Archive for the ‘hyperlocal’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/05/08

March 9, 2008

Public access may be hard to access on U-verse
by George Moore
MyRecordJournal.com (CT)
03/05/08

[ comments allowed ]

WALLINGFORD – The ability to find public access shows while channel surfing will play a central role in a struggle between public access advocates and AT&T’s new television service, U-verse.  U-verse will group all of the state’s community access channels under one U-verse channel, channel 99. After selecting 99, viewers could choose their desired public access program from a menu.

Not offering public access on a regular “surfable” channel will be detrimental, said Scott A. Hanley, manager of Wallingford Government Access Television. He said many people like to flip quickly between public access and other channels.  “This would just be an added obstacle to try to bring people to view the channel,” he said.
http://www.myrecordjournal.com/site/tab1.cfm?newsid=19363828&BRD=2755&PAG=461&dept_id=592708&rfi=6
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New take on an old lesson
by David Callender
The Capital Times (WI)
03/05/08

Adults of a certain age may recall the 1970s children’s TV series “Schoolhouse Rock” that set lessons in American history, civics and other topics to a catchy rock beat.  And, of all the episodes on the show, probably one of the best known was “Just a Bill,” featuring a talking piece of legislation that showed how a bill becomes a law.

Now with the help of Madison cartoonist Mike Konopacki and musician Peter Leidy, the reform-minded Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has turned the classic lesson into a more jaded look at contemporary politics called “Statehouse Crock.”  The video on the group’s Web site (www.wisdc.org/crock.php) shows how it sees special interests rigging the legislative process and keeping ordinary citizens like “Just Bill, I’m only Bill” from getting access to lawmakers.,,

Cable applications

In the wake of a new law deregulating the state’s cable TV industry, five cable firms have already filed applications to provide TV service to Wisconsin consumers.  And one of them — AT&T, which led the deregulation effort — has already had its application approved by the Department of Financial Institutions, the pro-deregulation group TV4US announced Tuesday.

The remaining applicants include other major industry players: Charter Communications, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and CenturyTel.  Advocates of deregulation argued that the bill would open the state up to more competition between cable providers. Under the old state law, cable providers had near-exclusive access to operate under franchise agreements with each community.

In a response to the group’s announcement, the Wisconsin Alliance of Cities said it is “imperative” that communities where the cable companies are seeking to locate contact the state and identify the terms of their old franchise agreements. The old agreements required cable companies to help pay for community programming — known as public, educational and government channels — in exchange for the right to operate.

“Failing to provide information on the number of PEG channels, PEG support and franchise fees to a video provider within 10 days of receiving notice of its application could lead to dire consequences: loss for months of community access and government channels and franchise fees,” the alliance warned.
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/275710
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KREX Rising
by John Linko
John Linko (CO)
03/05/08

[ comments allowed ]

—>   The quarterly membership meeting of Grand Valley Peace and Justice is tonight at 7:00 PM at the St. Joseph Church offices at 3rd and White, across the street from the church. The group’s meeting announcement indicated a discussion on alternative media will be part of the agenda.  This will hopefully include the development of a working group with certain benchmarks to achieve, and one of those will hopefully be persuading the City of Grand Junction to request the activation of their PEG Access Channel on the basic cable tier, which is part of the City’s current franchise agreement with Bresnan.

The recent developments surrounding the partial resurrection of KREX, through cooperation between media outlets, the sharing of equipment and space, and the rapid deployment of alternative programming sources, displays very well the level of expertise and goal-oriented thinking present in our local media and educational institutions.

What’s to stop the development of a coalition of these groups and outlets to provide for the space, equipment, organization, and administration of a community public access channel in Grand Junction? The answer to this and many other questions may make themselves better known starting this evening. Such a resource is long overdue in our community, as there are successfully-run examples (http://www.dcat.tv/) of such stations in smaller cities and towns across the Western Slope.   —>
http://johnlinko.blogspot.com/2008/03/krex-rising.html
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Jackson examines its cable contract
by Fraidy Reiss
Asbury Park Press (NJ)
03/05/08

[ 2 comments ]

For four years now, Cablevision has done business in this town without a franchise agreement to regulate the company’s presence here.  Soon, that might change. The Township Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday evening at the municipal building on a proposed 15-year agreement it has reached with the cable company. If the council approves the deal, it will head to the state Board of Public Utilities for review.

The town has been negotiating with Cablevision on and off since the previous franchise licensing agreement expired in December 2003. A major sticking point was the town’s insistence that the cable provider keep its discount for low-income seniors at 25 percent off basic cable-television rates.  Under the proposed deal, the senior discount would remain at 25 percent. Additionally, Cablevision would give Jackson a $7,500 grant the first year of the agreement and $4,300 per year for the next 14 years, for the town to use for any cable- or telecommunications-related purpose.  The deal also calls for Cablevision to give Jackson its own public-access channel.

Councilman Scott Martin said he would like to see that channel in place by summer. It would be used to broadcast community calendars, school events and advertising for local not-for-profits, he said. “To get information out to the public about what’s going on in town,” he explained.  Children would be thrilled to see their school events on television, added Councilwoman Emily Ingram, who predicted the public-access channel would “bring the town together.”   —>
http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080309/NEWS01/803090345/1070/NEWS02
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Council happy cable pact is shorter
Five years is time for innovations
by Nick Kotsopoulos
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)
03/05/08

[ 14 comments ]

City councilors last night applauded the new cable television deal the city has struck with Charter Communications, saying its shorter-than-usual term will benefit local consumers in the long run.  The councilors are betting that by the time the cable license renewal runs its course, technological advances in the cable field will reach the point in which additional companies may be interested in coming to Worcester to provide service.  They believe such competition would not only help lower cable rates, but also improve service and programming…

Traditionally, the city has had 10-year contracts with cable franchise holders. But city councilors had urged City Manager Michael V. O’Brien to limit the length of this license renewal to no more than five years because of the rapid, ongoing changes in cable technology and competition.   —>
http://www.telegram.com/article/20080305/NEWS/803050643/1101
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Net benefit
Cable pact charts course to fiber-optic forefront
Worcester Telegram & Gazette  (MA)
03/05/08

[ comments allowed ]

The most intriguing aspect of Worcester’s new five-year cable television contract is not what is in it but what is to be taken out.  For Charter Communications customers, the changes are apt to be largely invisible. The key elements are equipment upgrades for the public access, education and government channels and provisions to smooth the transition of the PEG channels to the digital tier over the next year.

In a radical departure, however, the city’s cable-based “institutional network,” owned and operated by Charter, will be phased out under the new contract. I-NET, the city’s communications link since 1993, was a technological leap forward in its day, but it now is inadequate for the city’s communications and business needs.

Replacing the I-NET will be a 20-mile fiber-optic loop linking about 100 municipal and school buildings. The cost of installing and operating the new network will be borne by a vendor to be selected through a bidding process. The vendor will recoup the cost by selling the vast excess capacity of the fiber-optic loop to public and private entities. Fees paid by the city for use of the network are to be offset by savings resulting from the phaseout of its existing infrastructure.

It would be only a slight exaggeration to say the change will be a revolution in municipal communications. The high-speed/high broadband network will transmit all forms of data, including e-mail and telephone links. It also will be available for security and energy-management monitoring, fire detection, wireless technology and more.   —>
http://www.telegram.com/article/20080305/NEWS/803050344/1020
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An urgent call: Give us broadband, Vermont towns say
by Daniel Barlow
The Barre Montpelier Times Argus (VT)
03/05/08

[ comments allowed ]

Vermont voters sent a clear message to the world of high-speed Internet Tuesday: We want in.  Voters in at least 19 towns approved non-binding resolutions to join in a regional effort to bring high-speed Internet via fiber-optic to their homes during town meetings held early this week and over the weekend.  In all on Tuesday, at least 13 towns approved the resolution to join the East Central Vermont Community Fiber Network and organizers of the effort anticipate a full sweep of the more than 20 towns that had the item on their agenda once all the results were in.   —>
http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080305/NEWS02/803050363/1003/NEWS02
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A Conversation with Laurie from the Community Media Center
by Marie-Claire
Digital Inclusion in Grand Rapids, MI
03/05/08

[ comments allowed ]

On Thursday, I had a brief but interesting lunch conversation with Laurie from the Community Media Center here in Grand Rapids.  We first discussed some of the CMC programs in place for area nonprofits and residents, http://www.grcmc.org/nposervices and then talked about a new program coming out once the city gets its WiMax working. It’s in charge of eventually processing and granting up to 5% of the area’s residents discounted rates on WiMax. They have also taken the task of traveling to local schools and talking about the available WiMax discount to schools.

So there will be education about our new wireless access, and discounted rates from an organization in the city. I’m not meaning for that to sound small, I mean for it to sound like a step in the right direction.  I explained to Laurie about our project idea. I talked about the pilot program, the gaps in the system, and some other stuff we’re working on. She seemed genuinely excited. She all but volunteered a venue for the pilot program when I explained some of our current stumbling blocks.   —>
http://forgr.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/a-conversation-with-laurie-from-the-community-media-center/
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Community for Hope develops TV series
by Aldrich M. Tan
The Northwestern (WI)
03/05/08

[ comments allowed ]

Lisa McLaughlin said she’s always a little nervous before going on camera.  However, the topic of bullying prevention programs is an important and familiar topic for the South Park Middle School principal so it was very easy for her to talk.  McLaughlin’s interview will be part of a television series that Community for Hope of Oshkosh is producing with the help of Oshkosh Community Media Services. It is part of a six-part series that started airing last month and will feature area people addressing mental health issues and suicide, executive director Mary VanHaute said.   —>
http://www.thenorthwestern.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080305/OSH/80305164/1987
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Obama Speaks Part 6
The 411 Show (TX)
03/05/08

[ comments allowed ]

Obama makes his campaign stop in San Antonio Texas for the 2008 primary election. Part 6. This clip aired on San Antonio Public Access TV.
http://411show.blogspot.com/2008/03/obama-speaks-part-6_05.html
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Oregon Law Librarians (back) on TV: Topic: Family Law
by Laura Orr
Oregon Legal Research
03/05/08

[ comments allowed ]

On Thursday, February 28, 2008, from 8-9 p.m., the Clackamas County Law Librarian, and I, the Washington County Law Librarian, appeared again on “Legally Speaking” with the host of the show, attorney Jim Hilborn. The subject was family law. (We also sent some photos from this show into the AALL Day in the Life contest so stay tuned.)

Some of the legal information sites we talked about included: OJD Family Law website;  Legal Aid Services of Oregon; Oregon State Bar public information; Oregon Council of County Law Libraries (OCCLL) Directory.

Legally Speaking is a call-in cable public-access TV show that airs live on the 4th Thursday of each month, out of the TVCTV studios in Beaverton, Oregon and is rebroadcast at different times throughout the month on Portland metro-area cable access channels, Channel 11 or 23.   —>
http://oregonlegalresearch.blogspot.com/2008/03/oregon-law-librarians-back-on-tv-topic.html
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Video Jam to Air at Drake University, Iowa
by Tracy
WCCA TV (MA)
03/05/08

[ comments allowed ]

Video Jam, WCCA TV ‘s local originated music video show, created by Mauro DePasquale and hosted by Tracy Foley, has been asked to present their show on the Residence Life Channel 7 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa! Video Jam has produced over 500 shows since 1992 and it is seen not only in Massachusetts, but New Hampshire, California, North Dakota, and now Iowa!
http://www.wccatv.com/node/12100
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Stars Shine in Sunshine Week Print, Broadcast Public Service Ads
American Society of Newspaper Editors
The Earth Times
03/05/08

[ no comments ]

A series of broadcast and print public service ads featuring 13 actors, who are high-profile members of The Creative Coalition, speaking about the importance of open and accountable government has been produced for Sunshine Week, March 16-22, and can be used throughout the election season in conjunction with the Sunshine Campaign. The PSAs were developed by the Radio-Television News Directors Association and Foundation, and the American Society of Newspaper Editors, in cooperation with The Creative Coalition, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.   —>
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/stars-shine-in-sunshine-week-print-broadcast-public-service-ads,303943.shtml
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AmericanTowns.com Offers Unprecedented Access to Local Information for Every Town in America
Network of “Community Webspaces” Provides a Better Way for People To Find and Share Local Content Online
Business Wire
03/05/08

AmericanTowns.com LLC today raised the bar in the hyperlocal space by launching a new version of AmericanTowns.com. This version, which features a new and unique “community webspace” for each town in America, lets local residents find and share an unprecedented combination of local information: community events, local news, train schedules, charitable organizations, local videos, farmers’ markets, jobs, real estate, privacy protection, “sales and savings,” local services and a host of online and previously offline community resources.   —>
http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20080305006021&newsLang=en
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

New Voices Grant App Deadline; LSE Conf Call for Papers

February 17, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

[ 1 comment ]

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

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

The conference is at London School of Economics and Political Science, London, Sunday 21st – Tuesday 23rd September 2008.  Abstracts should be submitted by 1st March 2008. Go here to submit abstract and/or register.
http://www.charliebeckett.org/?p=406
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/30/07

December 31, 2007

MacTV channels moving on Comcast
The Grand Rapids Press (MI)
12/30/07

HOLLAND — Just when fans of MacTV were getting used to seeing their public access programming on Channels 24 through 26 on their Comcast cable system, they’re moving again.  Comcast officials say the city of Holland’s public, educational and government programming will be moved to Channel 916 through 918 effective Jan. 15 as part of its digital service.   —>
http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2007/12/mactv_channels_moving_on_comca.html
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County board meetings won’t be aired
by Paul Marose
Daily Citizen (WI)
12/30/07

JUNEAU – The Dodge County Board Show is off the air.  At least for the time being.  Viewers in Juneau who watched board broadcasts carried on local, public-access, cable TV may have to enjoy the board in person in 2008, since funding to televise regular, monthly board meetings has failed.   —>
http://www.wiscnews.com/bdc/news/264736
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Board disbands cable committee
by James Fuccione
The Beacon (MA)
12/20/07

BOXBOROUGH – With two consecutive unanimous votes, the Board of Selectmen disbanded the Cable Advisory Committee while giving its responsibilities, under a newly revised charter, to the Boxborough Information Technology Committee.  In August, selectmen charged the Boxborough Information Technology Committee, known as BITcom, with extensively discussing a proposal to merge their group with the Cable Advisory Committee and, at Monday night’s meeting, BITcom Chairman Jay Bhatia reported his committee’s recommendations.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/acton/homepage/x360512786
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Pembroke: Progress on Cable Pact
by John Laidler
Boston Globe (MA)
12/30/07

Selectmen will be receiving an update in January from the Cable Advisory Committee on the panel’s negotiations with Comcast on a new franchise agreement for the company to offer cable television service in town. Comcast is currently providing service under the town’s previous franchise agreement with Adelphia Communications, whose assets were assumed by Comcast. That agreement expired some months ago, but Comcast is operating under it pending the completion of a new one.   Also next month, representatives of Verizon are expected to update selectmen on that company’s project to install a fiber optic network in town.    —>
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/12/30/store_employees_face_theft_charges/?page=3
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Barack Obama will change the system part 2
by Populista
MyDD.com
12/30/07

Yesterday I wrote about the need for systematic change in this country and why Barack Obama had the best plan and record to accomplish that of any of the candidates running. In that diary I talked about his support for public financing of elections and the bills he had introduced to make that a reality with progressive champion Russ Feingold. Since I wrote that I have found out he introduced a bill to publicly finance elections in the Illinois State Senate too. Hard to still make the claim that he is only doing this to win votes.

There is a old saying in the media reform movement “if media is not your number one issue, it has to be your second issue.” In this post I am going to focus on my second issue, media reform.   —>
http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/12/30/232940/51
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So long, Inside The Times; hello, journalism’s future
by Mike Fancher
Seattle Times (WA)
12/30/07

The tradition in my family has been to say “So long,” rather than goodbye. The difference is that “so long” means goodbye only until the next time.  Today’s “Inside The Times” is my last, after almost 16 years and more than 600 columns. As I explained in columns the past two weeks, I’ll start a Seattle Times blog about the press, the public and technology after the first of the year and explore it until I retire sometime in the first half of 2008.

This final column is one of optimistic hope for the future of public-service journalism. It is a leap of faith to a future when new economic models have been found to support the public journal as a public trust. I’m confident in making that leap because I believe the American people will act in their own enlightened interest to preserve a free and independent press.   They will because “The primary purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing.” That quote is from what I consider the best modern book on media, “The Elements of Journalism.”   —>
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/insidethetimes/2004099333_fancher30.html
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Pew/Internet Study Finds Most Americans Get Their Answers From The Internet
by Vanessa Fox
Search Engine Land
12/30/07

A PEW/Internet and American Life study out today finds that the place Americans turn to most for answers is the internet. The study, which surveyed 2,796 Americans, found that 76% have internet access and that 58% turn to the internet when they have questions about things like health, school, careers, and government issues. The project focused on how people use the internet, libraries, and government resources when they need to solve problems and found that those without high-speed internet access (no access or dial-up only) were less satisfied with their ability to get the answers they were seeking.

Overall, people tend to consult two to three sources for information and are generally satisfied with the results. 77% of internet users (55% of Americans) have high-speed access; whereas 18% are still on dial-up. The speed of access seems to make a big difference in whether a searcher turns to the internet or some other source for answers. Those with broadband access spend more time online and are happier with their online experiences. 77% of those with broadband access at home used the internet for answers, compared to 57% of those with dial-up access.   Below, more findings on internet usage, particularly in researching health and government-related issues.   —>
http://searchengineland.com/071230-161116.php
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It’s The Network, Stupid!
by G. Patton Hughes
Media Shift
12/30/07

My challenge has been summed up as making money from a hyperlocal community web site or, said differently “It is the sales, stupid.” (see previous entry)  That is a gross oversimplification. What my 21st Century Newchallenge is all about is building a sustainable business model based on connecting a community. That means it is always about the network. Sales and revenues impact sustainability but are secondary to the core mission, which is to develop the community.   —>

If challenged to say what is the community, I could just smirk and say, read the site; all 1.7 million posts. If you were to ask, how do you know you have a community, that could be answered objectively.

Obviously, one of the key metrics defining the success of a web site is the amount of time spent on a site. According to the compete.com analytics for Paulding.com, the average visit on Pcom last 17 minutes and 33 seconds as they view an average 14.6 pages. This compares to a typical local news site – I’ll choose Macon.com (Macon Ga) which has an average visit of 4 minutes 51 seconds and 4.9 pages, also according to compete.com. The primary reason for the difference are the social networking aspects of paulding.com.

Indeed, paulding.com’s figures in the social networking world pale in comparison to myspace.com which compete.com puts at the head of the pack. Compete.com says each visit to that site consumes 24 minutes and 26 seconds of the visitors time as they peruse 36.6 pages. Paulding does compare favorably to Facebook in terms of time on site (14:09) but those college kids tear through 43 pages on each visit according to compete.com.

When thinking about these figures, it is important to consider the demographics of the audiences involved. Myspace has a reputation of skewing to younger people … literally high-school age and even younger. Certainly these kids have more time to burn than their college age brothers and sisters and of course, Paulding.com members tend to be marginally older – I.e. adults living in a hyperlocal community.

Regardless, the ability to gain such high levels of involvement are a distinct advantage common to successful social networking sites. That paulding.com competes favorably in terms of time spent shows it is possible to overlay a social network on a hyperlocal geographic environment. (Kind of a ‘duh’ moment it seems to me.)

Key to this success in the hyperlocal environment is the audience. The most desirable computing component in these local deep networks is the wetware – the people who come together to form these networks. For myspace it is the peers of the tweens and teens; for facebook, college peers constitute the largest draw. Frankly, one of the main reasons both sites are a success is that most there are probably on the make.

While there is some of that on paulding.com, the draw is infinitely more community minded. Many come to this hyperlocal community because they need the knowledge of those who live and know the community.  The point is each kind of social network targets a different demographic group – and most are places where ‘people like me’ congregate. That the large national social networks seem to target the youth is unmistakable. What is equally obvious is that in the hyperlocal sphere, it is geography rather than the common angst of being pubescent that is at the core of the social mortar.   —>
http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2007/12/it-is-the-network-stupid.html
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NTV Predictions: Online Video Stars
by Liz Gannes
NewTeeVee
12/30/07

Among the questions we’ve asked our panel of experts was this one: Which online video star do you think will make it big in 2008?  Selections from their responses are below. We’d love to hear your take on the question or on our panelists’ predictions in the comments. For more information on the NewTeeVee 2008 outsourced predictions, see this post.

Henry Jenkins, director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities (media and popular culture academic)   —>
http://newteevee.com/2007/12/30/ntv-predictions-online-video-stars/
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/28/07

December 31, 2007

Editorial: Is cable TV law really needed?
Commercial Appeal (TN)
12/28/07

When it was making the rounds in the Tennessee General Assembly last spring, a bill dealing with cable television franchising was jokingly dubbed “the Lobbyists Full Employment Act.”  The legislation would have allowed cable companies to get statewide franchising authority, which means they wouldn’t have been required to negotiate separate agreements with individual cities and counties.

The Competitive Cable and Video Service Act, as it was officially known, earned its nickname because so many high-powered lobbyists were involved in arguing the bill’s pros and cons. Even though the legislation didn’t win approval this year, AT&T Inc., the bill’s primary supporter, wants the debate to resume next year.  However, based on what’s been happening across the border in Mississippi, it’s fair to question if that would be a good use of Tennessee legislators’ limited time.   —>
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2007/dec/28/editorials-is-cable-tv-law-really-needed/
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A big year for the IT guy
Issues forced techies to the forefront in 2007
by Steve Lord
The Beacon News (IL)
12/28/07

GENEVA — The IT guy has long ago shed the nerd image and become the VIP of the office.  And in 2007, at least in the Fox Valley, the people who run Information Technology took it one step further and stepped out from behind the door to the server office, becoming a public face themselves.

No one personified that more than Pete Collins, IT guy for the city of Geneva. Whether lobbying for a fair law governing cable and Internet video, helping get a deal for free wireless Web service or turning on the city’s webcasts of City Council meetings, Collins was certainly no quiet guy behind glasses and a pocket protector.  “I’ve got a cool job,” he says. “And to me, part of the job is I’m supposed to stand up and fight for the city.”   —>
http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/beaconnews/news/716018,2_1_AU28_FACES_S1.article
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Neighborhood Public Radio mixes up art and radio
by Reyhan Harmanci
San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
12/28/07

Every now and then since 2004, while scanning the lower end of the FM spectrum in certain parts of the Bay Area, it’s been possible to cut through the static and hear something unexpected.  You might have heard a raucous noise band performing live, or a teenager interviewing another teenager about life in Hunters Point, or a roundtable of artists discussing their work, or a man-on-the-street-style interview done on the street, all courtesy of NPR.

That’s not NPR as in National Public Radio, but, rather, a conceptual art project and mobile pirate radio station called Neighborhood Public Radio.  The loose collective, headed by artists Lee Montgomery, Michael Trigilio and Jon Brumit, typically sets up in an art gallery with little more than a banner, booth, microphone and transmitter and a rough schedule of hyper-local programs aimed toward maximum neighborhood participation…

Neighborhood Public Radio will be in New York City beginning in March for its three-month residency as part of the Whitney Biennial, but thanks to the Internet, you can listen to its broadcasts live or dig into its archived offerings. http://www.neighborhoodpublicradio.org.   —>
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/12/28/DD63U0PKS.DTL
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Cooking show keeps pastor busy
by Doug Zellmer
The Northwestern (WI)
12/28/07

Inspiration comes in many forms, and for Rev. Paul Stephens growing up meant spending time in the family kitchen.  Stephens, who lives in Omro, didn’t know it at the time, but his knowledge of how to cook from his early years has paid off in a cooking show he hosts on Oshkosh Community Access Television.   —>
http://www.thenorthwestern.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071228/OSH/71228125/1987
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Congratualtions Global Voices Online on such a wonderful initiative!
by David Sasaki
Global Voices
12/28/07

The inaugural group of Rising Voices citizen media outreach projects have given us new and powerful voices from communities that previously were rarely seen participating online. Last month we put out a call for new citizen media outreach proposals, of which five would be selected to join our current projects based in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, India, and Sierra Leone.

In total we received 63 project proposals from over 35 different countries. Although the quantity of applications was less than the 142 we received in July, the quality and innovation that stood out throughout all of this round’s proposals made the selection process far more difficult. The overwhelming response to the latest Rising Voices grant competition is, once again, a testament to the global enthusiasm for citizen media from rural Uganda to Orthodox communities in Israel, from the mountains of Guatemala to the working class neighborhoods of Serbia.

The five grant winners are representative of the innovation, purpose and good will that Rising Voices aims to support:

Youth Media Consultative Forum in Nakuru, Kenya   —>
Iran Inside Out: A Videoblogging Initiative   —>
Bloggers Desde la Infancia (Bloggers Since Infancy) – Uruguay   —>
Bringing Malagasy Forumists to the World of Citizen Journalism – Madagascar   —>
Diary of an Inmate – Jamaica   —>
http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2007/12/28/congratulations-new-rising-voices/
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 12/13/07

December 14, 2007

Way Beyond YouTube! Wiki on US PEG Streaming
by Deep Dish
Waves of Change
12/13/07

The Alliance for Community Media has set up a Wiki with links to streaming PEG (Public, Educational and Government) channels in the U.S. You can get a sense of what sort of programming is being presented on these channels. Access centers can add their own url if it has not been included on the interactive site.
http://deepdishwavesofchange.blogspot.com/2007/12/way-beyond-youtube-wiki-on-us-peg.html
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Opponents of cable bill lobby Doyle to again use partial veto
by Charles Brace
The Daily Cardinal (WI)
12/13/07

The bill relating to cable television passed the Assembly Tuesday, but opponents still hope Gov. Jim Doyle will veto portions of the legislation before signing it.  State Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, (above) said he believes Gov. Jim Doyle is willing to veto portions of the recently passed cable bill.   —>
http://www.dailycardinal.com/article/1559
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Cable competition bill concerns local officials
by Jeff Bollier
Oshkosh Northwestern (WI)
12/13/07

A proposal to replace local cable television agreements with a statewide licensing system only needs Gov. Jim Doyle’s approval to become law now despite the proposal’s impact on public access channel revenues and doubts about how much added competition will lower cable rates.  The bill, lobbied for heavily by AT&T, does away with the local licensing agreements that started in the 1970s and replaces it with a single statewide license. Getting one license to operate in the entire state was advocated by AT&T as a faster and more efficient way for it to enter the state’s cable market.

But Oshkosh Community Access Television Executive Director Jon Urben, a strong opponent of the bill because of its impact on community stations like OCAT, said he fears the bill will not reduce consumers’ cable rates. Urben also pointed out the city of Oshkosh’s franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable does not exclude AT&T, Charter Communications or any other cable provider from offering services in the Oshkosh market.  “The idea of more competition resonates so well with everyone, but nowhere in the bill does it say your cable bill is going to go down,” Urben said. “The system has been this way for more than 30 years and there’s never been a barrier to AT&T coming into the community. They just want to get into the market with less government regulation.”   —>
http://www.thenorthwestern.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071213/OSH/71213102/1987
~

EDITORIAL: Cable deregulation harmful for Wisconsin Consumers
The Daily Telegram (WI)
12/13/07

Wisconsin consumers beware.  Legislation awaiting the governor’s likely signature claims to be in the best interest of video service network subscribers — cable TV viewers.  The objective of Assembly Bill 207 is to take franchise agreements out of the hands of local government and move governance of those agreements to the state.  The goal, the bill’s authors say, is to hold down costs by fostering competition. On its surface that sounds like a good plan, but it’s deregulation, which has rarely benefited consumers.

The bill offers little in the way of consumer protection. Mandatory standards of service are minimal. And if the cable provider fails to meet even those minimum standards, there is no enforcement mechanism.  A consumer’s recourse — file a court action and get a judge to order the company to comply with the law.

The bill does offer support to maintain public access, but critics are undoubtedly correct when they say the legislation will eventually starve it to death. Wisconsin offers a long list of examples of breaking its promises to balance the state checkbook on the backs of property owners — courts, public health, social services, shared revenue. It’s only a matter of time before fees to support public access are added to the list. However, it’s more likely to go away since AB 207 doesn’t allow local government to tax for the cost.

The bill already prevents local government from collecting permit fees when the cable company uses a public right-of way. It’s a fee other utilities are required to pay.  The governor should whip out his veto pen and send AB 207 back to the Legislature with instruction to follow the suggestion of Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma. Her idea is to adopt a bill that mirrors a cable bill adopted in Illinois.

The Illinois bill protects consumers, sets service standards and has a means to penalize companies that don’t meet those requirements. Illinois also has the mechanism in place to protect the general public interest, whether or not individuals are cable customers, by allowing municipalities to recoup costs for inspection of work in the public right-of-way.
http://www.superiortelegram.com/articles/index.cfm?id=24168&section=Opinion&freebie_check&CFID=74509424&CFTOKEN=29468353&jsessionid=88304829b2f95b251618
~

Public access television to add second channel
New channel will air government, education
by Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun (CA)
12/12/07

Community television has been a bit too successful in the North Tahoe area.  Coverage of Truckee-Tahoe government meetings has overwhelmed the public-access programming the region’s cable provider broadcasts to its viewers in the Truckee-North Tahoe area.  To stay true to its mandate of providing the public its own broadcast outlet, Truckee Tahoe Community Television will add a second public-access channel to improve community coverage.   —>
http://www.sierrasun.com/article/20071212/COMMUNITY/71212004/-1/rss01
~

TV production training is free at MCTV
by Paul Boerger
Mt. Shasta News (CA)
12/12/07

If you ever had the notion to put on or be part of a television program – whether educational, talk show, entertainment or documentary, or running the equipment or learning any of the other many activities that TV production entails – then Mountain Community Television Channel 15 has the studio and people to make that happen for you.

MCTV15 is the non-profit Siskiyou County public access television station broadcast by Northland Cable. The studio is located at College of the Siskiyous in Weed, and the public is invited to be part of the station. In partnership with COS, classes on many aspects of television production are also available for credit.

“We have up-to-date equipment just waiting for the public to take advantage of,” said Audra Gibson, president of the board of directors. “We’re not the local news station. The programming is citizen generated.”  Gibson said the station is open to a wide range of programming.

“We invite you to take your creativity and bring it to MCTV15. We’re looking for a variety of programs including events, talk shows, educational, sports, kids activities, cooking, news magazines and school activities. Authors, musicians and artists can showcase their work,” Gibson said. “Let your imagination be your guide. If you are interested in getting an event or story on television, we can assist you in making that happen.”   —>
http://www.mtshastanews.com/articles/2007/12/12/news/area_news/01mctv_training.txt
~

Tech companies and public interest groups form coalition to expand broadband access
by Kevin Bogardus
The Hill
12/13/07

Tech giants and public interest watchdogs joined forces Wednesday in a new coalition to support new portable wireless devices that will utilize underused parts of the spectrum for Internet service.  The Wireless Innovation Alliance (WIA) is a new group comprised of IT companies like Google and Hewlett-Packard as well as watchdog groups such as Free Press and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. They have teamed up as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) considers rules for devices designed to provide broadband access using “white spaces” — unused parts of the spectrum that typically would be occupied by television frequencies.

“All government is doing is setting the road signs,” said Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), speaking at the press conference announcing the alliance. “But the private sector can’t move ahead until the road signs are established.”   —>
http://thehill.com/business–lobby/tech-companies-and-public-interest-groups-form-coalition-to-expand-broadband-access-2007-12-13.html
~

Today: TV static. Tomorrow: broadband.
by Richard Whitt
Google Public Policy Blog
12/12/07

Remember how, before cable and satellite TV became ubiquitous in our homes, we would have to turn the VHF dial on our old televisions to watch local channels? NBC might have been on channel 3, CBS on 10, and ABC on 17. And between those channels…was static.

Today, the spaces between those channels remain largely unused. But now a consensus is growing that those portions of TV spectrum — known as “white spaces” — could be used to expand Internet access through low power personal devices, akin to Wi-Fi. Best of all, new spectrum sensing technologies can ensure that this spectrum could be used for mobile broadband service without interfering one bit with television signals. Which means that not only would more Americans be able to reach the Internet, but also that I’ll still be able to watch The Colbert Report (at least once the Hollywood writers’ strike is settled).

Over the past few months, bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the House (by Reps. Jay Inslee and Nathan Deal) and Senate (by Sens. John Kerry and Gordon Smith) to open up this spectrum. We support these bills and thank their sponsors. At the same time, the Federal Communications Commission is currently evaluating the technology concepts behind this issue. As part of that process, we met last week with some of the FCC’s engineers and presented encouraging test results based on ongoing trials of wireless technologies.

Today, Google joined a broad-based coalition of technology companies, public interest and consumer groups, civil rights organizations, think tanks, and higher education groups to launch the Wireless Innovation Alliance, a new group to promote the numerous benefits that the “white spaces” can bring to consumers. The members of the coalition have already helped secure significant political support for our goals from Members of Congress, and we will be working over the next several months to educate more policymakers about the promise of white spaces. And while some have sought recently to politicize this process, we think the FCC should be allowed to conduct its analysis free of political considerations.

Between today’s TV channels lies the opportunity for more Americans to enjoy the Internet’s rich resources. We’ll be working hard to make sure this debate is marked by more clarity, and less static.   —>
http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2007/12/today-tv-static-tomorrow-broadband.html
~

Your Guide to Hyper-Local News
by Mark Glaser
MediaShift
12/13/07

From time to time, I’ll give an overview of one broad MediaShift topic, annotated with online resources and plenty of tips. The idea is to help you understand the topic, learn the jargon, and take action. I’ve already covered blogging, citizen journalism, widgets and other topics. This week I’ll look at hyper-local news.   —>
http://www.personalbee.com/227/24641677
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Cable Industry Launches ‘Our Time To Vote,’ a $5 Million National Multi-Cultural Voter Education and Registration Campaign
Public Service Announcements, Webpage, Hotline and Comcast Foundation grants to diverse organizations headline campaign
Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications, Inc. and Bright House Networks to support effort
PR Newswire
12/13/07

Comcast , the nation’s leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services, today announced the launch of “Our Time to Vote,” a year-long, non-partisan voter education and registration campaign designed to increase voting in diverse communities served by the cable industry.

“Comcast recognizes that broader participation in the democratic process is important for our nation, and we are very pleased to launch this partnership to pursue that goal,” said Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen. “This campaign reflects the cable industry’s commitment to strong local communities and to active public citizenship.”

The estimated $5 million campaign features four multi-cultural public service announcements (PSAs), as well as the creation and launch of two nationally available voter education resources: the www.ourtimetovote.com webpage and a voter information resources hotline, 1.866.544.VOTE.

The PSAs will begin airing on December 15, leading up to the 2008 primary elections in Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications, Inc. and Bright House Networks markets. They feature appearances by African American, Asian American and Hispanic entertainers and leaders, including Ana Ortiz, George Lopez, Lou Diamond Phillips, Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Margaret Cho, encouraging diverse audiences to register to vote. A series of “Get out the Vote” spots will run from September 1, 2008, through November 3, 2008, just prior to the general election. The PSAs can be viewed at:
http://www.comcastnews.com/Multicultural2008.wmv
http://www.comcastnews.com/AfricanAmerican2008.wmv
http://www.comcastnews.com/Asian2008.wmv
http://www.comcastnews.com/Hispanic2008.wmv

“Too few Americans vote and that hurts our democracy,” said FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps. “‘Our Time to Vote’ is a welcome and multi-faceted campaign to promote citizen participation in the electoral process. It’s a real public service.”

The Comcast Foundation has also awarded grants to the following organizations to help support their nonpartisan voter outreach efforts:
— Asian Pacific Islander American Vote
— The Hispanic Federation
— League of United Latin American Citizens
— The NAACP National Voter Fund
— National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials
—>
http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/prnewswire/NETH04413122007-1.htm
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 11/02/07

November 3, 2007

Senate vote on cable TV bill next week, support thinning
New Richmond News (WI)
11/01/07

Wisconsin senators plan to vote a week from today (Thursday) on the controversial cable TV re-regulation bill.
The Joint Finance Committee endorsed it 13-3 Wednesday. But previous union support for the bill is getting thinner.  The Milwaukee chapter of the Communications Workers of America now opposes the measure, although its national union supports it. Local president George Walls says it won’t add the number of jobs supporters claim.  He says carriers might shy away from rural areas and public access channels could go dark.  —>
http://www.newrichmond-news.com/articles/index.cfm?id=84857&section=winews,Wisconsin%20News&property_id=19&freebie_check&CFID=63796696&CFTOKEN=39289500&jsessionid=8830d872fd8f22773275
~

Local communications union pulls support of video bill
by Judith Davidoff and David Callende
Capital Times (WI)
11/01/07

Though AT&T says good jobs will go to its workers if the state passes a proposed video franchise bill, the largest union local in its Wisconsin workforce is not buying it.  “We’re very concerned about the future of AT&T jobs in Wisconsin,” George Wells, president of the Communication Workers of America Local 4603, said in an interview Wednesday.

Wells is delivering a letter today to Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, D-Weston, notifying him that the local is pulling its support from the bill.  “While we fully understand the importance of statewide video franchising, the proposed legislation has a significant number of flaws which need to be addressed, especially when compared to the video bill recently passed in the state of Illinois,” Walls wrote in the letter.   —>
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/254557
~

Lt. Governor Brings Cable Access Show to WCCA TV
by Tracy Foley
WCCA TV (MA)
11/02/07

Lt. Governor Timothy Murray, who was featured monthly on WCCA TV’s show Soapbox, now has his very own cable access show, “The Commonwealth Report”.  The subject of the first episode is Veterans’ Services.   —>

http://www.wccatv.com/node/11689
~

Cable TV to tape, air committee meeting
by Patrick Ferrell
Daily Southtown (IL)
11/02/07

New Lenox’s cable TV local access channel plans to tape and air next week’s meeting of a School District 122 board committee, something the volunteer group doesn’t normally do.  At the committee of the whole meeting, the board plans to further discuss a proposed investigation into board member Maureen Broderick for what the superintendent has called “official misconduct with civil and potential criminal implications.”

“I think it would be appropriate for us to inform the public about what happens at the meeting,” said Tom Arthur, the cable channel’s coordinator. “There’s a lot of information I’m hoping to gain from the meeting.”  Channel 6 typically airs the school board’s regular meetings, which occur on the third Wednesday of every month. But it doesn’t typically show the more informal committee meetings that are held on the first Wednesday of the month.   —>
http://www.dailysouthtown.com/news/632101,110207nltv.article
~

Show Me The Money . . . ?
by Donn Swaby
Huffington Post
11/01/07

—>   If we to go a step further and give all candidates equal access to the media via debates televised on public access television, then U.S. citizens may actually be exposed to truly original ideas offered up people they may otherwise not even know about.   —>
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donn-swaby/show-me-the-money-_b_70815.html
~

Public speaks out on cable contract
Cable committee readies for contract negotiations
by Melissa Lattman
SeacoastOnline.com (NH)
11/02/07

NEWMARKET — The cable franchise review committee held a public hearing Monday night on Comcast’s performance and the cable-related needs of the community.  The current 15-year franchise agreement expires in May 2008. The committee plans to initiate negotiations with Comcast later this year and submit a proposed franchise agreement for Town Council consideration in March 2008.

From the public, the committee heard about: channel choices, the desire for an additional public access channel, reception of Channel 13, and questions about digital cable boxes.  Dr. Kenneth George said he would like a real community access channel not just one for government and educational programming. As a chiropractor, George produced an educational video. “A real community access channel, not just government and education. Not just to get my video on. (There’s) a ton of wonderful programming that cannot afford to get on the traditional channels,” George said.   —>
http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071102/NEWS/711020329/-1/rss04
~

RCTV seeks help from satellite dish owner
SeacoastOnline.com (NH)
11/02/07

RAYMOND — Raymond Community Television is looking for some help. According to RCTV Chairman Kevin Woods, there are many programs available to public-access stations via satellite.  “NasaTV, Annenberg Corporation and Edtv are just a few providers or quality educational and entertaining programming that community stations like RCTV can air for its residents,” Woods said.  RCTV is looking for someone with a satellite dish that can receive C and or KU band transmissions. “We will assist them with the ability to record the programs for us and can provide the recording media.”   —>
http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071102/NEWS/711020324/-1/NEWS13&sfad=1
~

Cable TV show airs news for county
Newport News Times (OR)
11/02/07

“Inside Lincoln County,” the county’s half-hour cable television show, is airing its 11th episode this month, with topics specially selected to captivate a wide range of community members’ interests. The show was designed to keep Lincoln County residents abreast of the programs and services provided by county government.

Liz Sample, the county’s public information officer, has been receiving numerous compliments about the format and content of the cable show.  “Residents have been pleased that the show informs them about services they didn’t even know the county offered,” Sample said. “They are also learning a great deal about Lincoln County itself through its more historical segments. This show illustrates our community’s strong history while looking ahead into the future through new programs and grant opportunities. It’s important for the citizens to know not only where their tax dollars are being spent, but what some of the hurdles are that we are still up against.”   —>
http://www.newportnewstimes.com/articles/2007/11/02/community/community02.txt
~

[ Interesting thoughts here about the function and effect of public access television.  If moved, please respond on Professor Gordon’s blog. – rm ]

CCTV MediaMap (MA)
by Eric Gordon
The Place of Social Media
11/02/07

CCTV is a community media center in Cambridge, MA that is doing some fascinating work in the integration of web media to the mission of community television. My grad student, Colin Rhinesmith, is doing his master’s thesis on this topic and has done some exemplary research thus far on the implications of this integration.

While Colin is exploring this topic in extensive detail through analyzing the culture of access centers, I want to take a moment to reflect on just one aspect of CCTV’s efforts – what they call the mediamap. This is basically a Google Map that is placemarked with local video, including everything from a cyclist’s perspective to a promotional video for a new coffee shop. The result of this mediamap is a collection of local video annotated with GPS coordinates. In this context, the video works in service to the map. So what you end up with is really a map that is annotated with video. The primary object of engagement is the map – the video, like place names or boundaries, becomes the data that enhances the map.

Why does this matter? Well, it would seem that this particular model of community television uses ‘television’ to qualify community, as opposed to using community to qualify television. This is a rather distinct shift from previous models of ‘community television’, where localism was premised on the practice of production primarily.

Is Mediamap a push or a pull technology? In other words, does it push the notion of localism out to the globe, or does it pull the globe into the local. Based on what I said above, it is a pull technology. It pulls the map into the video, it pulls television into the community. Localism, I would argue, has long been premised on push technologies. Self-identification happened within defined boundaries and then, if blessed with a media infrastructure, communities could push that identity outward.

Networked media has introduced opportunities to reverse that paradigm. Localism can now be a result of external influences, re-contextualized and reformatted to fit local needs. This is both an exciting prospect and a threat to local cohesiveness. If the ability to pull is that strong, then there is little incentive to produce meaning from the directly proximate. Meaning can be pulled in from elsewhere to define local life. Consider, Facebook’s neighborhood widget as an example.

So, what is the perfect balance between push and pull technologies for localism? I don’t know the answer, but I’m advocating here that we should start asking the question.
http://placeofsocialmedia.com/blog/2007/11/02/cctv-mediamap/
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 10/17/07

October 17, 2007

[ A new ‘experiments in citizen journalism’ review blog has just been launched:  PBS’ MediaShift Idea LabThis may be one many of you will want to bookmark.  See Mark Glaser’s full story at the bottom of this entry.   – rm ]

AT&T suit challenges Blumenthal
by Rob Varnon
Connecticut Post
10/16/07

HARTFORD — Attorney General Richard Blumenthal blasted AT&T’s Tuesday court filing challenging the latest order by Connecticut regulators that would force the telecom giant to get a cable franchise license for its U-Verse TV service.  This sets the stage for a possible showdown between the federal government and the state over regulating television service.   —>
http://www.connpost.com/ci_7198165
~

Blumenthal: AT&T wasting its time on litigation (CT)
by John O’Brien
LegalNewsline.com
10/17/07

HARTFORD – Despite a recent federal court ruling, AT&T still refuses to apply for a cable license in Connecticut and state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal refuses to let the company get away with it.  Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Alderton decided she would not reconsider her July ruling that requires AT&T’s U-Verse Internet Protocol Television service be regulated as a cable service. The company responded Oct. 10 with a motion to alter judgment.

“AT&T shareholders and consumers should be outraged by the company’s colossal waste of resources on litigation simply to avoid vital consumer protections,” Blumenthal said. “We are ready to wholeheartedly to assist AT&T in obtaining a full cable franchise, but they are flagrantly breaking the law — seeking to avoid the franchise and all of the consumer protections that go with it.”   —>
http://www.legalnewsline.com/news/202688-blumenthal-att-wasting-its-time-on-litigation
~

St. Paul City Council debates available online
by Paul Demko
CityPages.com (MN)
10/17/07
The St. Paul Neighborhood Network is taping debates for all seven city council races. The discussions are being show on public-access TV, but can also be watched via the group’s web site. So far Ward 6 (featuring Dan Bostrom and Pakou Hang) and Ward 7 (with Kathy Lantry and Janine Kelly) are posted.
http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2007/10/st_paul_city_co.php
~

Residents Seek Fairness in the Media
by Mark Jenkins
WMBB (FL)
10/16/07
Residents hold a community forum questioning fairness in the media.   It was presented by the Bay County Chapter of Rainbow PUSH Coalition and was held at the Glenwood Community Center.  News 13s Jerry Brown represented News 13 at the forum and talked with those in attendance about how we cover the news on a daily basis.

Some of those at the forum voiced concerns about the way African-Americans are presented in news coverage, saying all to often only the negative is reported.  “On a stereotypical basis you know we’re drug dealers, we’re pimps, we’re lazy, all different types of criminals,” says Rainbow PUSH Coordinator Gregory Dossie.  “That’s how we’re portrayed in the media we know that news needs to be reported, but also we have doctors, lawyers, other people who are athletes and entertainers so we want to let the media know there’s another side to us.”   —>
http://www.wmbb.com/gulfcoastwest/mbb/news.apx.-content-articles-MBB-2007-10-16-0023.html
~

Straight to the Point
Media reform is a way out of our political crisis
by Jon Ungphakorn
Bangkok Post
10/17/07
—>   The objective of media reform will be to enable all types of media to play a supportive role in educating and supporting the population for active democratic participation in the affairs of the country.  The first task will be to break down the barriers obstructing the growth and development of civil society media, such as web blogs and community radio stations. To free the internet for public access to information and political debate, the Computer Crimes Act (which I discussed two weeks ago) will need to be amended to eliminate restrictions on political expression.

This may be achieved through a civil society signature campaign in accordance with the constitution.  Public pressure must be put on the relevant authorities, particularly the still-to-be-established joint Telecommunications and Broadcasting Commission, to support the development of genuine, independent and non-commercial community radio stations throughout the country.   —>
http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/17Oct2007_news25.php
~

Reinventing Community News
MediaShift Launches Idea Lab Group Blog
by Mark Glaser
10/16/07

few weeks back, I heard gunshots outside my window. It was pretty scary, and reminded me of my urban environment here in Potrero Hill, San Francisco. But where could I turn to get the story on what happened? Was someone killed? Do police know what happened? In the past, I might have heard something about it on the local TV news or radio news, or perhaps read something in the local newspaper.

But in this case, no one was hurt or killed, so there was nothing to see in any of the bigger media outlets in my local area. Later, I got the details on what happened from a local email list related to the Potrero Hill Parents Association. I found out that people in two passing cars had fired upon each other and hadn’t hurt any bystanders.

This case illustrates to me the disconnect between the local news happening in my neighborhood down at the real block-by-block level and the way local news outlets fail to cover that news. We have an opportunity, thanks to technology and the Internet, to serve communities better than ever before, give them a voice in news coverage and make local news a much more interactive experience.

MediaShift Idea Lab will be a place where you can read about what innovators are doing to help reinvent community news. The dozens of authors at this new group blog — hosted by PBS.org and funded by the Knight Foundation — have received grants from Knight in their 21st Century News Challenge, and are going to report first-hand on the status of their projects. Some of them are actually being given grants just to blog about a topic related to reinventing journalism in communities.

Some of the featured projects include:

>  MIT’s new Center for Future Civic Media, designed to build stronger communities through innovation in digital media applied to journalism.

>  MTV’s “Knight Mobile Youth Journalists” program to help cover the 2008 U.S. elections in a different way. These young people will create video news reports for distribution on cell phones. Viewers will rate the videos and those with the highest ratings will be broadcast on MTV.

>  Gotham Gazette’s development of games to inform and engage players about key issues confronting New York City. The games will help people create solutions to civic problems that will be passed on to city officials.

Plus, well known new media thinkers such as NYU’s Jay Rosen, Ourmedia’s J.D. Lasica, EveryBlock’s Adrian Holovaty and Placeblogger’s Lisa Williams will be blogging regularly on the site. The dozens of authors on Idea Lab run the gamut from academia to the private sector, and as more people worldwide get 21st Century News Challenge grants the next few years, they will be added to the mix on Idea Lab.

As the editor of this group blog, I’ll mainly be overseeing the content and design of the site, and will stay out of the way of all the people posting their own stories. The authors will be able to post and publish directly to the site, and I’ll be editing after they have posted content — keeping the content timely and fresh. As readers of Idea Lab, you’ll be able to post comments to any blog post, rate the posts that you like best, and directly contact the authors.

The main MediaShift blog received a grant from Knight to produce Idea Lab and also to launch new multimedia features, such as a regular audio podcast, video reports and a citizen media project. I’m looking forward to having those features come to fruition and hope there will be many chances for collaboration with the Idea Lab authors on MediaShift as well. I will continue to laud and criticize Knight’s many intiatives, as I did with the News21 program recently, remaining editorially independent and transparent.

As with most things on MediaShift, I am trying to “walk my talk” even with underwriting for the blog. I often write about advertisers and funders trying to work in new ways online with media outlets to better serve their audience. So when I approached Knight, I wanted to do something more than simply get funding; I wanted to create something deeper, a collaboration that would equally serve Knight, MediaShift, PBS and our combined community of involved readers and doers.

After many months of hard work from everyone involved in this project, I’m really proud (and relieved) to have it go live online. I look forward to your readership, participation and feedback as we reinvent community news together on the new MediaShift Idea Lab site.
http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2007/10/reinventing_community_newsmedi.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