Archive for the ‘free speech’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/02/08: World Press Freedom Day

May 3, 2008

“Broadcasting, Voice, and Accountability”
Book Offers Tools to Foster Independent Broadcast Media in Developing Countries
The World Bank
05/02/08

People from the foothills of the Himalayas to small communities in Benin listen to the radio or watch TV. Now a new book seeks to help developing countries foster a diverse broadcasting sector that truly informs and empowers their citizens.

“Broadcasting, Voice and Accountability,” published this week by the World Bank Institute, is a best-practices guide to the kinds of policies, laws and regulations that result in a free, independent and responsible media, greater transparency in government, and more open public debate.

“The enabling environment for the media is crucial to the type of media we have, and that, in turn, has a critical role in development,” says co-author Steve Buckley, President of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters. “The media can play a role as checks and balances ensuring good governance and accountability.”

The 400-page book, the culmination of five years of research by six media experts, was presented just ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3, in Maputo, Mozambique, at a conference on freedom of expression hosted by the United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). —>
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:21753143~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html
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Broadcasting, Voice, and Accountability
Steve Buckley, Kreszentia Duer, Toby Mendel and Seán Ó Siochrú
World Bank Institute
05/02/08 [?]

This book provides guidelines, tools, and real world examples to help assess and reform the enabling environment for media development that serves public interest goals. It builds on a growing awareness of the role of media and voice in the promotion of transparent and accountable governance, in the empowerment of people to better exercise their rights and hold leaders to account; and in support of equitable development including improved livelihoods, health, and access to education. The book provides development practitioners with an overview of the key policy and regulatory issues involved in supporting freedom of information and expression and enabling independent public service media. Country examples illustrate how these norms have been institutionalized in various contexts.

* Introduction (PDF 54KB)
* Chapter 1 (PDF 215 KB) –
* Table of Contents (PDF 35 KB) –
* Podcast Interview with Steve Buckley (co-author and President of the WACRB)
Real Media ; MP3
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/WBI/0,,contentMDK:21747844~pagePK:209023~piPK:207535~theSitePK:213799,00.html
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World Press Freedom Day (Malaysia)
Little Garden of Joy
05/02/08

[ 2 comments ]

World Press Freedom Day is an annual and global event dedicated to press freedom. What is press freedom? Press freedom is a guarantee by the government of free public press for its citizens, and extending to journalists, even bloggers. With respect to governmental information, the government chooses which materials are revealed to the public and which materials that should be protected from disclosure. The purpose of this is to protect national interest as to conceal matters of sensitivity and controversy. Sadly, in Malaysia, much is being concealed from public interests despite continuous appeals from the public for the government to be as transparent as possible. [ … ]

The role of community media
Even though many media outlets have made provisions for audience participation and have therein become more accessible to the people they serve, nowhere is accessibility and specificity of purpose so well defined as with community media. Currently radio is the most widespread form of community media in the developing world because it is cheap to produce and to access, can cover large areas, and overcomes illiteracy. —>
http://sarahliane.blogspot.com/2008/05/world-press-freedom-day-malaysia.html
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World Press Freedom Day: Not there yet, say Hungarian media reps
MTI Daily Bulletin (Hungary)
05/02/08

Budapest – Hungary essentially has a free press, but needs improvement, Hungarian media organisation chiefs told MTI on the eve of May 3, UN World Press Freedom Day. “Freedom of the press is the product of democracy and societal operations: always a conflictive area,” said Pal Eotvos, chairman of the National Association of Hungarian Journalists (MUOSZ). Still unresolved problems include restrictions on court reporting and the manner in which the law determines slander. In addition, he said, the media is at the intersection of two conflicting constitutional rights: the rights of ownership and freedom of speech, adding that most Hungarian media are foreign-owned. —>
http://english.mti.hu/default.asp?menu=1&theme=2&cat=25&newsid=251966
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Liberia: Three Draft Media Laws Advance Through Legislature; CEMESP Urges Their Approval As World Press Freedom Day Approaches
Center For Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP) (Toronto)
05/01/08

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, CEMESP welcomes the introduction in the House of Representatives of three draft media laws, presented to that body on 17 April 2008 by a coalition of media and civil society organisations. Liberia’s House of Representatives introduced three draft Liberian media laws (An Act to Transform the Liberia Broadcasting System into a Public Service Broadcaster, An Act to Establish an Independent Broadcast Media Regulatory Commission and a Freedom of Information Act) during its regular plenary session on 29 April.

The laws, produced under the banner of the Liberia Media Law and Policy Reform Group, itself an outgrowth of the internationally sanctioned Partnership for Media Development and Conflict Prevention in West Africa, have been four years in the making, during which there was a series of consultations involving civil society, the media, government and the international community. —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200805020122.html
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Southern Africa: SADC Sliding Down Media Freedom Scale
by Kaitira Kandjii
Financial Gazette (Harare)
05/01/08

The Media Institute of Southern Africa, a regional media and freedom of expression advocacy organisation, based in Windhoek and working through national chapters in 11 Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries joins the rest of the world in marking the World Press Freedom Day on Saturday.

MISA commemorates May 3 under the theme “Press Freedom, Access to Information and empowering the people.” This theme captures all we expect from our media, and the role our governments should play in promoting media and freedom of expression rights.

The 2008 World Press Freedom Day comes at a time when the enjoyment and respect for media and freedom of expression rights in Southern Africa is on the slide. We mark May 3 under the shadow of a crisis in Zimbabwe and the deterioration of media freedoms throughout the region notably in Lesotho, Angola and Swaziland. May 3 comes at a time when the international spotlight is once again on Southern Africa, home to some of the world’s archaic and repressive media environments with Zimbabwe taking the lead.

We mark May 3 with mixed feelings, while we have made substantive strides since the Windhoek declaration in 1991, the last three years have witnessed a steady deterioration of media freedom, reminiscent of Africa’s one party state era of the 70’s and early 80s, characterised by the suppression of the basic fundamental rights of freedom of expression, assembly and human dignity. —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200805020644.html
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USAID Supports World Press Freedom
PRNewswire
05/02/08

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) salutes the bravery and professionalism of journalists throughout the world and condemns all actions to suppress press freedoms.

May 3 marks World Press Freedom Day, a date set aside to reflect upon the key importance of freedoms of media and information. Free media perform critical checking functions on governments, raising the quality of governance. A free press also provides voice to citizens, creates public forums to discuss key issues, and contributes to social-economic development. But journalism can be a challenging, even dangerous profession, as witnessed by the killings of over one hundred journalists during 2007.

The U.S. government, through USAID, has supported enabling conditions for media to freely provide objective news and information to citizens in more than 50 countries. USAID will continue to support those individuals and organizations that are committed to freedom of the press and looks forward to the day when independence throughout the media can be found worldwide. Examples of USAID efforts include: —>
http://sev.prnewswire.com/publishing-information-services/20080502/DC2129902052008-1.html
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[ The communications infrastructure is not unrelated to the content capable of flowing over it. Hence, the relevance of broadband policy to world press freedom… ~ rm ]

Explaining International Broadband Leadership
by Robert D. Atkinson, Daniel K. Correa and Julie A. Hedlund
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
05/01/08

Executive Summary (PDF)

It is hard to follow broadband telecommunications policy without hearing almost weekly that the United States ranks 15th out of 30 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations in broadband adoption. But it is much less apparent why the United States is behind. Indeed, relatively little work has been done to understand why some nations are ahead, and why some, like the United States, are lagging. By examining OECD nations through statistical analysis and in-depth case studies of nine nations, including the United States, this report attempts to do just that.

In identifying factors that have spurred broadband performance in other nations, we present key findings that government and the technology industry must recognize if we are to find the right course for the United States. And we propose key policy recommendations that will drive greater broadband performance. —>
http://www.itif.org/index.php?id=142
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[ Technology may always dazzle and divert, promising grace and glory, but in human nature lies our salvation or curse, if either there be. ~ rm ]

In Medias Res: Brilliant, Scary, Visionary, and Strange
The Parasitic Meme
by Rob
05/02/08

[ comments invited ]

Russell has some thoughts about a speech by Clay Shirkey in which he discusses his observations about social surpluses. He makes a certain case there by recounting a conversation with a person who couldn’t understand where the people who edit wikipedia articles find the time to do so. And in a speech which likens television sitcoms of the mid to late 20th century to gin pushcarts of the late 19th to early 20th century, he points out that those people have found that kind of time by not watching as much television as they used to.

I confess to being weary of tech visionaries. I don’t agree with Clay Shirkey about the transcendence of what he’s seen. Either that or I simply can’t get excited about tech progress any longer. Or I see his anecdotes as data points in much larger trends which have “changed the world” in superficial ways, but not in fundamental ones.

Consider, for example, the rhetoric that used to swirl around the invention of various devices we now take for granted. Perhaps the telephone is a good example. At first, people were shocked and appalled at a device, essentially the very first automation network, which could utter sounds made before then only by a human throat. Leave aside the notion that a human was still required to make the sound, he was still making a machine imitate it an appreciable distance away.

So, looking “from 30,000 feet” at the growth of the phone network, first, there was resistance, sometimes lots of resistance, then embrace by the wealthiest or most technologically inclined of the population, followed by a general acceptance of the tool by commercial interests, followed by general acceptance by all the population, followed by a worldwide build-out of the network.

But during those first years, the rhetoric was of a revolution in the way humans interacted. Some even declared that it would end wars, because people could then talk to one another more easily and misunderstandings could be resolved with the new gizmo far easier than with the old.

Since then the human race has fought the bloodiest wars in the history of civilization, and endured the most brutal tyrannies, alongside some of the highest and most noble expressions of lovingkindness and humanitarianism. Good and bad, but no fundamental change in human behavior, because there were now telephones.

The same sorts of things can and have been said about any subsequent innovation. Television was supposed to be a premier educational tool, bringing teachers to far-flung places. Hopefully the primary use of television today illuminates the absurdity of that assumption.

FM Radio was supposed to supplant AM Radio as a better technology than before. But RCA undertook to destroy its inventor personally, rather than buy shares in its technology.

The attitude towards the computer was that it would eventually become “machines that make big decisions / Programmed by fellows with compassion and vision” with the promise that “we’ll be clean when their work is done / We’ll be totally free, yes, and totally young, mmmm…”

What a beautiful world that will be, indeed. Donald Fagin’s “IGY” (for the International Geophysical Year declared by world scientists) captured the rhetoric of the revolutionary, common when we Americans were reaping the low-hanging fruit of the second large network to be built after the telephone, namely, the electric power grid. It was the attitude that got my American society to agree to send a man to the Moon and return him home again. [ … ]

It is ironic that Fagin released “IGY” in 1982, when the shine had come off the electric grid, after one energy crisis and during the tail end of a second, and when pollution, global climate change (then called global cooling, actually!), and peak oil were starting to be on everyone’s mind. By then the Internet was a connection network for large computers owned by the military and the universities affiliated in one way or another with DARPA.

Ten years from that point I would be of age, and be participating in a small way in the build out of that fourth internetwork, following the voice, power, and transistor networks which had already been designed and built. At that time I was fully enraptured by the revolution the Internet and computers could provide.

Since then, I’ve seen the same things happen “over the Web” that happened with the first telephone network, and the upheavals of the power grid and the rollouts of various, faster, and smaller computers. Resistance to the new technology is most often followed by attempts by established powers to own the new technology and shape it to their benefit. Witness the fights between Western Union and Alexander Graham Bell. Farnsworth and RCA. Steve Jobs and Microsoft. Any number of music publishers and the anarchists who use the Internet to duplicate their intellectual property against all laws. Efforts by movie companies to control through the DMCA. The “Net Neutrality” debates.

That ought to be enough of a body of examples to showcase what I think is true: Visionaries can’t see the future. Bell’s prognostications about the phone network, Kurzweil’s and Gates’ about computers, Roosevelt’s about the power grid, all were partly true and partly appallingly false. The telephone network was built, the power grid, television broadcast networks, but we are not “totally free” nor “totally young”.

Instead, basic human nature continues to rule. Now, Shirken talks about a tiny fraction of all the people participating in media interactivity, blogs and online votes and Web 2.0 stuff. As a revolution, because people were choosing to “wake up” from the 20th century’s equivalent to the gin cart, namely, broadcast television entertainment.

He isn’t alone in this kind of thinking, obviously, both since it is plain to see the ease with which young people obtain cheap computers and use them to communicate with one another, and to see how baffling these new approaches to communication are to those of us who are used to older technologies.

Hopefully, though, I’ve been able to demostrate why I don’t see those things as “revolutionary” or even very important for changing society or the world. Instead of sudden, the changes he highlights appear to me to flow apace, as society behaves the same about every new innovation as it did about all the old ones. As a very early adopter of what people now call text messaging and of the power of the so-called “social networks” (I used Unix “talk” and still use Usenet, for two examples), coupled with my study of modern history (for which I am not lettered, merely educated), I claim armchair expertise in the field as a social observer.

Hence, the observation he offered is pedestrian, and not terribly inspiring to me. I claim this even as I buy new iPhones and flat screens and computers for my own use, because they are dead useful tools. But they will not help us transcend ourselves. —>
http://www.parasiticmeme.com/?p=22
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannel.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

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Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/29/08

April 30, 2008

Cable bill off to the Senate
Officials hope act will create more competition in Tenn.
by Richard Locker
Commercial Appeal (TN)
04/29/08

[ 3 comments ]

The state House overwhelmingly approved the three-year-old effort to induce more competition for cable television services in Tennessee Monday.  Representatives voted 93-2 to send the “Competitive Cable and Video Services Act” to the Senate, where final approval is expected before the legislature adjourns in two weeks.  In addition to cable competition, state officials hope the bill leads to broader deployment of Internet broadband service to areas with inadequate or no service.   —>
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/apr/29/cable-bill-off-to-the-senate/

also reported at:

House OKs AT&T TV bill; Senate is expected to pass legislation
by Theo Emery; The Tennessean
04/29/08 [ 1 comment ]

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080429/NEWS0201/804290370/1009/NEWS01

Suburbs OK With Cable Measure — Hope It Will Survive Tenn. House Debate
by Clay Bailey; Commercial Appeal (TN)
04/28/08

http://www.blackenterprise.com/yb/ybopen.asp?section=ybsb&story_id=116863886&ID=blackenterprise

House approves AT&T cable deal
by Andy Sher; Chattanooga Times Free Press
04/29/08 [ comments invited ]

http://timesfreepress.com/news/2008/apr/29/nashiville-house-approves-t-cable-deal/?local
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Hate speech limits fail to gain support
by Mike Monson
The News Gazette (IL)
04/29/08

URBANA – Urbana council members have tentatively decided against taking strong steps to limit hate speech on Urbana Public Television, despite concerns raised by the local Jewish community and other residents about anti-Semitic programming being regularly shown on the station.  Council members, in a voice vote Monday night, tentatively approved a revised public access policies and procedures manual for Urbana Public Television, known as UPTV. Only Alderwoman Lynne Barnes, D-Ward 7, voted against the proposal.  A final vote will take place at next Monday night’s council meeting.

Barnes said she thought the city should drop the public access programming from its PEG channel, which includes public access, education and government programming.  “My trouble with it is, as a city council member, you’re a part of this,” she said. “If you’ve got trash in your yard, even if it’s not your trash, it looks bad. As long as our name is on it, I feel as a taxpayer we’re participating it in.”  Much of the anti-Semitic programming is being submitted by a single resident, 88-year-old Timothy A. Brumleve of Urbana.

Other council members disagreed with Barnes. Dennis Roberts, D-Ward 5, said Urbana has a “reputation for being forward-thinking and supporting the widest range of viewpoints.”  “What this city needs is not less PEG, but more PEG,” Roberts said. “We need a greater and more active public dialogue.”  Roberts said he supports creating a fifth PEG channel, through cable franchise negotiations with Comcast this year, that would be exclusively devoted to public access and would allow Urbana to remove the public access component from its channel.

Roberts also said he recently watched a particular anti-Semitic program and “wasn’t impressed in the least.”  “Let’s not give them the power to control our lives through fear, let’s totally ignore it,” he said. “Let’s change the channel.”  Danielle Chynoweth, D-Ward 2, made similar comments, saying “the decay of society is when a single person can destroy a public amenity.”   —>
http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2008/04/29/hate_speech_limits_fail_to_gain_support
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World Press Freedom Day 2008 – May 3
Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and Empowerment of People
UNESCO

Freedom of Expression is a fundamental human right as stated in Article 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. This is especially worth recalling as we mark the 60th anniversary of that declaration.

At this year’s World Press Freedom Day celebration, UNESCO would like to explore how media freedom and access to information feed into the wider development objective of empowering people. Empowerment is a multi-dimensional social and political process that helps people gain control over their own lives. This can only be achieved through access to accurate, fair and unbiased information, representing a plurality of opinions, and the means to actively communicate vertically and horizontally, thereby participating in the active life of the community.
http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=25875&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
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Perspectives TV Show on Sean Bell Verdict
BreaktheChains.info
04/29/08

[ comments invited ]

In the wake of the verdict resulting from the trial of the officers in the Sean Bell case, BronxNet is dedicating the next live episode of Perspectives to discussing and analyzing the outcome of the case.  The special episode of Perspectives will be cablecast on Tuesday, April 29, at 8:30 p.m. We are inviting advocates, activists, and legal aids, to join us as guests for a panel discussion. You can also join our inside studio television audience.  The program will highlight a peaceful quest for justice, help shed light on issues at hand, give viewers a chance to hear the opinions of experts and to call in and express their own opinions.   —>
http://breakallchains.blogspot.com/2008/04/perspectives-tv-show-on-sean-bell.html
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Free public forum hosts 3rd District County Supervisor candidates
by Sarah Spotten
KSBY.com (CA)
04/29/08

The Citizens Planning Foundation of Santa Barbara County and the League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara Education Fund are co-hosting a 3rd District County Supervisor Candidates Forum.  The purpose of this free forum is to help educate the public about candidates’ positions on issues of concern to them so that they may become better-informed voters.  All five candidates have confirmed they will participate in the public forum.  Simultaneous Spanish translation will be provided, and a video of the forum will be broadcast in both English and Spanish on public access television.   —>
http://www.ksby.com/Global/story.asp?S=8245207
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NYC Reaches Cable TV Agreement with Verizon
1010 WINS (NY)
04/29/08

New York City residents may soon get a choice of cable television providers.  The city announced Tuesday that it has reached agreement with Verizon for a cable television franchise contract, which calls for increased channel capacity and funding for all public, educational and governmental channels.  “Our administration is committed to bringing better service and competitive choices for cable television to the residents of New York City, and the proposed agreement would go a long way toward doing that,” Deputy Mayor Robert C. Lieber said.  […]

Under the agreement, Verizon would pay the city a franchise fee of 5 percent of the revenues from the cable service in the city; provide a $10 million capital grant to the city-owned NYC TV and a $4 million grant to expand public access to technology.   —>
http://www.1010wins.com/pages/2091549.php?
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Public-television revolutionary
WYBE’s new model offers 5-minute shorts
by Joseph N. DiStefano
Philadelphia Inquirer (PA)
04/28/08

WYBE-35, Philadelphia’s tiny, nonprofit, old-fashioned broadcast TV station, is betting its future on digital shows for the YouTube generation.  The station is programming its signals and Web site with five-minute shorts that producers pay to play, set in a new studio built as part of a signal-swapping deal with General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal networks.

“It’s short-form programming, in which we let the community come to us and let them and viewers tell us what they want,” says Howard Blumenthal, the station’s chief executive and a 30-year veteran of the business, including stints as a brand executive for Bertelsmann AG and a senior executive at CDNOW Inc.  “These are not infomercials,” he adds. WYBE’s program affiliate, Mind Media Independence (Mind TV), controls content, with no obligation to use programs it doesn’t want. No home-shopping programs; no racist propaganda.

The station offers technical assistance and training to member-donors who want to make their own programs, for a yearly fee ranging from $75 for individuals to $1,000 for corporations.  The business model reverses the usual TV business patterns. Like Philadelphia-based vanity publisher Xlibris Corp., WYBE is now getting paid to carry content, not paying for it. It’s giving paying members – there are 50 so far, pending the service’s formal launch next month – the power to put their own work on television and the Internet.   —>
http://www.philly.com/philly/business/homepage/18327209.html
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nick calzoncit Confronts Harlandale ISD school board
Mexican American Peace Project (TX)
04/29/08

[ comments invited ]

Click to play

Local San Antonio Activist nick calzoncit confronts the Harlandale School District about his quest for renaming Stonewall Elementary School to Cesar Chavez Elementary at the board meeting held in April 2008. This clip was for San Antonio Public Access TV, Mexican American Peace Project, Fridays 12:30pm and 8:30pm.
http://mexamerican.blogspot.com/2008/04/nick-calzoncit-confronts-harlandale-isd.html
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Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick tapes own TV show
The Associated Press
Lansing State Journal (MI)
04/29/08

[ 6 comments ]

Kwame Kilpatrick is adding “talk show host” to his mayoral duties.  The Detroit mayor on Monday taped the first installment of his new cable public access television show.  WWJ-AM and WXYZ-TV report Kilpatrick’s first two guests were city Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings and City Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers.   —>
http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080429/NEWS01/804290349/1001/NEWS
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KDHX is looking to hire a Youth Media Production Instructor this summer
by Reggi
St. Louis Audition (MO)
04/29/08

KDHX instructors are working media artists who use the power of digital production to help young people fashion their own multi-media messages. Through music, video and computer technology, young people can create messages that bridge cultural differences and create change in their communities and in their own lives. The KDHX Youth Video Production Instructor teaches basic video production classes focusing on story telling and media literacy to students ranging from middle school to high school age. The rate for this position is $20 per hour.   —>
http://www.stlauditions.com/2008/04/kdhx-is-looking-to-hire-youth-media.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 – 04/25/08

April 28, 2008

Verizon TV proposal needs tuning
by Juan Gonzalez
New York Daily News
04/25/08

[ 8 comments ]

Telecom giant Verizon has finally submitted its long-awaited proposal for a competing cable television franchise for New York City.  If you live in the Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens and you’re eager to ditch Time Warner or Cablevision, take a number.

Verizon plans to offer its FiOS TV service to virtually all Staten Island and nearly 60% of Manhattan residents by the end of this year, according to a copy of the company’s proposal obtained by the Daily News.  On the other hand, FiOS will be available to less than 10% of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens this year. Most people in those boroughs won’t be able to buy it until at least 2011.   —>
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2008/04/25/2008-04-25_verizon_tv_proposal_needs_tuning.html
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Commission to tweak cable access agreement
by Steve Bandy
Marshall News Messenger (TX)
04/25/08

Some minor tweaks in an agreement contract between the city of Marshall and First United Methodist Church will allow a non-profit group established by the church to operate the second public access cable channel.  The city’s cable-TV franchise agreement with Charter Communications calls for Charter to provide one channel free of cost for public, educational and governmental information. Charter considers this channel to be channel 20, which is operated by the city as a governmental information channel, Assistant City Manager Janet Cook told commissioners Thursday night.

“Under the franchise agreement, Charter also must provide a second channel at our request or at the request of an approved non-profit institution,” she said. “Charter may charge for the use of that channel.”  Charter operated the second channel — channel 19 — for a number of years, but notified the city in January that its staff would no longer be available. On March 15 Charter ceased operation of channel 19.  “They told us there will not be a charge for someone else to operate the channel,” Ms. Cook said.

The city began seeking proposals for the operation of the second public, educational, governmental (PEG) channel in mid-February.  “One proposal was received from First United Methodist Church,” Ms. Cook said. “The church proposes to incorporate a non-profit ‘The Marshall Channel’ to operate the channel.”   —>
http://www.marshallnewsmessenger.com/news/content/news/stories/2008/042608_cable.html
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Comcast Expects Automatic Franchise Renewal
by Bernice Paglia
Plainfield Plaintalker (NJ)
04/25/08

[ comments invited ]

When Comcast of the Plainfields’ 10-year city franchise ends in 2009, the company will invoke a 5-year automatic renewal, a representative told the Cable Television Advisory Board Thursday.  Charles Smith III, director of Government and Community Affairs for Northern New Jersey, told the board, “Comcast will exercise that option. That’s the way we look at the franchise.”  […]

While the Comcast franchise is running out, Verizon has gained state approval to hold franchises in many communities, including Plainfield. Smith said that when Verizon’s ability to serve customers reaches 60 percent of the Plainfield market, franchise fees will double from 2 percent to 4 percent due to state legislation. The city currently receives as much as $120,000 in franchise fees to operate the city’s local origination channel.

But while officials wrested the commitment for two local channels from Comcast in the past franchise renewal, the implementation has been spotty. Only one channel, based in City Hall Annex, is currently operating. A studio built at Maxson Middle School has languished.

Besides the operational aspects of the local channels, programming was another topic addressed by the board. Much of the local channel’s content is public service announcements and outside programs such as Democracy Now and White House Chronicles, but Public Information Officer Jazz Johnson said consultant Parris Z. Moore has launched a pilot program called “Hello Plainfield” and has several more in the works. They include “Plainfield at Work,” about day-to-day city activity on behalf of its citizens; “Plainfield Profiles,” about interesting residents; and “Plainfield Update,” a news format program.  […]

Board members asked Johnson when the City Council meetings would be televised. Johnson said Channel 74 was ready to record the meetings, but the council was holding off.   —>
http://plaintalker.blogspot.com/2008/04/comcast-expects-automatic-franchise.html
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Grand Rapids budget crunch could cost workers, raise parking, court fees
by Jim Harger
The Grand Rapids Press (MI)
04/25/08

[ comments invited ]

GRAND RAPIDS — City Manager Kurt Kimball said the city can balance its budget and spend $1.6 million more on street improvements in the fiscal year beginning July 1.  But that means the city’s 1,700 employees and 470 retirees will be asked to pay more for their health care coverage. It also means higher parking fines and court fees.  […]

The $123 million spending plan also eliminates $355,000 in general local revenue sharing for charities and trims the city’s subsidy to the Community Media Center by $86,000.  Although he expects an outcry, Kimball said the city no longer can afford gifts to local charities after seven years of budget-cutting.  “I didn’t think that pot of money should be a sacred cow,” he said.   —>
http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/04/grand_rapids_budget_could_cost.html
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County budget $7M short of requests
Wicomico officials work to keep finances within constraints
by Greg Latshaw
The Daily Times (MD)
04/25/08

[ 1 comment ]

SALISBURY — One hard truth is already clear to Wicomico County Council members a week into reviewing next year’s budget proposal.  Charged with making further reductions, the council on Thursday continued scrutinizing a preliminary draft that is 2 percent smaller than last year. County Executive Rick Pollitt’s $129.6 million budget is about $7 million short of department requests from education, Public Safety, county employees and PAC-14 — the county’s public access television station.  […]

As department heads continue to defend their budgets, one popular area nonprofit has already taken a hit.  PAC-14 won’t be celebrating its 10th anniversary with a funding increase.  Pollitt’s proposal adds no extra dollars this year, dismissing a $79,600 department request. That means PAC-14 is set to again receive $131,000 in county funding, an amount that makes up about 60 percent of its operating budget, according to station manager Mike Goodson.   —>
http://www.delmarvanow.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080425/NEWS01/804250301/1002
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CATV wants to sign up Mandan
by Gordon Weixel
Bismarck Tribune (ND)
04/25/08 (repeat of 4/24 story, but with comments)

[ 8 comments ]

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.   —>
http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2008/04/25/news/local/154129.txt
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St. Louis TV
by Diane Meyer
Respublica (MO)
04/25/08

[ comments invited ]

The city of St. Louis utilizes the public access channel on cable tv to promote events and inform residents of what is happening.  While the rest of us in the metro area do not have this broadcast, it is possible to get a feel for what is going on by checking STLTV on the web.

St. Louis is doing something many local cities should do, using as much public technology as possible to reach the most people.  The STLTV website is colorful and inviting and contains many of the videos broadcast on cable access.   Why more cities aren’t doing something like this is puzzling.  Maybe there is a feeling that the public access channel won’t attract viewers, but if there is local programming done well with frequent additions, people will watch.  And, to continue this on a “tv web page”, well, this seems so obvious.   —>
http://respublica.typepad.com/respublica/2008/04/st-louis-tv.html
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SCAT News
by Jason McIntos
The Gameshelf (MA)
04/25/08

[ comments invited ]

For folks with access to cable TV in Somerville, MA, I’ll be appearing on an upcoming episode of Inside SCAT, a new show about stuff going on around the community access TV station that helps me produce The Gameshelf. The show airs Tuesday evenings at 7:30 on channel 3. I’m on either next Tuesday or the week after, depending upon how quickly stuff gets edited. Hurrah for community access TV!

I also got a chance to meet Danny Martinez, a Somerville High student who produces a weekly live TV show about video games called S’Ville Games. It airs every Tuesday at 3:30, and features call-in segments. Give it a watch, if you’re in town!
http://gameshelf.jmac.org/2008/04/scat-news.html
~

Paramilitaries threaten priest who runs community radio station
Reporters Without Borders
04/25/08

Reporters Without Borders is worried about death threats made in the past 10 days against Catholic priest Rafael Gallego, the manager of Ecos de Tiquisio, a community radio station in Tiquisio, in the northern department of Bolívar, and the leaders of other civil society organisations in the region.  The threats were made in two email messages signed by the Black Eagles, a branch of the paramilitary alliance known as the United Self-Defence Groups of Colombia (AUC), which has a strong presence in Colombia’s northern departments.

“Community media such as Ecos de Tiquisio play a very important role in local life in Bolívar and are very popular with the local population,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The Black Eagles are using these threats to both intimidate the station’s personnel and undermine their credibility, with the aim of consolidating their own influence in a region wracked by armed violence. We urge the Bolívar departmental authorities to protect Father Gallego and all of the station’s personnel.”

The Network of Community Radio Stations of the Mid-Magdalena Region (AREDMAG), of which Ecos de Tiquisio is a member, reported in a 16 April release that death threats had been made against representatives of several regional organisations including Father Gallego in a message signed by Commander Camilo Mora of the Northern Block of the Black Eagles.  It referred to them as “military targets”and announced an “annihilation plan” in which they would be “exterminated one by one.”   —>
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=26711
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/15/08

April 20, 2008

Cable access channels to move in St. Charles County
Charter making room for more high-definition stations
by Kalen Ponche
St. Charles Journal (MO)
04/15/08

[ 1 comment ]

Residents who regularly watch their local city council or board of aldermen meetings on cable soon will have to flip to a new channel. Charter Communications officials are planning to move four local government access stations from their current location on the dial to a new location in the 900s, said Charter spokesman John Miller. The stations for St. Peters, St. Charles, Lindenwood University and O’Fallon would move to channels in a new “government programming corridor” that also would include C-Span 2 and 3 by May 13, Miller said. The St. Charles County government station, channel 18, would move at a later date.The move will free up space for Charter to debut eight new high-definition channels. But Charter customers who do not already subscribe to digital cable would have to rent a converter box for $5 per month for each TV to catch shows broadcast on the government stations.

The potential cost to consumers has raised concerns amongst government officials who also worry about losing audience members because of the move. St. Charles city officials have questioned Charter’s ability to move the stations under the current franchise agreement. In August, a new state law went into effect giving Charter the ability to operate under a state franchise agreement rather than honoring local franchise agreements with each municipality. City Attorney Mike Valenti said he is looking into the legality of the issue. A representative from Charter was expected to discuss the matter with City Council members during their meeting Tuesday. —>
http://stcharlesjournal.stltoday.com/articles/2008/04/15/news/sj2tn20080415-0416stc-charter0.ii1.txt
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Don’t shortchange our public access (Conn. Post)
SimsburyTV.org (CT)
04/15/08

[ comments invited ]

Why is it that public affairs and public access channels get such short shrift and lack of attention from cable companies and Internet Protocol-based television purveyors? It was only a few years ago that cable providers in this region made unfathomable attempts to cut back on local public access channels. Now, the Connecticut Television Network, devoted to coverage of state government issues, fears it might receive second-class treatment as AT&T rolls out its newly authorized U-verse service in many communities across Connecticut. CT-N officials are fighting back — and rightfully so. —>
http://simsburytv.org/blog/2008/04/why-is-it-that-public-affairs-and.html
Also in The Stamford Advocate (comments invited): http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/opinion/ci_8927505
~

Democracy means aiding participation
Citizen of Laconia (NH)
04/15/08

Gilford selectmen have made the right move in returning to nighttime meetings. While the selectmen have only agreed to try the new schedule for three months, it shows that the board is making a serious attempt to give the public every opportunity to observe and influence the process of town government. Starting at the end of the month the selectmen’s meetings will move from 3 p.m. on Wednesday to 7 p.m.

…It has also been suggested that scheduling meetings when the public can attend has become obsolete with the advent of Public Access cable television. While Cable TV certainly gives greater exposure to local government than was possible before, being able to attend those meetings in person gives the public not only the opportunity to observe what one town board or other is doing, but it also enables the public to offer their input at appropriate times. Most local boards have a designated time when the public is able to raise concerns, ask questions or offer comments. —>
http://www.citizen.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080415/GJOPINION02/237446345/-1/CITNEWS
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Fiber Optics: Bringing the Next Big Thing to New York
by Joshua Breitbart
Gotham Gazette (NY)
April, 2008

[ comments invited ]

On April 15, after months of negotiations, Verizon announced it would file an application with the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to offer video service throughout the city. If that application is approved, it will be the company’s cue to ramp up its installation of fiber optic cables to every home in New York and start offering its FiOS package of Internet, video, voice and even wireless for those customers who really love a one-stop-shop. Verizon says it could begin offering the video service by the end of the year.

I’m not trying to hype the service – Verizon’s television advertising campaign can take care of that. But the widespread adoption of DSL and cable changed the Internet radically, making photo galleries and short videos commonplace; the next generation of connection speeds will likely yield a similar transformation. An uncompressed feature film will download in a half an hour over a fiber optic connection compared to almost 10 hours on DSL and practically never on dial-up.

… As Juan Gonzalez reported in the Daily News last fall, the Bloomberg administration and Verizon have been conducting secret negotiations for months. Although the application must still clear a number of hurdles, Verizon’s announcement seems to indicate that it and the city have made some progress in the talks. Based on the statements by members of the City Council and the public interest community, there have been a number of key issues. The first is buildout.

… Another issue centered around whether Verizon would commit to funding centers like Manhattan Neighborhood Network and Brooklyn Community Access Television where people can go to use expensive television production equipment and broadcast their programming. Existing cable providers already do this. But the Internet is different. People can upload video content from their homes. Training and equipment access can happen at the neighborhood level. Verizon representatives visited the public access centers recently, andthe company probably is willing to match the incumbents’ support in that realm, but might balk at going further. Its statement did not address this.

“Public access and citywide buildout are a given,” Brewer said, “but Verizon also needs to support the social layer.” That means all of the things in addition to access that people need to use the Internet, especially computers, training and relevant content. There are many groups in the city like Per Scholas in the Bronx and Computers For Youth that provide these kinds of services. Since the Bush administration cut community technology funding in his first term, these programs have relied almost exclusively on foundation support. —>
http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/tech/20080416/19/2493/
~

Hook ‘Em with Technology, Keep ‘Em with Relationships
by Kimberlie Kranich
Jouth Media Reporter
04/15/08

[ comments invited ]

Young people build social skills and positive relationships through media technology, specifically the creation of radio and TV programs. It is through these positive relationships that young people begin to see possibilities for themselves beyond the low expectations set by the media and community. “Media. That’s what it took, [to] really get me to ask questions and get to really know other people and what they’re all about,” says Jason, a high school student that participates in the Youth Media Workshop at the University of Illinois based WILL AM-FM-TV.

The excitement of using technology and the possibility of making a TV or radio program prompts young people to apply for the Youth Media Workshop (YMW). After five years of working with youth in the YMW, our experience has shown us that the positive relationships created are as important, if not more important, than the media technology skills gained by young people. Youth media programs must focus on building these positive relationships as the basis of their work and improve upon not only young people’s lives, but those within the community. —>

Related Articles from Youth Media Reporter, April 15, 2008:

The Talking Cure
Practitioners don’t need to be junior therapists to support young people who disclose trauma. Creating media and sharing stories is part of the cure.
http://www.youthmediareporter.org/2008/04/the_talking_cure_1.html

Thinking Outside the Youth Media Box
If youth media wants young people to step outside the box it will have to take its own steps in the same direction.
http://www.youthmediareporter.org/2008/04/thinking_outside_the_youth_med_1.html

Keeping the ‘Youth’ in Youth Media
A youth leader-turned-employee informs how youth media organizations need young people to take the lead.
http://www.youthmediareporter.org/2008/04/keeping_the_youth_in_youth_med.html

http://www.youthmediareporter.org/2008/04/the_talking_cure.html
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Image fix is planned for FWCS
by Kelly Soderlund
The Journal Gazette (IN)
04/15/08

There is a disconnect between what the public believes is happening in schools and what is actually going on, the Fort Wayne Community Schools communications director told the board Monday night. But the public is not to blame; it’s the district, said Melanie Hall, who oversees the district’s public relations. “We understand that this is a lot our fault,” Hall said. Hall, her staff and the FWCS administration are working to close that gap by reaching out to the community, educating parents and Fort Wayne residents and trying to enhance the district’s image.

… FWCS officials also produced an annual report and fact sheet to distribute to the public and developed videos and documentaries about students and the district to be aired on the public-access channel. Hall plans to add community members to the communications team, develop an electronic newsletter and expand television productions. —>
http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080415/LOCAL04/804150307/1002/LOCAL
~

Production Manager Karen Adams Nominated for an Emmy!
by Stan Ng
Midpeninsula Community Media Center (CA)
04/14/08

The Midpeninsula Community Media Center proudly announces that Riding the Storm, the independent production of Karen Adams, our production manager and staff producer, has been nominated for an EMMY! The 37th Annual Northern California Area EMMY® Award Nominations were announced Thursday, April 10th. Riding The Storm: Landslide Danger in the San Francisco Bay Area, that first aired on KTEH 54, was submitted by U.S. Geological Survey in the Informational/Instructional category. Besides Adams’ leadership as Producer/Director/Editor, credits go to Douglas DeVore, Videographer; Bryan Coleman, Motion Graphics/Animation; and Wendy Van Wazer, Editor.

About the program – Although well aware of the region’s earthquake threat, many San Francisco Bay Area residents are perilously uninformed about another dangerous geologic hazard: landslides triggered by heavy rainfall. In January 1982 a single, catastrophic rainstorm triggered 18,000 landslides throughout the Bay Area. During the drenching winter of 1997-98, El Nino-driven storms triggered a range of landslides in the Bay Area from deadly debris flows to destructive deep-seated slides. Riding the Storm documents these tragic events, the lessons learned from residents, and explores the science behind the hazard with U.S. Geological Survey researchers. It is the first documentary of its kind to detail the landslide hazard in the Bay area. —>
http://midpen-media-center.blogspot.com/2008/04/production-manager-karen-adams.html
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Council hears concerns about Urbana Public TV
by Mike Monson
The News-Gazette (IL)
04/15/08

URBANA – Members of the local Jewish community Monday night denounced what they call hate speech that they say has been regularly broadcast on Urbana Public Television. The overflow crowd, in excess of 60 people, endured a meeting that lasted more than four hours for the chance to tell city council members how anti-Semetic public-access programming had deeply upset them. “We get free speech,” said Rona James. “We love free speech. We are talking about something that is not free speech. It is hate speech.” “This is KKK stuff,” said Lee Melhado of Champaign, executive director of the Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation. “It doesn’t happen to be directed at African-Americans … but it is directed at Jews.” —>
http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2008/04/15/council_hears_concerns_about_urbana
~

Distribution: Public Access Television
by Randy Hansen
Videomaker
May 2008

How to produce video productions with someone else’s gear and get them broadcast – for free!

It’s a federal mandate to local cable companies (the Federal Cable and Telecommunications Acts of 1984, 1992 and 1996, to be exact): depending on your city or county’s franchise agreement with your local cable company, there may be an entire video production organization at your disposal – everything from video gear, video editing computers, studio space and even a way to broadcast your finished masterpiece at no cost to you. All you have to do is provide the labor and brainpower. In the Beginning… —>
http://www.videomaker.com/article/13870/
~

This concludes our broadcast…
by Helder Mira
Mira Hartford (CT)
04/14/08

[ comments invited ]

While not as long as the 11 seasons of M*A*S*H*, my broadcasting days at Hartford Public Access Television have now concluded. I have officially resigned from the organization to pursue my own endeavors. It’s been an interesting ride over 7 years, despite the last seasons having ‘jumped the shark’, but it was still the place to be. And it is still the place to tune to find out what’s happening in Hartford. After a brief hiatus, I will be producing programs again (right now, just acting as sponsor on Saturday Fright Special). —>
http://www.mirahartford.net/2008/04/this-concludes-our-broadcast.html
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/09/08

April 11, 2008

AT&T-COMCAST PEG side-by-side demo
swoccstudios – Southwestern Oakland Cable Commission (MI)
04/08/08

[ comments invited ]

A side-by-side comparison of AT&T PEG channel and Comcast PEG Channel. Shows the length of time to change channels from a broadcast to a peg channel. [ Also compares AT&T’s U-Worse image quality to Comcast’s ~ rm ]
http://youtube.com/watch?v=v6A-btugKdA
~

AT&T won’t say where it’d offer TV if bill passes
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)
04/09/08

[ 12 comments ]

Despite lobbying for a bill to start offering television services and compete with cable, AT&T will not say where it would offer those services if legislation were approved. “For competitive reasons, the company does not outline those plans,” said Bob Corney, an AT&T spokesman. “But, our goal is to try to get our product to as many customers as possible as quickly as possible.”

…The ambiguity about where AT&T would offer its services is just something that comes with state-issued franchising, said Stacey Briggs, the executive director of the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association, which had lobbied against the bill before signing off on the compromise. “I think that’s just the difference between the state process and the local process where local governments are losing control over where AT&T goes,” Briggs said. —>
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=59467
~

A Snowy Transmission
by Tomas Dinges
411 Productions (TX)
04/09/08

[ comments invited ]

A snowy transmission: Public access television threatened, by Tomas Dinges
http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/2008-03-04/dinges-accesstrouble

Just weeks after Patsy Robles and her 15-year-old daughter stepped into the studio of San Antonio’s Channel 20 during the summer of 2004 they were on TV, a channel-surf away from the major networks. Motivated by a desire to “counteract negative media stereotypes of youth,” Robles, an accountant, learned to produce television. Soon, belly dancing, 10-year-old mariachi players and 16-year-old news anchors describing the impact of Hurricane Katrina on young people could be seen by anybody with a basic subscription to Time-Warner cable in the San Antonio area.

This was public access television. For almost two years their show, “411,” appeared four times a month. However, in late 2006, the studio shut down, and the channel went dark. “I was totally shocked,” said Robles, who said she was given no warning of the move. “I didn’t even know if the channel was coming back.”

What happened to her and other access producers in San Antonio was a harbinger of things to come in others towns and cities where cable lines lay. Last year, 21 production studios in Indiana and Michigan were closed. Funding for public access programming is expected to dry up entirely during the next five years in Ohio, Florida, Missouri and Wisconsin, according to the Alliance for Community Media, an advocacy group that organizes public access channels across the country.

The closings resulted from new statewide franchise contracts, which eliminated the longtime obligations of cable providers to local communities in 17 states. Public access television has existed in the past because of “its close connection to the local community,” said Anthony Riddle, executive director of the Alliance for Community Media. Established by Congress in 1973, the Public, Educational and Governmental channels were a trade-off for company use of public land to run cables and make a profit. They would be available for local groups and individual citizens to use in whatever manner they wished–sort of a modern-day electronic public sphere.

Now, “the telecommunications companies are not connected to the public that they serve,” said Riddle. “There is no accountability on a state level.” Instead of having to negotiate new agreements with thousands of municipalities across the country, the cable and telephone industries heavily lobbied state legislatures for permission to strike the simpler statewide agreements. Local communities had no leverage. As a consequence, said Riddle, cable companies are out to make new rules or “take an interpretation of the rules to shut down an access center.” —>
http://411productions.blogspot.com/2008/04/snowy-transmission-by-tomas-dinges.html
~

Black Evil Television, Low-Power FM Neighborhood Radio, and the Congressional Black Caucus
by Bruce Dixon
Black Agenda Radio
04/08/08

[ 4 comments ]

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce Dixon.

Even when corporate black radio does not ape the content of “Black Evil Television” it consistently fails the legal tests of serving local needs with local content and broadcasting in the public interest. Legislation is now in the Congress to open up licensing for hundreds of new low-power FM neighborhood radio stations in cities and towns across the nation. Though all three presidential candidates, along with Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress are co-sponsoring… the Low-Power FM Neighborhood Radio bill (HB 2802 & SB ) relatively few members of the Congressional Black Caucus are among them.

Click the flash player below to hear the audio of this Black Agenda Radio commentary. Broadcasters and others desiring an MP3 copy should visit the Black Agenda Radio archive page here. —>
http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=582&Itemid=1
~

Two young women journalists working for indigenous community radio station in Oaxaca ambushed and shot
Reporters without Borders
04/09/08

[ comments invited at Corrugated Films: http://corrugatedfilms.blogspot.com/2008/04/community-radio-activists-murdered-in.html ]

Reporters Without Borders is deeply shocked by the fatal shooting on 7 April in Putla de Guerrero, in the southern state of Oaxaca, of Teresa Bautista Flores, 24, and Felicitas Martínez, 20, two women journalists working for La Voz que Rompe el Silencio (“The Voice that Breaks the Silence”), a community radio station serving the Trique indigenous community. “Although there is so far no evidence that these two women were killed because of their work as journalists, their murders will be traumatic for all of Latin America’s many community radio stations, which are too often ignored or despised by the rest of the media and by governments,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“We are conscious of the risks run by the press in Oaxaca state, where the political climate continues to be tense, where two journalists were killed in 2006 at the height of a period of social unrest, and where other community media have been attacked,” the press freedom organisation continued. “We hope the investigators quickly establish the circumstances and motives for this double murder and catch those responsible. And we join their community in paying tribute to the two victims.”

La Voz que Rompe el Silencio was launched by the Trique indigenous community in San Juan Copala (in the west of Oaxaca state) on 20 January, a year after the locality was granted administrative autonomy. The community appointed Bautista Flores and Martínez to manage and present the radio station, which is dedicated to promoting indigenous culture.

The two young women were returning from doing a report in the municipality of Llano Juárez in the early afternoon when they were ambushed and, after being threatened with abduction, were finally shot with 7.62 calibre bullets of the kind used in AK-47 assault rifles, Reporters Without Borders was told by CACTUS, an organisation that supports indigenous communities. Investigators found 20 bullet casings at the scene. Three other people were wounded in the shooting – Jaciel Vázquez, aged 3, and his parents. —>
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=26511
~

Independent radio reclaims the airwaves
“If you don’t have access and ownership and control of a media system, you really don’t exist,” said Loris Taylor, of Native Public Media.
by Michelle Chen
Straight Goods (Canada)
04/08/08

[Editor’s note: As the CBC public broadcasting system suffers the death of a thousand cuts, Canadians should pay attention to what US communities have learned about the importance of radio, especially, for building communities, delivering local news, and providing public space for airing issues of vital public interest.]

A mother’s voice stretched over the air to a son spending the holidays in a Virginia prison: “Keep your head up. I love you. Just do what you gotta do to survive.” The hushed message was one of dozens featured on Calls from Home, a project of Mountain Community Radio in Kentucky. Each December, the call-in program helps families of prisoners reconnect through holiday shout-outs, aired on stations across the country.

As broadcast conglomerates narrow radio’s political scope, activists are recasting the medium to once again empower underserved communities.

Since the first mass broadcasts crackled over the country’s airwaves in the 1920s, radio has defined itself as a democratic medium, providing communities that have few resources — from inmates to immigrant workers — a conduit for news and civic communication. But today, media activists say commercialism has reduced a vital institution to an industry of white noise. In response, alternative radio projects and media-justice movements have emerged to resuscitate a flagging public sphere. —>
http://www.straightgoods.ca/ViewMediaFile8.cfm?REF=15
~

Columbia College Chicago/Community Media Workshop
New America Media
04/09/08

[ comments invited ]

NAM and the Community Media Workshop at Columbia College Chicago hosted an event with the Centers for Disease Control on the importance of flu shots with Chicago area ethnic media in November 2007, and are joining forces again for an ethnic media workshop on investigative reporting with IRE in Chicago May 17-18th.
http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=d289fe32384cdb8230278d4dcb1ca7eb&from=rss
~

Ethnic Media Practice Serious Journalism at Risk of Peril
by Kenneth Kin
New America Media
04/09/08

[ 1 comment ]

Editor’s Note: Practicing the first amendment in America can be hazardous to your health, especially if you work in the ethnic media sector, according to editors at a New America Media-sponsored conference on ethnic media and freedom of expression in Los Angeles this week.

The First Amendment may have guaranteed the promise of a free press, but for ethnic media reporting on their own communities that can be as perilous as covering a war zone. In ethnic enclaves where the power of protest is mightier than the pen, it takes a combination of physical courage, mental perseverance and sometimes even the willingness to risk one’s own life to practice journalism.

A diverse group of leading editors from ethnic news media gathered in Los Angeles on April 7 to share accounts of threats they had received from their own communities. The roundtable discussion, “A Challenge for Ethnic Media: When Coverage Provokes Threats from Your Own Community,” was co-hosted by New America Media, the California First Amendment Coalition, USC Annenberg’s Institute for Justice and Journalism, CSU Northridge’s Center for Ethnic and Alternative Media, The Society of Professional Journalists-Greater LA Chapter, UCLA’s CCC (Campus Computing Council), California Chicano News Media Association (CCNMA) and other media advocacy groups.

Journalists, editors and publishers of ethnic media told harrowing tales of having been boycotted, protested, sued, harassed, and physically threatened by members of their own communities who wanted to dictate what the ethnic news media could and couldn’t cover. —>
http://news.ncmonline.com/news/view_article.html?article_id=f68b62db82c0909a0f07e6c12123bea9
~

S. F. event and national symposium in D. C. to counter mis-information on Venezuela
by Jonathan Nack
indymedia.org
04/09/08

[ comments invited ]

“The level of openness and participation in the community media in an inspiration. From what I witnessed, the democratization of the media in Venezuela flies in the face of practically everything I read about Venezuela in U. S. corporate media.”

SAN FRANCISCO – Mainstream media outlets have run many stories recently criticizing freedom of the press in Venezuela, but have ignored the story of the explosion of community radio and T.V. Greg Miller and Sean Kriletich explore the burgeoning community media movement spreading across Venezuela in their film, “La Revolucion Comunicativa: community radio and t.v. on the rise in Venezuela.” —>
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/04/09/18491508.php
~

New Hope For Press Freedom With Election Upset
The Malaysian
04/09/08

[ 2 comments ]

The Malaysian government’s unprecedented losses in national elections last month will hopefully provide the long-awaited drive for media reform, say Malaysia’s Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA). —>
http://the-malaysian.blogspot.com/2008/04/new-hope-for-press-freedom-with.html
~

Somerville Cares About Prevention (Part 1)
SCAT’s Vlog! (MA)
04/09/08

[ comments invited ]

On March 26 Somerville Cares About Prevention, a City of Somerville agency, held its 5th Annual Community Addiction Speakout at Somerville Community Access Television. The program featured a panel of experts on teen alcohol and opiate addictions, including two teens in recovery who shared their stories. SPF100, the youth group that promotes positive choices, showed their video about the problem of adults giving youth access to alcohol.
http://scatstaffvlog.blogspot.com/2008/04/somerville-cares-about-prevention-part.html
~

Public access channel opens up its mics
Ventura County Star (CA)
04/09/08

Ventura’s public-access channel will hold “Open Mic Days” where people can sit down in front of a camera and say what’s on their minds for three minutes, organizers said. Participants must live, work or go to school in Ventura. Individuals will be responsible for their remarks and will have to sign a waiver releasing Community Access Partners of San Buenaventura, or CAPS-TV, from liability. The segments will be compiled into shows titled “What’s On Your Mind, Ventura?” and “What’s On Your Mind, Ventura — After Dark.” —>
http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/apr/09/public-access-channel-opens-its-mics/
~

Chicago IMC Public Access TV Show Coverage of 5th Anniversary Antiwar Direct Actions
by Chicago Indymedia Collective
The War Stops Here
04/08/08

[ comments invited ]

ON THE SHOW THIS MONTH: Complete coverage of the 2008 Chicago Peace Protests during the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq.

M20 Civil Disobedience and Arrest, Federal Plaza, Chicago – March 20, 2008, 7 activists, including Kathy Kelly, perform civil disobedience action at Federal Plaza, downtown Chicago, resulting in arrest. This was one of many actions in Chicago to mark the 5th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Produced by Fred Hickler.

Chicago Anti-War Protest 2008 – Video by CIMC and Labor Beat. —>
http://thewarstopshere.wordpress.com/2008/04/08/chicago-imc-public-access-tv-show-coverage-of-5th-anniversary-antiwar-direct-actions/
~

Cable Access Talk Show Spreads Positive Message
Northland’s News Center (MN/WI)
04/09/08

[ comments invited ]

“Well, howdy there, you buckaroos! Welcome to Late Night With Don!” is how Don Yoder introduces his show. Look out “Tonight Show” and “Late Night With David Letterman”. This is “Late Night With Don” hosted by Superior native Don Yoder which airs at the same time as the network’s late shows.

Yoder doesn’t think his cable access talk show is a competitor to the big boys of evening television. “I think it is an alternative I have. I don’t get up here and make fun of actors or actresses that are going through difficult times in their lives.” says Don Yoder. Don is a Marine Corps veteran and country and gospel singer who is back in the Northland after many years away. His show is taped in Proctor and airs there and in the Twin Ports weeknights at 10:30 pm on cable access TV.

After two months of production, the show is catching on. “The public reaction is good. People like to see local programming and I think it fills a void we’ve had in public access in this area and I think it’s a fun show to work on.” according to Peter Luke who runs Proctor’s cable access TV channel…

How to do a show on Proctor Trac 7 TV: You can be the Creator/ Producer and Director of your own Video show. You call the shots, you write the format of of your show and you edit the show. Whether you Produce the show In-Studio or on-Location, you have access to the latest Video Production Equipment. Call: Peter Luke, Cable TV Coordinator at (218) 628-6283 for more Information!
http://www.northlandsnewscenter.com/news/local/17393714.html
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/04/08

April 5, 2008

Announcement of cable/AT&T deal set for Monday
by John Rodgers
The City Paper (TN)
04/04/08

[ comments invited ]

Leading lawmakers in the cable/AT&T negotiations over statewide franchising will roll out their compromise legislation Monday in a press conference, the House Democratic Caucus announced today.  The compromise bill marks the culmination of months of negotiations between the involved parties.  The deal is expected to have AT&T agree to “build out” its television service to a certain percentage of a town or city, as well as offer the services to some low-income residents.   —>
http://politics.nashvillecityblogs.com/?p=505
~

Legislators Say Bill Sought By AT&T Finally Ready
The Chattanoogan (TN)
04/04/08

Legislative leaders said they have finally reached agreement on a statewide franchise bill sought by AT&T that is expected to result in a new cable TV option for Chattanooga residents and others throughout Tennessee.  On Monday afternoon, House and Senate members working directly in talks with AT&T and Tennessee’s cable companies are due to hold a press conference to announce the completion of a new telecommunications bill.  Officials said copies of the agreement will be provided after the Nashville press conference.

Set to take part are Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington), Rep. Charlie Curtiss (D-Sparta), Rep. Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads), Rep. Ulysses Jones, Jr. (D-Memphis), Rep. Randy Rinks (D-Savannah), Sen. Lowe Finney (D-Jackson) and Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro).
The bill was introduced last year, but has gone through a number of revisions before the compromise measure was reached.   —>
http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_125216.asp
~

Comcast, AT&T work together on new bill for franchising rights
Memphis Business Journal (TN)
by Einat Paz-Frankel
04/04/08

After vociferously contending an AT&T, Inc.-backed bill on the state’s Capitol Hill last year, Comcast Corp. is now working with the telecom giant behind closed doors to create a new bill that will assuage both parties while changing the way video franchising rights are granted in Tennessee.  A resolution is expected this month, according to the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association and the Tennessee Municipal League, which has also opposed the proposed Competitive Cable and Video Services Act. The bill would allow television service to be provided through a single statewide franchise agreement, instead of negotiating with each municipality separately.   —>
http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/stories/2008/04/07/story8.html
~

SEE ME, HEAR ME, PICK ME: Endorsement video of Dems for House Seat 1
by Ian Gillingham
Willamette Week (OR)
04/04/08

[ comments invited ]

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been inviting candidates to sit down with WW and make their case for your vote—and our friends at Portland Community Media have been there to catch it all on video. Every day for the next month, we’ll post a new video of our endorsement interviews on WWire.  Today and tomorrow, we’ve got the candidates for U.S. House of Representatives, First District .  First up: Democrats (incumbent David Wu, Will Hobbs).

For footage of more WW endorsement interviews, tune your TV to Channel 30, see Portland Community Media’s Blip.tv site, or just check back on WWire tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after….  Tomorrow: House Seat 1—the Republicans.
http://www.wweek.com/wwire/?p=11440
~

Cable Increases, Franchise Renewal Up for Questions
by Bernice Paglia
Plainfield Plaintalker (NJ)
04/04/08

[ comments invited ]

—>  The notice reminded Plaintalker of another issue, the cable franchise renewal process. According to a BPU report, more than 12,000 households had cable in 2005. The three-year process to determine how well Comcast has served Plainfield should have begun in August of 2006, with a report due in August of this year. The franchise expires in August 2009.  The Plainfield Cable Television Board was supposed to hold monthly meetings during the ascertainment period, make annual reports, report regularly to the mayor and council and generally to be involved in any activities having to do with local cable television, including the city’s own Channel 74.

Plaintalker has harped on this subject since December 2005 but there is not much progress to report. Click here for a file of past stories.   —>
http://plaintalker.blogspot.com/2008/04/cable-increases-franchise-renewal-up.html
~

Cable Access TV and the Arts
by Salma
Souldish (NJ)
04/04/08

[ comments invited ]

Monday, April 7 – A repeat of the successful 2 hr. forum will be held at SCAN covering topics on: a) Arts and cable access TV: how to get on TV for free b) The WIN-15 TV show & publicity c) Special TV production training for those in the art.  (7p, Free) SCAN Learning Center, Monmouth Mall, Rt 35 and 36, Eatontown, NJ; 732-938-2481
http://www.souldish.com/2008/04/04/body-of-war-shamans-way-of-healing-moses-code-horned-ball-sub-swara/
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Great Falls TV station needs home
by Matt Austin
KRTV (MT)
04/04/08

Many Great Falls departments are asking for more money in the next budget, and on Friday city commission members will talk about its budget priorities.  One group which always keeps an eye on commission meetings will also be watching the budget talks as a Great Falls television channel is looking for a home.  The community access channel, Cable 7, has become a nomad in Great Falls, moving four times in just five years.

The group is currently using the waiting area at the Central Avenue office of former  KRTV anchor Cindy Cieluch. Staff members tell us that the area works well for a studio and they use another office for the director and to store equipment. The non-profit films its six studio shows at the office, and also films government meetings.  “Cable 7 provides a public service, local events” explains Executive Producer Kevin Manthey. “This is something I feel is very important to the community of Great Falls and surrounding area.”   —>
http://www.montanasnewsstation.com/Global/story.asp?S=8118751
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PEG pact is unclear
by Alan Lewis Gerstenecker
Rolla Daily News (MO)
04/03/08

[ 3 comments ]

Steve Leonard, former President of Rolla Video Productions — the company that operated Channel 16 for the best part of seven years — has some concerns about an educational and governmental television channel currently considered by city and school officials and Fidelity Communications.  The PEG (Public Educational and Governmental) channel, which is in discussion stages, would be a partnership between Rolla city government, Rolla Public School District, and Fidelity Communications, Rolla’s cable television franchise holder.

Leonard, 28, expressed some of those concerns during a recent City Council meeting and then again Wednesday.  “In its current state, the contract with the city doesn’t say what they’re going to get for that $50,000,” Leonard said. “As someone who used to do programming, I’d like to think that it would spell out just what the residents of Rolla are going to get.”…

“Don’t get me wrong. I’ve moved on with my life,” Leonard said. “But if they would have offered me $50,000 for programming, I would have told them exactly what I’d have given them. In addition to City Council, I’d have televised the Planning & Zoning meetings, the RMU (Rolla Municipal Utilities) meetings, done more spring (high school) sports. I’d have done it right,” Leonard said.  “If you turn on Channel 6 now, you hear a buzz. You can’t listen long, or at least I can’t without getting a headache. I don’t know if $50,000 is going to fix that or not,” said Leonard, who is now a full-time business student at Missouri University of Science & Technology.

For his part, Leonard said he is supportive of Fidelity.  “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking Fidelity. They offer some great programming, and I think they offer more basic channels for the best price. I just want to see what they’re going to offer for the $50,000,” Leonard said. “I think anyone who reviews that contract will want to know what they’re going to offer.”

John Paul, Fidelity Communications Director of Sales and top official in Rolla, said Thursday the contract with the city, Rolla Public Schools, and his company, still is a work in progress.  “I can tell you we intend cover all City Council and School Board meetings. I can also tell you we’re not just going to cover those two and then run a community bulletin board the rest of the time,” Paul said.   —>
http://www.therolladailynews.com/articles/2008/04/04/news/news03.txt
~

State PEGs Tune Into “Same Channel” to Support Free Speech
by Cynthia Thomet
Akaku: Maui Community Television (HI)
04/04/08

Hawaii People’s Fund Media Justice review panel granted $7,400 to Akaku in mid-March to launch the Free Speech Hawaii Coalition, a collaborative effort to build community and ensure diverse points of view on issues of free speech across the state. The coalition is made possible by the commitment of all of Hawaii’s public, educational and governmental (PEG) access organizations, including Akaku for Maui County, `Ōlelo Community Television on O`ahu, Na Leo O Hawaii on Big Island and Ho`ike: Kaua`i Community Television.

“We’re very grateful to Hawaii People’s Fund for their commitment to media justice to fund this public awareness coalition,” says Jay April, President/ CEO of Akaku, who invited `Ōlelo, Na Leo and Ho`ike to lead the coalition’s public education messages with their respective island audiences

The grant will cover some of the expenses required for the core coalition members to work together and reach out to their respective islands’ viewers about preserving public, educational and governmental (PEG) access services in Hawaii. Some outreach measures include a vibrant website, advertising to build community awareness and localized public education campaigns to get island residents engaged in protecting their right to public access cable television and other mass media venues.   —>
http://www.akaku.org/?p=74
~

Participatory Media for a Global Community: BAVC’s Producers Institute 2008
by Wendy Levy
Bay Area Video Coalition (CA)
04/04/08

[ comments invited ]

With continued support from the MacArthur Foundation, the Producers Institute for New Media Technologies will happen May 30 – June 8 here at BAVC in San Francisco. The new crop of projects coming into this year’s Institute are part of a documentary-driven conversation focused on finding and engaging diverse audiences, creating social and political networks of participation, the notion of global community, the viability of Web 2.0 social change, emerging mobile media applications, games for change, and interactive strategies for multi-platform storytelling.

Check out full project descriptions from the recent press release.

The first panel of the Producers Institute will be open to the public this year, and it revolves around marketing social justice media. The always dynamic and uber-literate B. Ruby Rich will moderate. I’ll follow up with details of the where and when, but here’s the panel description. We are hoping to see if its possible for change-the-world stories to expand You Tube sensibilities, to rock CreateSpace, to shock iTunes, to blow out XBOX. And, of course, we want to know if you can actually make money while making a difference?   —>
http://bavc.wordpress.com/2008/04/04/participatory-media-for-a-global-community-bavcs-producers-institute-2008/
~

US kept in slow broadband lane
by Ian Hardy
> Click
04/04/08

We all know that America is the technology hub of the universe. It is home to Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Sun, Google, YouTube, Yahoo, MIT – the list is endless. So why, when it comes to the basics, like delivering the internet to its citizens, has it fallen way behind many other nations?

In Manhattan people pay about $30 (£15) a month for a download speed of three megabits per second (Mbps) via a DSL line. Many people are very happy with that, until they realise what is going on elsewhere in the world.  US broadband speeds are much slower than in many countries  “In Japan you can get 100 megabits for $35,” says Selina Lo of Ruckus Wireless.  “I think that has penetrated some 30% of subscribers. The government is targeting for 100 megabit services to penetrate 60% plus of the subscriber base in a few years…

Today most New Yorkers have two choices for home net – via their phone or cable TV company.  But in New York state 52% of residents do not have any internet access, especially rural areas and low income families.  “We haven’t been able to overcome those barriers in terms of increasing the technology adoption rate of those households that are on or below the poverty level,” explains Dr Melodie Mayberry-Stewart, New York State’s chief information officer.  “I think if you look at where the US is compared to other countries, given our speed, we’re not competitive with other countries.”

The lack of competition has had other consequences. Comcast, the nation’s largest residential cable TV and net company was recently accused of interfering with the downloading of video files.  Internet video directly threatens the popularity of traditional TV, so Comcast’s answer is to curtail download speeds for its biggest users.

“As we get more and more things that tie us into the internet – Xbox 360, IPTV services, all sorts of broadband gaming – we’re all getting online more and more,” says Jeremy Kaplan executive editor of PC Magazine.  “And rather than opening up and getting better service, most of these cable and DSL companies are really trying to limit what we do, put caps on what we do. As consumers we’re suffering from that.”

Public wi-fi efforts have also been held back. Several city governments have given up or reduced efforts to provide blanket coverage for their residents.  This is because they have been worn down with lawsuits and lobbyists working for the telephone companies, who want consumers to rely on expensive cell phone plans to access the net on the go.  “Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore – they all have wi-fi in public areas. People can access broadband internet when they’re out in public,” says Ms Lo.  “It is the cheapest way to offer public access. As a quality of life, as a city service, I don’t know why our city government just don’t do that.”   —>
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/7329992.stm
~

More questions than answers
by Mark Jones
Reuters Editors
04/04/08

[ 1 comment ]

I was invited to a gathering of activists, academics and media practitioners by the Berkman Centre’s Media:Republic program in LA last weekend. Exhilarating to be in such exalted company but depressing to find them so anxious about the future of political engagement and so negative about big Media’s future.

The context of the meeting was to establish what we don’t understand about the emerging media landscape in order to inform the direction of future research programmes.  So, in the spirit of Donald Rumsfeld, what do we know that we don’t know?

How distributed can the production of meaning be?
An academic question from John Zittrain of Berkman but very much with real world concerns in mind. He’s worried about where the atomisation of media consumption and production will take society. In an elitist world, one in which communication channels (including media) are controlled by the few, then it is relatively easy to see how the politics of consensus and compromise can be pursued. But many felt that the new social technologies were creating new silos, reducing the quality of public discourse, accelerating disengagement from politics and, possibly, creatng the conditions for extremist politics.

How can we get the public to eat their broccoli?

Traditionally, nearly all media has followed a public service remit to some degree and mixed content with public policy relevance with the really popular stuff. So you get a smattering of Darfur in a diet of domestic news, celebrity and sports. But that only works when publishers control the medium.

I know I wasn’t the only one to squirm as David Weinberger, co-author of the seminal Cluetrain Manifesto, described how increasingly anachronistic the Big Media model of editors deciding what it was appropriate for readers to read was beginning to seem. What seemed to worry this group more than anything else was that if consumers control their ‘DailyMe’ — a personalised news service — then how will the public service stuff get through?   —>
http://blogs.reuters.com/reuters-editors/2008/04/04/more-questions-than-answers/
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 02/07/08

February 8, 2008

Cable Franchise Hearings Follow Up (6 comments)
Manhattan Neighborhood Network (NY)
02/07/08

What happens when you mix devoted MNN producers, with an opportunity once every 10 years to testify to Time Warner on why they should continue to produce. The heartfelt testimonies of yesterdays Franchise Hearings at Borough of Manhattan Community College in Tribeca. If you weren’t able to make the event but you still want to testify on behalf of public access or other Time Warner consumers then mail your testimonies to:

Care Of:  Stanley Shor, Assistant Commissioner Franchise Administration
New York City Department of Information, Technology and Telecommunications
75 Park Place-9th Floor; New York, NY 10007

Include your position on cable access, expansion of cable access resources, the strength of independent media to represent stories excluded from national or local news programs. What you want to see from Time Warner in terms of service requests, responses to customer service and services offered through Time Warner, such as movies on Demand and DVR options.

Make your voices heard!
http://www.mnn.org/en/cable-franchise-hearings-follow
~

Huntington makes public access TV deal
by Deborah S. Morris (3 comments)
Newsday (NY)
02/07/08

The Huntington Town Board unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday with Five Towns College for the school to administer and operate public and educational access cable television channels.  Under the town’s cable franchise agreement with Verizon, the telecommunications company must provide one full-time public access cable channel and one full time educational access cable channel for the sole use of residents.

The town currently has an agreement with Cablevision that provides $50,000 for educational and public access channels and studios in Woodbury to the town for residents use.  Because Verizon did not want to provide such facilities, they agreed to pay the town $10,000 for public access and $20,000 for educational access channels provided the town find the facilities.

With the Verizon agreement the company will also pay the town $50,000 for a government access channel, but Huntington Town spokeswoman Fran Evans said those funds are being putting aside for now.  According to town officials, Five Towns College has agreed to provide facilities, services and professional expertise in connection with the operation and administration of the public access channels. The agreement will be in effect until Nov. 9, 2016.  According to Evans the channels can begin broadcasting as early as the spring.   —>
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/suffolk/ny-litv0208,0,3713711.story
~

Supervisor rips state leaders
Local officials give update on their cities, township
by Gordon Wilczynski
Macomb Daily (MI)
02/07/08

In his closing remarks during the annual State of the Communities Luncheon sponsored by the Sterling Heights, Utica and Shelby Township Chamber of Commerce, outspoken Shelby Township Supervisor Skip Maccarone praised his colleagues but came down hard on state politicians.  “I must say that the state has failed us all,” said Maccarone. “I cannot fathom the devotion to partisanship we continue to see overriding one’s oath of office to discharge their duties faithfully and for the common good.”…

… He also pointed to the 2007 Michigan Cable Franchise Act, which was to stimulate competition and lower cable rates. He said cable rates have risen in historic proportions.  Maccarone also said that Comcast Cable is intent on disenfranchising 500,000 of its low-profit customers in Michigan. —>
http://www.macombdaily.com/stories/020708/loc_n1001.shtml
~

Cable TV Oversight Could Shift To State  (4 comments)
WHTM-27 (PA)
02/07/08

The State House Consumer Affairs Committee is considering a bill that would eliminate the local franchise agreements for cable TV companies. Instead the State Public Utility commission would deal with cable.   —>
http://www.whtm.com/news/stories/0208/494405.html?020708
~

Community Media Strategy Session 2/17
by Gordon Smith (4 comments)
BlogAsheville (NC)
02/07/08

—>   The Community Media Strategy Session will take place on Sunday, February 17th from 1pm – 3:30pm. I think we’ll be at the West Asheville Library, but I haven’t yet nailed the room down. Come back later this week to confirm the location.  I’m very excited to get together and formulate a common, actionable agenda. With our disparate media and intentions, it’s going to be an exercise in give, take, and creative problem solving. Please bring your brains.

At this time, we’re accepting nominations for a Strategy Session Moderator. Anyone can be nominated, though whether that person accepts will be up to them. We’ll need someone who knows how to run a tight meeting, make sure everyone gets heard, synthesize ideas and information, and move us towards a common agenda. Leave your nominations in the comments.   —>
http://blogasheville.blogspot.com/2008/02/community-media-strategy-session-217.html
~

The Big “Digital Conversion”- What’s it mean?
by Laurie Cirivello
Grand Rapids Community Media Center (MI)
02/07/08

The word digital is everywhere. The government is offering coupons to buy digital TV converter boxes. Access stations are griping about threats to move channels to the digital tier on cable. Commercials featuring well-spoken seniors are talking about a February 2009 digital deadline after which time, some TV’s won’t work at all. If you are like most folks, this is very confusing. Should you care? Should you be doing something?   —>
http://www.grcmc.org/about/news.php?news_item_id=274
~

Texas Cable Law Challenge Reinstated
State Cable Association Lawsuit Can Proceed After Appeals Court Ruling
by Kent Gibbons
Multichannel News
02/07/08

Cable operators in Texas, through their trade association, can proceed with a federal lawsuit against a statewide franchising law that excludes incumbent cable companies.  The Texas Cable & Telecommunications Association sued over the new law – known as “SB5” – the day after it was signed into law in September 2005.  A federal judge in Austin, Texas, tossed out the lawsuit in September 2006, determining the cable group hadn’t demonstrated injury against the cable companies and that “the case was not yet ripe for litigation.”

A four-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned that judge’s decision, in an order filed on Thursday.  The appeals court judges determined that the exclusion of incumbent cable operators was a direct injury, as the incumbent companies miss out on an economic benefit by being unable to obtain a statewide franchise. New entrants, the appeals court said, benefited by avoiding the licensing costs of obtaining franchises with individual municipalities.   —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6530264.html
~

Cable and Broadcasters Align to Fight FCC
by Stacey Higginbotham (3 comments)
GigaOm.com
02/07/08

The switch to digital cable isn’t just yielding a multibillion spectrum auction, it’s also prompting cable companies and broadcasters to join forces and fight against a government mandate.

The government’s been worried about how cable subscribers would get their less-watched local broadcasts once the analog signals go dark next February. Enter the dual-carriage rules, which were put forth by the Federal Communications Commission last fall.

The rules dictated that unless a cable carrier was really small, and paid the legal fees to get an exemption, operators needed to carry certain programming (such as public access channels and local niche programming) in both dual and analog versions until all subscribers had a digital set-top box or TV capable of converting digital signals.

Cable companies don’t mind doing this for popular local broadcast channels, but smaller ones will take up twice the space on a cable network under these rules. Obviously cable companies, which already face capacity constraints, would like to choose how they allocate their capacity, rather than have the government mandate it.

The major cable operators represented by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association grudgingly agreed to the rules, but the American Cable Association, which represents smaller cable firms, came out against it. On Monday, six programmers representing cable channels including C-SPAN, Discovery Communications, The Weather Channel and Scripps Networks sued to stop the rules from going forward, saying that if it did, cable operators might have to dump their channels to make room for the duplicative signals.
http://gigaom.com/2008/02/07/cable-and-broadcasters-align-to-fight-fcc/
~

Martin Plan: Cable Must-Carry For Class A TV
FCC Commissioner Calls For Industry To Distribute Hundreds Of Low-Power TV Stations
by Ted Hearn
Multichannel News
02/07/08

Opening a new front in his battle with cable operators, Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin wants to force the industry to begin carrying hundreds of low-power local TV stations that up to now have not had such access, except in the most rural parts of the country.  According to two FCC sources, Martin, a Republican, circulated his proposal Tuesday to the other four FCC members. Under Martin’s plan, the process would begin with adoption of a notice of proposed rulemaking at the FCC’s public meeting Feb. 26.  If Martin is planning to exit with the Bush administration next January, he is probably looking for quick action by the agency. An FCC spokeswoman did not have an immediate comment.

For decades, the cable industry has fought attempts by the federal government to force carriage of local TV stations. The last attempt to fight carriage mandates ended in a 5-4 Supreme Court victory for TV stations in 1997.  Adoption of the Martin-backed plan could be a windfall for the owners of Class A TV stations as the regulations would provide those broadcast outlets with instant access to about 60% of TV homes in a typical market.   —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6530237.html?desc=topstory
~

On Politics:  Spam Media Versus Social Media
by Matt Stoller
OpenLeft.com
02/07/08

I gave a speech today at UConn Law School about the internet, free speech, and a new framework for campaign finance regulation.  Basically I divided the world up into spam media (TV, radio, mail) and social media, and said that the former should be regulated and the latter not so much.  A description of the event and a copy of my speech is on the flip.

I spent all day at a conference at University of Connecticut Law School put on by the Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal.  Unlike most of these conferences, which are law professors teaching law students about how they think about the world, the organizers of this conference decided that practitioners ought to be represented.  I was on a panel with Adam Bonin and former FEC Commissioner Robert Lenhard discussing political speech and the internet.  I followed panels with netroots activists Tim Tagaris, Matt DeBergalis, and Melissa Ryan, as well as scholar Diana Cohen.

I heard an exciting keynote speaker by NYU Law Professor Beth Noveck who is doing some important practical work on egovernment and the patent office that will probably become a model for progressive governance.  Noveck seems to be searching for a new liberal foundation for governance that moves beyond the traditional liberal orthodoxy of expert-driven policy making.  Individuals should be involved in government, not equally, but based on their own passion and interest and a decentralized model where officials break up work into small discrete chunks that citizens can work on.  She emphasizes passion and fun as key motivators in making a progressive state work; I’ll try to get the text of her speech, I think her ideas are important.

Thanks very much to Symposium editors Sandy Costa, Olga Konferowicz, and especially Katrina Goyco for helping organize this event.  I’d also like to give a shout-out to Julia Dunlop, Michelle Helmin, Gabe Rosenberg, Leslie Levin and Paul Schiff Berman.

And without further ado, here’s my speech.   —>
http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=3739
~

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