshire Technical Institute’s Sweeney Hall Auditorium in Concord on May 17, beginning at noon. Five winning films will be packaged onto a DVD, which will also include brief interviews with the films’ respective directors. Copies of the DVD will be distributed to every community access television station in the state for future broadcast.   —>

City’s fifth graders ready for quiz show challenge this spring
by Patrick Blais
Daily Times Chronicle (MA)

WOBURN – Fifth grade students will face-off later this spring in a quiz show that’s being sponsored as part of a collaborative public relations effort between the school district and the city’s public media center.  During the most recent School Committee meeting, former Altavesta Principal Fran Mooney and William Bishop, the Executive Director at the Woburn Public Media Center, unveiled their plans to launch the city-wide competition…  “We came up with [the] idea to get the community aware of the community media center and to also give a boost to the schools,” explained Mooney. “We thought we’d get these kids on TV and give them an idea of what it’s like to be on television.”   —>

Niagara County Legislature won’t return Christy to cable
He blames GOP for cancellation
by Thomas J. Prohaska
The Buffalo News (NY)

LOCKPORT — Despite protests from a gathering of supporters, the Niagara County Legislature Tuesday defeated a resolution calling for the return of host Tom Christy to a cable television program.  Christy, who attended the meeting, blamed the county’s Republicans for the cancellation of the weekly phone-in program, “Legislative Journal,” produced at Lockport Community Television and shown throughout Niagara and Erie counties.

As of last Thursday, it has been replaced by a show called “Access to Government,” which premiered with a Republican elected official interviewing another Republican elected official, and it received no telephone callers.  But the new show’s existence was used as a reason for Legislature Chairman William L. Ross, C-Wheatfield, to withdraw a resolution asking LCTV to bring back a phone-in show but making no mention of Christy.  “I watched about five minutes, and I turned it off, it was so boring,” said Legislature Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls, who was a frequent guest on Christy’s show. “It was nothing like ‘Legislative Journal.’ Tom Christy was the ultimate host.”

The Buffalo News has reported that the Lockport Community Cable Commission, appointed by the Republican-led governments of the City and Town of Lockport, wrote to the state Public Service Commission, asking permission to censor Christy, and received it.  Christy’s criticism of the GOP didn’t sit well with the Republicans who control the Legislature or other top county officials.  The pro-Christy resolution was defeated on a straight caucus- line vote — 14 Republicans and their adherents opposed, five “regular” Democrats in favor.   —>

Stay Up With Penny Dreadful: MetroCast’s late-night horror flicks beckon to night-owls.
by Stephen Chupaska
The Day (CT)

[ comments invited ]

Once thought to be deceased, hosted horror movie shows are still alive, or rather, still undead, on local public access.  This year, MetroCast Cable, which services residences throughout Waterford, East Lyme, New London, and Montville, picked up Penny Dreadful’s Shilling Shockers, a humorous homage to old late-night horror shows, such as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and Commander USA.

Begun in 2006 by a group of horror-loving friends in Worcester, Mass., the show is now seen in all six New England states on more than 50 public access channels.  The show does two, seven-episode seasons per year and sends DVD copies out to public access channels.   —>

Hope for Detroit
by Larry Gabriel
Unending Conversations of Hope (MI)

[ comments invited ]

[This article was featured in the MetroTimes, Detroit’s free weekly alternative, on 3/26/08. Grace Lee Boggs and Ron Scott, both members of the Detroit City of Hope campaign, take an alternative position on the resolution of the Detroit’s mayoral scandal.]

—>   We’re wounded. The lost promise of one Kwame Kilpatrick, a young man so many of us had so much hope in just a few years ago, will aggravate our long-standing pains. Picking up the pieces will be that much harder than it was before all the ugly revelations.  We need transformation. We need trust. We need to change our discourse, dynamics and destiny. We need truth and reconciliation.

I must admit that I was in the mob with torches and pitchforks ready to descend on Manoogian Mansion. I’m not recanting my last few columns, but a friend who is active in the Detroit City of Hope campaign changed the course of my thinking. He asked me to think about how the Kilpatrick scandal presented opportunities for reconciliation in Detroit. City of Hope endorsers, community organizations that share the vision of hope, look at the bigger picture of community healing rather than just throwing the rascal out.

“No matter which way the legal process goes, that is a process that has to happen. It’s too bad that couldn’t have happened a lot earlier,” says activist Ron Scott, spokesperson for the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality and producer for the public access television program For My People. “You have to start in on a community level and have the support of a number of disparate factions. People who have worked with the mayor need to go to him and various factions. It has to be a combination of people who come together and have an honest dialogue about what they want their community to be. If it doesn’t transform the community then it misses its mark.”

The concept is rooted in the truth and reconciliation process that Bishop Desmond Tutu led in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. Also used in Rwanda and other countries, it involves bringing together the perpetrator and the perpetrated upon outside of the justice system to speak about the effect wrongdoing had on each of them. It’s about understanding what happened, why it happened and the thoughts of those involved in order to come to terms with past events.   —>

Public Interest Mashup* Follows Political Money Trail
by H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik
Iconic Woman

[ comments invited ] is developing a mashup* that shows a correlation between political campaign contributions and the way lawmakers vote.  During the Watergate scandal that eventually toppled President Richard Nixon, confidential source “Deep Throat” advised two enterprising Washington Post reporters to “follow the money” to uncover the scandal’s ringleaders., a small, not-for-profit company, is developing a database groundbreaking public database, illuminates the connection between campaign donations and legislative votes in unprecedented ways. Elected officials collect large sums of money to run their campaigns, and they often pay back campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws. This common practice is contrary to the public interest, yet legal. The Maplight database and application mashup* allows the public to follow another money trail—the connection between campaign contributions and the way lawmakers vote, making the money/vote connections transparent, to help citizens hold their legislators accountable…

For example, the H.R. 5252 bill, which was before Congress in 2006, was originally designed to create a national cable franchise and provide the Federal Communications Commission with the authority to ensure net neutrality.  The end result was “a telephone bill that did not ensure net neutrality,” said Dan Newman, co-founder and executive director of “The telecommunications companies really favored the bill—they didn’t want net neutrality—while Google and Yahoo opposed it. You can see on our Web site that the telephone utilities gave an average of $15,000 to each legislator voting yes—almost triple the amount for legislators voting no.”

The company currently has a database that tracks every single bill in Congress and it is working, through volunteers and funding donations, to extend the service to 50 states.  But to finish the actual coding on the Mapping Money and Politics mashup*, is entering the NetSquared’s N2Y3 Mashup* Challenge. The contest, put on by NetSquared—another not-for-profit company whose mission is to “spur responsible adoption of social Web tools by social benefit organizations,” according to its Web site—has a $100,000 prize.   —>

Talk to the Newsroom: David Carr, Culture Reporter and Business Columnist
New York Times

David Carr, culture reporter and business columnist, is answering questions from readers March 31 to April 4…  Mr. Carr writes the Media Equation column for the Monday business section and is a general assignment culture reporter. During the Oscar season, Mr. Carr blogs daily about the Oscars and makes weekly videos as well.

In dividing his duties between culture and business, Mr. Carr is something of a hybrid — high mileage (see photo) with intermittent horsepower. As a reporter for The Times, Mr. Carr has taken a book tour with an author on a raft in the Mississippi, questioned whether news reports during Hurricane Katrina needlessly inflamed public opinion, and hidden in the bushes at the annual mogul conclave in Sun Valley. As a columnist and reporter, Mr. Carr is particularly interested in media in all its forms — Web, film, music, television — and how platform shifts are changing consumer habits. He subscribes to four newspapers and has 3,336 songs on his iPod — The National is currently on heavy rotation…

The Old Minneapolis Days

Q. I used to watch you on the Minneapolis Community Network with Brian Lambert and Erik Eskola. Do you consider that the big break that catapulted you to The Times?

A. Um, that wasn’t me. O.K.. it was, but I’ve grown so much since then. If, as you suggest, “The Facts as We Know Them,” as it was called, was my big break, it should be mentioned that Al Gore had to invent the Internet for me to finally get some more face time in front of the camera. During the awards season, I make weekly videos about the Oscars and movies. My time on the chair lift in Sundance with Tom Arnold is, well, classic, in sort of a Three Stooges minus one guy sort of way. With a face that looks as if were crafted out of mashed potatoes and a voice that sounds like a trash compactor that needs oil, I’m not a natural for television, but Web TV? Hey, real is the new beautiful. I have incredibly fond memories of “The Facts as We Know Them,” if for no other reason that in all of my job travels, I have yet to come across two journalists who are as talented and fun to work with as Erik Eskola and Brian Lambert.    —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable franchising, cable vs telco, government access, PEG access TV, public access television, U-Verse, video franchising, youth media

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: