Archive for the ‘cable public affairs networks’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/17/08

March 18, 2008

U-Verse’s Sorry Excuse For Public Access TV
CT’s version of public access CSPAN a little annoyed….
by Karl
Broadband Reports


As Verizon and AT&T lobbyists worked to eliminate the local video franchise system, consumer advocates pointed out that such moves resulted in the death of public access. In States where lawmakers insist, AT&T has to carry public access — but localities haven’t been all too thrilled with the results. In Connecticut, AT&T is trying to pass preferred “franchise reform” legislation that would change how PEG channels are offered. The free, 24-hour local government policy public access channel (Connecticut Network), worried that the bill would kill off viewership, has created a video showing what locals have to do in order to access the channel in Michigan.   —>

Franchise, Phone Bills Percolate In Pa.
Cable, Verizon Put Lobbying Voice Behind VoIP Deregulation
by Linda Haugsted
Multichannel News

Pennsylvania lawmakers may consider a state franchising-reform bill, but the industries most affected by that bill, the cable and telephone companies, are teaming up to put their lobbying muscle behind deregulating voice-over-Internet protocol phone service.

Cable operators and Verizon officials testified last week before the state Senate’s consumer affairs committee in favor of SB 1000, which would prevent any government agency from trying to regulate the product.  Virginia, New Jersey and Delaware have already written into law that VOIP can be deployed without regulatory hurdles.

The state video franchising proposal — HB 1490 — was drafted in part by labor groups and neither cable operators nor phone companies like the bill.  “HB 1490 is a bad idea. You don’t amend or negotiate a bad idea,” Broadband Cable Association of Pennsylvania president Dan Tunnell said.

Most states adopting statewide franchise require a new provider to submit the names of executives, state office locations and a description of the intended franchise area. Pennsylvania’s draft bill goes further, requiring an applicant demonstrate the legal, financial, technical and managerial qualities needed to build and operate a system — much like the deep level of operating data local communities demand for cable franchises.

HB 1490 would also give the state Public Utility Commission up to four months to act on an application, a period during which three public hearings must be held. At the end of that period the PUC has the option to deny the application.

The bill also would establish:
• A six-year franchise;
• A requirement incumbents can’t be state franchised until their current pacts expire, unless the local franchiser consents;
• A build-out schedule that requires new providers to reach 35% of their declared franchise areas within three years of launch. A quarter of those customers would have to meet a low-income test. By year six, 70% of the franchise would have to be served, including 30% low-income households. If the franchise is renewed for another six years, the provider would have to serve the all households in the franchise by the end of year 12;
• And a rule that all installations, maintenance and customer service be done within the state.

Bridgeport schools showcased on TV
by Linda Conner Lambeck
Connecticut Post

[ comments invited ]

BRIDGEPORT — “Great Expectations,” a 30-minute news magazine showcasing all the good things happening in city schools, premieres this week on public access television.  The Bridgeport Public Education Fund is bankrolling the program, along with seven others, at a cost of about $5,000 per episode.

The program is hosted by Gina LeVon Simpson, a school system outreach worker with a background in television, and is produced by Borres Productions of Bridgeport.  Others involved in the production include students working in front of and behind the camera. They include: Justin Flores and Ahlaam Abdul, both students in Bassick High Schools Arts and Media Academy; and Rondique McLeon and DeSheena Kinney from Harding High.

The first episode features Hernan Illingsworth, parent of a fifth-grader at Classical Studies Academy and president of the citywide Parent Advisory Council.  “I hope this TV show starts to change expectations,” Illingsworth said. “Sometimes the expectations are bad. I hope this TV show shows a lot of the good stuff.”

A camera crew followed Illingsworth around for about three hours one day, filming him at work, during school and community activities, and at home.  “I believe the message was to get the aspect of me as a parent leader,” Illingsworth said. He hopes the show will get more parents involved and show the general public that Bridgeport parents care.   —>

Does Big Media’s One-Two Punch Knock Out the Internet?
by Jonathan Rintels

[ one comment ]

Last week saw Big Media deliver a powerful one-two combination of punches that may knock out today’s wide open Internet. First, in a speech delivered by Motion Picture Association of America President Dan Glickman, the nation’s media conglomerates vowed to fight increasingly vocal calls from policymakers and the public for “network neutrality” — a requirement that broadband Internet consumers be permitted to access the lawful content of their choice.

That’s hardly a revolutionary concept, unless you’re a broadband gatekeeper like Comcast that makes its customers’ choices for them by discriminating against some websites and favoring others.

To justify allying with Comcast, ATT, and their ilk in a mega-million dollar lobbying campaign to beat back government action that might prevent such anti-competitive, anti-consumer discrimination, the media congloms cited the need to combat piracy of their valuable content over broadband networks.

But as much as we also support fighting piracy, the MPAA’s invoking that fight here is a diversionary smoke screen for what’s really going on. The existing FCC policy principles that call for network neutrality, as well as every proposal to turn those principles into enforceable rules, speak to ensuring that broadband providers allow consumers “to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.”

By definition, pirated content is not “lawful content.” Big Media’s claim that Net Neutrality rules will prevent it from combating piracy goes way too far, as evidenced by Comcast’s recent blocking and slowing of its customers’ access to content distributed by BitTorrent. In kneecapping BitTorrent, Comcast didn’t just block pirated content, but all BitTorrent content, including legitimate un-pirated content such as a file containing the text of the King James Bible, and video that BitTorrent was distributing on behalf of its clients Fox, Time Warner, and Viacom – all card-carrying members of the MPAA!

Now consider the second powerful blow Big Media leveled against the open Internet last week. On Wednesday, went “live” after months in beta, streaming video of film and television produced by most of the media congloms that make up the MPAA.

[BTW, as Nikki Finke asked, how is it that this NBC-Universal and News Corp. (FOX) “joint venture” to distribute via Internet content owned by these companies, plus that of Sony, Warners, MGM-UA, and others, doesn’t violate antitrust laws? After all, not even the Bush administration’s “anything goes” antitrust regulators would allow these same alleged competitors to create a “joint venture” to distribute their content via movie theaters or a Dish Network-type satellite system.]

Allowing Comcast, ATT, and other broadband gatekeepers to discriminate against video content delivered by the BitTorrents of the Internet world vastly strengthens Hulu’s competitive position as the leading and “safe” web distribution method for video.

And can there be any doubt that as a condition of Big Media’s allying with the broadband providers to fight net neutrality that there is a clear understanding between them that Hulu will never be discriminated against in the way BitTorrent was? Look for all the Big Media companies currently using BitTorrent and other distribution over the Internet to sign up soon with Hulu.

Following that, to ensure they are not discriminated against by broadband gatekeepers and placed at a competitive disadvantage, look for many more video content creators to place their content on Hulu. In a world without Net Neutrality, linking up with Big Media’s Hulu — and its insulation from Comcast-style discrimination and degrading — will be a matter of self-preservation.

Kudos to the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA) for immediately calling out the MPAA and exposing its anti-competitive collusion. Writes the IFTA:   —>

MIT’s Jenkins, Johnson Talk Community, Creativity
by Jessica Maguire

[ one comment ]

MIT’s Jenkins, Johnson Talk Community, Creativity Amidst accusations of the dumbing-down of American youth, Henry Jenkins stands as a profound defender of popular culture, and a notable commentator on media and video game-related issues.

The Co-Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT, author of numerous books including Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide and Fans, Bloggers and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture, shared the stage with Steven Johnson, author of Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software, Everything Bad Is Good for You, and other popular books about emerging technology, for the opening remarks at SXSW 2008.

The Decline Of Youth Culture?

To begin their conversation about the impact of new media and gaming culture, Johnson asked Jenkins about the emergence of books like The Dumbest Generation and the big NEA report about the decline of reading among kids today.   —>

NCVO: Over 120 MPs demand local TV on freeview

Over 120 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion demanding that the Government introduce a local television network on Freeview before switching off the analogue TV signals.

Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum are backing a plan put forward by United for Local Television, a coalition of local TV operators and campaigners. This would see the introduction of “Channel 6” as a new local channel broadcasting on the Freeview platform. No matter where you live in the UK, Channel 6 would be a local channel offering local news, local programming and local advertising. Channel 6 would also carry ‘networked’ public service content covering interests such as the arts, business, industry, rural affairs, tourism, health and social issues.

The Early Day Motion has been proposed by Ian Stewart MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Community Media, and is rapidly gaining support from MPs.  Ian Stewart, MP for Eccles, said:  “UK citizens are amongst the least well served in the entire democratic world for access to local news and information from television. It is vital that at least one channel (out of a potential 30+ channels on Freeview) is protected as a local channel providing a forum to debate and discuss local issues. I feel very strongly that local TV must be extended so that everyone has access to a local channel on Freeview no matter where they live and without the need to subscribe to pay-TV or the internet.”

The Government is committed to the expansion of local TV. Section 244 of the Communications Act 2003 gives the Culture Secretary the ability to enact a Local Digital Television Order which would roll out local TV services across the UK. MPs are now calling on the Government to enact these provisions.   —>$1213353.htm

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media


Logged Video Clips of Connecticut Public Hearing on PEG Access TV

March 16, 2008

On March 7 Connecticut’s Joint Committee on Energy & Technology held a 4-hour hearing on HB 5814, a bill to amend their recent statewide video franchising law. Connecticut PEG access advocates are asking to have two essential protections added:

1) The bill should require any new video service providers to present all PEG access channels with the equivalent quality, accessibility and functionality of all other channels, as current cable providers do; and

2) all new video service providers shall bear the equipment and transmission costs of receiving the PEG access channels’ signals, as current cable providers do.

Both of these concerns stem from AT&T’s stated intentions in this state and others 1) to carry PEG channels in a significantly degraded fashion on its U-Verse service, and 2) to charge the PEG access providers for both the equipment and transmission costs necessary in order to receive their signals.

Videos produced by Connecticut Network – all rights reserved.

Here’s the side-by-side comparison of PEG channel navigation, cable vs. U-Verse, performed by Paul Giguere as part of his testimony.

Clip 1 begins with Paul Giguere, President of Connecticut Network (Connecticut’s C-SPAN’). Next are:

16:20 – Bill Duran, NCTA, Chief Counsel
26:05 – Rep. Tom Drew, D-Fairfield
35:50 – Carole Young-Kleinfeld, Area Nine Cable Advisory Council member
43:10 – Don Rowe, for Wallingford Mayor Wilkinson

Clip 2 begins with Jennifer Evans, West Hartford Community TV, Production Manager. Next are:

03:35 – Rep. David McClusky, D-West Hartford
05:05 – Rep. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, Avon, Farmington
17:15 – Andy Shatz, West Hartford Community TV, Board President
23:35 – Rep. Paul Davis, D-Orange, Milford, West Haven

Clip 3 begins with Bill Vallee, Connecticut Office of the Consumer Counsel. Next are:

12:50 – Dennis Buckley, Skye Cable (Waterbury) attorney
20:50 – Stephen Mindera, Skye Cable, President
26:10 – Pua Ford, Woodbridge Government Access TV
31:30 – Sol Silverstein, Orange Access Telecommittee, Chair

Clip 4 begins with Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Attorney General. Next are:

10:15 – Ron Davis, Area Two Cable Advisory Council, Chair
21:05 – Gerard Speno, Area Two Cable Advisory Council, member

Clip 5: Wyland Clift, attorney, and Thomas Castelot, President, Sound View Community Media

Clip 6 begins with Susan Huizenga, Cable Advisory Council South Central CT, Chair. Next are:

04:55 – Dennis Guargliaroni, Milford Govenment Access, line producer
10:00 – Walter Mann, North Haven TV, Executive Director
18:00 – Nancy Holk, Woodbridge resident

Clip 7: John Emra, AT&T, Regional Vice President, External & Legislative Affairs

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 09/29/07

September 29, 2007

Freedom of Speech and Publc Access
by Jennifer Sloane, Producer
Access Pinellas

A PSA on Freedom of Speech and Public Access Television featuring Civil Rights Attorney, Luke Lirot.

We Interrupt This Broadcast
by Qwertz

—> There was a campaign here in Key Midwestern Swing State to “open the doors to cable competition.” There was a bill. It passed and was signed by our new Governor, Liberal Democrat. Large National Telephone Company was the primary lobbying force behind the bill. The bill abolished all municipal cable franchise agreements.

“How wonderful!” I can hear you exclaim. “Key Midwestern Swing State has taken a great step towards a true laissez-faire cable television market!”

But alas, this is not the case. The bill did away with municipal franchise agreements by creating a State franchise agreement! Instead of local tyrants dictating the terms on which customers may purchase cable television and Internet services, State tyrants will get to do it. And have done it. And have prices dropped? No. Because the bill didn’t actually open the doors to cable competition. It just made it so that the telephone company can get it’s “fair share” of the public pie. Are there new choices? No. The choice is still “cable or DSL,” not “which cable company?” Actually, when the bill was signed, my cable bill went up by four and a half dollars a month. And now the service is getting shitty.

Tyrants are everywhere and they’re not going away. What amazes me most is that people are so confused about what tyranny is that they’ll embrace a bigger tyrant who comes along to “save” them from the petty ones.

Where Mentors Guide Young Filmmakers
by Joseph P. Fried
New York Times (NY)

James Duarte, 16, says his plan to become a film director and screenwriter can be traced to when he was 9 years old and persuaded his father to buy him a camcorder. These days, Mr. Duarte is conceiving, shooting and editing short films in a two-year after-school and weekend program run by the Downtown Community Television Center, a 35-year-old nonprofit production and training organization in Manhattan. The center’s professional filmmakers produce television documentaries (15 of which have won Emmy Awards), and its trainees include high school students, some of whom are bent on pursuing film-related careers.

“I definitely want to be in the film industry,” said Megan Rosado, a 17-year-old trainee. “It’s kind of a dream of mine to have my own film company.” Ms. Rosado, a Bronx resident, and Mr. Duarte, also of the Bronx, spoke about their plans recently while editing film they had shot for separate projects.

Each year, 8 to 12 high school freshmen and sophomores are admitted to the program, which began in the mid-1990s and is called Media Fellowship. They receive stipends of $7 an hour for nine hours a week, though the program’s administrators say that most devote more time to the program. —>

Pacifica Community Television
About this channel

This is a live stream from Pacifica Community Television, a public access media organization covering life and event in Pacifca, California. Please visit for schedules and further information. —>

5 Reasons Social Media Makes Me Want to Claw YOUR Eyes Out
by Justin Kownacki
Cafe Witness

Once again, I must qualify this post with a disclaimer: I create social media. At times, what I create is quite good, and I enjoy the process. I also enjoy the community aspect of social media. However.

There’s a LOT of fluff and very little substance to social media (so far), and that extends to the way in which we frame our arguments. So, if at all possible, I’d be extremely pleased if I never had to hear the following statements again: —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 08/16/07

August 17, 2007

Access SF’s Anniversary Grantreel
by kyras
Access SF (CA)

A collection of clips in celebration of Access SF’s 20th anniversary!

ZBA calls cops on citizen who now may sue city
by Brian McCready
New Haven Registar (CT)

MILFORD — A resident’s attempt to videotape a public meeting late Tuesday ended with city officials adjourning the meeting and police arriving to remove the camera.

But in the light of day Wednesday, City Attorney Marilyn Lipton decided the Zoning Board of Appeals acted “erroneously” in calling police and having an officer take the camera from Stephen Borer, an Anderson Avenue resident who often attends municipal meetings. Police Chief Keith Mello said in a statement that the officer “erroneously advised” Borer he could not tape the meeting. Both Mello and ZBA Chairman Frederick E. Katen sent Borer apology letters Wednesday.

As for the apology, Borer said Wednesday that “seeing is believing,” as he had not received the letters, and he will file a complaint about the incident with the state Freedom of Information Commission. The letters were released to the New Haven Register Wednesday. Borer also would not rule out a civil lawsuit against the city, citing a pattern of infringing on his First Amendment rights. —>

Seymour again shifts public comment policy
by Matthew Higbee
Connecticut Post

SEYMOUR — First Selectman Robert Koskelowski has again changed policy on when to allow public comments at meetings, angering his critics who claim he is trying to limit citizen participation. At the Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday, public comment was placed at the end of the agenda, a shift from the recently established practice of allowing comments at the meeting’s beginning and end. Koskelowski said that he made the change because people were taking up too much time at the beginning of meetings with issues that were not on the agenda.

“It’s silly season,” Koskelowski said Wednesday, referring to the run-up to November’s elections. “And I don’t want people grandstanding.” Koskelowski said he would still allow the public to comment at the beginning of the meeting about issues on the agenda. Opinions about any other topics, Koskelowski said, would wait until the end. —>

Verizon fiber optics to supply cable TV
by Janice Crompton
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)

Peters residents soon will be offered lower prices and more choices for cable television, high-speed Internet and local phone services, thanks to an agreement approved by council Monday. The deal, which has been in the works for months between Peters, Upper St. Clair, Mt. Lebanon and Bethel Park, calls for a 12-year franchise agreement with Verizon for cable television services through new fiber optic lines currently being installed throughout the South Hills.

…The agreement with Verizon includes a 5 percent franchise fee for the township, based on gross revenue, and a $11,300 grant from Verizon for use with public access programming. In five years, the contract calls for another grant from Verizon based on 20 cents per subscriber per month. The township likely will use the grant to purchase more equipment for its three public access channels, said township Assistant Manager Paul Lauer.

Verizon will continue to offer three public access channels for local programming, along with telephone and high-speed Internet services within five years for most of the township. —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Director of Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 06/26/07

June 26, 2007

Word of the Week: Fraudband
by David Isenberg

From the Double-Tongued Dictionary:
Fraudband n. low quality broadband Internet service.
The DTD quotes Azeem Azhar in the Guardian, June 14, 2001:
“Broadband offers three advantages over vanilla modem connections.…But for the overwhelming majority, it doesn’t allow them to do much they could not do before. Perhaps fraudband would be a better term.”  I could add a few definitions: —>

Gov. Strickland signs lower cost cable bill
by Megan King
Morning Journal (OH)

LORAIN — The cable bill that local officials fear will jeopardize their cable franchise fees was signed into law yesterday by Gov. Ted Strickland.  Local officials were concerned that the bill would deprive cities of their franchising fees and would jeopardize public access television.   —>

City concerned cable law could hurt general fund
by Cameron Fullam
Journal-News (OH)

HAMILTON — Gov. Ted Strickland on Monday signed legislation aimed at making it easier for phone companies and other competitors to break into Ohio’s cable television market.  It permits companies that want to enter the market to negotiate a single contract with the state instead of separate contracts with local governments, as they now are required to do.

But city officials fear provisions in the law could allow Time Warner Cable to opt out of a 15-year franchise agreement that brings in $585,322 annually to Hamilton’s general fund.  “The concern we had was that Time Warner could simply terminate the franchise,” City Manager Mark Brandenburger said. “And we wanted to make absolutely sure the new legislation didn’t take channels away from TV Hamilton.”   —>

New Cable TV Law for Ohio
Cleveland Law Library Weblog

The Governor has signed SB117, that will formally change the way cable TV companies contract within the state. Specifically, it is designed to create a franchising system for “video service” providers under the Ohio Director of Commerce (DOC). Designed to achieve uniformity state-wide, the bill rests all authority to grant Video Service Authorizations to the DOC.  Click here for a bill summary and analysis. Click here for the text of the bill, as formally enrolled as an Act, as well as links to all documents related to the bill from the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.

Rustbelt Radio for June 25, 2007
by Pittsburgh IMC: Rustbelt Radio collective

On this week’s show… * From the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, speaks about her experience making No!, a documentary about Black women and rape. * SEIU protests on behalf of local janitors * Bicyclists, along with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and local cyling advocacy organization Bike-Pittsburgh celebrate Pittsburgh’s second-ever bike lane * and an update on the cases of the 8 former Black Panther Party members on trial in San Francisco for the 1971 murder of a police officer * and more in our local and global headlines

Televise work of the Legislature
Daily Record (CO)

Colorado’s Legislature soon will join the majority of states that televise floor sessions of the House and Senate.  Televising anything political raises fears of unnecessary grandstanding by politicians who love to play to the camera.  But in this case the benefits outweigh the potential negatives of this move.  Governments at all levels have the challenge of engaging the public — so that the public can understand issues and so that the public can influence outcomes.  Without public access, government could just as well be secret.   —>

Albany Telcom Reform
by DIA
Democracy in Albany (NY)

Remember back in December when Corey Ellis was trying to get us public access TV? And remember when Richard Conti appointed a committee to look into it and excluded Ellis? Is it a coincidence that Conti and Mclaughlin are both on the committee that continues to deny us public access TV AND both on the mayor’s Recapitalize Albany team? Just another one of Mayor Jenning’s “Coming Soon” initiatives.   —>

Electricity, Gas – and Broadband
by Marcus Banks
Gotham Gazette (NY)
June, 2007

Should broadband access join water, gas and electricity and be a basic utility available to all New Yorkers? Some advocates say yes and are likely to press that point as the New York City Broadband Advisory Committee continues to conduct hearings throughout the city.  The Broadband Advisory Committee, created by Local Law 126, exists to advise the mayor and City Council speaker “on issues pertaining to access to broadband technologies within the city of New York.” Broadband, as defined by that law is a “high-speed connection to the Internet” that enables the “fast relay of voice and data that many have come to expect.” Broadband capabilities are essential to many online activities, such as sharing videos, and make many other on-line tasks easier and quicker.

After holding hearings in all five boroughs, the advisory committee will issue recommendations on broadband policy to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Telecommunications Policy Advisory Group.   —>

Greece cable issue to air tonight
by Meaghan M. McDermott
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (NY)

The question of whether the Greece Central School District will become the public access cable provider for Monroe County’s west-side towns could be answered today.  During tonight’s Board of Education meeting, board members Frank Oberg and Joseph Moscato plan to ask the nine-member board to nix any plans for the district to take over cable access.

“We have decided to put a nail in this thing for once and for all,” said Moscato. “We’re comfortable with working out a lease agreement where we will allow our facilities to be used by the vendor of choice for the towns if we would charge a nominal fee and have a guarantee that our kids will get the opportunity to learn about broadcast and programming.”  Oberg said he believes the district should not be in the media business.  “But we have this TV studio, so we need to find a reasonable way we can make use of it and help the towns out with their issues,” he said.   —>

Educational access TV cancels Kyrillos interview with U.S. Attorney
by Max Pizarro (NJ)

Brookdale Community College has canceled State Sen. Joseph M. Kyrillos’ cable television show, saying the college does not want to be at the flashpoint of a political campaign.  Kyrillos had hoped to show himself in conversation with U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie, an unabashed critic of state officials and arguably the GOP’s favorite leading man. But the interview Kyrillos did with the feisty Christie may air after the Nov. 4th election, and not before, said Cheryl Cummings, executive director of the Brookdale Network, which produced the program.

“The program is not running,” Cummings told “It’s been produced, but it’s not running.” She called a plug on Kyrillos’ website alerting viewers to the pre-election times and dates of his show “inaccurate information.” She said the initial green-light go ahead from a “lower level” production member at Brookdale was a “mistake.”

… Cummings acknowledged that federal law requires broadcast entities to offer equal time to political candidates, but drew a distinction between public access and educational access. “Public access channels are open to the public,” said Cummings. “What programs go on the channel (21) are determined by Brookdale, and they are educational programs.”   —>

Some women give the word fancy a whole new meaning.
by Jennifer Caddick
Daily Titan (CA)

For Chelsea Howard and Karen Alonzo, acting fancy is all about cramming a bunch of people into a soundproof classroom and giving an unknown band the musical liberty to whine, shriek and croon all they want.  A makeshift studio at Buena Park High School is home to their public access television program “That’s Fancy.”  “This is my baby,” Howard said.  The fair-haired show is all about exposing the local music scene.   —>

Citizen Media Toolbox
by Bryan Nunez
Video Hub blog

Ran across this from unmediated.  JD Lasica from is trying to put together a set of easy to use tools to get people up and running with citizen journalism.  His wish includes:

* Out-of-the-box community publishing solution based on an extension of either the base code for Drupal or ArmchairGM (which supports the initiative).
* Set of widgets that are customizable and of particular value to sites publishing community news, political events and related topics.
* Customizable templates (sleek, CSS-ready) with mastheads, themes and graphic icons that can be adapted to different localities, regardless of CMS or platform.
* Multimedia publishing tool (free, cross-platform) for distributing videos, podcasts and photos to multiple hosting destinations.
* Instant feeds: RSS and Media RSS.
* Google Maps configured for use by local communities.
* CMS modules or capabilities: Advancedsearch, navigation controls, social networks and groups, community chat, customized blog posts, comments, forums or message boards.
* Preconfigured online video which allows people to publish to local channels based on tags or a structured ontology. If you’re a community publisher in Boise, you may wish to create channels about the city council, crime, recreation, senior living, youth news, etc.
* Resource directory: Public domain and Creative Commons-licensed images and clip art.
* Wiki plug-ins so wikis can be integrated into the local sites to spur community involvement in structuring solutions to local issues.
* Tutorials and screencasts: Detailed guides on how other local sites successfully use Web 2.0 tools and databases in their communities.

The full article can be could found here.

Analysis: 6 Useful Social Media Tools and Sites For Women
by Rohit Bhargava
Digital Media Wire

When it comes to social media tools, most are not gender specific.  That’s a good thing, as it means they can be uniformly useful for everyone, but it’s a sign of evolution when more specifically targeted sites start to appear.  It happened with websites and now the same seems to be happening with several new interesting social media tools popping up targeted at women.  Based on some planning efforts for a number of campaigns we have recently been putting together for clients targeting women, here’s my starter list of 5 great social media tools for women.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Dir., Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media

Put the Legislature back on TV – Waltham Daily News Tribune

June 20, 2007

[ I call this editorial to your special attention for two reasons.  First, it has always seemed to me that requirements for televised meeting coverage of federal, state and local legislative bodies ought to be a sine qua non of any democracy’s telecommunications policies.  Second, the Waltham Daily News Tribune here hits on an important point that bears remembering, especially by those currently in the thrall of ‘Web 2.0’ and all things internet-deliverable:  for some mission-critical purposes, we just “aren’t there yet.”   Across the fifty states, for the immediate future and maybe longer, you’ve got to wonder – isn’t cable really the right tool for this task? – rm ]

Put the Legislature back on TV
Editorial: Waltham Daily News Tribune (MA)

Last week history was made at the State House on Beacon Hill. In what is likely the final battle in Massachusetts’ marriage wars, the right of same-sex couples to marry was secured. You had to be there to see it, and we mean that literally.

When the issue of marriage equality first came before the Constitutional Convention three years ago, there was a full-throated debate on the floor of the House. People could watch it live, on televisions across the commonwealth, and it was a rare treat to see our elected representatives and senators expressing themselves on a matter of principle that would affect thousands of Massachusetts residents.

For a decade or two, such live coverage of government in action was routine in Massachusetts. Under a contract with WGBH, first the House, later the Senate, allowed their formal sessions to be televised gavel-to-gavel on channel 44. But the contract with WGBH expired several years ago, and legislative leaders and the PBS station couldn’t agree on a price to renew it.

WGBH continued sporadic coverage, including the 2004 gay marriage debate, but even that stopped on Jan. 1. In its place, legislative leaders chose to carry coverage of its sessions by streaming video over the Internet. That experiment has worked, but only when few people care to watch. During the Constitutional Convention Jan. 3, and again last week, the system crashed because of excessive demand.

There’s a Catch-22 for you: You can watch the legislators at work, but only if they are doing something few care to watch.

But even when the new system is working, it isn’t accessible to most people. You can’t watch streaming video if you don’t have a computer, or if you don’t have broadband Internet access, or if your computer doesn’t have the right soundcard. Someday, streaming video will provide adequate public access to government proceedings, but we aren’t there yet.

Gavel-to-gavel coverage of formal sessions wouldn’t break the veil of secrecy over legislative decision-making on Beacon Hill. The budget, that most important piece of governance, is drafted in private and the most important debates are held in a closed “caucus of the whole.” But the very least this Legislature should do is make its public sessions truly accessible to the public.

It is up to House Speaker Sal DiMasi and Senate President Therese Murray to address this problem, but it wouldn’t hurt for Gov. Deval Patrick, who campaigned on a pledge to open up government. So far, our civic engagement-minded governor has yet to engage this issue.

We don’t know what it would cost, but considering the apathy, ignorance and contempt many voters hold for their elected legislators, it would be money well-spent. When their leaders make history, Bay State voters ought to be able to watch.

[ If you liked this editorial, please click on its link, if only to register by your visit your appreciation for the topic and the Tribune’s attention to it.  Thank you. ]

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/09/07

March 10, 2007

Bill would level playing field for TV programming providers
Only cable companies now held to franchise requirements
by Doris Hajewski
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A bill that would eliminate municipal cable franchises and shift the approval process to the state was unveiled Thursday in Madison. The legislation comes just as AT&T has rolled out its U-Verse Internet-based television service, which competes with cable. The bill aims to address technology that didn’t exist when the cable franchise process was set up in the 1970s, said Rep. Phil Montgomery (R-Ashwaubenon), who introduced the legislation with state Sen. Jeff Plale (D-South Milwaukee). —>

Council opposes AT&T proposal
by Brian Mosely
Shelbyville Times Gazette (TN)

Shelbyville’s city council passed a resolution stating its opposition to an upcoming state bill concerning cable television franchising rights and possible competition in the area. —>

Schenectady Public Access

Unlike many of their neighbors, the city of Schenectady has a comparably long history of public access TV that dates back to 1974, when the Schenectady Access Cable Council (SACC-TV) was founded. SACC-TV has an around-the-clock programming line-up that includes broadcasts of city council meetings. During the Schenectady city council’s committee meeting this past Monday, councilmember Barbara Blanchard launched a discussion about expanding SACC-TV’s city council programming by including broadcasts of the council’s committee meetings, which take place on the first and third Monday of each month. Blanchard, as well as councilmember Gary McCarthy, serves on the board of SACC-TV and indicated the station is willing to air a pilot of eight committee meetings between May and August to test out the idea. —>

Westborough TV shows more, more often
by Patrick Anderson
Westborough News (MA)

Westborough TV is expanding its schedule and giving more airtime to local public service announcements now that a new playback system has come online. The new system allows the town’s cable access network to program all its video by computer. In the past, each tape needed to be played manually on its own video deck, making repeated playbacks and short clips impractical for staff and volunteers to manage, especially on weekends. Since the installation of the new system, broadcasts of town meetings have doubled, both channels 11 and 12 are running on Sundays, town bulletin boards are being updated more regularly and the station is actively looking for groups interested in doing Public Service Announcements. —>

Farewell to MMTV’s ‘Our City, Our Schools’
Letter to Editor: Melrose Free Press (MA)

On behalf of the production crew of MMTV’s “Our City, Our Schools,” I want to thank the Melrose community for allowing us into your homes the past 14 years as the longest-running program in local cable-access television. Given evolving retirements and lifestyle adjustments, we decided — after long deliberation — to make the recently taped March and April programs our final segments. Over the years, we have taken much pride in producing impartial programs with community-based topics, especially the “Special Kids” segments, to recognize as many kids as possible across all of our public, private, parochial, charter and vocational schools. —>

Released FCC Video Franchise Rules Favor Telcos
TV Technology

Municipalities have resisted state and national franchise reform because they lose a measure of control in their own communities. In December, when the order was approved, the LFA lobby vowed to fight it. Libby Beaty, executive director of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, said the FCC scrooged local governments “when they changed the agency from a regulatory to a legislative body.” NATOA held a policy seminar March 8 and 9 in Alexandria, Va., where FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein delivered the keynote. He and his fellow Democrat on the commission, Michael Copps, voted against the order. Adelstein said it exceeded FCC authority. “I cannot support this order because the FCC is a regulatory agency, not a legislative body,” he said after the vote. “In my years working on Capitol Hill, I learned enough to know that this is legislation disguised as regulation.” —>

Legislature lags in broadcast exposure
by Jake Stump
Charlestown Daily Mail (WV)

As the Legislature enters its final hours this year, West Virginians will be able to catch a glimpse of the action, or inaction, on public television. But residents should have more open access to the happenings on the House and Senate floors throughout the entire 60-day session, some believe. West Virginia is just one of five states that does not offer constant audio or video broadcasts of its Legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The other four states are Mississippi, Delaware, New Mexico and Vermont. Most states offer free streaming video or audio over the Internet while some have television channels entirely dedicated to state government.

Verizon seeks FiOS TV franchise
for 12 R.I. cities and towns
Providence Business News

PROVIDENCE – Verizon Communications today filed an application with the R.I. Division of Public Utilities and Carriers seeking a franchise to provide its fiber-optic-based FiOS TV service to 12 cities and towns across the state. —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media