Archive for the ‘digital divide’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/31/08

April 1, 2008

Cable TV Options To Widen For Tennesseans
NewsChannel5.com (TN)
03/31/08

State lawmakers are close to passing a bill to give consumers more choices for cable television providers.  Last year, AT&T tried to enter the Tennessee market. There was a lot of resistance from the cable industry, which didn’t want the phone company to just come in and do business wherever they wanted.  Cable providers have spent millions laying the infrastructure and negotiating deals in each of the areas they serve.

It appears that company and lawmakers have worked out a deal.  Last year, state Sen. Bill Ketron tried to pass a bill that would let other cable companies compete in Tennessee.  “I think it would be wonderful,” the Republican from Murfreesboro.  Public support existed, but the bill died.

This year, lawmakers revisited the issue. Private negotiations took place in a conference room, sometimes three times a week since January.  “Comcast, Charter, the cable guys on one side, AT&T on the other side, all the attorneys, working out the details,” Ketron said.  Sources said a deal has been worked out, one that lawmakers will eventually approve.   —>
http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/story.asp?S=8096231
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Tennessee Utility Does IPTV With Kasenna
by Todd Spangler
Multichannel News
03/25/08

[ comments invited ]

Tennessee’s Clarksville Department of Electricity has deployed a new digital video service based on Kasenna’s LivingRoom IPTV middleware and MediaBase video servers.  The new video service, called CDE Lightband, is a triple-play offering that features 200 channels of digital video, an interactive programming guide and video on demand service along with 10-Megabit-per-second Internet and telephony services.

The Clarksville Department of Electricity began offering the services early this year and the service is now available to about 5,000 homes. Full deployment to all of the city’s 55,000 homes and businesses is expected by the end of 2008.

“Kasenna stood out among the IPTV companies we considered because its LivingRoom middleware solution allows us to easily brand and customize the TV user interface and to add valuable services such as RSS feeds for local news,” CDE Lightband telecommunications marketing manager Christy Batts said, in a prepard statement.
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6544725.html?nid=2734&rid=1465924339
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AT&T Offers U-verse TV To More Austinites
Telco Ratchets Up Competition On Time Warner Cable In Lone Star State
by Todd Spangler
Multichannel News
03/25/08

AT&T announced that U-verse TV and Internet services are now available to more than 150,000 living units in and around the Austin area, stepping up competition with incumbent Time Warner Cable.  AT&T launched U-verse TV services in Austin in November 2007.   —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6544687.html?nid=2734&rid=1465924339
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Gardiner should use cable fees for public access
by Bob Demers
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel (ME)
03/31/08

In “Web Site Seeks Community Involvement,” (March 24), City Manager Jeff Kobrock doesn’t seem to grasp the basics of Public Access TV.  For one thing, he says public access would not be cost-effective for Gardiner. Let’s examine that.

More than 10 years ago, Gardiner received a $30,000 grant from the then-cable operator to set up a Public Access TV studio in Gardiner. The city gave the funds to School Administrative District 11 for its media program.  Later, the city mandated a 5 percent cable franchise fee that collects about $57,000 per year from cable subscribers who have never benefited from this fee in any way related to Public Access TV.

If the cable franchise fees were used as proposed by the Federal Cable Act, the cost of public access could, if well managed, be a wash for the city. You can’t get more cost-effective than that. Of course, it would be awkward to have to move the franchise fee revenue from the general fund to a public access channel fund where it should have gone in the first place. Maybe that’s what Kobrock had in mind as “not being cost-effective.”

Finally, Kobrock says the area already has an Augusta-based channel that serves the area.  Technically true. Functionally, not so. Augusta Channel 9 is a local origination operation, completely commercial, operated by Time Warner solely for profit with no access by the public in any way equivalent to public access.
http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/view/letters/4903576.html
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NPA-TV goes live in April
Norwood Bulletin (MA)
03/31/08

[ comments invited ]

Norwood Public Access TV is excited to announce a series of live broadcasts during the month of April. Tune in on Monday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m. on NPA’s Town Channel and join Joe Curran, Jack McCarthy, and Tim McDonough for NPA’s traditional live coverage of the election results.

Also in April, a Special NPA Sports Edition of Norwood Digest will be broadcast live from the Coakley Soccer Fields on Norwood Youth Soccer’s Opening Day; Saturday, April 12. Starting at 9 a.m., host Jack McCarthy will be interviewing representatives from Norwood’s Spring Youth Sports Programs. NPA-TV’s new Digest reporter Katelyn MacLean will be speaking with NHS Athletics Director Brian McDonough about the upcoming spring season.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/norwood/calendar/x1012436171
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It’s Not a Movement Without a Movie
New York City’s activist and advocacy communities are putting themselves and their interests on video like never before.
by Karen Loew
City Limits WEEKLY #633
03/31/08

[ comments invited ]

At a community gathering in Chinatown one stifling hot evening last August, a man sat on a chair holding a stack of newspapers, thrusting the Chinese Staff & Workers’ Association bulletin at passersby, exhorting them to take one.

Whether turned off by the man’s sweaty frustration, or not up for a long read about the latest struggles of low-wage Chinatown workers, the crowd gathered at Roosevelt Park for an outdoor movie night moved on. Children headed for the popcorn and soda table. Women sat on the folding chairs arranged before a screen. Men milled and smoked, their t-shirts pulled up their backs or over their bellies to catch a little relief from the heat.

The occasion was a “digital garden screening” arranged by Manhattan Neighborhood Network, which runs the public access TV channels in the borough and promotes media-making by regular folks. Convened for the purpose of “celebrating community produced social justice media,” the event unspooled – and the surrounding city blocks fell away – as short videos by New Yorkers about local lives and issues were projected on the screen. Homeless people talked about being homeless, teenage girls interviewed teenage boys about notions of femininity, and public housing residents revealed how to participate in public housing decision making. Never quite professional grade, the quality of the sound, camera work and storytelling varied. Some movies felt endless. Attention flickered.

Then two videos about the worker’s life in Chinatown were played back to back. The first, called “Chinatown: Immigrants in America,” was produced by Downtown Community Television and portrayed kitchen staff and seamstresses discussing their overlong work weeks: inhumane schedules allowing for barely any rest or recreation. The second film was made by the Chinese Staff & Workers’ Association – the same group that was having trouble unloading its free newspapers. Called “Celebrating CSWA Victories of 2006,” it showed exactly that – footage of workers alongside politicians announcing advances for neighborhood laborers.

In the mostly Chinese audience, the women watched. The men stopped talking. Children were still. Everyone was rapt, and at a little after 9 p.m. when it was over, they applauded for the first time of the night.

The explosion

Videos made by grassroots documentarians – who often are not professional filmmakers – about local issues and aimed at raising consciousness have risen to a more prominent, even ubiquitous, place in city movements for social change.  Name a cause, and you’ll find an advocacy video on the subject – or you’ll find a few, or at least be told there’s one in the works. With the tools of video production more affordable and accessible than ever before, and more people reflexively turning to video for expression, New York City finds itself awash in a sea of video by the people, about their concerns, for the purpose of affecting the discourse.   —>
http://www.citylimits.org/content/articles/viewarticle.cfm?article_id=3531&content_type=1&media_type=3
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Shaping Canadian Web Access Revisited
by Connie Crosby
slaw.ca
03/31/08

[ 2 comments ]

Last week Simon Fodden caught all of us up on the issue of “throttling” of web access by Bell Canada that broke in the news in his post When It All Goes Peer Shaped. This issue has continued to be the talk of the tech industry all week with no indication of letting up.

The crux of the story is that Canadians are being denied access to certain aspects of the Internet with ISPs Bell and Rogers making the decisions as to which parts are denied, including access to peer-to-peer downloads of CBC TV episodes to which Canadian taxpayers are legally entitled. This story is quickly making us realize that Canada may not have the web infrastructure we thought we had, and this is one way these companies are trying to deal with it; however, it feels like there has been a lack of transparency in the way they are dealing with it and presenting it to the public.

What has helped me understand this better is a post by Toronto business technology expert Sandy Kemsley on her blog Column 2: Jason Laszlo gives Bell Canada a(nother) Black Eye.   —>
http://www.slaw.ca/2008/03/31/shaping-canadian-web-access-revisited/
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Canadian union decries ISP bandwidth issues
by Etan Vlessing
The Hollywood Reporter
03/31/08

A major Canadian media union on Monday urged the country’s TV regulator to investigate online “traffic shaping” by Internet service providers after an attempt last week by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. to upload a DRM-free TV program to online users via BitTorrent was severely hampered.

“On behalf of the National Union of Public and General Employees … I am asking the CRTC to conduct an investigation into these practices and the implications for Canadian consumers,” NUPGE president James Clancy said in a letter to CRTC chairman Konrad Von Finckenstein that was released to the public Monday.

The NUPGE cited high-speed Internet access provider Bell Sympatico for recent efforts to control its customers’ use of peer-to-peer download and upload technology like BitTorrent.  The union said attempts by online users to upload the CBC TV show “Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister” from BitTorrent were greatly slowed by ISPs, which limited the available bandwith for the file-sharing.  “This means that those Canadians, who are Bell or Rogers Internet service subscribers, wishing to download this show from their public broadcaster will be hampered in their efforts,” NUPGE’s Clancy told the CRTC.

The union head argued that BitTorrent represents legal technology for which “there are many legitimate uses.”  The CBC became the first North American broadcaster to make a TV show available for free and without DMR restrictions for download via BitTorrent.  NUPGE pointed to an ongoing FCC investigation into online traffic shaping by U.S. cable giant Comcast, and urged the CRTC to do likewise with ISPs north of the border.  “Our neighbours to the south are taking this form of interference in Internet service very seriously,” the Canadian media union said.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/international/news/e3i37a2ec580927b428616680073085fe0b
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WAM Addresses Inequalities In Media Representations, Access
Global Wire
03/31/08

[ comments invited ]

The Women, Action and the Media Conference (WAM) began five years ago with a mandate to improve news coverage of women, people of color and other marginalized groups through grassroots media reform. With the advent of popular social networks like My Space, Facebook, You Tube and a deluge of blogs, opportunities has been provided for traditionally shut out voices to get a spotlight…

While there is a revolution taking place in cyberspace, there are still large segments of American society that are being left out of the new digital frontier. With nearly half of Americans not having high speed internet access in their homes and a larger number being forced to switch from analog to digital television by next year, there were also workshops on how to close the digital gap.  In a workshop called “Media, Technology and Social Justice,” attendees had an interactive discussion about what needs to be done to make technology available to all….

What are the key trends preventing Media Justice?
• Lack of diversity
• Equality in access to all mediums
• Fairness and accountability
• Media obsession with celebrity
• Entertainment posing as news
• Mass media appeal to large groups rather than community building
• Privacy at risk
• Glamorization of violence
• Devaluing poor people

Solutions
• More media justice lobbyists in DC to work on these issues
• Universal internet access
• Community training on web tools
• More internet cafes, especially in low income communities
—>
http://globalwire.blogspot.com/2008/03/wam-addresses-inequalities-in-media.html
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Dar summit to discuss role of media in conflict prevention
by Francis Ayieko
The EastAfrican
03/31/08

The role of the media in providing early warning signs of potential political conflicts in East Africa is to be the subject of a major media summit to be held in Tanzania this April.  Jointly organised by the East African Business Council and the East African Community, the two-day regional summit is to discuss the role of media in the prevention of conflicts and instability, which have the potential to affect business in the region.

Taking the theme Role of the Media in Addressing the Causes of Conflict and Instability and Their Prevention, the summit, which will be held in Dar es Salaam from April 11-12, comes in the wake of post-election violence that hit Kenya recently following announcement of disputed presidential election results.   —>
http://www.nationmedia.com/eastafrican/current/News/news310320084.htm
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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 – 02/15/08

February 17, 2008

Candidates to provide public with answers
by Julio Tejeda
Derry News (NH)
02/15/08

LONDONDERRY — This weekend, voters will have their first chance to get answers from the candidates running for office.  The town’s annual Candidate Forum will take place Saturday, Feb. 16, at 9 a.m. in the Moose Hill room at Town Hall. It will be broadcast live on Public Access TV.   —>
http://www.derrynews.com/londonderry/local_story_046093429.html
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Minneapolis bridges the digital gap
by Anna Ewart, Minnesota Daily
Twin Cities Daily Planet (MN)
02/14/08

[ comments allowed ]

The Digital Inclusion Fund awarded $200,000 in grants to help provide technological access to low-income families.  As part of its contract to build a citywide wireless network, US Internet Wireless agreed to help bridge the “digital divide” in Minneapolis.

Last month, the Digital Inclusion Fund awarded $200,000 in grants to nine organizations working to improve technology access and education. The fund, which is part of a community benefits agreement financed by the wireless company, was designed to support programs that work with new users of technology who historically might not have had access, such as immigrants and low-income families…

The other eight organizations that received Digital Inclusion Fund grants are the Minneapolis Public Library, Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, Plymouth Christian Youth Center, Project for Pride in Living, the St. Paul Neighborhood Network, the Bridge for Runaway Youth, TVbyGIRLS and the Twin Cities Media Alliance…

Rebecca Richards Bullen, associate director of TVbyGIRLS, said her organization will use grant money to pay for staff, technology and supplies for media workshops for girls.  The workshops would focus on media literacy and technical training for the participants, girls from diverse communities across the city, she said.   —>
http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/article/2008/02/11/minneapolis-bridges-digital-gap.html
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The Jammies on Rapid Growth Media
Grand Rapids Community Media Center (MI)
02/14/08

Not only did this year’s WYCE Jammies garner some positive attention in print and on TV, but we also got some nice coverage from the online media — specifically our friends at Rapid Growth Media. Take a look at the video highlights they put together from this year’s Jammies.
http://www.grcmc.org/about/news.php?news_item_id=281
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FREE Jammies music downloads!
Grand Rapids Community Media Center (MI)
2/15/08

Whether or not you made it out for WYCE’s 9th Annual Jammies celebration at Wealthy Theatre, you have a chance to enjoy the music. Thanks to our sponsor, INDISTR.com, music from Jammies artists will be available to download for FREE! That includes some songs recorded live at the Jammies, as well as tracks off the local award winners’ albums.

Just go to INDISTR.com, type WYCE in the search box, and pick out your favorite songs by local artists.

Note: Songs will be posted over a period of time, starting this week. The entire Jammies collection should be online within a week of the event (by Tuesday, Feb. 19).   —>
http://www.grcmc.org/about/news.php?news_item_id=284
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New game show seeks crew
by Laura Power
Northern News Services (Canada)
02/15/08

Yellowknife – If Chris White at Western Arctic Moving Pictures (WAMP) has his way, a few new shows will be added into the mix on community access television (channel 20).

White came up with the idea for a new cooking game show one day in the supermarket, and has since brainstormed a few possibilities involving live music and local film broadcasts.  “We’re just looking to encourage more production here in Yellowknife,” White said. “Why not try and revive the age-old custom of community access television?”   —>
http://nnsl.com/northern-news-services/stories/papers/feb15_08ga.html
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December 1977 : QUBE TV
by Zartan
LiveJournal: Pacific Novelty
02/12/08

[12 comments]

A couple of years ago, I was thumbing through an old (1981) reading textbook called Rainbow Shower. One piece that really caught my eye, both for the artwork and its content, was called “QUBE TV”; it described an interactive television system that, at first, I thought had been made up as some sort of fanciful, imagination-stoking “what if?” for kids to read and discuss.  Turns out it wasn’t….

…Just found a six-part YouTube series of QUBE footage and demos! The first part is here, and for once, the comments threads are not a complete wasteland.   —>

quberemote-400.jpg
http://community.livejournal.com/pacific_novelty/26016.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 – 12/20/07

December 21, 2007

New Hampshire Film Office Launches High School Short Film Festival
Film New Hampshire
12/20/07

High school filmmakers from around the state will showcase their works on the silver screen this May when the New Hampshire Film and Television Office launches the first-of-its-kind, statewide high school short film festival. New Hampshire Technical Institute’s Sweeney Hall Auditorium in Concord will set the stage for the inaugural fest on Saturday, May 17, 2008 beginning at noon.

The festival is open to students currently enrolled in a New Hampshire public or private high school (grades 9-12). Submissions will be accepted for festival consideration until March 14, 2008. Films will be selected by a panel of judges to screen at the festival. Five winning films will be packaged onto a DVD, which will include brief interviews with the films’ respective directors, and distributed to every community access television station in the state for future broadcast.

Rules and guidelines, film submission forms and other festival information can be found online at www.nhstudentfilm.com.
http://nhfilmoffice.blogspot.com/2007/12/new-hampshire-film-office-launches-high.html
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Cable shift irks officials
by Scott Spielman
Journal Newspapers (MI)
12/20/07

The Canton Community Cable Channel is moving up in the world, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.  For residents with Comcast cable, the channel—now 12—will soon be moved up to 915.  “We’re disappointed, as a lot of communities are,” said Canton Supervisor Tom Yack.  Channel 12 on Comcast is the government access station, where Township Board of Trustees meetings and Planning Commission meetings are shown. It’s also where other Public, Educational and Government (PEG) programs such as the Canton news magazine, interviews and special event programs are telecast.   —>
http://www.journalgroup.com/Canton/6615/cable-shift-irks-officials
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Plan needs turned off
Journal Newspapers (MI)
12/20/07

Comcast Cable recently announced a change that will make it more difficult for viewers to access their local government.  It’s a subtle change, but one that has the potential to harm many customers, particularly those on fixed incomes.  In many communities—including Canton Township—officials have indicated that they will switch the local government channel to a number higher than most ‘cable ready’ televisions can access on their own. In Canton’s case, the local government channel will switch from 12 to 915.

That means many residents will need a converter box to watch the meetings and other local events and that means—you guessed it—they’ll have to pay extra for a privilege they once enjoyed for free.  Welcome to the new cable marketplace.  With the state-wide video franchise agreement now in place, there’s nothing communities can do to stop this kind of change. If it hasn’t happened where you live, you can bet that it will sooner or later. —>
http://www.journalgroup.com/Opinion/6642/plan-needs-turned-off
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Consultant: City of Red Bluff could send cable company $1 million bill
by Cliff Larimer
Red Bluff Daily News (CA)
12/20/07

Charter Cable should get a bill from the City of Red Bluff for at least a million dollars – possibly nearly nine times that much. That was the recommendation Tuesday night from the consulting firm hired by the city to investigate the lack of compliance by Charter, the company that has held the city’s television cable service franchise for about 20 years.

At the end of this year, the state takes over the awarding of local cable franchises and Charter will continue to operate in Red Bluff. City Manager Martin Nichols wants to make sure the firm does a lot of things it agreed to do years ago. The lever the city still has is to pursue legal action to assess penalties of up to $200 a day for all the infractions over the many years.

The consulting firm, CBG Communications Inc. of Paoli, Pa., in its report recommends Charter be required to remedy all non-compliance issues and says the city “may also wish to invoke at least the minimum penalty of $1,403,400 for past non-compliance.”  If the city went after the cable firm for all non-compliance, which it is unlikely to do since Charter has plans to upgrade local service next year, the penalties could total $8,919,600.   —>
http://www.redbluffdailynews.com/ci_7770092
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Marlborough – Verizon Gets Local Access
by Lisa Koclan
Boston Globe (MA)
12/20/07

Verizon cable-television subscribers in Marlborough can now watch local-access programs. Although Verizon has been providing cable television in the city since last December, local program offerings were unavailable to its subscribers while Verizon and Comcast, which also provides cable TV services, worked to coordinate the integration of the cable feed, according to an announcement from the mayor’s office. Verizon subscribers can view WMCT-TV on channels 33 (education), 34 (government), and 35 (public).
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/12/20/panels_need_members/?page=2
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Rural America has stake in public airwaves battle
by Wally Bowen
Asheville Citizen-Times
12/20/07

The Internet is changing from an “information highway” where all traffic is treated equally to a divided “toll road” where the traffic of favored users gets express treatment, while all others ride second class.  Cable and telephone companies now control more than 95 percent of all broadband Internet connections. This duopoly control — combined with new digital switching technology — allows these companies to change the Internet’s original nondiscriminatory operation.

The Internet arose on the nondiscriminatory “common carrier” platform of the U.S. telephone system. Phone calls placed from a pay phone in the most impoverished hamlet of Appalachia are treated the same as calls from the White House or Wall Street. So it was for traffic on the Internet until regulatory actions by the Supreme Court and the Federal Communications Commission in 2005 in effect legalized discriminatory routing.   —>
http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071220/OPINION03/71219052/1006/OPINION
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Universal Affordable Broadband for All Americans
How to Modernize Universal Service for the 21st Century and Connect Americans to a New Era of Digital Opportunity
by Jim Kohlenberger
Benton Foundation

For more than 200 years, Americans have approached the future the same way that Huck Finn looked at the bend in the river: even though we didn’t know for sure what was coming next, we always had a sense of limitless possibility about where we were going and where it could take us. Americans, whose ideas have changed the world, are the ones who have been able to see around that bend, catch a glimpse of the future, capture its potential, and ensure that all Americans can partake.

Today, as we reach a new bend in the river, we must strive once again to look around that bend in order to harness the full power and potential of what the future may bring. Never before have we seen a river of opportunity as expansive or swift as the data that flow over the Internet. The opportunities are potentially endless and as significant as the invention of the steam power and electricity that fueled American prosperity at earlier junctures. But America’s digital prosperity won’t happen by accident, nor continue by inertia. It will only happen if we make pragmatic and smart choices about our communications future.

Kohlenberger calls for universal broadband service for all Americans and lays out a plan with pragmatic steps for getting there.   —>
http://www.benton.org/node/8537
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MTV Taps 51 State-Based Citizen Journalists for ‘Choose or Lose ’08’
PR Newswire
Fox Business Network
12/20/07

MTV, as part of its Emmy-winning “Choose or Lose” campaign (www.ChooseorLose.com), today unveiled “Street Team ’08”: a specially recruited group of 51 citizen journalists — one from every state and Washington, D.C. — who will cover the 2008 elections from a youth perspective and tailor their reports for mobile devices. The members will contribute weekly, multi-media reports (short form videos, blogs, animation, photos, podcasts) that will be distributed via a soon-to-launch WAP site, MTV Mobile, Think.MTV.com and to the more than 1,800 sites in the Associated Press Online Video Network. Carefully selected by MTV after an extensive nationwide search, the one-of-a-kind press corps will be armed with mobile media like laptops, video cameras and cell phones, and charged with uncovering the untold political stories that matter most to young people in their respective states.

“Street Team ’08” members represent every aspect of today’s youth audience — from seasoned student newspaper journalists to documentary filmmakers, the children of once-illegal immigrants to community organizers. They are conservative, liberal, from big cities and small towns. The tie that binds them all is a passion for politics and a yearning to amplify the youth voice during this pivotal election. All of the “Street Team ’08” correspondents will begin reporting early next month, after an intensive MTV News orientation in New York City.   —>

“Recent MTV research shows young people believe their generation will be a major force in determining who is elected in the upcoming local and national elections,” said Ian Rowe, VP of Public Affairs and Strategic Partnership, MTV, “and Street Team ’08 will be a key way for our audience to connect with peers, as well as get informed and engaged on the local and political issues that matter to them most. We’re proud to join with the Knight Foundation on this innovative experiment — which will also explore how coverage of youth- centric election issues can be an effective pathway to increased youth voter turnout and greater political and civic engagement.”

The “Street Team ’08” program is made possible by a $700,000 Knight News Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Knight News Challenge is an annual worldwide competition awarding $5 million for innovative ideas that use digital media to inform and inspire communities. The Knight Foundation plans to invest at least $25 million over five years in the search for bold community news experiments.   —>
http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/industries/media/article/mtv-taps-51-statebased-citizen-journalists-choose-lose-08_415571_15.html
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Gratiot public access station has new director
The Saginaw News (MI)
12/20/07

Gratiot County’s cable TV public access studio here has a new leader.  Mid-Michigan Cable Consortium, which oversees the studio, has hired Lori Broast, former Central Michigan University professor of broadcasting and communication arts.  Broast, a Wisconsin native, has a doctorate in mass communications from Indiana University.   —>
http://blog.mlive.com/saginawnews/2007/12/gratiot_public_access_station.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 – 12/01/07

December 2, 2007

Bang the Drum Slowly
by Bunnie Riedel
Telecommunications Consulting
11/29/07

Recently I was told that my naiveté was charming. That despite my worldliness and my often cantankerous disposition, I still believed that people should do the right thing and when they don’t it causes me great disappointment. “Childlike view of the world” was slipped into the conversation. Anybody else would have been insulted, but not me. I couldn’t dispute it.

It was all those years of Girl Scouts or maybe it was one too many Jimmy Stewart movie or perhaps my strict religious upbringing. God is always watching and when you lie, cheat, steal or otherwise behave dishonestly, some celestial record keeper is checking boxes. Ultimately at the end of the day there will be an accounting, that’s how I was brought up. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, human beings do need parameters and benchmarks, otherwise there would no social contract, we’d all run amok.

So it begs the question, can corporations or institutions be called to account? Does Comcast have a mortal soul? Is there a Purgatory for federal agencies? Can entire legislative bodies be required to do penance?

The FCC handed down their “2nd Report and Order” on cable franchising and in the weeks that have followed there has been much confusion because while the FCC sought to “clarify” the Telecommunications Act, it just added more mud to the well. I have read the 2nd Order and the 1st Order that addressed telecommunications companies. I’ve read filings in the attendant case before the Sixth Circuit, and I’ve listened to intelligent people, some of them lawyers who do nothing else for a living except telecom law, and there’s a huge amount of “well, we don’t know” “we’ll have to see how it plays out” “we’re waiting for the court to decide.”

The bottom line, with or without the FCC’s guidance, cable operators and their cohort phone buddies, will say or do anything to get over on anybody. That is the corporate culture of those industries. Period. And the only way to deal with them is to come out swinging. Forget negotiating, carry a large stick. —>
http://riedelcommunications.blogspot.com/2007/11/bang-drum-slowly.html
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Changes in city councils could aid Qwest
Arvada, telco set tentative hearing on video franchise
by Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News (CO)
12/01/07

Qwest Communications is getting a fresh start in municipalities such as Arvada in its efforts to win TV franchises. In Arvada, the recent elections brought in three new city council members, including Mayor Bob Frie, who defeated Ken Fellman, considered by many to be a Qwest adversary. Qwest has taken Arvada off a 90-day shot clock to force a decision on its video franchise application, with the two sides tentatively agreeing on a public hearing Feb. 4. The city’s staff and Qwest say negotiations are progressing, and Frie indicates he’s open to a possible agreement. “I’m not sure what Qwest wants, but I’d like to meet with them and see if we could start fresh,” Frie said. “It probably would be an advantage to have some competition to Comcast in Arvada.”

Other area municipalities also have undergone council makeovers, but it’s too early to know whether that will help Qwest win TV franchises. Qwest said it also is in discussions with Littleton and Thornton, but no longer actively in negotiations with Broomfield and Colorado Springs. It terminated discussions with Denver this year. It does offer TV services in Highlands Ranch and RidgeGate in Lone Tree.

It’s also unclear how aggressive Qwest will be in pursuing franchises and following up with capital investments and deployments. New CEO Ed Mueller is still developing a strategic plan. Mueller announced recently that Qwest would spend an additional $300 million to extend fiber into neighborhoods, which could be a precursor to offering TV services. But he also told analysts the company isn’t changing its video strategy of reselling DirecTV satellite-television services.

Qwest also could try to circumvent the franchise process, as AT&T has tried to do, by offering a TV-over-Internet product. “If I was advising Qwest I think I would adopt that strategy,” said Mike Glaser, chairman of the telecommunications practice of the Denver law firm Shughart Thomson & Kilroy. Glaser also said he would push for a statewide video franchise law.

Qwest is trying again to drum up support for such video franchise legislation. A bill last year lacked a Democratic sponsor and was soundly defeated by a legislative panel. “We’ve had conversations with legislators and other interested parties,” Qwest spokeswoman Jennifer Barton said. “We’re currently evaluating where we’re going from here.” —>
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2007/dec/01/changes-in-city-councils-could-aid-qwest/
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Searching for the Broadband President
by Geoff Daily
AppRising
11/29/07

In the midst of a hotly contested presidential election, now would seem to be the perfect time to start having constructive dialogue about finding real-world solutions to our nation’s problems. And given the transformative power of broadband to realize new efficiencies across all aspects of society, you’d figure the deployment and use of broadband and the Internet would be elevated to a place of prominence by candidates jockeying to establish themselves as the best leader for America. Unfortunately that’s just not the case.

This article analyzing the Democratic front runners’ Internet platforms inspired me to delve further into what’s missing in the presidential debates. —>
http://www.app-rising.com/gdblog/2007/11/searching_for_the_broadband_pr.html
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Who owns the Net? Hint: It’s not Al Gore
There are growing signs the Web is heading toward a class system
by Chris Sorenson
The Star
12/01/07

When British scientist Tim Berners-Lee created the concept of the World Wide Web as a series of hyperlinked pages in 1989, it was as an egalitarian tool that would allow cloistered academics to share their research. But two decades later, several prominent techno evangelists, including Berners-Lee and the so-called “father of the Internet” Vinton Cerf, warn that those same democratic values are now being called into question just as the Internet is becoming the backbone of society throughout much of the developed world.

They say some of the companies that operate the Internet’s local infrastructure – the complex networks of cables, routers and switching equipment that pipe the Web into people’s homes and offices – want to effectively slice up cyberspace into a series of channels that offer a variety of service levels, ranging from basic to premium. That would allow them to squeeze more money from Web-based companies and content creators in exchange for priority access to broadband subscribers, creating a new source of revenue distinct from that which already comes from customers’ monthly access fees. —>
http://www.thestar.com/News/article/281496
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SPCTV South Portland Public Access TV, People Lie Us We Edit Life, Why I Love Them
by Calvin Muse
The Disobedient Muse (ME)
11/30/07

One of the few television channels I find worth watching is SP-CTV channel 2. Thats right the good folks at the South Portland public access station, working out of two rooms no bigger than shoe boxes, deliver some great entertainment. The range of material is refreshing as well as informative. Have you ever heard of The Flying Santa? How about some vintage footage from the 1939 NY World’s Fair. Saturday nights you can watch “Carnival of Souls” on the Saturday Fright Special. This is just the fun stuff, you also get to watch your city council in action, your school board wrestle with the numbers, and the zoning board weigh the value of the latest new building proposal. Next to the public works department it is perhaps the most vital part of our city government.

Oh but dear viewer it could be taken away. In fact the cable companies would love to chop it right off the left hand side of the dial and they work very hard to it. So if you are like me and find it to be a great way to stay connected with whats happening in your town, write a letter or call the good folks huddled in those two little shoe boxes and let them know that you watch and want to continue to do so. I have also embedded my favorite viewing experience from SP-CTV a film collage called “We Edit Life”.
http://www.southportland.org
http://thedisobedientmuse.blogspot.com/2007/11/sp-ctv-south-portland-public-access-tv.html
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Artist Adds How-To-Paint Show To Nutmeg TV’s Public-Access Paletteby
by Mary Ellen Fillo
Hartford Courant (CT)
11/30/07

Move over Singing Doctor. There’s a new professional on the Nutmeg TV community-access station. Farmington artist Nolan Lombardi wants everyone to learn to paint like her, sort of. So she is taking her canvases and paints out of her studio and into the Plainville studios for her new show, “Crack of Dawn,” scheduled to debut Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on the community channel serving Avon, Berlin, Bristol, Burlington, Canton, Farmington, New Britain and Plainville.

“I just love what community cable can do; I love ‘The Singing Doctor,'” she said about the Nutmeg TV, Channel 5, program on Sunday evenings featuring Dr. JoséEstela. “I thought I could do what I do — paint — and show people anyone can do it,” said Lombardi, a former art teacher who has done work for the White House and for the state’s former first couple, John and Patty Rowland.

But there’s a catch. She is putting her paint and palette acumen on the line on the air. Plans are for most of the shows to feature area “celebrities,” ideally with no artistic talent, who, with her help, will create an oil painting during a 30-minute segment of her show. —>
http://www.courant.com/entertainment/celebrity/hc-nujavatwain1130.artnov30,0,7441585.column
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[ Here’s an occupying-thought piece. It’s not entirely clear, it seems to me, what the author’s stance is on the question he presents – and I think that’s his intention. Hard to find a good place to clip it, so here it is in full. If it moves you, please click through to register your interest, and maybe comment, even – rm ]

Online Media – Down With TV?
by Todd J
Thoughts of a Middle-Aged Programmer
11/29/07

Today on my social networks I ran across a couple of folks that mentioned that online networking and media has all but replaced TV for them. I’m dropping that on you with no opinion of good or bad. Just to point out that such comments are becoming much more common. But is that really a good representation of the world? Heck, is it a good representation of your city?

What those of us heavily into living our lives attached to the Internet, is that many individuals don’t have Internet access. Now some of those individuals don’t because they don’t have an interest but could afford to get access. Others have no interest but couldn’t get access due to cost or location or both. Yet another group has interest but can’t afford it or access is not available.

Of those three groups, I’d like to deal with the two groups of have nots, regardless of interest.

Just today, two Utterz I read directly mentioned giving laptops to third world countries. The idea being that we can’t ‘leave them behind.’ Heck, not a bad idea in itself, but not just third world countries are being left behind. Many folks in the US today can’t afford access or can’t reasonably get access. And even some of those that can use a public installation perhaps have no way to guarantee access or even access to specific things. (Libraries increasingly have blocking software.)

So what are we doing to help those individuals? Are we giving them free laptops and free wifi? Are we sitting up free Internet terminals that have unrestricted access? Or is it really worth it? For those without access, should we even be concerned about it?

Have people like me become part of a sort of upper class of society. And instead of a trickle down economy you’d find with money, we seem to generate only more success and riches for ourselves and others in this upper class. I tweet only for those than can have Twitter, and Utter for only those that can reach Utterz. My Facebook goodness, yet again, not available to the have nots of society.

Perhaps we should institute a mandatory Internet awareness and membership drive. Instead of recruiting soldiers and having a draft, how about we draft everyone into the Internet?! Maybe, just maybe, if everyone in the world is tied up browsing and Uttering, and swapping virtual spit on Facebook, they’ll be too busy to shoot each other up, or have turf wars, or sweat religious differences.

Or sadly, I see a darker future, where the seedier side of man finds yet another outlet for it’s pathos.

What do you think? Internet for the world = Great stuff? Or are there bigger concerns?

Be brave, give your opinion. Utter, Tweet, email me, blog about it, post it on Facebook, I don’t care, but I do urge you to have an opinion.

Yours,
Todd
http://www.tojosan.com/2007/11/online-media-down-with-tv.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