Archive for the ‘development’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/03/08

May 4, 2008

Sirius/XM Merger an Opportunity for Openness & Access? LPFM for Satellite?
by Paul Riismandel
mediageek
05/03/08

[ comments invited ]

Matthew Lasar continues his excellent reporting for Ars Technica with an article on a recent letter from House Energy and Commerce Chair John Dingell (D-MI) and Internet subcommittee Chair Edward J. Markey (D-MA) to the FCC urging an open platform for satellite radio if the Commission approves the Sirius/XM deal. What they’re calling for is the ability for any manufacturer to make Sirius/XM compatible satellite radios, without the ability for the merged company to prevent things like iPod docks or HD Radio capability.

Lasar also notes the gathering steam in support for setting aside some of the merged company’s channel capacity for noncommercial programming, similar to what has been required for direct-broadcast satellite TV. Apparently even Clear Channel wants 5% of capacity set aside for “public interest” programming, whatever Cheap Channel means by that.

I oppose the merger on the principled basis of the fact that such a merger was specifically prohibited as a provision of the original authorization of the service. Nevertheless, I recognize that principle rarely rules the day in DC. Therefore I very much support setting aside channel capacity for non-commercial broadcasters as a necessary condition if the FCC chooses to approve the merger.

Obtaining a non-commercial channel on Dish Network was vitally important for Free Speech TV and has allowed that organization to distribute its radically critical grassroots programming in a way that it simply could not before, feeding public access TV stations around the country.

Although internet distribution is still more practical for radio programming than for TV programming, having several nation-wide progressive and grassroots radio channels nonetheless would be a great opportunity, and could be of great service to community radio stations.   —>
http://www.mediageek.net/?p=1619
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SPARKY VIDEO CONTEST
by Roger Green
Friends of the Albany Public Library
05/03/08

[ comments invited ]

Competition showcases student productions, offers instructors a fun and thought-provoking class assignment

Six library, student, and advocacy organizations today announced the Second Annual Sparky Awards, a contest that recognizes the best new short videos on the value of sharing and aims to broaden the discussion of access to scholarly research by inviting students to express their views creatively.

This year’s contest is being organized by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) with additional co-sponsorship by the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, Penn Libraries (at the University of Pennsylvania), Students for Free Culture, and The Student PIRGs. Details are online at www.sparkyawards.org.

The 2008 contest theme is “MindMashup: The Value of Information Sharing.” Well-suited for adoption as a college class assignment, the Sparky Awards invite contestants to submit videos of two minutes or less that imaginatively portray the benefits of the open, legal exchange of information. Mashup is an expression referring to a song, video, Web site, or software application that combines content from more than one source.   —>
http://aplfriends.blogspot.com/2008/05/sparky-video-contest.html
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East Metro candidates to appear at forum May 8
by Gosia Wozniacka
The Oregonian
05/02/08

[ comments invited ]

County commission and state legislative candidates will appear at a voters’ forum next week in Fairview.The Spring Voters Forum will be held Thursday, May 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the Fairview City Council chambers, 1300 NE Village Street. The forum will also be televised live on MetroEast Community Media.   —>
http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2008/05/east_metro_candidates_to_appea.html
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Community Media 2.0: It’s Still About Us and Our Physical Communities
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition (MA)
05/02/08

[ comments invited ]

My co-workers and I had a meeting today to discuss plans for our new website. Two important things caught my attention in thinking about how to frame the work we’re doing through our visual and semantic design.

First, visual design. The thing that sets us (community media centers) apart in a REALLY important way from social network websites (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, etc.) is our focus on the physical communities we serve. We need to represent that both in our stories and in our visual images online.

For example, the picture above from the staff page on the DCTV website shows the visitor that there are people involved at DCTV in a physical community. So, if you’re a worker at a community media center with a presence online show pictures of your access center and the people from your community. It not only humanizes the web technology that you’re using, but it also tells the website visitor there is a physical place and people involved that others can come to learn more about, learn from, and participate with.   —>
http://cmediachange.net/blog/2008/05/02/community-media-20-its-still-about-us-and-our-physical-communities/
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As AT&T legislation wraps up, city may be first to see U-verse
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)
05/02/08

[ 7 comments ]

Nashvillians and residents of neighboring counties will likely have the first crack at AT&T’s television programming later this year now that legislation is close to becoming law, a lawmaker close to the telecom said.  Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), the Senate sponsor of AT&T’s legislation to start offering television programming, said Davidson County and the “doughnut counties” around Nashville would be the first areas where AT&T will offer its U-verse television services.

“Some people in the state will be able to start using U-verse by Dec. 1,” Ketron said.  In addition, Ketron said AT&T was prepared to invest more than $350 million in Tennessee.  So far, for competitive reasons, AT&T officials have not said where they would be offering U-verse if pending legislation became law.  Ketron’s pronouncement didn’t change that.  “We have not made any formal announcement at this point at all,” said AT&T spokesman Bob Corney on Thursday.   —>
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=59939
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House OKS study on WiMax Internet technology
by Gina Smith
The State (SC)
05/02/08

[ 32 comments ]

A fight is looming over whether South Carolina should become the first state to adopt the next generation of broadband communication — and who should have access if it does.  WiMax would allow extremely fast connection to the Internet from anywhere in the state and access to never-before-seen interactive tools.  House lawmakers voted Thursday to appoint a panel of seven tech experts from the private sector to study the options and make recommendations to the State Budget and Control Board.   —>
http://www.thestate.com/local/story/392973.html
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Citywide Wireless IP Network Launched in New York
by Matt Williams
Government Technology
04/15/08

[ 1 comment ]

Leave it to America’s biggest city to launch an equally big high-speed data network.

The New York City Wireless Network (NYCWiN) was rolled out to 70 percent of the city’s police precincts and firehouses on April 1, giving the city’s first responders and employees a unique public safety and public service network.

“It’s the first network of its scope certainly anywhere in the country in terms of the amount of area we’re covering,” said Nick Sbordone, spokesman for the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), referring to New York City’s 322 square miles. “The network is solely dedicated to city use, specifically not just for public safety, but for public service as well. It really is historic in that sense.”

NYCWiN will run on 400 nodes across five boroughs — with many of the access points perched on rooftops. New York City CIO Paul Cosgrave, in testimony to the City Council in February, said NYCWiN can support a diverse array of functions:

* Nineteen city agencies developed about 53 unique applications for the network, including an expansion of automated vehicle location, a real-time technology to track the city’s fleet.
* The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is developing an automated water-meter-reading program.
* The city Department of Transportation will use the wireless network to synchronize and time traffic signals to ease traffic congestion. Cosgrave testified that NYCWiN also will provide photos and video of traffic incidents and emergencies.

In addition, the wireless network will be a powerful tool for law enforcement and public safety personnel. The NYPD Real Time Crime Center will link into NYCWiN, which will support Internet protocol (IP)-based emergency call boxes and surveillance cameras. Police officers will have access to in-car photos and video.   —>
http://www.govtech.com/gt/articles/286778
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News from the profit centres
Press freedom: Many fear the internet is killing journalism, but markets may be a more serious threat
by Geraint Talfan Davies
The Guardian (UK)
05/03/08

[ 14 comments ]

Is new media killing journalism?

The first question to ask is whether this is the right question. The new media need kill nothing. The question is how we choose to use the web. How do we respond to its strengths and to some of its weaknesses?

What I do know is that a luddite approach to the web would be plain ludicrous, even for those of us who still prefer to settle down with a newspaper than flash around the screen.

Instead of bemoaning the web, let’s seek a more positive response. It is possible that the advent of the new media may shake journalism out of a self-deprecating complacency that insists on it being a trade rather than a profession. Journalism will need to better establish its worth in the face of free, unchecked, unverified “user-generated material”. Similarly, the new media might have a beneficial effect on the Press Complaints Commission which, if it is to safeguard self-regulation – a valuable concept in a professional world – will have to do so with greater rigour and transparency in its operation and governance.

It is no accident that an organisation such as the Media Standards Trust has come into being at just this time to address constructively some of the consequences of these developments.

But there are more important questions buried in Unesco’s briefing paper, Freedom of Expression, Access and Empowerment, which says that the role of open and pluralistic media in holding a mirror to society “has fallen increasingly to the smaller community media sector as financial imperatives drive corporate media away from these core principles and into profit centres that do not cater to smaller or marginalised populations.”   —>
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/geraint_talfan_davies/2008/05/news_from_the_profit_centres.html
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Civic Engagement, Empowerment & Respect for Diversity (CEERD)
The World Bank
05/02/08 [?]

The Program to Develop New Bank Practices in Civic Engagement, Empowerment and Respect for Diversity (CEERD) is a coalition effort involving all of the World Bank’s technical networks and regions, for which the secretariat resides in the World Bank Institute (WBI). The effort is currently focused on the Voice and Media Technical Assistance Program, which provides expert analyses and how-to advice, carried out in close collaboration with country assistance teams, to improve the enabling environment for pluralistic broadcasting in the public interest, and develop community radio prototyping and sector investment.

In the past the CEERD Program has also supported promoting respect for diversity through education, traditional knowledge and empowerment for poor producers; legal empowerment of the poor; and value-based participatory planning.

The Program currently supports analyses of the broadcasting sectors, particularly the enabling environment for community radio, in several countries, including Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Liberia.  Well experienced teams, including international, regional, and national experts advise during stakeholder deliberations on proposed reforms, assist in development of new broadcasting legislation, provide “how-to” guidance to improve regulatory procedures in order to distinguish between non-profit community broadcasters and commercial ones, and design community radio sector investment programs in close collaboration with national stakeholder coalitions for community radio development.  South-south mentoring and communities of practice support participatory development of community radio stations, as well as capacity development in programming, reporting, and management/resource mobilization.

An important thrust of this agenda is to help build sustained policies, practices and institutions that are megaphones for citizen’s voice and demand for good governance. Community radio development is being given special attention because it has proved to be a sustainable and interactive medium for poor and illiterate populations to articulate issues important to them, mobilize information, learn the give and take of informed discussion and debate, and become more decisive agents in their own development.  These non-profit, non-partisan stations are owned and operated by the communities they serve, and perform an important public service for poor constituencies, eliciting their views and concerns, and encouraging them to speak out, both among themselves and to local government.
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/WBI/EXTCEERD/0,,menuPK:542912~pagePK:64168427~piPK:64168435~theSitePK:542906,00.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

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Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/24/08

April 28, 2008

Killing TV Softly — Lone Star Public Access Survives, Barely
by Nathan Diebenow
The Lone Star Iconoclast (TX)
04/15/08

What if there was a television channel on which you could watch whatever you wanted? Anytime throughout the day, the content from his station would follow your heart’s desire. You have a pension for the history of your town. It’s on. Need to feed your obsession about belly dancing? It’s on. Try a planning and zoning committee meeting on for size. It’s all available with a click of your remote control.

Now, let’s take it a step further. What if you had the power to show just about whatever you wanted on this channel? Your church’s annual Easter egg hunt, your advocacy for veterans’ health benefits, and even your teen’s high school football game are all part of a string of endless possibilities.

Here’s the thing: this special channel and many others exist, and chances are your cable provider and city have teamed up to give you them. Surprised? Well, the concept was invented and implemented in the early 1970s. It’s called public access television.

But if you don’t act soon, public access might disappear from your screens.   —>
http://www.lonestaricon.com/absolutenm/anmviewer.asp?a=2672&z=237
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Panel backs TV bill
by Michelle Millhollon
The Advocate (LA)
04/24/08

[ comments invited ]

A Senate panel advanced legislation Wednesday that would allow telecommunications companies to get a statewide franchise to offer television service.  Proponents of Senate Bill 422 said the legislation would offer consumers better service, new technology and competitive prices  Opponents said the bill would strip local governments of the franchise authority they currently wield.

The bill would not impact Baton Rouge, at least as far as AT&T is concerned.  Although AT&T is backing the bill, the telecommunications giant reached an agreement last month with the Metro Council to offer television service in East Baton Rouge Parish.  U-Verse — AT&T’s package of fiber-optic cable TV, telephone and high speed Internet service — will be available in 18 to 24 months at a cost of $44 to $154.

The statewide franchise legislation is similar to a bill that former Gov. Kathleen Blanco vetoed last year because of concerns about the bill’s impact on local governments.  At the outset of Wednesday’s committee meeting, Sen. Ann Duplessis, D-New Orleans, warned that the debate would be limited to six speakers on each side of the issue.  “We’re not going to hear all 50 cards,” she said of the requests submitted to the committee by people wanting to speak.   —>
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/politics/18098514.html
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AT&T, Cox: Our favorite flavor is Cherry/Red
by Mike Stagg
Lafayette Pro Fiber (LA)
04/24/08

[ 3 comments ]

This week’s edition of the Baton Rouge Business Report contains an informative story about the spirited battle that EATEL is waging against Cox on the eastern edge of the privately-held cable giant’s central Louisiana market footprint.  One comment that immediately jumped out was that the competition between EATEL (with its superior fiber network) and Cox (with its very deep corporate pockets) has prompted an in-your-face element of competition that neither the locally-owned phone company (EATEL) nor the Atlanta-based cable company (Cox) is accustomed to using:

“Brad Supple, the director of sales and marketing with EATEL, says the ads represent the first time they’ve countered the competition in such an aggressive fashion. Cox says it’s a first for them, too; the companies have battled for customers for nearly three years.”  […]

The real news, however, comes from a woman who once held McCormick’s job but now works as Cox’s vice president of government and public affairs, Sharon Kleinpeter. Commenting on AT&T’s push for passage of statewide video franchise legislation here, Kleinpeter confirmed a point made here recently — specifically, AT&T and the state’s largest cable provider are engaged in a carefully choreographed effort to relieve both elements of this communications duopoly from current legal requirements to serve all segments of the communities where local franchise agreements now exist.

Here’s the money passage:

“While AT&T’s earlier efforts to get statewide authority have failed, Kleinpeter says Cox doesn’t oppose it as long as it can also get options that would free the company from 55 20-year and 30-year franchises it has in 13 parishes, which have more stringent provisions. So far, AT&T hasn’t agreed to the move, which she says would otherwise give Cox a competitive advantage. Talks are under way on this issue.”

This is the Cherry/Red flavor of regulation they love.  That is, both AT&T and Cox (and other Louisiana cable providers) want the ability to provide services only in those neighborhoods where they believe they can make the highest rate of return and not have to provide services, say, all over Lafayette Parish as would be the case under the terms of the current franchise agreement here (and in, the article says, 55 other parts of the state).  They want to be able to legally cherry pick what they consider the best neighborhoods and legally redline those that they want to ignore. Cherry/Red.   —>
http://www.lafayetteprofiber.com/Blog/Blog.html
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Community radio the new voice of Congo rural women
by María Teresa Aguirre
digital opportunity channel
04/24/08

[ comments invited ]

The inhabitants of Mugogo, a village situated some 2,000 kilometres from Kinshasa, capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, will long remember January 4, 2008 as a very special day in the life of their community.   That was the day when the first broadcast of Radio Bubusa hit the air. An initiative of a group of rural women, the idea of the radio station was first mooted towards the end of 2003, and now, in 2008 and with the support of a grant from WACC, the idea finally came to fruition.

The first broadcast surprised more than one listener with its unique blend of traditional songs interspersed with a voice that announced in Mashi (a local dialect) the name of the station and the place it was coming from: Radio Bubusa, broadcasting from Mugogo.

Community media has long being recognised by social movements and development agencies alike as one of the most efficient ways for grassroots groups to articulate their demands and struggles for a more just and egalitarian society.  From Africa to Latin America, from the Caribbean to Asia, groups of marginalised people – often ‘invisible’ in mainstream media – have used myriad community media in order to claim and demand their rights both as human beings and as citizens.

And while sometimes, by their very nature, community initiatives may take time to become a concrete reality, in the end they do bear fruit as the inhabitants of this remote area in the Congolese province of Sud-Kivu well know.   —>
http://www.digitalopportunity.org/article/view/160093/1/1138
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CATV wants Mandan to partner with Bismarck
by Gordon Weixel
Bismarck Tribune (ND)
04/24/08

[ comments invited ]

When Community Access Television makes its pitch to the Mandan City Commission about televising meetings it will be more about forming a partnership with Bismarck than numbers of cameras and  when the reruns will air.  On Tuesday, CATV’s Mary Van Sickle will respond to the Mandan City Commission’s request for a proposal to cablecast commission meetings. But what Van Sickle will present is an opportunity for Mandan to join with Bismarck in funding of CATV.

“It’s really very simple, the bottom line, it’s a proposal for a partnership between Bismarck and Mandan to take over overall operation of CATV,” Van Sickle said.  “For 21 years Bismarck has been providing funding. Citizens of Mandan haven’t been treated any differently than those of Bismarck. They receive the channel and have used the services. CATV has never made a distinction of the people we serve. But it’s time to move on and it’s time for this discussion.”   —>
http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2008/04/24/news/update/doc4810f2d79c765830844479.txt
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Announcing the WYOU 36-Hour ON AIR Film Festival
WYOU 4 Madison’s Community Television (WI)
04/24/08

[ comments invited]

WYOU to Host Film Fest
The Local Cable Access Station is looking for a variety of Film Submissions That Celebrate Local Talent.

In the spirit of Wisconsin’s booming film industry, WYOU public access Channel 4 will host it’s own 36 hour On Air Film Fest in June. After the festival’s completion viewers will get to vote for their favorite flicks on WYOU’s website. The films’ receiving the most votes in their category will be featured at a 2 hour screening the weekend following the On Air Film Fest.   —>
http://wyou4.blogspot.com/2008/04/announcing-wyou-36-hour-on-air-film.html
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Ossining cable access channel struggles to find new home
by Sean Gorman
The Journal News (NY)
04/24/08

[ 2 comments ]

Greater Ossining Television has to move out of the high school by the end of next month, the latest blow to the beleaguered local access station.  GO-TV, a cash-strapped nonprofit that over the years has struggled to stay on air, has to vacate the studio space it uses in a high school classroom by May 31 – the end of its latest lease extension on the site.  “We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure we don’t go (off the air),” said Mary Prenon, a GO-TV board member.

GO-TV – which provides government and public access programming – is seeking out a temporary site downtown where it can place an office and perhaps the equipment that broadcasts its shows, Prenon said.  The station’s original 10-year lease on the Ossining High School space expired in June of 2007, but the school district has granted it a series of extensions as the station sought out a new location.

“The Ossining school district has been trying to work with GO-TV … understanding that they need to find space,” Deputy Superintendent Raymond Sanchez said. “We’ve made extensions for that reason. Now we’ve reached the point where we really need to look towards supporting the (high school’s) instructional program as well.”  The district plans to use the space for video and production instruction for students, Sanchez said.   —>
http://lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080424/NEWS02/804240444/-1/newsfront
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Hingham OKs cable contract with Verizon
by Karen Goulart
The Patriot Ledger (MA)
04/24/08

[ 1 comment ]

Residents will have a choice of cable TV service providers as soon as this fall.  Selectmen approved a 10-year contract with Verizon on Tuesday night. It was negotiated during the past four months by the town’s cable TV advisory committee.  Verizon will compete with Comcast, currently the only provider of cable service in town.

Cable TV advisory committee Chairman Guy Conrad said the Verizon contract, which could greatly enhance the town’s public-access television service, is a win for both sides.  The contract calls for Verizon to pay the town $400,000 over six years. The money will go toward building and equipping a public-access TV studio. Beginning in 2010, Verizon also will give the town 5 percent of its gross Hingham revenues, to support educational, governmental and public-access programming.   —>
http://www.patriotledger.com/news/x2124112665
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Cable competition: Verizon added to TV mix
by Carol Britton Meyer
Hingham Journal (MA)
04/24/08

[ comments invited ]

Hingham cable TV subscribers now have two choices – Comcast or Verizon.  This week the selectmen signed off on a 10-year contract negotiated by the town’s cable TV advisory committee with Verizon, which will provide video services as early as this fall for some residents.  Verizon’s advanced fiber-optics network accommodates voice data, Internet, and video needs and offers more than 300 digital channels.

The committee will soon begin negotiations with Comcast “to ascertain terms of its continuing status as a provider to Hingham residents,” said committee chairman Guy Conrad. Comcast’s current 10-year contract expires in Aug. 2009, but negotiations may begin as early as three years prior to the expiration date.  The goal is to engage in a competitive process that maximizes the value of service at the most reasonable cost.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/hingham/news/x1838789817
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Homeless Teens and At-Risk Young Adults Participate in 01SJ Global Festival of Art Enabled by Cisco
Certification Magazine
04/23/08

SANTA CLARA, CA – Homeless teens and at-risk young adults at Bill Wilson Center, a non-profit, community-based agency that provides counseling and support services to youth and families in Santa Clara County, will work with professional artists to develop new media artwork for the 2nd Biennial 01SJ Global Festival of Art on the Edge, June 4-8, in downtown San Jose. Festival organizer ZER01 and Visionary Festival sponsor Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO: 26.03, +0.59, +2.31%) announced today that all creative works will be displayed on a new “San Jose Culture Network” of digital signs powered by the Cisco Digital Media System technology at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and several other locations throughout San Jose.

The young artists, ranging in age from 14 to 24, have already started attending weekly hands-on workshops staffed by new media artists and will continue their training through June 8. As part of the new “San Jose Culture Network,” their artwork will be showcased across more than 20 large screen LCD displays using the Cisco Digital Media System’s Digital Signage solution, which will allow for the easy management and publishing of the young artists’ compelling content.

The Cisco project, developed with artist Dorit Cypis, ZER01 and Bill Wilson Center, is called We-C. The goal of We-C is to engage young adults in transitional life situations to critically look at themselves and consider how they want to be “seen” by the public, to whom they are often invisible. The artists-in-training will work in a wide array of new media art and creative media formats, including digital still cameras, live music, poetry, and the performing arts.   —>
http://www.certmag.com/industry_news/2008/April/2575/index.php
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Nigeria: Make Peace, Devt Your Watchword, Djebah Urges Media
by Omon-Julius Onabu
This Day (Lagos)
04/24/08

Promotion of peace and development journalism has been identified as the best means of advancing the noble contribution of the profession to democracy and national transformation.  The Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Oma Djebah, who made the assertion yesterday in Warri, therefore, urged the media in Nigeria , particularly journalists operating in the Niger-Delta, “to promote peace and development journalism instead of engaging in negative reporting of the crisis, violence and militancy.” Djebah was delivering a guest lecture titled, “The Role of the Media in Niger-Delta Development”, during a seminar to mark the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Warri Correspondents Chapel held at Wellington Hotel, Effurun-Warri.

He stressed the urgent need for the media “to strike a balance between ethical journalism and certain limitations” bearing in mind that negative reports “have far graver consequences and impact on peoples and governments”.   —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200804240679.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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/26/08

March 27, 2008

Comcast to Milford: Access still on the way
by Hattie Bernstein
Nashua Telegraph (NH)
03/26/08

[ comments invited ]

Comcast, a local cable services provider, has agreed to honor a contract it made five years ago with the town to provide a second public access channel.  But the commitment, made Monday night during a public hearing at the Town Hall, doesn’t resolve the town’s complaints about poor customer service, including months of being ignored by the company.   —>
http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080326/NEWS01/729596568/-1/OPINION02
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Comcast Takes Heat From BOS, Public
Lack of response and poor performance lead to public hearing
by Nancy Bean Foster
Milford Observer (NH)
03/26/08

Comcast Senior Manager of Government and Community Relations Bryan Christiansen found himself on the hot seat Monday night (March 24), as Town Administrator Guy Scaife, members of the board of selectmen, and even residents, took the cable company to task over poor communication.

Since August of last year, Scaife said, the town has been trying to get Comcast, the town’s cable provider, to install a third public access channel, as required by the franchise agreement between the cable giant and the town. Despite repeated requests, a long chain of correspondence, and numerous phone calls, Scaife said he got nowhere with Comcast.

Per the franchise agreement, Scaife decided to call a Comcast Performance Evaluation public hearing on Monday to get the problems with the cable, phone and Internet provider out on the table. After hearing about the meeting, Comcast finally came through with a date to set up the third channel, Scaife said.

At Monday’s meeting, Scaife didn’t pull any punches. After being told by Christiansen that the reason the launch of the third channel took so long was the company hadn’t budgeted the necessary $30,000, Scaife threw out some numbers of his own.

“I’m certainly glad that you found some money for this, but I find it ironic that a $30.9 billion corporation that just posted a 54 percent increase in (fourth quarter) profits, and announced a significant dividend to shareholders couldn’t find $30,000 for Milford,” Scaife said. “Of course, Comcast is planning to spend $3 billion for stock buy-backs. I guess I can see where it’s hard to find $30,000 when you’ve set aside $3 billion for stocks.”   —>
http://milfordobserver.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=Default&mad=No&sdetail=518&wpage=&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2117&hn=milfordobserver&he=.com
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Nonprofit hopes to take over tctv2 channel
by Melissa Domsic
Traverse City Record-Eagle (MI)
03/26/08

A local nonprofit and its supporters hope to keep the closing credits from rolling on public access television and launch a new season.  Channel tctv2 will lose public funding and operational support this summer, but local nonprofit Land Information Access Association proposed to take over and keep the station on the air.

“It fits with our overall mission, which is about civic engagement and helping people in communities become better informed about their communities,” said Joe VanderMeulen, executive director.  “Public access television has a long history in the state that is one of providing public access in a free and equitable way,” he said. “We would like to make TV 2 a stronger community service.”

The Traverse Area District Library supplies administrative services and oversees operation of tctv2, but will sever its involvement at the end of June, when area municipalities pull the funding plug.  The channel receives 30 percent of cable franchise fees collected by Traverse City, Elmwood and Garfield townships, the three remaining members of the Cherry Capital Cable Council. Paradise Township and the Village of Kingsley also contribute.  The council is dissolving after changes to franchise agreements dropped Charter Communication’s operational funding responsibilities, leaving local governments to foot the bill. Seven area townships left the council since that change in 2005.

The Land Information Access Association also hopes to take over operation of the new governmental channel 99.  LIAA is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides technical and educational services to local citizens, municipalities and nonprofit groups for land use planning, resource management, emergency management and environmental protection.  The association plans to build a television studio in its office on Munson Avenue in Traverse City.  A citizen’s advisory board would set policies and standards for tctv2 programming and services.   —>
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_086095049.html
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Comcast viewers speak out
by Terry L. Jones
Hattiesburg American (MS)
03/26/08

[ 5 comments ]

A public hearing to discuss renewal of Hattiesburg’s cable franchise agreement with Comcast turned into a witch hunt against the city’s cable television monopoly Tuesday night.  Tuesday’s hearing was the public’s second chance to address future cable-related needs and interests. The first hearing was held last year in September.  Comcast officials said they service an estimated 18,000 homes in Hattiesburg.

The existing franchise agreement between the city of Hattiesburg and Comcast expires on Dec. 7. Comcast submitted a letter and a renewal franchise agreement to the city on May 2, 2006.  Should an agreement between Comcast and the city not be reached by Dec. 7, Hattiesburg will continue to operate under the current agreement until the city adopts a resolution terminating the contract, said Ken Smith, chairman of the city’s cable advisory board…

The board expects to have a proposed agreement ready for the City Council to review sometime in June, he said.  The board is recommending the city enter into a 5-year agreement with Comcast instead of the 10-year agreement Comcast asked for.  Smith said their recommendation will also include televising City Council meetings.   —>
http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080326/NEWS01/803260310
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Teen film project offers television studio and field production classes
Argus Observer (OR)
03/26/08

[ comments invited ]

Vale — Are you a film maker? Do you want to work in television or make movies someday?  The Drexel H. Foundation is providing an opportunity for teens to participate in television production and film-making classes this spring.  This program has provided students, since 2004, with the opportunity to create film and videos and learn about television studios.

It is once again time to dust off that old camera, grab a friend, enjoy the weather and create a film.  The Teen Film Project is a great opportunity to learn about the amazing world of film.  Registration is simple and one can participate by attending classes at TVTV (a Boise public access channel) in May, June and July, or by attending classes offered in Vale during the summer.

The classes include a “field production”and “studio production” class at TVTV, Boise.    The lighting, film editing, sound, camera work and composition classes will take place in Vale.

There is no cost to the students. The Drexel H. Foundation provides classes in Vale, pays for the TVTV classes and provides transportation to the studio in Boise. Because there is no cost to participants, registration space is limited.  The Drexel Foundation is a registered producer with TVTV and will give out scholarships for these classes to the individuals.   —>
http://www.argusobserver.com/articles/2008/03/26/news/us/doc47ea7fc4d9298798080831.txt
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WT-TV moving to new channel
Courier-Post (NJ)
03/26/08

WASHINGTON TWP. – The township’s public access cable station, WT-TV, is moving from Channel 13 to Channel 9 on April 12.  Comcast Corporation plans to add new high-definition channels to its lineup and needs to reserve Channel 13 for the new stations.   —>
http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080326/NEWS01/80326003/1006
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United Nations Meets Web 2.0 Seminar taking place this week in the UN HQ in New York.
Rialtas.net – Government 2.0
03/26/08

In February 2007, the Global Alliance organized “United Nations Meets Silicon Valley” in Santa Clara, California, which explored how the technology industry and business community in Silicon Valley can bolster development. Attended by prominent members of industry, academia, and the venture capital community alongside members of the Strategy Council of the Global Alliance, the meeting discussed challenges and partnerships between the public and private sectors in the area of ICT for development.  “UN Meets Web 2.0″ is a follow up to the meeting in Silicon Valley and is being held in New York City.

The event  consists  of a series of policy dialogues and panel sessions on the first day (yesterday),which showcased a variety of perspectives on key issues, including the use of technology to drive development; understanding what is in the mind of ICT entrepreneurs; and how the new media and content are shaping the landscapes of business and economics in developing countries. Today’s session  will include an Investors Forum, showcasing emerging business and investment opportunities in information and communication technologies in developing nations, including ICT initiatives from countries across Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Middle East, the Pacific, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe.

The UN hope Participants will learn how new media and content are shaping the landscapes of business, economics and policy in developing countries; learn about global ICT opportunities; and understand what is in the mind of ICT entrepreneurs and investors.  The event will be attended by representatives of governments, business and industry, academia and professional institutions, non-governmental organizations and media.  View the event programme (pdf)
http://www.rialtas.net/blog/2008/03/26/united-nations-meets-web-20-seminar-taking-place-this-week-in-the-un-hq-in-new-york/
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The New York Times Company Foundation to Sponsor ‘Ethnic Media Watchdog Workshop’ in May
Ad-Hoc-News
03/26/08

Journalists from The New York Times and Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc will conduct a two-day workshop on investigative and enterprise reporting for reporters and editors from foreign-language newspapers in New York City. The Ethnic Media Watchdog Workshop will also invite enrolled college students studying journalism to participate. The workshop will be held at The New York Times Building, the newspaper’s new headquarters in New York City, on May 9 and 10.

The workshop will include sessions on covering the police and the courts; how to use the Internet for enterprise stories; how to investigate immigration issues; and how to obtain background information on people and businesses. Sessions will examine how best to exploit laws that provide access to government records and explore the rights of journalists when dealing with legal issues.   —>
http://www.ad-hoc-news.de/drucken.html?art_id=16062697
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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 – 02/28/08

February 29, 2008

[ UPDATE: EVENT POSTPONED DUE TO IMPENDING SNOWSTORM ! ] 

A Broadband Forum for Western Massachusetts
Federal, State & Local Perspectives on Broadband as an Essential Infrastructure for Community Health & Economic Opportunity
Saturday March 1, 2008: 8:30 am – 3:30pm
Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, Northampton, MA

Hosted by Senator Stan Rosenberg, Representative Stephen Kulik and the Western Massachusetts Legislative Delegation
MA Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development

Featured Speakers:

FCC Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Robert McDowell
Sharon Gillett, Mass. DTC Commissioner
Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray
U.S. Congressman John Olver
U.S. Senator John Kerry

While there is no charge for attendance, we ask that you pre-register. —>
http://www.masstech.org/broadband/bbevent/home.html
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AT&T bill holds key to future
by Ed Kimbrell
Daily News Journal (TN)
02/28/08

[ 4 comments ]

For the past few weeks, behind closed doors at the state Capitol, American Telephone and Telegraph, Comcast cable, the Tennessee Municipal League, and selected legislators have been trying to forge a tortured compromise about the Internet’s future in the state. First, a bit of history. When cable came to the state, it was required to offer universal service and to obtain a franchise from each town or city it served. —>
http://dnj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080228/OPINION02/802280319/1014/OPINION
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PSAs in production at Elm Creative Arts
by Dani McClain
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
02/28/08

[ comments allowed ]

Students in Dexxie Bankhead’s fourth-grade class at Elm Creative Arts School have been working with MATA Community Media this year to produce educational spots for broadcast on public access. If you haven’t caught their latest foray into the world of multimedia arts, titled “Saving Our Oceans & Lakes,” tomorrow night may be your last chance. Check out Channel 14 Friday at 8:30 p.m. for a lesson in the effects of rainwater runoff and student interviews with Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District officials.

Today in class, the fourth-graders critiqued a video on school desegregation, which they produced with the help of Jonathan Rovetto, education project manager at MATA. They also continued work on their next PSA, which focuses on cruelty in the classroom. One group wrote a theme song, complete with a hook that goes: “Bullying is not okay, and it’s not alright / Bullying is not okay, and it’s impolite.”

Rovetto said the curriculum he uses with elementary-aged students includes how to operate digital video cameras, make stop motion animation, and edit audio to create soundtracks. This year, MATA is producing programming with about a dozen Milwaukee schools, including Golda Meir Elementary, Ronald W. Reagan College Prep, South Division High School, Milwaukee High School of the Arts and the James Madison Academic Campus.
http://blogs.jsonline.com/education/archive/2008/02/28/psas-in-production-at-elm-creative-arts.aspx
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Ex-Firehouse Converting To Community TV Center
New York City Funds Help East Harlem Gain Neighborhood TV Production
by Kent Gibbons
Multichannel News
2/28/08

[ comments allowed ]

Manhattan Neighborhood Network has begin converting a 124-year-old former firehouse into a media center with live broadcast and production studios, editing studios and a training center for the community’s youth. MNN, a non-profit group that operates four public, education and government (PEG) channels on Time Warner Cable and RCN, obtained $5 million in tax-exempt funding from the New York City Industrial Development Authority and an $850,000 grant from Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer for the project.

MNN executive director Dan Coughlin said the facility – a four-story red-brick building that once was home to Engine 53 – is expected to complete its transformation into a community media center by early next year.MNN Firehouse Rendering “With the support of the cable industry that finances us and local government, we’re bringing technology to Harlem, we’re bringing technology to local neighborhoods,” Coughlin said. —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6536291.html
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Regional cable station focuses on high school sports
by Allen Gregory
Bristol Herald Courier (VA)
02/28/08

NORTON – High school sports is a lifeblood in Southwest Virginia. Successful teams inspire pride in residents and provide an avenue of dreams for small school athletes. Since the late 1980s, Ernie Benko and his resourceful crew of helpers have spotlighted the heroes and highlights of Mountain Empire athletics via the world of community access cable. “We’re in this for the kids,’’ Benko said. “We’ve covered at least 15 state championship games in basketball and football. Parents are very pleased that we take an interest in their sons and daughters.’’

Benko is a veteran of the still emerging business. He serves as the owner-operator of Norton-based Appalachian Regional Community Television, a popular outlet which evolved from RaBen and Gateway Television Broadcasting. “ARC TV is a true community access channel in Russell County and part of Wise County,’’ Benko said. “We also offer programming to WKPT DT3, Scott County, Honaker and surrounding areas.’’

And area athletes are appreciative of the attention. High school games are shown on a tape-delay basis on ARC. “It’s fun to watch yourself on TV, and I know that my grandparents really enjoy it,’’ said Chris Fraley, a two-way All-Group A selection in football at Powell Valley. Residents in the coalfield counties can watch game replays almost every Wednesday during football season. —>
http://www.tricities.com/tristate/tri/sports.apx.-content-articles-TRI-2008-02-28-0019.html
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Cable Franchise Renewal Coming Up
Several Council Members Have Negative Opinions of Comcast;
Kent: ‘I Don’t Think We Should Renew’
by Tony Rutherford
HuntingtonNews.net (WV)
02/28/08

Cable companies operate within a city on the authority of a franchise granted by said city. In fact, you pay a few bucks a month to administer the franchise fee. The franchise for Comcast Cable (successor to Adelphia) comes up for renewal in April, according to Dr. Calvin Kent at the Monday night City Council meeting. He wants to form a committee to explore all the complaints that have been received about the service. Pricing, selections within various tiers of service, and failure to properly televise council meetings like their predecessor are just some of the complaints…

The councilman also believes that the franchise should be required to deliver a better quality televised council meeting than having just one unmanned, wide shot camera in the chamber. Along similar areas, “They need to maintain and update the public access channel which I don’t think is unreasonable compared to other cities.” —>
http://www.huntingtonnews.net/local/080228-rutherford-localcomcastrenewal.html
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Newbury officials blast Comcast, cite lack of public programming
by Victor Tine
Newburyport Daily News (MA)
02/28/08

The town is being short-changed by cable TV giant Comcast on its public access programming, according to the chairman of Newbury’s Cable TV Advisory Committee. Chairman Paul Daubitz and committee member Douglas Packer told selectmen this week that they have been “stonewalled” in efforts to get Comcast to put up adequate funding for local programming.

Newbury’s latest 10-year contract with Comcast expired in October 2006, and the town and company have been attempting to come up with a new agreement. “We don’t feel that Comcast is negotiating with us in a meaningful way,” Daubitz said at a Tuesday evening “public ascertainment hearing” aimed at learning what local services residents want and need.

With heavy, wet snow falling outside, only one local resident made it to Town Hall for the hearing, but selectmen Chairman Vincent Russo said he would accept public comment for another 28 days, which works out to March 25. No one from Comcast attended.

Daubitz said the company closed its Newburyport studio and referred Newbury instead to its Amesbury facility, which he said was inconveniently located. He also said Comcast offered to budget only one-half of 1 percent of its Newbury-derived revenue to fund local programming, while Newburyport receives 4 percent.

The Cable Advisory Committee is interested in telecasting local meetings, such as those of the Triton Regional School Committee, and generating original programs. Comcast officials have told the committee that Newbury residents are not interested in raising their cable bills to pay for local programming, Packer said. —>
http://www.newburyportnews.com/punews/local_story_059065925.html
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Comcast may get competition
by Christopher Ruvo
The Intelligencer (PA)
02/28/08

[ comments allowed ]

Comcast could soon have competition in Quakertown. Borough officials are talking to Verizon about bringing cable service to the Upper Bucks borough. Comcast is currently the borough’s only cable provider. “We had one meeting with Verizon in January and I told them probably the first or second week of March we’d be able to start negotiating a franchise agreement,” said borough manager/Police Chief Scott McElree.

Comcast would continue to serve the town too. In fact, the Verizon talks come on the heels of a new 12-year franchise agreement the borough is poised to strike with Comcast. The deal would provide for two channels that the borough and Quakertown Community School District could broadcast on. —>
http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/147-02282008-1495231.html
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Council Votes to Give BITV Larger Portion of Franchise Fees
by Tristan Baurick
The Kitsap Sun (WA)
02/28/08

[ comments allowed ]

The cameras will keep rolling at City Hall. In a rare move, the City Council on Wednesday stepped into a contract negotiations dust-up and awarded more money than city staff had initially offered to Bainbridge Island Television, a public-access station providing an annual 1,000 hours of local government programming.

The pay boost raises the city’s initial offer of $108,000 to $175,000 and ensures BITV will have enough money to keep cameras trained on the island’s public officials. City staff and BITV had been deadlocked over 2008 funding since late last year. BITV, which was aiming for no less than $194,000, had warned earlier this month that it would pull the plug on city coverage unless an agreement was reached.

BITV director Scott Schmidt said the council’s decision will keep many services alive but will lead to cutbacks in staffing, Internet services and coverage hours. “It’s a hopeful and workable solution,” he said. “But now we do a reality check about how we much we can provide.” Schmidt had hoped the city would turn over the full $194,000 in franchise fees it collected last year from the Comcast cable company. Coming almost $20,000 short of that goal means BITV will likely cut two of its five staff positions and end the live content streaming feature on its Web site. —>
http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/feb/28/council-votes-to-give-bitv-larger-portion-of/
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Notes from Board Work Session, 2/25/08
by Jennifer Abell
Ready, Willing and Abell (MD)
02/28/08

[ 4 comments ]

—> Better utilize educational television station to include regular programming and promotion of Charles County Public Schools. Improve content and frequency of programming. This could include, but should not be exclusive to, the addition of televised Board meetings. Develop a lending library of tapes for those without access to cable television. Consensus was that this goal has been completed and will no longer appear in this document. —>
http://abell4edu.blogspot.com/2008/02/notes-from-board-work-session-22508.html
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New episode of Rowlett on the Move now on cable TV and DVD
by T.G.
Pegasus News (TX)
02/28/08

[ comments allowed ]

The new episode of “Rowlett On The Move”, hosted by Mayor John Harper is now airing on RTN16, the City’s cable access channel, and is available for check out on DVD at the Rowlett Public Library and for purchase at the City Secretary’s Office at City Hall for viewing at home. City Council Work Sessions and regular Council Meetings are also available on DVD.

The current episode of “Rowlett On The Move” features an interview with City Manager Craig Owens and covers topics including economic development efforts, transportation issues, capital improvement projects, and a new type of city budgeting being proposed for the fiscal year 2008-09 called Budgeting for Outcomes. This month’s program also features an interview with Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Todd Gottel as he addresses economic development efforts underway in Rowlett. All RTN16 programs are produced by the City’s Communication Department. Below is a program schedule: —>
http://www.pegasusnews.com/news/2008/feb/28/new-episode-emrowlett-moveem-now-cable-tv-and-dvd/
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“Culinary Concepts” on a TV near you
by Michelle Nepton
Martha’s Vineyard Times (MA)
02/28/08

[ 2 comments ]

When Chef Kyle Garell of Catch at the Terrace at the Charlotte Inn moved to the Vineyard last year, he found something that would excite any chef: an abundance of local seafood. But he also found locally raised beef, sheep, chickens, and greens. And like any chef would, he seized the opportunity to make something of these fresh, local ingredients.

During his busy summer months, Kyle spends most of his time as the chef du cuisine of Catch at the Terrace, a fine-dining establishment in Edgartown, where he trains under chef-owner Christopher Parsons. This winter, he is keeping almost as busy in his own kitchen. Kyle has been creating “Culinary Concepts,” a cooking show broadcast on MVTV, the local public access television station that allows members of the community to produce and broadcast their own material. —>
http://www.mvtimes.com/calendar/2008/02/28/edibles-kyle-garrell.php
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Open source TV (CO)
by Adrienne Russell
Pop + Politics
02/28/08

[ comments allowed ]

While sites like YouTube are making history by catering to the mass craving to create and distribute amateur video, regular old television— a decade into the internet era— is still pretending the web is basically a form of Sunday newspaper: mostly good for advertising and reprinting schedules. Sorry but American Idol voting is the very definition of faux participation.

Denver Open Media, however, has a bold vision of the future of TV. Every aspect of its public access television station is participatory. The organization lends out equipment and offers low-cost classes on making and uploading video. Open Media members make all the station’s programs. Shows that garner the most votes from viewers are rewarded with the best broadcast time slots. Viewers can also text-in ratings and comments, which appear onscreen in realtime. —>
http://www.popandpolitics.com/2008/02/28/open-source-tv/
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Funding for community television to triple
by Zvi Lavi
YnetNews.com (Israel)
02/28/08

[ 1 comment ]

Knesset’s Economics Committee, Finance Ministry agree to boost government funding for community television, decide to nearly triple it. Agreement to stand until 2010.

The Knesset’s Economics Committee and the Finance Ministry have reached a compromise regarding government funding for community television. Government funding of public-access television stands to nearly triple – from $250,000 a year to $830,000. Both the Treasury and the committee have decided to back a proposal by MK Orit Noked (Labor-Meimad), calling for five percent of the money paid by the cable and satellite companies for their various franchises and royalties to be used to fund community broadcasting services.

Noked initially proposed an amendment to the Media and Broadcasting Law, calling for annual funding of no less than $1.4 million – until 2010 – when the cable and satellite companies are to renegotiate their franchises and royalty deals. Should the payments turn out to be lower, Noked suggested the Treasury make up the difference.

Initially against the amendment, the Finance Ministry eventually compromised on tripling the existing budget, providing Noked pull her bill. Noked agreed to the move “providing the new budget will not be a part of any cutbacks made in the government’s budget.”

Community television is defined as “a public interest” by law. In 2000, a committee appointed by then Communications Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer recommended the broadcasts be backed by an annual budget of $4 million. Despite agreeing with the committee’s recommendations, the budget was later set $1.07 million; and has decreased steadily until 2006, when in was set at $220,000.

The Cable and Satellite Council, which is a subdivision of the Second Authority for Television and Radio, will be charged with funneling the money made available as a result of the compromise, to each of the 10 community broadcasting services operating in Israel. Community television broadcasts, which are run by hundreds of volunteers – mostly teenagers and members of the elderly community across Israel – is available on channel 85 on both cable and satellite.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3512452,00.html
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The politics of media development
by Fackson Banda
Thought Leader – Mail & Guardian (Africa)
02/28/08

[ comments allowed ]

The term “media development” might remind many people in South Africa of the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA). Well, the term has become a buzzword in international media financing. My aim here is to draw upon a talk I gave in 2007 at the Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership/Konrad-Adenuer-Stiftung conference for media executives held in Cape Town. By so doing, I seek to indicate the key “media development” initiatives that have unfolded since the report of the Commission for Africa was issued in March 2005. More importantly, I wish to specify the “politics” associated with the concept of media development.

Although the concept of media development is certainly not new, it has attracted much attention in the past couple of years, resulting in the formation of such entities as the African Media Development Initiative (AMDI), the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) and so forth. The AMDI has since merged with the Strengthening African Media (Stream) consultative process to create an African Media Initiative (AMI).

The AMI is in its inchoate stages, with the express brief of consolidating the AMDI and Stream media-development recommendations into a bankable technical report that can be used to lobby governments, donors and the private sector to support the growth of media institutions across Africa. At the centre of these initiatives are: the BBC World Service Trust (AMDI); the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Stream) and Internews (GFMD). Unesco is also involved in developing indices to measure media development, but I did not focus on it during my Cape Town talk, nor will I do so here.

As I have already suggested, the concept of media development is not new in Africa. The very existence in South Africa of the MDDA clearly demonstrates the fact. But it is evident that the meanings attached to the concept are not fixed. In some instances, the term is used to connote the intellectual and spiritual growth of the media, as when the World Association for Christian Communication calls its journal Media Development; in other cases, it is used to refer to the economic-infrastructural development of the media, as when donors pour huge sums of money into purchasing new computer technology for media houses, especially during election times.

Increasingly, the concept is being interpreted to indicate much more than the above. It is being viewed as the totality of all support mechanisms for the growth of media institutions into vibrant agents of social and political change in democratic and undemocratic polities.

The recent resurgence of interest in media development is generally associated with the report of the Commission for Africa. The commission was set up in 2004 by the then British prime minister Tony Blair. But it would be a mistake to stop there; the media and communications landscape in Africa has been undergoing major changes, signalling the need and presenting opportunities for a concerted initiative to take advantage of such changes in favour of strengthening media institutions. —>
http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/facksonbanda/2008/02/28/the-politics-of-media-development/
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

New Voices Grant App Deadline; LSE Conf Call for Papers

February 17, 2008

Apply Now: Funding to Start Community News Projects
Contact Kira Wisniewski – (301) 985-4020  kira [at] j-lab [dot] org
New Voices
12/04/07

APPLY NOW! Applications due: Feb. 20, 2008.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism invites U.S. nonprofit groups and education organizations to apply for funding to launch community news ventures in 2008 and to share best practices and lessons learned from their efforts.

The New Voices project will help fund the start-up of 10 innovative local news initiatives next year. Each project may receive as much as $17,000 in grants over two years. Thirty New Voices projects have been funded since 2005.

Eligible to receive funding are 501(c)3 organizations and education institutions, including civic groups, community organizations, public and community broadcasters, schools, colleges and universities – and individuals working under the sponsorship of a nonprofit fiscal agent.

Grant guidelines and online application can be found at www.J-NewVoices.org. Project proposals are due February 20, 2008.   —>
http://www.j-newvoices.org/site/story/apply_now_funding_to_start/
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Community and Humanity Conference
by Charlie Beckett
Charliebeckett.org
02/06/08

[ 1 comment ]

In celebration of the LSE Department of Media and Communication’s 5th year, my colleagues are inviting critical thinking about how the media and communications environment is implicated in shaping our perceptions of the human condition. How is it mediating human values, actions and social relations? We welcome proposals for papers and panels offering theoretical insight and/or empirical work on this theme. Abstracts or panel proposals may focus on one or more of the areas below.

* Communication and Difference
* Democracy, Politics and Journalism Ethics
* Globalisation and Comparative Studies
* Innovation, Governance and Policy
* Media and New Media Literacies

The conference is at London School of Economics and Political Science, London, Sunday 21st – Tuesday 23rd September 2008.  Abstracts should be submitted by 1st March 2008. Go here to submit abstract and/or register.
http://www.charliebeckett.org/?p=406
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/23/08

January 24, 2008

Community Video Units are making a strong impact in India
by media for freedom
01/23/08

Based in New York and Ahmedabad, India, Video Volunteers and their partners have developed a community media initiative in India that is using video to empower communities to take action around critical issues relevant to development.  In the last 16 months they have produced 45 video magazines reaching 130,000 people living in 200 slums and villages.  What is a Community Video Unit?   —>
http://www.mediaforfreedom.com/ReadArticle.asp?ArticleID=9149
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Working group focuses on communications policy for new administration
Penn State Live (PA)
01/22/08

While the presidential election moves through its primary stages, a group of Penn State faculty members and colleagues from across the country has its sights set beyond the outcome of the general election in November. They’re not focusing on a specific candidate, either.

Instead, the faculty members anticipate January 2009, the next president’s inauguration and the corresponding change in the federal government as the time to present an outline — as well as the practical steps necessary for implementation — of a new U.S. communications policy.

The Future of American Communications Working Group, supported by a $75,000 grant from the Media Democracy Fund, a project of the Proteus Fund, plans to produce a volume outlining a comprehensive telecommunications policy agenda for the federal administration to be entering office in January 2009. That agenda will emphasize the potential of information technologies for improving democratic discourse, social responsibility and the quality of life. It will specify the means by which those technologies can be made available to all Americans.

“The unique concentration of such a large group of leading communication policy scholars in the College of Communications has made Penn State the natural place to serve as the center for such an ambitious project,” said Amit Schejter, an assistant professor in the Department of Telecommunications and director of the working group.   —>
http://live.psu.edu/story/28221?rss=30
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Broadband Speeds Need to be Gigabit – Now
Municipal Broadband
by James Carlini
01/23/08

Depending on your current definition of broadband network connectivity, you might want to update your frame of reference.

Did you know at the beginning of 2008 that Japan announced its objective for broadband connectivity is 10 gigabits by 2010? In some recent discussions I have had, some industry pundits think 1 gigabit is too high to achieve.

A couple megabits or even 30 Mbps to 40 Mbps to the premise as a design goal is an obsolete objective unless you are aiming us into a third-rate infrastructure for the future.

I have been saying within my columns for years and at national conferences and regional seminars (like the recent one with SimpleTel in Madison, Wis. featuring Dantel, Connect802 and Matisse Networks) that broadband connectivity today means providing gigabit speeds. Period.

The only people who don’t want to hear this are those tied to products and network services that have sub-gigabit maximums. These people don’t want to hear that what they’re supporting is obsolete and not globally competitive. Why is this such a hard thing for some industry executives and supposed network infrastructure vendors and designers to accept?   —>
http://www.carliniscomments.com/archives/156-BROADBAND-SPEEDS-NEED-TO-BE-GIGABIT-NOW.html#extended
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Akaku goes to court tomorrow over bidding process
by Larry Geller
Disappeared News (HI)
01/23/08

The Maui News report that Akaku Maui Community Television will go before Judge Joel August tomorrow in its quest to have the public bidding process for Hawaii’s public access television services set aside.  Read the article here.

I was one of hundreds of people who turned out to testify against putting the contracts out to bid. After a two hour 12 minute secret session held without required notice, the Procurement Policy Board voted that the contracts should go out to bid. My request for minutes of that 2006 meeting is still pending at the Office of Information Practices. —>
http://disappearednews.com/2008/01/akaku-goes-to-court-tomorrow-over.html
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Upgrades expected at TV studio thanks to new contract
by Brian Messenger
Andover Townsman (MA)
01/23/08

A newly formed nonprofit corporation will run Andover’s local television studio for the next five years, after selectmen unanimously approved a contract with Andover Community Access & Media Inc. last month.

Equipment upgrades and better programs will likely be the result of the new pact, according to David Pierre, an Andover resident and president of the nonprofit’s five-member board of overseers.  “We’re going to be able to produce much more sophisticated shows, much more technologically-advanced shows,” said Pierre.

“I think one of the biggest things the viewers will notice is we’ll be able to broadcast all of the town government’s meetings live on the Web,” he said. “Anybody, no matter where they are in the world, will be able to watch town meetings.”   —>
http://www.andovertownsman.com/arts/local_story_023134527.html?keyword=topstory
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Submission sought for Five Minute Film Festival
Cape Ann Beacon (MA)
01/23/08

CinemaSalem, in cooperation with Film North, is presenting a “Five Minute Festival,” to be held at CinemaSalem on May 1. The festival competition is free and is open to college and high school students living in Essex County.

The rules are simple: make a video of five minutes or less. It can be on any genre – such as animation, music video, documentary, comedy or drama – and it can be on any subject. Projects will be judged on a number of criteria, but what will count the most is how creative the filmmakers are with the tools they have available. Individuals or teams can enter…  For more information and entry forms, e-mail mleibov [at] filmnorth [dot] org and visit www.filmnorth.org.
http://www.wickedlocal.com/essex/fun/entertainment/entertainment_calendar/x1151551938
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25 Year Anniversary Kick-Off at Annual Meeting
Foxboro Cable Access (MA)
01/23/08

At their 2007 Annual Meeting this Saturday evening, January 26th, Foxboro Cable Access will officially begin its three-year 25th Anniversary Awareness Campaign. The organization was incorporated in 1982 to implement the terms of the town’s first cable television franchise agreement. Other milestones for Training and Studio Dedication quickly followed in the next two years, and since then, as they say, the rest is history.   —>
http://fcatv.org/node/276
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Volunteers Wanted for Public Access TV in Lower Connecticut River Valley
Free Training Available for Residents in Nine Towns
by Corey Sipe
Associated Content
01/23/08

Residents and teachers in the nine-town region are being asked to step up to the plate and help increase the amount of public, educational, and governmental programming shown on cable television.  Robert Mathis, Chairman of the Comcast Cable Television Advisory Board and Westbrook resident, said the medium provides a great opportunity to connect residents with their town governments, schools, and communities.

In the lower Connecticut River Valley, Comcast provides cable service to the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Durham, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.  From their cable bill, the estimated 23,000 subscribers pay approximately $6.30 a year that goes toward public access…

…Mathis recently attended the Jan. 10 Westbrook Leadership meeting and recommended that more town meetings should be videotaped and broadcast to help convey a positive image for this shoreline town whose image was tarnished after the former First Selectman was arrested twice.  In order to do this, Mathis is encouraging residents to form a group of volunteers that would take free training courses at the public access studio at 21 East Main Street in Clinton.   —>
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/558455/volunteers_wanted_for_public_access.html
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Mayor Joe to serve second term leading Mass Municipal Association
Somerville Journal (MA)
01/23/08

—>   I am particularly honored to continue serving as president of the MMaA, and to join my colleagues in working on a wide rage of issues, including the restoration of local aid, support for the Governor Patrick’s Municipal Partnership Act, protection of local control of cable franchising and much more.”
http://www.wickedlocal.com/somerville/homepage/x603845190
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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 – 01/16/08

January 17, 2008

Video Internships Offered
Voices News (CT)
01/16/08

NEWTOWN – Charter Communications CommuniTyVision 21 is accepting applications for its Video Production Internship Program. Internships are free and are open on a first-come, first-served basis to residents of Charter Communications’ franchise area who are sixteen years of age or older. Interns will receive extensive training in all aspects of video production and can use the experience to produce their own community television programs for airing on CommuniTyVision 21. —>
http://www.communityvision21.com.
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19195715&BRD=1380&PAG=461&dept_id=157525&rfi=6
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Must See TV
by Ian Colye
Brockport Village Manager (NY)
01/16/08

With the writer’s strike, now into its third month, crippling primetime television, “what is the new must-see TV?” is a question on the mind of many television viewers. While TV viewership is on the national and local radar, I feel it’s a good time to note that in the Brockport area, the Village Board meetings (maybe not must see TV for everyone) are shown every other Wednesday night on Channel 12 Public Access. The January 7th board meeting will be shown tonight at 8 PM.

I have fixed the comment function on Blogger so chime in on this question. What do you want to see on Channel 12? We currently use the station for just bi-weekly board Meetings but we have other access time through our contract with Edu-Cable. Would you like to see a weekly call-in show? A taped “What’s Going on in Brockport” show with Village officials? Police, Public Works, Codes or Fire-specific content? Real World: Brockport? (maybe not the the last one). Let me know.
http://villagemanager.blogspot.com/2008/01/must-see-tv.html
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Riley Library, UEC and Community TV studio grand opening
Roseville & Rocklin Today (CA)
01/15/08

The public is invited to the Jan. 27 grand opening ceremony of the Martha Riley Community Library, Utility Exploration Center (UEC) and Roseville Community Television studio. The event is from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., 1501 Pleasant Grove Blvd., and will begin with a dedication by officials, followed by an open house to the public. Refreshments and children’s play areas will be provided.

Recycled materials were used in the construction of all three facilities, and the building is LEED-certified, meaning its materials, emissions and energy consumption meet stringent federal standards for energy-efficient buildings. —>
http://www.rocklintoday.com/news/templates/community_news.asp?articleid=5803&zoneid=4
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Secretary of State Handel Announces Implementation of Consumer Choice Television Act
The Business Briefcase (GA)
01/16/08

Secretary of State Karen Handel today announced the implementation of the Consumer Choice Television Act (House Bill 227), which gives cable and/or video service providers the option to apply for a state-wide franchise license. The statute provides telecommunications companies a less restrictive process to offer cable and video services to Georgia counties and cities. —>
http://thebusinessbriefcase.blogspot.com/2008/01/secretary-of-state-handel-announces.html
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Your cable bill may be going down soon (1 comment)
Lucid Idiocy (Politics) (GA)
01/16/08

Seriously. Write down what you pay for cable television today. And in the coming years, if it doesn’t go down (or at least doesn’t increase), feel free to call your state legislator and ask them what went wrong with House Bill 227. —>
http://lucididiocyblog2.blogspot.com/2008/01/your-cable-bill-may-be-going-down-soon.html
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Cable changes
Medina County Gazette (OH)
01/16/08

The portion of Wadsworth residents who subscribe to Time Warner Cable may no longer be able to receive the city’s public access channels. The city announced last week it no longer will provide at no cost Public, Educational and Government (PEG) channel feeds to Time Warner. This decision comes after six months of negotiations.

Prior to six months ago, Time Warner paid the city about $125,000 annually for the channels as part of a franchise agreement with the city, said Chris Easton, Wadsworth’s director of public service. The amount is 60 percent of the total operating costs of the three stations because around 60 percent of the city’s cable subscribers are with Time Warner.

Time Warner, however, pulled its funding for the channels after recent government legislation on cable franchises required them only to be franchised with the state. —>
http://wp2.medina-gazette.com/2008/01/16/top-stories/maibach%E2%80%99s-adds-store-in-medina/
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Verizon deal could finally offer real competition in cable TV service
by Juan Gonzalez (5 comments)
New York Daily News
01/16/08

City officials spent Tuesday in secret talks with phone giant Verizon on a new franchise deal that could finally offer New Yorkers real competition in cable TV service. Talks on the new 15-year Verizon franchise, which have gone on for months, were supposed to be wrapped up before Christmas, but they apparently stalled. Verizon and City Hall refuse to comment on the negotiations or the reason for the delay.

But make no mistake – this Verizon deal is huge. Not only is it worth billions of dollars, it will set the pattern for the city’s renewal of the existing Time Warner and Cablevision franchises that expire later this year. Most of us can’t wait for an end to those two monopolies.

The big stumbling block between Verizon and the city, cable industry sources say, is the phone giant’s desire to offer its service, known as FiOS, in the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods first. Public housing projects and poor neighborhoods would just have to wait. “We have to make sure Verizon doesn’t cherry-pick,” said City Councilwoman Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan). —>
http://www.nydailynews.com/money/2008/01/16/2008-01-16_verizon_deal_could_finally_offer_real_co.html
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When Will NYC Get FiOS?
Negotiations stalled over redlining…
by Karl (45 comments)
Broadband Reports
01/16/08

Verizon has been conducting conversations with NYC leaders since October, with the goal of striking a 15-year franchise agreement that would bring FiOSTV to the city. With technical advancements like bendable fiber and smaller residential fiber equipment, Verizon has started a strong push into MDUs (multi-dwelling units). A fifth of Verizon’s customers live in condos or apartments, and the NYC deal would be worth billions.

The secret negotiations were originally supposed to be completed before Christmas, but apparently stalled, once worries sprung up that nobody was looking out for consumers (particularly those in less affluent neighborhoods). Back in October city council members were complaining that they were being kept out of the loop —>
http://www.broadbandreports.com/shownews/When-Will-NYC-Get-FiOS-91038
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Broadband Internet needs competition
by Daniel F. Daly
Home News Tribune
01/16/08

The Internet was invented in the United States. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s advanced research agency, nurtured it. Government and academic researchers became the first customers. Then wider use of the network blossomed. New software made network access easy and fun. Soon college students began to log on. And no wonder it spread so rapidly — it was all free.

By the early 1990s, the government and industry engineered a transition from a government-owned network where no commercial work was allowed to a commercially owned network that was open for business. It could no longer be free, but it could be cheap, and the general public started to log in with 50,000 bits per second dial-up telephone modems.

Today, the Internet transmits pages loaded with images and videos. Now users need broadband access, data rates faster than 1 million bits per second. So why is the United States, the country that launched the Internet and extended it to other countries around the globe, ranked 25th in broadband access? —>
http://www.thnt.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080116/COLUMNISTS15/801160405
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Global Villages, Portable Internet, and Two-Way Communication: Revolutions McLuhan Could Not Foresee
by Kim Veltman
P2P Foundation
01/15/08

—> While much smaller in size and economic power, other developing countries also have novel approaches, which are of the greatest significance. Nepal is a case in point. Electricity and Internet are slowly spreading throughout its valleys. In Nepal, entire, remote valleys are now being connected by WiFi. Mahabir Pun has won the Magasesy Award for these pioneering efforts. Very simply, Nepal, in a far more demanding geography, is achieving what Silicon Valley has thus far failed to achieve. Nepal’s sherpas are famous for their Dokos (backpacks), which can carry the loads of mountain climbers, trekkers and tourists.

Elsewhere in the world, there are trends towards mobile phones and mobile Internet. In Nepal, the Antenna Foundation is working on mobile radio stations. They call it Doko Radio. The idea is deceptively simple. Today the minimal equipment for radio production is a portable computer, microphones for recording and software for basic editing. Hence, what once required complex equipment in radio studios and radio stations in major stations, can now effectively fit into a backpack as a portable Doko Radio. As a result persons in remote villages can now record their stories, music and other content, that can subsequently be broadcast via other community radio stations. Culturally this is very important. UNESCO’s goal to record, preserve and foster intangible culture now has an unexpected ally.

Socially and philosophically this is even more important, because it implicitly transforms the assumptions of broadcasting. As noted earlier, traditional broadcasting was a one-way method, whereby the centre spread its views from the centre to the provinces. Local users were reduced to passive consumers of content determined by an urban centre. Such broadcasting imposed centralized values and implicitly threatened local diversity and individuality. The Doko approach transforms this paradigm. Local users now become active producers as well as listeners.

This new form of broad-casting fosters regional and local diversity as well as individual expression. Citizens create their own local content, which is subsequently shared with others through a broadcasting network of local community stations. Communication is now a two-way process, whereby content is created and shared by all players in rural villages as well as urban centres. This process brings even remote communities back into communication. Hence, this new broadcasting might more appropriately be called share-casting.

McLuhan’s 20th vision of a global village was of a connected world, where traditional centres still determined the content of passive listeners in the provinces and remote villages. The emerging paradigm of the 21st century enables individuals all over the world, even in the remotest villages to be active producers and creators as well as passive listeners. It potentially makes all the world a stage in a sense neither Shakespeare nor McLuhan could have foreseen.

The vision of one global village that threatened to become globalized and homogenized through McDonaldization, is being transformed into myriad global villages, each able to contribute their individual and unique content to preserve and foster tangible and intangible content. Doko Radio is much more than a wild dream. It is working today and offers a new paradigm that could change forever the world of communication.

Acknowledgements

This article was inspired by a three week visit to my colleague and friend, Madhu Acharya, who is now Director of the Antenna Foundation, which is developing Doko Radio in conjunction with USAID in 15 test sites. To understand this principle in action there were two brief excursions beyond the Kathmandu valley.

A first took us by a small plane to the dirt runway on a hill in Phalpu in the Solukhumbu Valley near Mount Everest, where we saw the recording of a meeting with local persons and were shown a new building where 40 persons per course are being trained to use Internet and do digital editing for radio and television. A second excursion took us by motorcycle some 80 km Northwest of Kathmandu to a village near Palung set on a hilltop of c. 2,300 meters. Here we witnessed recording of a meeting, songs and local music. —>
http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/what-mcluhan-could-not-foresee/2008/01/15
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourcgannels.org