Archive for the ‘citizen journalism’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 07/13/08

July 13, 2008

Seven-Year-Old To Use Cable Show To Protect Sound
by David Funkhouser
Hartford Courant (CT)
07/12/08

[ 4 comments ]

Seven-year-old Daphne Tucker will be hosting a segment of her family’s cable TV show to recruit 100 fellow third-graders to become junior oceanographers and advocates for Long Island Sound.  Daphne’s father is naturalist and videographer Scott Tucker, of Haddam, who produces “Expedition New England,” a cable show about nature shown on local access channels in 68 towns. Her family’s project is one of 14 proposals to win grants this week from the Long Island Sound Fund.

A total of $311,000 has been awarded for projects to help preserve and enhance public access to the Sound, including a handicapped-accessible fishing pier on the Niantic River, new hiking trails in Old Saybrook and a study of the genetics of blueback herring.  The Tuckers’ share of the grants is $24,450.  The money comes from the sale of “Preserve the Sound” license plates, proceeds from a special affinity credit card and private contributions.

Daphne will host “Listening to the Sound,” a segment on her father’s show that will teach children about the importance of protecting the Sound.  Tucker said he and his daughter will visit schools and solicit applications on the show’s website from third-graders who want to sign up to serve as junior oceanographers. He, his wife Ava, and Daphne will select the 100. Each child will receive a DVD and a kit so they can test water temperature and salinity, and better understand tides and sea levels, Tucker said.
http://www.courant.com/community/news/mr/hc-ctlisgrants0712.art0jul12,0,426835.story
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Public-access channel may face 50 percent funding reduction
Great Falls Tribune (MT)
07/13/08

[ comments invited ]

People don’t need to drive, bike or walk to the Civic Center to watch Great Falls City Commission meetings.  They can sit at home and, if they have a Bresnan cable subscription, watch the meetings live on Cable Channel 7.  However, the channel’s future is up in the air as the city slashes its budget and its board tries to cope.  City officials are planning to cut Channel 7’s budget in half this fiscal year.  [ … ]  In contrast, the city of Missoula puts 65 percent of its franchise fees into public-access station Missoula Community Access Television under a contract that runs through 2010. In Great Falls, 65 percent would amount to $400,000, which is more than enough to keep Channel 7 afloat.

For now, franchise dollars are dumped into the general fund, which pays for police and fire services, recreation, public works and other services.  Last year, the channel received $44,059 from the city, and this year’s budgeted figure was $46,565. The proposed amount for next budget year is $22,939 — about a 51 percent cut.  Five years ago, the city provided Channel 7 with $15,000 annually to cover the costs of broadcasting city meetings. At the time the channel was housed at Montana State University-Great Falls College of Technology, and later at KTGF-TV, but it has no home this summer.  “They are residing in a closet,” Cable Channel 7 backer and volunteer John Watts said last week.  [ … ]

A 2006 survey of cities done for the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors showed that more than half of cable franchise money nationwide went into cities’ general funds, while 11 percent went strictly to public-access TV channels and another 17 percent went to both overseeing cable operations and supporting public-access stations.
http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080713/NEWS01/807130305
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Recycling old media materials
The Herald (WA)
07/13/08

Question: I buy more music and movies online and my CDs, videos, cassette tapes and even some DVDs are now just taking up space on the shelf. How can I recycle old media materials?   —>
http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20080713/BIZ/39143337/1005
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Indymedia Access for the DNC in Denver
by Kelli Refer
Indybay.org
07/12/08

[ comments invited ]

Coming to Denver for the DNC but need a workspace for your video and audio? Denver Open Media and KGNU studios are opening their doors as a workspace for indymedia journalists. There will be opportunities for live broadcast from the studio, audio streams and radio interviews. This will be a great workstation for all indymedia journalists.

—>  The Colorado Independent Media Center, together with KGNU, Denver Open Media, and MicroBusiness Development, is announcing their plans for media access and services before and during the 2008 Democratic National Convention.  [ … ]  Denver Open Media will be opening its channels and webstreaming to the entire community during the DNC. DOM is temporarily waiving annual membership fee is required to cablecast content on Denver’s local access channels, 56, 57, and 219. For the week of the DNC every VOICE can be heard in Denver and throughout the world via the internet!

Denver Open Media will also be broadcasting live from our studios at 700 Kalamath following each day of the convention, from 5-9pm, allowing any independent journalist to drop-in and share photos, video and audio recordings, and in-person accounts of the day live on TV. DOM will also have production, editing, and uploading resources available from 1-10pm for Indymedia producers.   —>
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/07/12/18515532.php
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“Mass audiences” and citizen journalism
by Sanjana Hattotuwa
ICT for Peacebuilding – ICT4Peace (Sri Lanka)
07/13/08

[ comments invited ]

“Sri Lankan participatory media projects do not yet have mass audiences.”

Burning Bridges makes this statement in a recent post on participatory media’s impact on abductions in Sri Lanka.

I wonder though, should they?

Does it require a “mass audience” to make an impact? I think the answer to this depends on place, context, issue, content quality and other factors but I think that in some (or many?) cases of user generated content / participatory media / citizen journalism the fact is that it has an impact more than what one would associate with mere audience numbers. In other words, perhaps who is aware of CJ / reads it / bases their decisions on it is oftentimes more important than how many have access to and consume CJ?

As an aside, articles on Groundviews are republished regularly on the Daily Mirror, leading to one aspiration of mine to facilitate the creation of and publish citizen journalism of a standard comparable to and even on occasion exceeding mainstream English print media being fulfilled to a degree two years since I introduced the concept to Sri Lanka. Also noteworthy is the fact that blog posts / blogosphere content are increasingly featured in Sri Lanka traditional / mainstream media, oftentimes without prior permission of the original content producer.

But Groundviews is perhaps the wrong example. Many other blogs I read on Sri Lanka aren’t republished in a newspaper to reach hundreds of thousands, but I would argue that many of them have a loyal readership, that this readership often clicks through to links that the post refers to and that is from a large age and location demographic. As Burning Bridges goes on to note in this regard,

They do, however, have the attention of the policy world, and of elites in and diaspora from Sri Lanka. Increasingly, they have strategies to get their work into mass media outlets, whether as columns in newspapers, or as reports about their work. Cumulatively, they have managed to both raise the profile of the issue of abductions, and to help direct resources and energy into better research and monitoring. It remains a question as to whether they’ve managed to affect the political landscape.

That I manage to regularly frustrate, inter alia, the Government’s Peace Secretariat as evinced by their assertion earlier this year that I “provide solace and relief to terrorists” is a good thing keeping in mind the nature of the Rajapakse regime, which is largely and viciously intolerant of competing narratives on war, peace, human rights and governance in Sri Lanka.

CJ also has a long tail. Articles I’ve published two years ago are still being read and have, over the months, accumulated hundreds of thousands of page-views cumulatively. When speaking about affecting the political landscape, it’s important to think of what that actually means.   —>
http://ict4peace.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/mass-audiences-and-citizen-journalism/
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[ One discussion among PEG access providers concerns the pros and cons of placing offender notices on their communities’ channels at the request of local authorities. ~ rm ]

MA: Sex offender’s family opposes law on ‘predator free’ zones
Sex Offender Research & News by a Voice of Reason
by J.J. Huggins
07/13/08

[ comments invited ]

Another politican touting a “sounds-good” residency law which statistics proves protect no ones, short of the politican’s votes.

METHUEN — There’s no buffer zone separating Charles and Claudia Bobb from a Level 3 sex offender.  In fact, the offender lives in their house. He is Charles Bobb’s 64-year-old father.  Howard Bobb is a pedophile who was convicted of molesting four children over a span of 16 years. Now, as Methuen joins a nationwide debate over whether the government should tell sex offenders where they can and cannot go, Charles and Claudia Bobb are speaking out against a proposed law.  City Councilor Kenneth Willette wants to ban sex offenders from traveling within 1,000 feet of public schools, parks and the Nevins Memorial Library.

Charles and Claudia Bobb, both 43, say the law would violate the civil rights of sex offenders and make it tough for them even to bring the ailing Howard Bobb to the doctor.  “These guys come up with these rules and laws and initiatives, and they don’t bother, I don’t feel, to do their homework to learn how it’s going to affect people or their families,” Claudia Bobb said.

Willette is not concerned with a sex offender’s right to enjoy a public park or visit the library.  “They forfeited their right to travel to these facilities,” he said in a recent interview.  Willette wants to place fliers from the state Sex Offender Registry Board, showing the photographs and addresses of Level 3 offenders, in school offices, City Hall, the Quinn Building, on the city’s Web site, and more prominently at Nevins Memorial Library. He also wants to hang signs declaring schools, parks and the library “predator free zones.”  His proposal went before the City Council on Monday. It received initial approval and will require one more vote by the City Council to be enacted.

Charles and Claudia Bobb moved to Methuen from San Jose, Calif., in January 2007. They live at 18 Russ St. with their 16-year-old daughter. They brought Howard Bobb into their home in November, after discovering he was living in a crummy apartment in Akron, Ohio, with no food or clean clothes.  Howard Bobb was convicted of two counts of indecent assault and battery for molesting two children under age 14 in 1979. He spent 41/2 years in prison.  He was released from prison and re-offended, his son said. This time, in 1987, Howard Bobb was imprisoned for 18 months for one count of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.  He was released from prison and re-offended again in 1995. He was convicted of the same charge and spent another 18 months in prison.

“My father was wrong for what he did in the past,” Charles Bobb said.  But, he said, the man “did his time” and never committed a crime in Massachusetts. His last conviction was 13 years ago.  Howard Bobb, a paranoid schizophrenic, is in a rehabilitation facility in Salem, Mass., suffering from an infection and paralyzed from the waist down. Charles and Claudia Bobb said it will be a few weeks before he’s able to go home. When he does, they say, he will not go anywhere without one of them.  Charles Bobb said his father no longer notices children.  “He’s not the same person he was back then,” he said.

[ … ]

Police officers showed up at the Bobbs’ home in April and informed the family that Howard Bobb had to go to the station to register. Fliers soon were created, showing Howard Bobb’s photograph and address, and labeling him a “Level 3 Sex Offender.” They were distributed and aired every 15 minutes on public access television.  Charles and Claudia Bobb say they have been shunned since the public learned the elder Bobb is a convicted pedophile. Some people have mistaken the younger Bobb for the sex offender.  A man driving by the house honked his horn and flipped the middle finger at Charles Bobb, he said. A jogger cursed at him. Children looked at him and asked if “that was the guy.”

“We know that we wouldn’t have brought him here if there was any danger to anybody,” Claudia Bobb said.   Charles Bobb’s parents were divorced when he was 12, after his mother accused his father of molesting a child. His mother moved to California.  “My father was in prison and my mother was in California, so I basically lived on the streets until I joined the military,” Charles Bobb said.  He joined the Navy at age 17. He didn’t accept that his father was a child molester after the first two times he was accused, “because I couldn’t believe he would do something like that.”  After the third accusation, he came to grips with reality. But despite the past, Charles Bobb wants to take care of his father.  “He’s my father. I just do what’s right by him, even though he’s done me wrong with his convictions and everything and leaving me abandoned,” he said.
http://sexoffenderresearch.blogspot.com/2008/07/ma-sex-offenders-family-opposes-law-on.html
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Saving Pointdexter Ep. 9
411 Show (TX)

[ comments invited ]

Episode 9 about the lost dog Pointdexter, and the quest to find him a new home. Pointdexter has a close call with the dog catcher. This clip was for San Antonio Public Access TV. Produced by 411 Productions. Espanol: Salvando al perro perdido Pointdexter, episodio 9.
http://blip.tv/file/1073198
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Portland Community Media hires new Executive Director
Portland Community Media (OR)
07/07/08

The Portland Community Media (PCM) Board of Directors has announced that Sylvia McDaniel will assume the role of PCM Executive Director.  McDaniel will start at PCM on July 14.  McDaniel, who recently returned to Portland after 10 years, expressed that the PCM Executive Director position was an ideal fit for her. “I am passionate about what community media stands for,” says McDaniel. “At PCM, we connect to communities and value one’s right to be heard,” McDaniel added.   —>
http://www.pcmtv.org/?q=news/highlights
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CCTV Takes Home Many Awards in Hometown Video Festival
Cambridge Community Television (MA)
07/12/08

CCTV staff attended the annual Alliance for Community Media conference, held this year in Washington DC, from July 10-12. Thursday night featured the Hometown Video Festival, and we had to repeatedly return to the stage to collect CCTV members’ awards: Laura Asherman’s SMI 2007 Documentary, Quentin James and Zach Martin for The Quiet Generation, Amy Mertl for her mini-doc on the CRLS photography program, and two for Max Lewontin for City in Motion and Nobody Knows Us. And then, for the grand finale, CCTV collected the top prize, Overall Excellence in Public Access Programming!

It wasn’t all play though; CCTV staff presented in a number of workshops: Clodagh Rule moderated “Launching a Youth-Focused Media Program at Your PEG Center,” Colin Rhinesmith taught vlogging in “Vlogging 101,” Sean Effel talked about Drupal in “updates in Drupal development for CMC’s,” and Susan Fleischmann sat on the panel “Learning New Technologies to Save Money and Deliver Better PEG Access Services.”
http://www.cctvcambridge.org/node/4126
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Catch the hot summer at TV3
by Dawn Natalia
Medford Transcript (MA)
07/12/08

[ comments invited ]

Come in from the heat to TV3 Medford and stay cool this July.  Our Fathers Day Shout Out was a big hit with the kids from the Medford Family Network, and we are looking forward to planning another event with them soon. Any ideas? Call us at 781-395-5993.  The Kids’ Film Club film “He Said, She Said” is now in production. Look out, Kevin Bacon! Our intern James Williams finishes shooting with the girls this month.  This film is partially funded by a grant from The Medford Arts Council.

This July TV3 Medford travels to Washington D.C. to accept our three national awards from the Alliance For Community Media.  The Hometown Video Awards are presented to creative programs that: 1. Address community needs 2. Develop diverse community involvement 3. Challenge conventional commercial television formats, and 4. Move viewers to experience television in a different way.
Our awards are:

· Overall Excellence in Public Access/ Budget under $200,000: The Overall Excellence award recognizes the access organization with the best overall operational activities and programming efforts for the year 2007.

TV3 submitted answers to questions about our history, special programs such as PSA Days, MACI exhibits, Team Medford (our international award-winning filmmaking team) and student programs. We submitted a reel for 2007 that included clips from everything from reality to sports to PSA to documentary, etc., which showcased our membership and programming.

· Making A Difference — Professional: The Making A Difference award is given to a program created to achieve a specific social, political or community goal. The results, impact or actions resulting had to be documented in the support materials.

We submitted “Wise Boyz,” our 30-minute film about a confused teen who wants to join a gang. This was produced in conjunction with Medford High School and the non-profit Scene:Teens, which mentors teens at moviemaking. Because of the local problem with graffiti and gang violence, we wanted to provide an outlet for the teens to voice their feelings about the subject.  The teens were coached by adult volunteers and ad-libbed a narrative film that was picked up by a national film Web site and earned $3,500 for TV3 Medford. But more importantly it provided our Medford teens with a real sense of accomplishment.  One mother (in tears) wrote to us about how her special needs kid now has confidence to pursue her dreams.

· Original Teleplay – Professional. The Original Teleplay award is given to the best original comedy or dramatic script written for television. We submitted PC Noir, which was a short film produced through the Columbus School Film program, and partially funded by The Medford Arts Council.  This was a politically correct film noir, with a message that all entertaining films need not contain violence or anything age inappropriate.

In all cases the submissions involved many, many people from the Medford community. Congratulations to our members, staff, board and all volunteers who participated in these projects.  The Overall Excellence award is the highest honor that TV3 Medford could achieve from our peers, and we are extremely proud of the community as a whole for earning it!   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/medford/news/lifestyle/columnists/x2043504957/Natalia-Catch-the-hot-summer-at-TV3
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Millis: Comcast Pact Renewed
by Calvin Hennick
Boston Globe (MA)
07/13/08

Selectmen last week approved a 10-year extension of the town’s contract with cable-television provider Comcast. Under the deal, the town’s community-access television station will continue to receive 4.5 percent of Comcast’s local revenues. The company also will pay $100,000 to the station for equipment, with $50,000 to be paid within the next two months and $10,000 to be paid each year for the next five years.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/07/13/movies_at_the_park/?page=2
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
http://ourchannels.org

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Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/27/08

April 28, 2008

Spirit Freed II Art Exhibit
Perspective Prisms (TX)
04/27/08

[ comments invited ]

Paintings by San Antonio artist Rita Maria Contreras for an exhibit at the Oblate School of Theology in the Spring of 2008. The theme of the exhibit is the pain suffered by children of sexual abuse. The event was in conjunction with a talk by Patrick Fleming and Sue Lauber-Fleming on their book Broken Trust, dealing with the sexual abuse by priests within the Catholic Church. This clip was for San Antonio public access TV. Espanol-video de pinturas de la artista Rita Maria Contreras, del thema de abuso sexual de ninos.
http://perspectiveprisms.blogspot.com/2008/04/spirit-freed-ii-art-exhibit.html
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Representative Harwell supports cable bill
by Truman Bean
Truman’s Take (TN)
04/27/08

Legislative leaders reached a consensus recently on the much-anticipated “Competitive Cable and Video Services Act.” Representative Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) said she was pleased with the outcome of the strenuous negotiations, but that consumers won in the end.  “Although it has taken a while to get to this point, I am excited about the possibilities that this bill will bring,” said Rep. Harwell. “Consumers are the real winners—anytime competition can be introduced into the market, they are the ones who benefit.”   —>
http://trumanstake.blogspot.com/2008/04/representative-harwell-supports-cable.html
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BE the Media — Free Speech Unfurled
by Lauren-Glenn Davitian
Nonprofit Technology Network
04/22/08

[ comments invited ]

While mainstream media remains under the control of a handful of giant corporations, you no longer have to own a printing press to reach a dedicated audience. Gone are the days when we chose from one of three national nightly newscasts on the living room TV. Free speech, broadband services and mobile handsets are quickly dismantling the “one to many” Broadcast Age and putting media production and distribution directly into the hands of “the people”.

Building on traditions of public access, independent media and peer-to-peer networks, we now communicate, “many to many”, across phone and internet networks with affordable and high powered laptops, PDAs, phones and gaming devices. In this major step forward for free speech, the “network centric” age enables us to “be the media”, tell our stories and make social change happen.

But what media and communication tools will make the biggest impact and have the farthest reach? The choices can be daunting — especially if you are an activist or nonprofit with modest means and limited time. Whether you are planning a demonstration, a print campaign, a web site, a viral video, or a mobile action, you need to start with a goal and a strategy.

To help, we’ve compiled many of the rich resources available to the nonprofit community in these basic steps to strategic communications.   —>
http://www.nten.org/blog/2008/04/22/be-the-media-free-speech-unfurled
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State Chairman’s Prophecy About Ron Paul and Republican Convention Comes True
by Christopher Hansen
Independent American Party of Nevada
04/27/08

I was told by Ron Paul supporters that they would triumph at the Republican State Convention. I told them that the Republican Party leadership would do EVERYTHING to stop them because the Republicans are corrupt and care NOTHING about freedom and Democracy but only about power.  Here is the ONLY report on the Convention I have so far.  […]

At the beginning of the Convention the State GOP/McCain campaign tried to limit who could be considered delegates. This prompted a floor fight that went on for hours. The record crowd wondered why they were there if the people to be voted on were already predetermined.  Already the 3 congressional districts have gone (3 delegates for each Congressional District) One district has awarded all 3 to Ron Paul, the second district went, One for Ron Paul, One for John McCain and One for NV. US Senator John Ensign and the third congressional district is unknown since the convention authorities won’t tell.

Nevada’s US Senator Bob Beers is also permanent chair of the convention. He approached the podium at 6pm banged gavel and said we lost the room, we’re in recess and have to figure out another way another time to elect the remaining 22 delegates to the national convention and left the room…. but a quorum was present and the people were not finished 🙂  After the hotel stated that they had no problem with another 3 hours of room use someone tried turning off the lights.  […]

The entire convention was filmed by SNCAT, an impartial observer whose purpose is to simply report the actual news, no spin, no lies, just the facts.  The convention (subject to time limits) will be broadcast on Public Access Television this Wednesday, April 30th, at 8:00pm. They welcome people who took part in the convention (and they don’t care which candidate you support) to state your observations and comments, on camera, during the broadcast.   —>
http://www.independentamerican.org/blog.php?blog=1164
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Surfing without
by Melinda Welsh
newsreview.com
04/24/08

[ comments invited ]

In 2008, the internet is fair and open to all. Soon, you may have to pay more for simple services like web searches. Do we have your attention now?

You know the routine. Monday morning, 6:30 a.m: You wake up, shower, down coffee and go online to check email and CNN for gossip and news of the world. You forward a proposal you drafted over the weekend to your work email. After skipping around to a few other sites—like YouTube, Facebook or Digg—you dress, breakfast and join the Interstate 80 commute.

When you get to the job, the first thing you do, naturally, is go online. No big deal—just an average, wired morning in the first decade of a century where much of our work and personal lives revolve around being digitally connected to each other and everything almost all the time.

If you’re under 25, you barely remember a time when all this hyperconnectedness didn’t exist. But really … it didn’t. It was less than 15 years ago when the baby boomers among us were buying our first personal computers and starting to send each other glacially slow emails that seemed to move at light speed. Since then, the tech has gotten always faster, cheaper. We are communicating—sending, searching, interacting and creating content—as never before. In the upcoming years, we’re told, this capacity to connect will speed up exponentially as our internet, TV and telephone use moves to a converged platform operating off a super high-speed connection.

Or not.

You don’t have to be a paranoid techie or consumer-rights policy wonk to see that the era of an open, egalitarian and transparent internet could soon come to a screeching halt in America. The nation’s largest cable and telephone companies—the ones that control the wires, towers and switching systems that make up residential broadband in America—seem to be moving with new aggressiveness to figure out ways to establish themselves as gatekeepers on the internet.   —>
http://www.newsreview.com/reno/Content?oid=657914
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What Broadcasters Don’t Want You to Know
Groundswell
04/25/08

[ comments invited ]

For too long, TV stations have made a fortune off of the public airwaves — which they use free of charge — with little accountability to their local community.  In the fall of 2007, the FCC began to address this problem when it approved new rules that would dramatically strengthen and improve reporting requirements for TV stations.  The FCC’s old disclosure requirements asked little of TV stations, ensuring that most broadcasters were easily granted their license renewal every time stations reapplied.

Keeping The Public in the Dark

The public records that stations are supposed to keep were often incomplete and hard to access, making it difficult for local citizens to examine a station’s track record. The FCC’s new rules require that TV stations post their public files on their Web sites and that they file a new reporting form every three months.

The new form will capture more and better information on stations’ programming and will be invaluable to assessing how well they are serving the public. The FCC is asking for minute-by-minute documentation of programming and tying these reports to their programming rules and requirements. The FCC hopes that these steps will help empower local communities to participate in their local broadcast stations and give citizens more control over their airwaves.

However, there are clearly things that these broadcasters don’t want you to know. The National Association of Broadcasters just took the FCC to court to block these important new rules from taking effect. The broadcasters oppose the “scale and scope” of the FCC’s new rules, claiming that they would impose an administrative burden on stations. It would be much more convenient for these broadcasters to keep the public in the dark.   —>
http://stearns.wordpress.com/2008/04/25/what-broadcasters-dont-want-you-to-know/
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The UpTake Awarded Best Citizen Based Media Outlet by City Pages
by Allison
Walker Art Education and Community Programs (MN)
04/23/08

[ comments invited ]

For those of you who don’t know what or who the UpTake is, let me inform you now. It is definitelyy one of the most rockin citizen journalist efforts to spring from the offices, basements, and living rooms of Minnesota.  It is also the brainchild of St. Paul activist and sculptor Jason Barnett, Minnesota Stories creator Chuck Olsen, and Mike McIntee, producer of Inside Minnesota podcasts. Not only have they stayed up late covering all things Minnesota politics, but they also have loyal bloggers, video journalists, and writers all over the country covering this wacky thing we call the election. Their motto is, “Will journalism be done by you or to you?”   —>
http://blogs.walkerart.org/ecp/2008/04/23/uptake-awarded-citizen-based-media/
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Films for Action.org >> Extensive resource of online documentaries and indy film
by tribalzendancer
guerilla news network
04/27/08

Films for Action is a non-profit group that uses the power of film to raise awareness on important issues not being covered by the mainstream news. Through public screenings, the internet, our lending library program, and public access TV, we’re working to build an independent, grass-roots media network that will provide more meaningful and reliable ways to stay informed on the issues that matter.   http://www.filmsforaction.org
http://tribalzendancer.gnn.tv/blogs/28080/Films_for_Action_org_Extensive_resource_of_online_documentaries_and_indy_film
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TV Party
srsly.tv
04/23/08

[ comments invited ]

I am psyched to learn that there was a TV Party DVD released.  From 1978 to 1982, Glenn O’Brien hosted a New York city public access cable TV show called TV Party. Co-hosted by Chris Stein, from Blondie, and directed by filmmaker Amos Poe, the hour long show took television where it had never gone before: to the edge of civility and “sub-realism” as Glenn would put it. Walter Steding and his TV Party “Orchestra” provided a musical accompaniment to the madness at hand, and many artists and musicians, from The Clash, Nile Rodgers, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Bryne and Arto Lindsey were regular guests. It was the cocktail party that could be a political party.

With 80 hours of disintegrating 3/4 inch videotape as a starting point, we tracked down the trend setting participants still living today and found out what they remember of the period and how the show influenced their lives. This, combined with clips from the orginal show, became the documentary “TV Party.   —>
TV Party on YouTube
http://srsly.tv/blog/2008/04/23/tv-party/
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/21/08

April 22, 2008

State video franchising: Where are the competitors?
by Bill Callahan
Callahan’s Cleveland Diary (OH)
04/21/08

[ comments invited ]

This post and comments at BFD got me wondering: How’s that brave new world of competitive IPTV and sizzling broadband that Ohioans were promised last summer — when the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved and the Governor happily signed SB 117, AT&T’s “cable franchise reform” bill — coming along?
[…]
Here’s a PUCO map of Ohio’s local telephone service areas. The colored-in areas are covered by VSAs held by telephone companies (”Local Exchange Carriers”) as of yesterday. The uncolored areas — not.

Since the map doesn’t show them, it’s probably useful to name (again) some of the cities and villages in that uncolored area — communities that now have neither local government oversight nor the prospect of IPTV competition for their cable services any time soon, thanks to all those fine folks who voted for SB 117. Here are a couple of dozen: Cincinnati, Athens. Newark. Mansfield. Ashtabula. Brunswick. Portsmouth. New Philadelphia. Lorain. Elyria. Norwalk. Hudson. Medina. Marion. Wapakoneta. Lima. Defiance. Bryan. Van Wert. Oregon. Bowling Green. Ashland. Wooster. Carrollton. Piketon. Lorain. Amherst. Oberlin.

If you live in one of these places — or in Cleveland, for that matter — it’s probably time to call your State Representative and Senator and ask them when you can expect that cable competition they promised you.
http://www.callahansclevelanddiary.com/?p=559
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So about that Washington State news outlet…
by Aneurin
Politics Is a Blood Sport (WA)
04/21/08

[ comments invited ]

State Rep. Deb Wallace makes a good observation regarding lack of basic news information in Southwest Washington, after the demise of Comcast Channel 14 and broadcast of KIRO Seattle news:

The College Bound scholarships paid for by the state Legislature should be a dream come true.  After all, up to 56,000 seventh- or eighth-grade students who sign up by June 1 will be eligible to receive free college tuition and $500 for college books when they are ready for higher education.  But Rep. Deb Wallace, D-Vancouver, was concerned to find out that just 4,000 students have signed up so far.  “People’s lives are so busy, particularly when you’re working a job or two, and it’s really difficult to get information out to people,” Wallace said. “I also think that so much of our media comes from Oregon, so information about programs like this don’t get out as they do in the Seattle area.”

That’s a great point, and it reminded me of promises made to get KIRO or some other Seattle news outlet on basic cable. Why this isn’t in the local franchise agreement between CVTV and Comcast is a bit odd, especially knowing the unique media condition of Clark County.  Tracie Looney at CVTV informs me that there are discussions with KIRO to get broadcast permission on to Channel 21, one of the government channels in the basic cable range. I asked her if there’s a time limit for them to respond and she indicated that they’ll open it up to other Seattle news stations, most likely KOMO, unless KIRO responds by this week.   —>
http://aneurinsblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/so-about-that-washington-state-news.html
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What The Heck…Local News?
by Alan
A Round World Through Square Glasses (OH)
04/21/08

[ comments invited ]

Here in Cincinnati, there is a census being taken on whether or not a local t.v. station should drop sports from their newscast. Having worked in the news industry for awhile (14 years), there are also a few things that can definately be changed about local news…but dropping sports ain’t one of them. Of course I have to give my 2 cents worth. I did it when I worked in news and no one cared. I see the same thing happening here…so here I go.
[…]
For years stations have been depleting their sports departments. Most have, at best, a sports director and maybe a photographer that is dedicated to sports. My feeling is you’ve dropped the ball here. Look at the thousands of fans who go to a Reds/Brewers game every night? Granted, 25,000 ain’t a lot compared to the Cubs who sell out every night, but still it’s 25,000 viewers who might not have watched your newscast that night. But you send a photog and a reporter down there, interview about 20 people, edit something together and you set yourself up as a presence at that stadium.

At your local high school, nothing garners more excitement than the possibility that you might end up on t.v.. There are high school games being broadcast on local Fox Sports Network programming. There are local games being broadcast on public access. People want to see their kids play sports on t.v. The same goes for highlights. You send a tv crew to a few games a night, you get viewers.

Of course, this is just my opinion…but you got it all backwards. Maybe local news should start figuring out that it’s not about what’s killing us that we’re interested in these days. It’s what is keeping us alive that matters…and we like our sports and weather and feel good stories.   —>
http://alntv.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/what-the-hecklocal-news/
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The Poets & the Party at Luminaria
by South Texas Media Access
And Media Access for All (TX)
04/21/08

[ comments invited ]

Footage from the Poets Corner at the 2008 Luminaria Arts Event in San Antonio Texas. This clip was for San Antonio Public Access TV.  —>
http://txmediaaccess.blogspot.com/2008/04/poets-party-at-luminaria.html
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Chatting with Eva
by Eva the Deadbeat
Dead Beat Club (VT)
04/21/08

[ 1 comment ]

The very talented Winooski photographer and videographer Dan Higgins was kind enough to make a little documentary about me. I have to admit, watching it makes me blush…  THANKS DAN!

“Chatting With Eva” will broadcast Wednesday, April 23, at 6:00 pm on Channel 17, Town Meeting Television, on Comcast Cable and Burlington Telecom systems.  This 21-minute video, by Dan Higgins, looks at behind-the-scenes working methods of Eva Sollberger, videographer and editor extraordinare, as she prepares her weekly web feature “Stuck in Vermont”. Eva also talks about the origins of her visually creative Public Access TV show, “The Deadbeat Club”.   —>
http://deadbeatdirt.blogspot.com/2008/04/chatting-with-eva.html
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Could the BBC co-design its new community services?
by David Wilcox
Socialreporter (UK)
04/21/08

[ 5 comments ]

Here’s a try-out for socialreporter as collaboration co-ordinator, on the lines of “wouldn’t it be a good idea if…” rather than “here’s a problem, let’s stir things up”.  I wonder if it’s possible to organise a get-together between people interested in how new BBC services may support social action, local democracy and online communities.

It seems timely because the BBC is planning something substantial which could, for the first time, link their “professional” services to online material produced by citizen journalists and other local community media projects. Proposals will soon be put to the BBC Trust, which has to approve the plans.  Before that happens it seems to me important that all parties take a realistic look at what’s possible, and think out how to co-design something useful to local democracy.

The problem is that the community side of the deal may not hold up. Recently Charlie Beckett, champion of networked journalism, raised the issue of what happens if no-one comes … that is, the citizen journalists don’t materialise in the form the professionals hope. The BBC’s Robin Hamman offered some useful insights from the Manchester blogging experiment, including: “People don’t necessarily blog or post content about the topics, stories and events that media organisations might hope they would – and, in our experience anyway, rarely post about news and current affairs.”

Now another media commentator, Martin Moore, has trawled through the Annex 8 of OFCOM’s Public Service Broadcasting Review similarly trying to work if there’s a future for local news, community and social action on the web. —>
http://socialreporter.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/could-the-bbc-co-design-its-new-community-services/
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/01/08

April 2, 2008

Louisiana Lawmakers Mull Video Franchising Bills
Pending Bills Would Give Franchising Authority To Secretary Of State
by Linda Haugsted
Multichannel News
04/01/08

Legislators in Louisiana will take on the issue of state franchising of video providers this session, a regulatory change that was shot down by then-governor Katherine Babineaux Blanco in 2006 due to her fear it would “interfere with the contractual rights of local governments.”  But the legislative session opened March 31 under a new governor, Bobby Jindal, and two bills have been introduced in the House and one in the Senate that contain several of the operational points that were in the bill rejected by Blanco two years ago.

For instance the bills would move franchising authority to the Secretary of State, which would have 10 days to authorize a certificate for a new provider.  Under the bills to be pondered in committee in both the state House and Senate, incumbent operators would be held to their current franchise agreements. Current video providers may only apply for state authorization when their current franchises expire, or if the local community agrees to let a company out of its agreement in favor of state regulation.

The bills ban build-out provisions and any local fees on new providers. Competitors would pay the same franchise fee amounts as incumbents, or up to 5%; and must provide up to three PEG channels. Local municipalities would be responsible for operating the PEG channels, though.   —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6546718.html
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Lawmakers Push For More Cable Competition
by Catharyn Campbell
WSMV Nashville (TN)
04/01/08

Lawmakers are reviving a plan to allow more cable providers to come to Tennessee to provide more choices to residents and hopefully create competition.  AT&T wants to provide cable television to Tennessee residents and the company may be able to offer that service before the year is up.

Currently state law prevents phone companies from providing cable television service.  However, Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro is trying to change that and is sponsoring a bill that will allow phone companies, electric utilities and cable television companies to sell video services across the state.  “I believe consumers should have the opportunity to pick and chose who they want. Right now if you are with Comcast or Charter, they went up $5 in December. So where do you go?” said Ketron.

A similar bill was put on hold last year, but for the past several months, cable companies, representatives from AT&T and attorneys have been meeting trying to hammer out an agreement.

They’re also proposing that the franchise fee be increased from 3 percent to 5 percent, which would go right back into the local community.  “Whatever is sold within the parameters of that community, they will get 5 percent of the franchise fee,” said Ketron…  The bill will go to committee next week and then still has to pass the House and Senate.   —>
http://www.wsmv.com/politics/15760641/detail.html
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Is the face of public access programming changing?
by Gregory Hyman
West Hartford News (CT)
04/01/08

Could revisions to a bill passed by the House last year change the way West Hartford residents view public access programming?  That’s the question some public access leaders are asking after members of the Connecticut House of Representatives convened to revise the language of a 2007 bill deregulating the cable broadcasting market in the state. Supporters of the bill hoped it would stimulate competition by allowing new entrants into Connecticut’s television broadcasting market.

Recently, members of the House revised provisions of House Bill 5814 to require video franchise providers to interconnect with public access at no cost to public access. Some public access leaders said language in the revisions could negatively effect the future of public access programming.

One of public access leaders’ greatest concerns was a provision that, while stating that service providers must pay for interconnection costs, also stated that service providers “could use the method most economical for them,” said Jennifer Evans, production manager for West Hartford Community Television.

Following testimony by Evans and others at a recent legislative hearing, members of the House removed the phrase “most economical” from the bill. They also removed the bill provision that assured costs for interconnection with public access stations would be paid for by the entrant video broacasting franchises, said Evans.

Rep. Steve Fontana (D-North Haven) said AT&T, a video service franchise making in-roads in Connecticut, has drafted a letter in which the company pledges to pay for all interconnection costs. Although he and his colleagues had not yet received the letter as of March 12, Fontana said that it is legally binding. leaving no need for the bill provision.

In his testimony at a recent legislative hearing, the president of Connecticut Network, Paul Giguere, voiced concerns about the way AT&T has made community access programming available in parts of California and Michgan, the only other states where the AT&T U-Verse platform is currently operational. Giguere said that AT&T’s U-Verse PEG platform, which the company plans to use to transmit public access channels, transmits with much lower video quality than is currently offered on public access channels in Connecticut.   —>
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19443000&BRD=1646&PAG=461&dept_id=11035&rfi=6
~

Customers vent frustration about Comcast takeover
Company officials say problems with service will be resolved soon
by Bill Engle
pal-item.com (IN)
04/01/08

[ 5 comments ]

David Federico hopes he never has another problem with phone or cable service in his Hagerstown law office.  When Comcast replaced Insight as the local provider of cable television, Internet and phone service this year Federico lost his second phone line and the cable television connection to his personal computer.

Federico did what any customer would do, he called the company, he e-mailed, he went on “online chat,” first asking, then begging for help.  Nothing worked. It took almost a month, but Friday a local service technician finally came to his office and corrected the problem.  The experience left him wondering about the future of the new company in Wayne County.

“I have nothing but good things to say about the local service technician. He’s been just wonderful, friendly and knowledgeable,” Federico said. “But he said he had never gotten a work order on this. That’s why he never came to correct the problem.  “It was terribly frustrating to me. Obviously, this company has bollixed this whole transition.”

Comcast said problems like those experienced by Federico will be short-lived, but some customers aren’t quite ready to accept that promise. For them, Comcast’s move into the market has been anything but seamless.  Richmond City Clerk Karen Chasteen said her office has received more than 100 calls from customers complaining mostly about billing problems, but also about lost service and the cable television rate increase.

“It’s been awful. People are really upset,” she said. “One lady called up and screamed at us, but it’s not our fault. We had nothing to do with it.”  The city of Richmond prior to 2008 had governance over the cable provider, but that changed with the Indiana General Assembly’s adoption of the Telecommunications Reform Bill of 2006.  Now that governance falls to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.   —>
http://www.pal-item.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080401/NEWS01/804010303
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Comcast denies violations
Selectmen plan to seek legal advice
by John Laidler
Boston Globe (MA)
03/30/08

Comcast has denied allegations by the Rowley Board of Selectmen that the cable firm is violating its contractual obligation to provide the town with a studio and an access channel, and to cablecast town-produced programs.  The company’s position, outlined in a letter to the town last Monday, came in response to the selectmen’s decision nearly three weeks earlier that Comcast was violating its license terms. Comcast’s letter does not address suggestions made by selectmen, in a letter accompanying their March 4 decision, on how the firm could come into compliance.

Selectmen chairman David Petersen said the board has forwarded Comcast’s letter to its legal counsel and at an upcoming meeting plans to discuss with him how to proceed. The board in its March 4 decision said it would pursue legal avenues if Comcast did not fully comply with the contract or reach an agreement with the town on a remedy within 21 days.   —>
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/03/30/comcast_denies_violations/#
~

Verizon working to grant public access channels
by Lydia Mulvany
Marshfield Mariner (MA)
04/01/08

[ comments invited ]

Marshfield residents who signed onto Verizon, which came into town in November, have been deprived of Marshfield’s public access channel — but not for much longer.  Rick Colon, regional director of Verizon for Southeastern Massachusetts, said public access channels should be up and running in about 30 days, and perhaps less.  “In Marshfield the service has been received with great fanfare, and people in the town love it,” Colon said. “We’re working hard to provide the public access channels because we realize more people will subscribe to FiOS TV if we have that.”   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/marshfield/homepage/x125182490
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Petition seeks to ensure access to analog OTA viewers post transition
Broadcast Engineering
04/01/08

The Community Broadcasters Association (CBA) last week asked an appeals court in Washington, D.C., to force the FCC to stop distribution and marketing of NTIA coupon-qualified converter boxes without analog-receive capability.  The move has the potential to derail the nation’s transition to DTV in February 2009. If the court agrees with the association that it is illegal to distribute TV receive equipment without the ability to receive all legal channels transmitted, it’s difficult to envision how the deadline will be met.

HD Technology Update spoke with Greg Herman, CBA VP of technology, to learn why the association has taken this extraordinary step.

HD Technology Update: Why has the Community Broadcasters Association (CBA) petitioned the court for a writ of mandamus to order the FCC to halt distribution and marketing of DTV converter boxes without analog tuners?

Greg Herman: First of all, we believe converter boxes lacking analog reception capability are in violation of the All Channel Receiver Act. Further, we believe the converter boxes that are being distributed are ill-conceived and are going to disadvantage those very individuals they were designed to help by blocking reception of the thousands of remaining analog televisions stations across the United States.   —>
http://broadcastengineering.com/hdtv/petition_seeks_ensure_access_0401/
~

The Medium is Still the Message
by Rev. Tony
Sunflower Chalice
04/01/08

[ 1 comment ]

In the April 8 issue of The Christian Century (the print issue gets out to me well in advance of the website being updated) there’s an interview with the pastor of Barack Obama’s church. No, not Rev. Jeremiah Wright, but Otis Moss III, who has recently taken over the day-to-day leadership of Trinity United Church of Christ from Wright.  Moss is 36 and the son of a man who served at Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta with MLK.  One question put to Moss was: How is pastoring different for you than it was for your father’s generation?

“My dad’s generation did not embrace television the way it might have. It left that medium to the prosperity gospel preachers. That means that an entire generation has been raised and educated by the Benny Hinns and the Creflo Dollars of the world. If my father’s generation had embraced television, then the standard bearers of that medium would be preachers who emphasize hope for the poor instead of those who treat Jesus as a cosmic bellhop.  Now we have to play catch-up. They have both the microphone and the megaphone…..The Kingian idea of the beloved community is one that we pull out now only for King Day, I guess. Otherwise it is lost. We have to struggle with it. Love will force you to change your doctrine and to engage those who hate you. People don’t want to do that.”

Moss’s answer to this question is something I think about every week. I see the local Assembly of God, Seventh Day Adventist, and Brazilian Pentecostal church on my local cable access television.  Not to mention some guy who sits in a coffee shop and quotes from the Bible (out of context) and rails against liberals and how unpatriotic anyone is who dares question the war in Iraq. Their worship services run two and three times a week.  I see them, and sometimes watch for while, as I am searching for PBS or the Red Sox (again, thankfully), or the NASCAR race (you have no IDEA how huge a fan my son is) or just turning on the television to get the DVD ready.  These churches are on constantly.  And the message they are preaching is not Kingian beloved community.  It is not inclusive, it is not welcoming, and it is very dogmatic and creedal.

What if, just suppose, a Unitarian Universalist preacher were on local cable access every week? It doesn’t take much.  Most local cable access station require a yearly membership fee, usually in the $50 range, some as high as $100, but most lower.  With membership comes the opportunity to borrow the equipment and use the studio.  Even a digital camcorder can now make something that can be turned into a half-hour program with just a little editing.

The TIME magazine advertising is great and all, but I wonder if our money and energy wouldn’t be better spent investing in camcorders and computer equipment and money at the congregational level so that each congregation had the hardware, training and know-how, and funding to:
1. produce and air worship service or at least sermons on local cable television and then post them on the Internet on services such as YouTube.
2. have well designed and user friendly websites (many do, but many still do not)

More people, especially younger people, get their news and information today from the Internet than from newspapers or television and in local communities, it never ceases to amaze me how many people watch local cable television.   —>
http://www.sunflowerchalice.com/?p=66
~

James River Film Festival
Fan District Hub (VA)
04/01/08

[ comments invited ]

The all volunteer run Richmond Moving Image Co-op presents the 15th James River Film Festival this week, March 31-April 6, 2008.  Writer/director Richard Kelly, father-son filmmakers Ken and Azazel Jacobs, filmmaker and community media advocate DeeDee Halleck, the Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra, assistant editor/producer Emily Doe from McSweeney’s DVD magazine Wholphin, and David Williams will headline the 15th edition of the James River Film Festival at the Firehouse Theatre, the Byrd Theatre, the Richmond Public Library Main Branch and the Camel.  For a detailed schedule of what happens when, where and how much, click here.   —>
http://fdhub.net/james-river-film-festival/
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Knights News Challenge has 17 finalists to transform community news through digital innovation
by Carolyn Lo
The Editors Weblog
04/01/08

[ comments invited ]

For the second year in a row, the Knight News Challenge asked the public for ideas to transform community news through digital innovation, and 17 projects were chosen for funding. The projects will be announced on May 14, 2008, at the E&P Interactive Media Conference in Las Vegas.  The top finalists are projects that have the potential to “inform, empower and engage citizens and help them participate in the decision-making process of their neighborhoods, their communities and their countries,” according to the Knight News.
Some projects are:   —>
http://www.editorsweblog.org/multimedia/2008/04/knights_news_challenge_has_17_finalists.php
~

African Day Parade Founder Seeks to Unify Compatriots
by Heather Robinson
New York Daily News
03/05/08

[ comments invited ]

—>  Still in high school, he completed an internship in video production at Manhattan Neighborhood Network, a public access TV channel. After producing the award-winning documentary “Carpe Diem,” about a young New York woman struggling with drug addiction, he helped found The Youth Channel, a public-access TV station for teenagers.   —>
http://www.heatherrobinson.net/profiles/2008/04/01/african-day-parade-founder-seeks-to-unify-compatriots/
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All charged up over Comcast’s quadruple play
by Ed Foster
InfoWorld
04/01/08

[ 5 comments ]

Today’s announcement of CHARGES, Comcast’s new home energy management system that will be combined with its TV, phone, and Internet services in a new “Quadruple Play” offering, has generated a lot of excitement. To help customers get charged up about this new service, following is a transcript from a Q&A session at Comcast’s press conference.

Q: What is the CHARGES program all about?
Comcast: We see CHARGES (Comcast Harvesting Additional Revenues Generating Electricity Surcharges) as a terrific opportunity to tap the potential of our cable set-top boxes to enhance our quality of life. Oh, and maybe yours, too.

Q: How will it work?
Comcast: Comcast will manage home energy the same great way our customers have come to know from our other offerings. Basically, all your lights and appliances will be wired through the set-top box. When you want to turn a device on or off, you go to the console and indicate it on the list. Then you walk to the device itself and throw the switch as desired.   —>
http://weblog.infoworld.com/gripeline/archives/2008/04/all_charged_up.html
~

Entertainment and the Suburban Condition
by Scott B
theopraxis
04/01/08

[ 1 comment ]

Finally (!) delving back into Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone, I want to dig into a phenomenon that Putnam argues is the most significant shaping influence in terms of social capital in modern American life – namely, electronic forms of entertainment and, specifically, television. This particular chapter of the book is both enlightening and depressing, if not entirely surprising. Putnam offers devastating analysis and commentary that relentlessly links television with civic disengagement in measure after measure. In conclusion, he writes:

“Americans at the end of the twentieth century were watching more TV, watching it more habitually, more pervasively, and more often alone, and watching more programs that were associated specifically with civic disengagement (entertainment, as distinct from news). The onset of these trends coincided exactly with the national decline in social connectedness, and the trends are most marked among the younger generations that are…distinctively disengaged. Moreover, it is precisely those Americans most marked by this dependence on televised entertainment who were most likely to have dropped out of civic and social life – who spent less time with friends, were less involved in community organizations, and were less likely to participate in public affairs.” (p. 246)

I suppose I should be clear that what Putnam is discussing here -and in the book generally speaking – is not in any way isolated to suburbanites. Obviously the influence of electronic media pervades all demographics and communities in our society. Putnam, in fact, relates a story from a town in northern Canada where, due to a topological anomaly, television signals were unavailable until the mid-1970’s. This community was studied alongside two neighboring communities that had ready access to television signals. Once television became available, this community demonstrated an immediate, measurable decline in residents’ participation in community activities. The other two communities were used as a control to demonstrate that the only variable in play was, in fact, television.

But my concern is specifically with the way in which electronic media interact with suburban culture. —>                http://www.theopraxis.net/archives/2008/04/entertainment_a.html
~

Venezuelan Media Terrorism Conference Denounces Negative Role of Private Media
by James Suggett
Venezuelanalysis.com
04/01/08

Journalists, communications specialists, and other participants in the Latin American Meeting against Media Terrorism in Caracas last weekend demanded that political leaders in the region put the issue of media terrorism on the agenda of all international forums and meetings in which they participate, according to the “Caracas Declaration,” the final collection of the resolutions produced at the conference.

Endorsed by participants from 14 countries, the Caracas Declaration denounces the role of the private media in the toppling of democratic governments across the region, and asserts that “media terrorism is the first expression and necessary condition of military terrorism that the industrialized North employs in order to impose its imperial hegemony and neo-colonial dominion on humanity.”…

Community Media Event

While the meeting against media terrorism was going on in Caracas, CONATEL hosted a “Bolivarian Forum” for over 30 alternative community media outlets in the western state of Trujillo aimed at assessing the progress of community media and strengthening the capacity of these outlets to serve the needs of their communities.   —>
http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/3315
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Information is not a commodity
by MissMachetera
Machetera
04/01/08

[ comments invited ]

“Not only the IAPA, but shock troops such as Reporters Without Borders, are responding to Washington’s dictates of disinformation and global defamation. In this context, the European Union is fulfilling a shameful role which contradicts the heroic struggle of its people against Nazi fascism.”
Caracas Declaration, March 30, 2008
Latin American Meeting Against Media Terrorism

Journalists, communicators and scholars of communication in Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada, meeting in Caracas in this First Latin American Meeting Against Media Terrorism, denounce the use of disinformation by international news agencies, as a huge and permanent aggression against people and governments fighting for peace, justice, and social inclusion.

Media Terrorism is the first expression and condition necessary for the industrial North’s exercise of military and economic terrorism in order to impose imperial hegemony and neo-colonial dominion on humanity. As such, it is an enemy of freedom, democracy and open society and ought to be considered a plague of contemporary culture.   —>
http://machetera.wordpress.com/2008/04/01/information-is-not-a-commodity/
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/28/08

March 30, 2008

Verizon CEO seeks pact on a state cable license
by Jay Fitzgerald
Boston Herald (MA)
03/28/08

[ comments invited ]

Verizon’s Ivan Seidenberg wants to cut a broadband deal with Massachusetts – and Mayor Thomas Menino signaled yesterday he’s willing to listen to his offers. The giant telecom’s chief executive, who spoke at yesterday’s Boston College Chief Executives’ Club of Boston lunch, said Verizon is willing to wire rural and other remote areas of the state if lawmakers give the company a “statewide license” to deploy its broadband cable and Internet service without negotiating with individual towns. —>
http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?articleid=1083342
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AT&T, EBR approve TV deal
Action adds new competitor
by Ben Calder
Advocate (LA)
03/28/08

AT&T and the city-parish have reached an agreement to allow the company to offer television service in East Baton Rouge Parish, adding another competitor to a market that includes cable provider Cox Communications and satellite services Dish Network and Direct TV. The agreement, ratified by a unanimous vote by the Metro Council Wednesday night, will allow the company to begin providing Internet-based television programming along with its Internet and phone service through fiber or copper lines using a set-top box.

But AT&T spokeswoman Karen Beck said the company will not say when people can begin using the service, called AT&T U-verse, already offered in 12 states. The city-parish will get 5 percent of AT&T’s gross revenue from subscription fees and 0.5 percent of gross revenue to support the capital costs incurred for the construction and operation of the city-parish’s public, educational and governmental channels.

The mayor’s office did not return a call for comment Thursday. The council approved the deal without comment the evening before. The agreement, which Beck said has been in the works for about six months, is the first between a Louisiana municipality and AT&T. Beck said while AT&T plans to pursue similar agreements with New Orleans and other cities with a home rule charter predating 1974, its next step will be to try to get a statewide franchise.

AT&T did so two years ago, but then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco vetoed the bill. The company said House Bill No. 1009 and Senate Bill No. 422 were filed late last week and will enable AT&T to obtain a statewide franchise. Beck said she did not know whether Gov. Bobby Jindal would be more receptive to the bill if it passes again. —>
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/17077326.html
~

“AT&T, EBR approve TV deal”
by John St. Julien
Lafayette Pro Fiber (LA)
03/28/08

[ 2 comments ]

Well, that was fast! The day before yesterday we noted here that AT&T through its astroturf subsidary TV4US had launched the public relations champaign to support its statewide video franchise law. This morning we see the first substantial political move in the upcoming battle. Baton Rouge has cut a deal with AT&T and so is taken off the board in an early first move of the chess pieces.

AT&T, according to the Advocate, has reached a franchise agreement with the East Baton Rouge City-Parish government to provide cable TV (aka “video services”) in the parish. Follows a summary of what seems to be going on with the caveat that all I have to go on is the article…I can’t find the ordinance or contract online as I would be able to in Lafayette—anyone have access?

AT&T will have the right to offer its new “U-verse” services (site, overview) in the parish for 5 percent of revenues to the general fund and .5% of revenues to support public, educational, and governmental channels (PEG channels). Presuming that turns out to be correct (and enforceable) its a good deal on two of the three major issues that any locale should consider: a fair price for the rental of public land and support for local media. Realizing any actual benefit from those two will depend on the third leg: the product being offered to a sizeable number of citizens.

AT&T has long made it clear that they do not intend to offer this product to just anyone…instead they want to offer it chiefly to their “high value” customers and less than 5% of their “low-value” purchasers. (Fiber To The Rich, FTTR) If you figure out the implications of what they told investors back when this plan got underway they only intend to offer this product to about half of their current population base. Baton Rouge and other wealthy centers in generally cash-poor Louisiana might get U-Verse in rich neighborhoods but I’d be surprised if it went much into North Baton Rouge and Scotlandville. That might prove a difficult thing for Mayor Kip Holden to explain.

A bit of unease about the part AT&T was unwilling to promise might well, in turn, explain the secrecy with which this deal was constructed and the stealth with which it was executed. Holden received the council’s blessing to negotiate on Wednesday with no (that’s NO) discussion, and was able close and announce the deal on Thursday. The fix was in. (*) What didn’t happen was any public discussion of the pros and cons of the deal offered by AT&T–discussion which might well have lead to uncomfortable demands that the city-parish require AT&T to actually serve the citizens whose property AT&T wants to use. Such a requirement is part of Cox’s deal…but not, I have to strongly suspect, part of the deal with AT&T. —>

And, speaking of Cox, what about the cable companies? Where do they play in this game? A smart reporter will try and delve into that question. AT&T is using its extraordinary influence in the legislature to push two very bad video bills through the legislature. By comparison the cable companies have relatively little influence. What’s curious is that Lafayette is the state’s largest community to whom these bills will apply. Should Lafayette succeed, as she did two years ago, in getting herself excluded along with other older home rule communities the five largest metro areas of the state comprising the wealthiest 35-40% of the state’s population will have to have local franchises anyway. Since no one (except deliberately naive legislators) actually believes that AT&T is going to provide video in rural regions the question has to be who will really benefit?

One devious answer would have to be: the cable companies. They will be able to drop their local franchises with the communities that actually own the land they want to use, pick up a state franchise at a 30% discount in fees and NO local obligation to serve PEG channels. In other states like North Carolina where the phone company waged a bitter war to win the right to a state video franchise they didn’t make use of it and filed few such requests. On the other hand their supposed cable opponents made out like bandits snatching up state franchises which allowed them to drop the more demanding local ones. The end result was no significant new competition, no price drops, and a huge drop in income to local municipalities.

Somebody in North Carolina got taken…..and the grifters are on the prowl here

(*)Revealing tidbit: The wikipedia section on U-Verse vailability was updated to include Baton Rouge on the 25th, two days before Baton Rouge supposedly concluded the deal and one day before the city-parish council approved negotiations. Not surprisingly, the prescient anonymous editor who added Baton Rouge to the list of cities was operating from a “BellSouth” (now AT&T) URL. The fix was in….
http://lafayetteprofiber.com/Blog/2008/03/at-ebr-approve-tv-deal.html
~

Metro Live Television Chat Far More Informative Than Metro Live Online Chat
by Fred Camino
MetroRider LA (CA)
03/28/08

[ 11 comments ]

Last night, Metro Board member Pam O’Connor answered questions and spoke about the Long Range Transit Plan on Los Angeles Public Access Television. I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch the live show last night, but watched it on the web this morning. You can check out the show on LA36’s website, right here.

The hour long show proved to be a much better medium for Pam than her monthly home on the Metro Interactive online chat, which is pretty much universally panned for its inability to be either interactive or informative. Metro Live, despite its obviously public access level production values, managed to keep my attention for the entire hour. Pam’s answers came off a lot more candid and sincere than they do on the online chat, which for the most part seem like copy-paste clippings from Metro press releases. That’s not to say she didn’t paint a rosy picture of Metro when faced with some hardballs, from hearing her talk you’d think the TAP card is the second coming and fare gates are neccessary, well, just because. Here’s some highlights (and lowlights). —>
http://metroriderla.com/2008/03/28/metro-live-television-chat-far-more-informative-than-metro-live-online-chat/
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March Madness: Bruins, O’Connor Both Win During TV Showdown
by Damien Newton
Streetsblog Los Angeles (CA)
03/28/08

[ 1 comment ]

LA Streetsblog picks up the action as UCLA holds a 28-15 lead over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in their Sweet Sixteen match up in the NCAA Tournament. UCLA is wearing their home whites despite being miles from Westwood. The game is being broadcast nationally at CBS.

Meanwhile, Metro Board Chair Pam O’Connor was wearing her road pinks at her home court at Santa Monica City Hall for a call-in-show about Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan. Metro Live! was broadcast on LA City Cable Channel 36 and Santa Monica Channel 16. Just like UCLA ended up winning after some shaky moments, O’Connor gave a strong performance despite perhaps over focusing on the benefits of TAP cards. We pick up the action, after the jump. —>
http://la.streetsblog.org/2008/03/28/march-madness-bruins-o%e2%80%99connor-both-win-during-tv-showdown/
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Singer in tune with message
by Kerri Roche
Daily News Tribune (MA)
03/28/08

[ 2 comments ]

Unlike many celebrities and stars, Renee Marcou is not waiting for fame to envelop her before she gets puts her name next to an important cause. While she puts together her second album, Marcou, 19, also serves as the spokeswoman for the Baby Safe Haven New England Foundation. Yesterday morning, she belted out her latest tunes for a student-produced segment on Waltham Education Television, combining her passion for pop, rhythm and blues with a less than Hollywood-glamour conversation about abandoned babies…

A Wilmington native, Marcou, who has family, including Councilor at-large David Marcou, living in Waltham, has performed at Gillette Stadium and in Los Angeles and Chicago. When she’s not performing, she is a guest on radio and television shows throughout New England, promoting her songs and the options for reluctant parents.

Although WE-TV won’t get the audiences of NECN, where Marcou has previously appeared, Morrisey said local cable television and radio shows generate attention from their target audience – young adults. “You would think a high school TV station wouldn’t be important, but actually we found … they’re probably the most important media outlets to get the message out to. That’s what kids listen to,” said Morrisey. “She’s done every genre of radio of format from punk rock to sports talk.”

Waltham students invited Marcou to their half-hour magazine-style news show because of her vocal and dancing talents, said Patrick Daly, high school television production teacher. Although the student interviewers P.J. Centofanti and Jen Gullotti will likely focus on her career path, the conversation will undoubtedly shift toward Marcou’s more serious work, said Daly. “That’s the cause that she promotes, so we’ll talk about that as well,” said Daly, who added that the segment will air in a few weeks. —>
http://www.dailynewstribune.com/news/x334360812
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One Class
by Will Okun
New York Times
03/27/08

[ 185 comments ]

The average Chicago Public School freshman misses 20 school days a year and fails more than two semester classes. At my high school on the Westside of Chicago, attendance trumps intelligence, work ethic and economic background as the most important indicator of achievement versus failure. In this case, Woody Allen is correct: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

In most communities, students attend school every day because they are convinced that educational achievement is essential to their future success. For many unfortunate reasons, however, this expectation does not exist for most low-income students in Chicago and other urban areas. How do we improve attendance at low-income schools where the current incentive of “a better future” is not sufficient?

According to high school junior Mark Hill, “One special class can make the difference. I know people who come to school just because they are involved in a sport or a certain extracurricular program or they have one great class that they are interested in.”

When rap superstar Kanye West explained the purpose of his education foundation, he stressed that music production classes could inspire “at-risk” kids to attend and remain in school in the same manner as athletics often do. “We have to involve kids in their education,” he told the reporters. “Kids will go to school if they have the opportunity to study something they love. Right now, they are not motivated by the curriculum.”

In my own nine years of teaching, students enrolled in my photography class boast a 90% daily attendance rate while students enrolled in my English classes maintain a daily attendance rate of only 70%. However, an even better example of the positive effect of a single class is Jeff McCarter’s Free Spirit Media video production program at North Lawndale College Prep.

McCarter’s students produce the insanely popular television show “Hoops High,” which features play-by-play game coverage of Chicago high school athletic events. The students are responsible for all aspects of production: they shoot, edit, and announce all of the action themselves. The students even conduct sideline interviews. “Everything you see is us — we’re doing it all,” brags freshman Daryl Jackson. “Most kids’ programs are run by adults where they control the final project, but here we are in charge.”

The final product is telecast every Saturday night on public access T.V. (CAN-TV) and is one of the station’s most popular shows with over 70,000 regular viewers. Students and faculty at my own school regularly watch the telecast. “First of all, they shoot all the best games, they know which games we want to see. But also, the announcers know what’s going on in the schools so you get all these side stories about the players and the fans,” explains student Lazzerick Allen. —>
http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/one-class/
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Media Re:public Forum Panel on Participatory Media: Defining Success, Measuring Impact
by Victoria Stodden
Victoria Stodden
03/28/08

[ comments invited ]

Margaret Duffy is a Professor from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and she is speaking at Berkman’s Media Re:public Forum. She leads a Citizen Media Participation project to create a taxonomy of news categories and get a sense of the state of citizen media via sampling news across the nation. They are interested in where the funding in coming from, the amount of citizen participation, and getting an idea of what the content is. They are also creating a social network called NewNewsMedia.org connecting seekers and posters to bring together people interested in the same sorts of things…

Duffy is followed by Carol Darr, director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet (ipdi) at George Washington University. She is discussing the “Media Habits of Poli-fluentials” and building on work from the book, “The Influentials” by Ed Keller and Jon Berry. The idea is that one person in ten tells the other nine how to votes, where to eat, etc. The interesting thing Darr notes is that poli-fluentials (her term) are not elites in the traditional sense but local community leaders and ordinary folk who appear to be knowledgable to their peers. She notes that people who seem to know a lot of people tend to be these poli-fluentials. —>
http://blog.stodden.net/2008/03/28/media-republic-panel-defining-success-measuring-impact-of-participatory-media/
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Media Re:Public, part 7
by Nathaniel James
Phase Transitions
03/28/08

[ comments invited ]

Media Re:public is hosting this back channel. I got into this conversation with Sasha Costanza-Chock.

Nathan: For Ron C: how can cable access centers reach out to, connect, and collaborate with the world of new media and user generated content? There’s a tradition there that needs to connect!
schock: Check out Manhattan Neighborhood Network, and Denver Open Access. They are great examples of public access connecting to new media.
Nathan: Absolutely! But why are MNN, etc the exception? How can we port those models to PEG/access more universally?
schock: Well there’s one thing the funders might think about 🙂 Support extending those models around the country.
http://phasetransitions.blogspot.com/2008/03/media-republic-part-7.html
~

Comcast admits it can do the impossible
‘We will stop busting BitTorrents’
by Cade Metz
The Register (UK)
03/28/08

[ 16 commemnts ]

Faced with continued scrutiny from the US Federal Communications Commission, Comcast has agreed to release its choke hold on BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer traffic. It says it will soon adopt an alternative method of controlling upload traffic on its cable-based internet service. This also means that Comcast has acknowledged there’s an alternative method of controlling upload traffic on its cable-based internet service.

Today, with an early morning press release, the big-name American ISP and cable television provider said it would switch to “a capacity management technique that is protocol agnostic” by the end of the year. “We will have to rapidly reconfigure our network management systems, but the outcome will be a traffic management technique that is more appropriate for today’s emerging Internet trends,” Comcast Cable CTO Tony Werner said in a canned statement. “We have been discussing this migration and its effects with leaders in the Internet community for the last several months, and we will refine, adjust, and publish the technique based upon feedback and initial trial results.” Werner did not point out that Comcast also spent the last several months publicly defending its right to bust BitTorrents. —>
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/28/comcast_to_stop_busting_bittorrents/
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Liberating the Electromagnetic Commons
by Andrew Back
carrierdetect.com (UK)
03/28/08

[ comments invited ]

I’ve always been fascinated with radio and it’s many applications: from Rugby’s MSF time signal and long-wave broadcast radio, through HF amateur radio and VHF PMR, to television, wireless networks and satellite navigation systems. Yes, I’m a radio geek.

So it should be of no surprise that I take a keen interest in how our incredibly scarce resource – the electromagnetic spectrum – is managed. And let’s be clear it is our resource as it truly belongs to the people and is not the product of the labours of an organisation or state, despite what some would rather have us believe. But since it is a finite resource and one of such value there is no avoiding the fact that it must be carefully managed. And this comes down at a top level to government agencies such as the FCC in the USA and Ofcom in the UK.

Up until now such agencies have largely done a good job of managing this resource and ensuring that spectrum is shared fairly and amongst a diverse range of users with varying needs. Of course for this thankless task they have not gone short of a bob or two, as has been demonstrated most visibly via the auctions for spectrum required for operating a 3G mobile service in the UK, which raised in excess of £22billion. —>
http://carrierdetect.com/?p=103
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/25/08

March 26, 2008

Ethics opinions find two lobbying violations
PR firm, ex-Bredesen adviser could be fined
by Theo Emery & Jennifer Brooks
The Tennessean
03/25/08

[ 4 comments ]

State lobbying rules may have been violated in two high-profile legislative fights, one over Internet wine sales and the other over cable television regulation, according to the Tennessee Ethics Commission.  Two draft opinions — one finding against a former senior adviser to Gov. Phil Bredesen, the other against a high-profile public relations firm in Nashville — represent the first time the state’s 1½-year-old Ethics Commission has dealt with such questions over lobbyist regulation.

“These are all very novel situations for this young ethics commission,” said Bruce Androphy, the agency’s executive director.  One opinion indicates that Seigenthaler Public Relations violated ethics laws by hosting a Web site aimed at preventing Internet wine sales.  The second opinion suggests that former Bredesen aide Robert Gowan engaged in lobbying. State law requires a one-year “cooling off” ban on lobbying by former top public officials.

Both opinions, which were penned by staff attorneys, must be approved by four members of the six-member commission to be binding. The commission meets this morning. Androphy said it was premature to discuss possible penalties.  Dick Williams, chairman of Common Cause Tennessee, a government watchdog group, welcomed both opinions, saying they are important test cases.  “It’s going to be good for the public and potential lobbyists to know what the rules are,” he said.   —>
http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080325/NEWS0201/803250337/1009/NEWS01
~

Sustainable Flatbush featured in “A Walk Around the Blog”
Flatbush Gardener (NY)
03/25/08

[ comments invited ]

BRIC, the non-profit Brooklyn arts organization which produces Brooklyn Community Access Television (BCAT), has been doing a bi-monthly series called A Walk Around the Blog, interviews with Brooklyn bloggers talking about their neighborhoods. The latest edition features Anne Pope of Sustainable Flatbush talking about, what else, Flatbush and sustainability.   —>
http://flatbushgardener.blogspot.com/2008/03/sustainable-flatbush-featured-in-walk.html
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Forest Park city manager on Waycross TV
Community Press & Community Recorder
03/25/08

Time Warner Cable subscribers in Forest Park will have the opportunity to talk with City Manager Ray Hodges in a live Waycross Community Media program.  Talking with Forest Park will be found on Waycross Government Access Channel 23 at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 27. Residents will have the opportunity to talk with Hodges about a variety of timely issues using either a phone number or e-mail address given out during the program. The program will be repeated throughout April on the Waycross Government Channel.

Talking with Forest Park is a series that is produced quarterly for the city and its residents.  Waycross Community Media coordinates community access television and Internet services for Forest Park, Greenhills and Springfield Township. Anyone wishing to learn more about Waycross Community Media, free production workshops, programming or volunteer opportunities may call the media center at 825-2429 or go to www.waycross.tv.
http://news.communitypress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080325/NEWS01/803250308/1074/RSS11
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Great Reporting Fellowship in Minnesota; Start Now
by Leonard Witt
pjnet (public journalism network)
03/24/08

[ comments invited ]

Want the freedom to do high quality, ethically sound journalism in an inviting  atmosphere;  then this one-year fellowship might be perfect for you. Please spread the word, this will be a dream assignment for the right person.

“Help chart the future of local news and community. Apply for a Representative Journalism Fellowship. Leonard Witt, holder of the Robert D. Fowler Distinguished Chair in Communication at Kennesaw State University, is leading a one-year trial in the college town of Northfield, Minn., 35 miles south of Minneapolis.

“The representative journalist will spend a year working with the LocallyGrownNorthfield.org citizen blogger site to report one in-depth story per week on a critical civic or social issue. The reporting will be an open, transparent process where citizens can offer facts, comments, and perspective as the story develops. The final form of the story will be published in digital and print formats. Often, citizens will convene to discuss the findings of the reporting and participate in public meet-ups to discuss the results and next actions. This is not an assignment for an order taker. You must be an enterprising, self starter. You must have a willingness to engage with citizens day in and day out. When needed, you will produce work in multiple formats, including print, web, radio, access-TV and other formats.  This will increase civic dialog in a highly educated community of 17,000 people and inspire the community to support and sustain your work.   —>
http://pjnet.org/post/1753/
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Fiber center gets first viewing
by Matt Shaw
Wilson Times (NC)
03/06/08

After nearly a decade of discussions, Wilson officials finally got a chance Wednesday to see their vision of a city-operated cable television system come to life.

City Council members were given a private tour Wednesday afternoon of the technical hub of Wilson’s new Greenlight services, which will begin selling phone, Internet and cable services to city residents later this year.  Afterwards, several invited guests were also allowed to tour the 9,000-square-foot facility, which is part of the city’s Operations Center on Herring Avenue. News cameras were not allowed inside most of the facility.

Visitors on the tour saw the head-end room, where Internet and television signals come into the building and are routed to subscribers, in a room lined with row after row of server racks. They also saw a demonstration of the optical network terminals that will be attached to subscribers’ homes to distribute the television, telephone and data signals and the four-bay garage where maintenance vehicles will be housed.   —>
http://www.wilsondaily.com/News/Local/Story/Fiber-center-gets-first-viewing–
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/21/08

March 22, 2008

[blip.tv ?posts_id=770978&dest=-1]

Luminaria Arts Night Part 1
by South Texas Media Access
03/21/08

[ comments invited ]

Video of the the 1st annual Luminaria Arts Night in San Antonio, TX, March 2008. Featuring artwork by local artists. Part 1. This clip was for San Antonio Public Access TV Perspective Prisms and Springtime65 Show.
http://txmediaaccess.blogspot.com/2008/03/luminaria-arts-night-part-1.html
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Editorial Short takes: Live legislative coverage
Marshall Independent (MN)
03/21/08

[ comments invited ]

SIDEWAYS THUMB: Because it is Sunshine Week, which emphasizes public access and open government, a reader e-mailed us, expressing frustration that Marshall’s public access cable channels don’t broadcast live coverage of the Minnesota Legislature. The coverage is available on the Internet, but the reader said not everyone has Internet access, so TV coverage would be valuable. We don’t disagree, but city officials say making it happen isn’t so easy. —>
http://www.marshallindependent.com/page/content.detail/id/500314.html
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Time Warner, WSKI form partnership
by Ann Bryant
Sun Journal (ME)
03/21/08

[ comments invited ]

CARRABASSETT VALLEY – Time Warner Cable and Snowfield Productions, owner of WSKI-TV 17, have entered into a partnership, Nadene McLeod of WSKI-TV said Thursday. The partnership will continue to bring “WSKI programming to cable television watchers in the Carrabassett Valley area as they have over the past 25 years and plan to continue to provide for many years to come,” McLeod said.

The station provides ski trail and weather reports for Sugarloaf, area events, sports coverage, news and advertising. The partnership resulted from a question raised in December about whether the public access television station should be made public or remain in the control of a private company. Time Warner became the area cable provider in 2006 and continued to provide the town with Channel 17 at no charge…

Hogg says the town is allowing WSKI, a private entity, to manage Channel 17 free of charge. The town never operated a public access channel, although one was reserved for the town, according to Town Manager Dave Cota. Since January, a committee has been looking at benefits, expenses and whether the town wants to operate a public channel.

Selectmen recently asked Cota to send a letter to Time Warner that states “the board has agreed to relinquish Channel 17 as the town public access channel to allow Time Warner and WSKI-17 to negotiate a private agreement with the contingency that Time Warner agrees to reserve Channel 22 as the town public access channel should the town vote to operate a public access channel,” Cota said. —>
http://www.sunjournal.com/story/257288-3/Franklin/Time_Warner_WSKI_form_partnership/
~

Mar. 26: Grassroots Fundraising for Community Media Workshop at MNN, New York, NY
MediaRights
03/21/08

Attend MNN’s Upcoming “Grassroots Fundraising for Community Media” Workshop on Wednesday, March 26th @ 6:30pm

MNN’s Community Outreach & Media Department presents a series of production, post-production, distribution and funding workshops designed for groups who are interested in incorporating video in their organizing, outreach and advocacy efforts. —>
http://www.mediarights.org/news/2008/03/21/mar_26_grassroots_fundraising_for_community_media_workshop_at_mnn_new_york_ny
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“Postcards from Charlottesville,” Show #6
by Dave Norris
CvilleDave
03/21/08

[ comments invited ]

Dr. Lynn Rainville joins me on this month’s show. Lynn runs some excellent websites/blogs focused on Charlottesville-Albemarle history, including LoCoHistory, the LoCoBlog, and African-American Cemeteries in Albemarle & Amherst Counties. She is doing a wonderful job of helping to make history come alive (both for adults and for kids) and helping to connect area residents with their own past.

Click here to see the show, which will be broadcast throughout the coming month on Charlottesville Public Access TV (Channel 13) —>
http://cvilledave.blogspot.com/2008/03/postcards-from-charlottesville-show-6.html
~

Larry Lessig: Time to reject corporate influence on Washington
by Anne Broache
CNet News
03/20/08

[ 14 comments

WASHINGTON–Iconic Internet law professor Larry Lessig may have cast off plans for a congressional bid of his own, but he still wants to turn the political process as we know it upside down. No more money from corporate political action committees and lobbyists. No more earmarks to fund pet projects in federal spending bills. Public financing for all congressional campaigns. And throughout it all, transparency.

Those are the four pillars of Lessig’s “Change Congress” movement, which he unveiled, along with a beta Web site, which he describes as a “mash-up applied to politics,” at an event here Thursday afternoon. For the project, he has teamed up with Joe Trippi, best known as the national campaign manager for Democrat Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign and its pioneering use of online organizing.

None of his ideas, of course, are particularly new, which Lessig himself readily acknowledged. A number of organizations–including Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen and the Sunlight Foundation, which sponsored his talk on Thursday–dedicate themselves exclusively to promoting government transparency. Projects like Open Secrets offer more readily searchable databases of political campaign contributions, while groups like Citizens Against Government Waste have made it a mission to expose congressional pork-barrel spending. —>
http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9899828-7.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5
~

Closing the Rural Broadband Gap, Presented by the Internet Innovation Alliance
by Geoff Daily
Apprising.com
03/20/08

[ 1 comment ]

—> Atkinson was also the first to strike a contrarian note when the panel moved into an open discussion as while most of the panel cited the need for and benefits of competition he called its efficacy into question in rural areas, in particular as it relates to giving new entrants additional incentives just for the sake of spurring competition.

I’ve long wondered how competition is the answer to increasing capacity and availability in rural areas; if we’re having trouble getting one company to invest how can we expect to get two, especially when the more competitors the smaller the slice of customers each one gets.

I managed to sneak in a question at the end trying to ask about the gap between how so many people say it’s too expensive to get big broadband to rural areas yet rural areas are likely the ones that could most benefit from that connectivity. Unfortunately I included in that question my belief that the ultimate goal should be a fiber pipe to every home.

This led the answers to focus on questioning if that truly is the goal. After a brief discussion a consensus emerged on the panel that rural broadband deployment should focus more on getting current broadband technology to everyone than next-gen technology to anyone.

I completely agree that the first order of business in considering the rural broadband challenge is making sure that everyone in America has access of at least 750Kbps or higher. But at the same time why aren’t we setting a longer term goal that’s much more aggressive?

One argument put forth was that if you start talking about getting too much bandwidth into rural areas the cost becomes too great and can scare off all deployment, be it public or private because it requires too much of an investment. I understand that as well, but I still don’t see why we can’t set a long-term goal of a fiber pipe to every home, no matter where it is.

In the meantime, this panel did a great job of laying out some of the most important things we can be doing to spur deployment to rural areas today:

– Robust mapping so private providers can know where the gaps are and move to fill them in
– Local community teams and technology centers that can spur the adoption and use of the Internet that will grow the demand that can drive deployment
– Tax credits and other incentives for the companies willing to deploy to rural areas to help make the business case more attractive

The only thing missing from this discussion was an advocate for municipal broadband. I have to admit I still have some reservations about public entities competing with public enterprise for consumer dollars, but I can’t deny the reality that in many rural areas some form of municipally owned, financed, and/or operated deployment might be the only way those communities can expect to have their infrastructure upgraded in the next twenty years. —>
http://www.app-rising.com/gdblog/2008/03/closing_the_rural_broadband_ga.html
~

Media’s “New” Community Role
by Dan Schultz
MediaShift Idea Lab
03/21/08

[ 11 comments ]

I just got back to the U.S. from my first visit to Rome. The whole trip was great, but my favorite part was The Roman Forum. This ancient gathering place represents, as far as I’m concerned, the epitome of community facilitation given the resources available at the time. This may not seem like a relevant anecdote at first but the point is that I think members of the news industry who are looking for a role in this crazy Internet filled world may discover that the answer to their identity crisis isn’t so new after all.

This post is about where I think news organizations, especially local news organizations, need to take their digital presence. This is the conversation I hoped to seed with my analysis of the Anonymous activism against Scientology. It also turns out that this post will work nicely with the recent conversation on this blog about the need for news organizations to change the way they operate online.

Context and Clarification
In my posts about Anonymous I tried to identify some of the subtleties of online community coordination and pull out any lessons that could help us in our journalism-industry-wide quest to effectively utilize digital technology.

Based on a few of the comments to those posts it seems there was a little room for confusion. Some thought I was trying to provide a recipe for media outlets to take advantage of existing online communities or artificially manipulate the masses. In other words, not everyone understood what I believe the technologies should be utilized for. In a comment I wrote:

“[In these posts] I tried to look at what might have been a reason for [Anonymous] success and largely cite the fact that physical communities don’t utilize the kinds of digital communication tools that you guys have. This is where (for instance) local newspapers, which are desperately trying to find their place on the internet, could fill a role. Not for profit, but instead to get back to the public service that they were supposed to be providing in the first place – an outlet for community voice and an amplification of community issues.”

From what I understand, some of the original driving forces that inspired local news media were the demand for outlets of community voice and the need for amplification of important community issues. Ethics, practices, role, and tradition – i.e. hard news, public service journalism (which I will refer to as “hard journalism” from now on) – grew over time.

By focusing on those initial demands and drawing on “hard journalism” practices for reinforcement rather than direction, our adaptation to a new medium will hopefully becomes a little more manageable. That focus is what I wanted to develop with those posts (plus the whole Anonymous effort continues to fascinate me).

A New Community Medium
If my interpretation above is even partially accurate, it seems that local news operations are supposed to be information hubs for the communities they serve. When using a one-to-many medium such as Television or Print, reporters and editors try to represent their community by proxy. For old media that was fine because, realistically, it was the only way for the job to be done.

With digital media, as everyone seems to have figured out years ago, it isn’t enough to just have an online newspaper. What people are realizing now is that it also isn’t enough to simply enable comments, publish the occasional user-submitted-photo or blog, or incorporate a few pieces of interactive content. All of these things are small steps in the right direction, but small steps are slow and costly in the world of software.

This time around news organizations need to do more than just learn to use the media, they need to host a community with it – an idea that Richard Anderson put out there in his first post to this blog. People want a place, digital or otherwise, where they can gather and learn about the community in which they are a part, a place where they can get in touch with the issues, and a place where they can pick up on the “vibe.” They want a modern Roman Forum.

If news orgs don’t provide this then someone else will. What is troublesome is that the “someone else” won’t necessarily incorporate hard journalism in their vision. What makes THAT troublesome is that such services directly compete with the news.

Facilitating Community Agenda
In the words of Paul Monaco, much of media’s social influence comes from its ability to set agendas, not by “[telling] its readers and viewers what to think so much as it points them toward what to think about.” Social Media, Digital Media, many-to-many conversations, and all those other phrases that are thrown around describe the tools being used to push that task of issue definition back to the community. —>
http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2008/03/medias-new-community-role.html
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org