Archive for the ‘new media’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/03/08

May 4, 2008

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

[ comments invited ]

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

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

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

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

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

[ comments invited ]

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

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

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

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

[ comments invited ]

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

[ comments invited ]

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

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

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

[ 7 comments ]

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

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

[ 32 comments ]

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

[ 1 comment ]

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

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

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

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

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

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

[ 14 comments ]

Is new media killing journalism?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An important thrust of this agenda is to help build sustained policies, practices and institutions that are megaphones for citizen’s voice and demand for good governance. Community radio development is being given special attention because it has proved to be a sustainable and interactive medium for poor and illiterate populations to articulate issues important to them, mobilize information, learn the give and take of informed discussion and debate, and become more decisive agents in their own development.  These non-profit, non-partisan stations are owned and operated by the communities they serve, and perform an important public service for poor constituencies, eliciting their views and concerns, and encouraging them to speak out, both among themselves and to local government.
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/WBI/EXTCEERD/0,,menuPK:542912~pagePK:64168427~piPK:64168435~theSitePK:542906,00.html
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

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Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/27/08

April 28, 2008

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

[ comments invited ]

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

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

[ comments invited ]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[ comments invited ]

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

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

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

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

Or not.

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

[ comments invited ]

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

Keeping The Public in the Dark

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

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

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

[ comments invited ]

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

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

[ comments invited ]

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

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/24/08

March 25, 2008

New Media Network Kicks Off
by Maneeza Iqbal
MyMissourian.com (MO)
03/24/08

[ comments invited ]

The new session is underway. My First Ward: Digital Storytelling workshop kicked off March 12th. My First Ward is a arts and community development program to introduce youth in Columbia’s first ward to digital storytelling. The sessions runs from March to May.
girl-at-park-400.jpg
Girl at park.  This is an example of work created by Shanda, 15, who participated in last session’s workshop. Artists are handed donated digital cameras to explore their world and share it through, one possible outlet, photography.

The central mission of the New Media Network is to serve as a community development project within Columbia’s First Ward by building capacity in youth through the media arts. Through the framework of digital storytelling, students between the ages of 9 and 18 gain skills in multimedia technology while building a greater sense of community awareness, identity, and pride. The New Media Network then provides a forum for the artistic agency and journalistic work of these marginalized voices on local community radio and television, showcasing their talent and unique perspectives both within the First Ward and to the greater community.
http://mymissourian.com/2008/03/24/new-media-network-kicks-off/
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Somalia: UN Expert Says Media’s Rights Being Violated By All in Conflict
by Hassan Shire Sheikh, Chairperson of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network
National Union of Somali Journalists (Mogadishu)
03/24/08

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRD/Net) and the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), a founding member of the network, would like to welcome the report by Dr Ghanim Alnajjar, the UN Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Somalia which he presented to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) today in Geneva…

Of particular importance is the exposure which Dr Alnajjar has accorded to the current curtailment of independent media and the deliberate violations being committed against journalists. The report reveals that these violations are being carried out by all actors in the conflict and are largely being used as a means of silencing the very few voices speaking out against the abuses being committed against the civilian population.   —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200803241588.html
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Comcast considers creepy new addition to the set top box
by Tricia Liebert
Tech Republic
03/24/08

[ 127 comments ]

[ I didn’t quite believe this when I first read it in Chris Albrecht’s blog post – until later in the comments I saw the obfuscating non-denial denial by Comcast’s Kunkel.  Here, Tricia Liebert quotes Kunkel’s response, as well as Albretch’s reply, garnering 127 comments (so far) in the process. ~ rm ]

I have never been one of the tinfoil hat crowd in the past, but that could change –especially in light of the comments made by Comcast’s Gerard Kunkel, senior VP of user experience, to reporter Chris Albrecht of NewTeeVee.com. Mr. Kunkel mentioned an experiment with different camera technologies built into the cable box that would be able to tell who is in the room watching television…

From NewTeeVee:

Chris,

Your article on “Comcast Cameras to Start Watching You” portrayed some assumptions that require correction and clarification. I want to be clear that in no way are we exploring any camera devices that would monitor customer behavior.

To gather information for your article on Comcast’s exploration of cameras you picked up on my conversation with another conference attendee. The other attendee and I were deep in a conversation discussing a variety of input devices offered by a variety of vendors that Comcast is reviewing.

The camera-based gesture recognition device is in no way designed to — or capable of — monitoring your living room. These technologies are designed to allow simple navigation on a television set just as the Wii remote uses a camera to manage its much heralded gesture-based interactivity.

We are constantly exploring new technologies that better serve our customers. The goal is simple — a better user experience that allows the consumer to get ever increasing value out of their Comcast products.

As with any new technology, we carefully consider the consumer benefits. In fact, we do an enormous amount of consumer testing in advance of making a product decision such as this. I’m confident that a new technology like gesture-based navigation will be fully explored with consumers to understand the product’s feature benefits — and of course, the value to the consumer.

Sincerely, Gerard Kunkel

I responded to Mr. Kunkel in our comment with the following:

Hi Mr. Kunkel,

Just to further clarify. After you granted me our initial video interview, you brought up the topic of Comcast knowing who was in the living room in a conversation between you, myself, and another conference attendee.

I actually left and came back to follow up on this point while you were talking with that same attendee. At this point, you were aware that I was a reporter and I took handwritten notes in front of you as we talked to make sure I had an accurate accounting of what you were saying.  I’d love to talk further with either you or someone else at Comcast to follow up on this story.

A person named Jenni Moyer, claiming to be from Comcast, posted a nearly identical message to Mr. Kunkel’s on PC World’s blog on this story. And frankly, I will be quite hurt if someone from Comcast doesn’t post to this thread.

Whether the device is intended for consumer benefit is almost not the point. The question is how far are we willing to allow companies with whom we do business to invade our private space? I have a set top box. I have three. I have remotes for all of them. I even have a Harmony integrated remote. My viewing experience is just ducky, thanks. I don’t need to gesture at the TV any more than I already do — and the gestures that I make are probably not ones that Comcast needs to see.   —>
http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/tech-news/?p=2124
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AT&T, cable crafting compromise
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)
03/24/08

[ 23 comments ]

Lengthy negotiations between AT&T, the cable industry and local governments over AT&T’s bid to offer television services in Tennessee are close to complete, and the final product may cause a first for the telecom giant in the southeast.  To make an agreement happen, AT&T has given in on where it’s required to offer its services under a statewide franchise.

Going into the talks, one of the biggest points of contention was where a statewide franchise holder would have to offer video services.  Local franchise holders are often bound to “build out” to cover a certain area of a city or county, and therefore can’t “cherry pick” wealthy residents.  The cable industry has argued that a pure statewide franchise would allow AT&T to only cater to high-income customers.

In the tentative agreement, Tennessee would be the only southeastern state to require AT&T and other statewide television franchise holders to offer its services to a certain percentage of a geographical area within a certain time frame.  Some low-income customers would also have to be covered.  “That’s what the build out is going to look like,” said Rep. Randy Rinks (D-Savannah).   —>
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=59252
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Luvin’ on the Speakuh
by Rex Noseworthy
Nashville City Paper (TN)
03/24/08

[ comments invited ]

Throughout this legislative session, House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh has been trying to broker a compromise between AT&T and the cable industry in their multi-million dollar battle over television franchising rights.  Gov. Phil Bredesen, in an interview with the Chattanooga Times Free-Press earlier this year, questioned whether Naifeh’s efforts could be successful since the two sides were looking out for their best interests and Tennesseans’ interests needed to be considered.

After Bredesen’s comments, Naifeh called an odd, impromptu press conference that apparently had no purpose but to refute the governor’s questioning of his methods. The longtime speaker and the governor later had a conversation, with Naifeh claiming Bredesen said he was “misquoted.”

That leads us to last week. Bredesen was asked by a reporter if he thought the AT&T-cable talks had a chance of succeeding.  This time, Bredesen expressed faith in Naifeh’s efforts.  “Basically, I think if the speaker puts his mind to something, he’s likely to get it accomplished,” Bredesen said.
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=59249
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New arrangement nets city more money
By T. Scott Batchelor
The Daily Reflector (NC)
03/24/08

[ comments invited ]

The city of Greenville is getting more money now that state — rather than local — government is franchiser for cable systems, local officials said.  Even so, there remains no permanent source of adequate funding for Greenville-Pitt County Public Access Television, an officer of the local nonprofit corporation said.   —>
http://www.reflector.com/local/content/news/stories/2008/03/24/cable.html
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Cable Television Franchise Renewal
City of Dover, New Hampshire
03/24/08 (?)

The City of Dover will soon be negotiating a new franchise agreement with Comcast. To prepare for these negotiations, the City is conducting a review concerning Comcast’s past performance and soliciting input to determine the future cable-related needs of the community.  All residents are encouraged to participate in an on-line cable television and Internet survey in order to share their opinions and views regarding cable television services.   —>
http://www.dover.nh.gov/Cable/index.htm
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MCTV invites public to celebrate five years at its studio
by Stephanie Chelf
Eagle Tribune (MA)
03/24/08

METHUEN — In the five years since moving out of high school and into its own studio, Methuen Community Television has grown in membership and added more community programming.  To celebrate five years at 13 Branch St., MCTV is hosting a daylong open house from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“They did a lot of excellent programming out of the space they had (at the high school),” said MCTV Executive Director Karen Hayden. “We’ve been able to do more training, get more people in doing their work. It’s our space now. People used to look at it as being part of the school. This is ours, the public space.”

The more convenient location and larger studio have encouraged more volunteers to join MCTV, Hayden said. The station produces several local-themed shows, airs live election results, and covers high school sports. The community-run nonprofit was founded in 1996…

MCTV is also partnering with local nonprofit, New England Caring for Our Military, to have residents come to the studio and record a video message to send to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  “Community television is an expression of free speech,” Hayden said. “What better way to honor that than to include our soldiers — the people who defend our free speech. They appreciate those types of things and hearing from home.”   —>
http://www.eagletribune.com/punews/local_story_084060409.html
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Metro Board Chair Takes to Air Waves To Engage Public in Discussing Long-Range Traffic Solutions
Metro.net (CA)
03/19/08

In an unprecedented move, Metro Board Chair Pam O’Connor will take to the air waves Thursday night, March 27, to promote live public discussion of the mobility future for Los Angeles County and how to pay for traffic relief.  O’Connor will take live calls from viewers between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on a public access cable television show broadcast live on both City of Los Angeles Channel 36 and CityTV Channel 16 in Santa Monica. During the broadcast, call-in numbers will be posted.

The show will have three segments: first, a focus on traffic in Los Angeles County and Metro’s draft Long Range Transportation Plan that proposes dozens of new highway and public transit projects to handle the county’s projected population growth of 2.4 million more people by the year 2030. The second segment will address how to pay for traffic relief, and the third segment will look at traffic and the environment. Viewers are encouraged to ask O’Connor about any of these issues and share their opinions.   —>
http://metroriderla.com/2008/03/24/daily-transit-links-roundup-33/
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Humboldt Trivia
by EkoVox
299 Opine
03/23/08

[ 22 comments ]

While flipping channels, I landed on Community Access Television on Channel 12 on the Northern Humboldt cable system. Today, they were showing a 1991 video recording of my father doing one of his history lectures at the Humboldt Senior Resource Center.

Rather than a straight ahead lecture, he was doing Eureka Trivia and Sounds I’d Like To Hear Again. The first part consisted of business trivia in the 1940’s….You know, “Where was Morrow’s Drive-In?” and “Where was Adams School located?” The next part was about sounds that have disappeared from the Humboldt lifeshed. Sounds that were around when he was a kid….like, Dinner Bells, Drag Saws, Treadle Sewing Machines, Ringer Washers and….. ahem…trains. Sounds that we haven’t heard on the north coast for decades.

At one point he would say a person’s name and the audience had to guess who they were….or what they did for a living.  For instance, George C. Jacobs….(Hardware Store, School Board) Doris Niles…(educator).

I would like to list some names from our recent era and see if we are as connected to our local society as we think.  What were or are these people known for in Humboldt Society?   —>
http://299opine.blogspot.com/2008/03/humboldt-trivia.html
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People in Business: Kathy Bisbee
Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
03/24/08

Kathy Bisbee, the director of marketing and development at Community Television in Santa Cruz, is leaving to become executive director of the Community Media Access Partnership in Gilroy. She will succeed Suzanne St. John-Crane, who left to launch a public access station in San Jose.

CMAP, at Gavilan College, is a smaller operation than Community Television. The 5-year-old station manages four public access television channels, including an educational channel, broadcasting to Gilroy, San Juan Bautista and Hollister.

Bisbee previously was director of marketing at Cruzio, and volunteered on the Workforce Investment Board, the Santa Cruz Film Festival and the Santa Cruz Downtown Commission.

Originally from rural Maine, she grew up on a working farm and earned a degree in political science and social sciences from the University of Maine at Farmington. She is working on a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications and public relations at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Last summer she filmed two documentaries in Guatemala and Nicaragua about sustainable farming and youth hip-hop music in underdeveloped nations. Her films will be showed this year at the Santa Cruz Film Festival and EarthVision Environmental Film Festival. She and her husband, Alec VanderWoude, live in Santa Cruz County.
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_8676404
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Free the whitespace
by Andrew Dubber
new music strategies
03/24/08

[ 3 comments ]

One of the great things about the migration to digital broadcasting platforms is what gets left behind. As the VHF band is cleared of television and radio signals, previously unavailable (or incredibly scarce – and therefore expensive) spectrum becomes freed up.

That empty spectrum, or ‘whitespace’ as it’s becoming known, has been attracting a lot of attention recently. Bill Gates is having a say, Google are putting their hands up. It’s a turning point in communications history.

Now, contrary to popular belief, there are two (rather than just one) possible uses for that spectrum that would be of enormous social and cultural use. The first would be to reallocate it for community broadcasting, low power FM, access television and other political and grassroots media. The second would be wifi. Gigabytes-fast, ubiquitous and, to the public, potentially free wifi.

You could have a long argument about which of those two uses are the principle democratising forces. Frankly, either would be a superb result in my book. Because both ways, there is more speech, more access to speech and more availability for citizens to make media.

The migration to digital television and DAB radio has not been, in my opinion, a phenomenal success. There are all sorts of exciting things around picture quality and enhancement of services, but in the end these things are more flavours of the same thing — with audio and picture fidelity improvements that are not the solution to any genuinely experienced problem. And you can keep that bloody red button.

But the freeing of the whitespace makes for a genuinely promising and potentially hugely rewarding opportunity for the connectedness, wellbeing and productivity of the communities covered by those vacated stretches of spectrum. One gives local music exposure and a much greater chance of hearing marginalised voices and arts. The other allows for mobile working, connectivity and access to technology – a serious dent in the digital divide (at least at a national level).

Community media – or ubiquitous wifi. There’s no wrong answer here.  Now let’s wait and see the politicians screw it up.
http://newmusicstrategies.com/2008/03/24/free-the-whitespace/
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Verizon’s FiOS Takes Manhattan
by Peter Svensson
Associated Press – Google
03/24/08

Verizon’s fiber-optic service, so far mainly available to suburbanites, is making a big push into Manhattan with a deal to connect an 11,232-unit apartment complex.  Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, an enclave of 110 buildings on Manhattan’s East Side, is the largest apartment complex in Manhattan and the largest to get FiOS service anywhere in Verizon’s 17-state fiber buildout area.  Verizon Communications Inc. announced the deal Monday, but seven buildings are already connected. It will take some months to connect the rest.   —>
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hkOowGCGbGb-ZbUHPIyM8ITVL_dQD8VJIHSG4
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Verizon rolls out FIOS to Stuy Town, Cooper
by Amanda Fung
Crain’s New York Business.com
03/24/08

[ comments invited ]

Verizon Communications Inc. has been quietly rolling out its fiber-optic Internet service to residents of apartment buildings throughout the city. The company’s announcement Monday that it will bring service to Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village apartment complex, may be Verizon’s largest coup in a major metropolitan area, but it is not its first.

The company refused to disclose how many buildings in the city are connected for competitive reasons, but identified a half a dozen other buildings in New York where FIOS Internet is available. Those properties include Place 57 at 57th Street between Third and Second avenues; The Crest Lofts at 67 Wall St., two Trump properties in Manhattan; Arverne By the Sea in the Rockaways, Queens and Octagon Park on Roosevelt Island.   —>
http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080324/FREE/942183117/1065/newsletter01
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/11/08

March 11, 2008

[blip.tv ?posts_id=741828&dest=-1]Media Center Interns – Yeah, we rock.
Midpeninsula Community Media Center (CA)
03/11/08

[ comments allowed ]

Check out what the Media Center’s interns are up to: Videos! Editing! Office Assistance!
A short promo featuring interviews with campers and examples of their work. (03:00)
http://mcmcinternship.blogspot.com/2008/03/digiquest-2008-digital-media.html
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AT&T rolling out U-verse, a new TV, Internet service
by Kristie Swartz
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
03/11/08

AT&T considers its Internet-based television service, U-verse, to be its next multibillion-dollar product, but the company has been rolling out the service in some parts of Atlanta with little fanfare and won’t say when the entire metro area will have access to it.

U-verse, which AT&T hopes will be another way to snag customers from cable companies such as Comcast, has captured 231,000 subscribers in 43 markets nationwide, Michael Antieri , senior vice president for consumer marketing, told investors at Bear Stears annual media conference in Palm Beach on Tuesday. The San Antonio-based telecom giant wants to increase that number to more than 1 million customers by the end of the year, he said. “We believe video is truly a game changer for AT&T,” Antieri said via a Web cast.

AT&T quietly started selling U-verse in some Atlanta neighborhoods last December. Spokesman Steven Smith offered few details as to which neighborhoods have U-verse now as well as which ones were next in line, saying the company didn’t want to tip off the competition. “We’re looking forward to expanding the service into the Southeast,” Smith said. “We’re very committed to this product and very committed to the Southeast.”

But there’s been little, if any, advertisement for U-verse, which costs $44 to $154 per month depending on the package. What’s more, AT&T did not announce that Georgia granted the company a statewide franchise last month, allowing it to offer U-verse across the entire state. —>
http://www.ajc.com/business/content/business/stories/2008/03/11/ATT_0312.html
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Verizon hearts suburbs
by Jasonix
(remix) feat. Elevato (MA)
03/11/08

[ comments allowed ]

As you might already know, the Boston Metro has a regular feature where people write in to Mayor Menino. On March 6, there was a letter about Verizon’s FiOS fiber optic cable/internet service and why we in Boston (or Cambridge or other big city in the metro area) are bombarded with ads about it, but can’t actually get the service. Turns out its because we aren’t in the suburbs.

Menino:
“Thank you for this question. My Office of Cable Communications monitors cable TV franchises and mediates consumer issues regarding cable TV service. I have recently written to Verizon asking them to bring FiOS to the entire City of Boston. To date, Verizon has declined the City’s repeated encouragement to enter a cable franchise negotiation, opting instead to slowly build in the suburbs. Meanwhile, the cities and towns of Boston, Brookline, Somerville, Cambridge, Everett, Revere, Chelsea, Medford, Melrose, Watertown and Quincy are left without this service.

“Verizon has said in the past that their business plans do not include urban areas, but how do they explain their FiOS builds in New York City and Washington, D.C.?”

I don’t know, man. —>
http://elevato.blogspot.com/2008/03/verizon-hearts-suburbs.html
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Public access TV may be on ropes
by Lewis Delavan
Saline County Voice (AR)
03/11/08

Public access television’s future may be threatened. No, not really from an irate alderman upset with programming, although backers of Benton’s public access Channel 12 may think so. The greatest threat to Channel 12 and community public access stations across the country is state, rather than local, control of content. AT&T, Verizon and other phone providers are lobbying state legislators to grant broadcasting rights for an entire state, an article in the February issue of Governing magazine says.

Local public access stations began appearing in the 1970s, but this threat arose in the past three years. In fact, 20 states have granted statewide broadcasting licenses in only three years. (Backers of constitutional amendments often could only dream of such fast action from legislators). Often with scant public notice before the legislation, local public access, education and government stations are being squeezed off the air. It could happen in Arkansas, so advocates of local public stations should take notice. —>
http://www.salinecountyvoice.com/news/2008/0312/news/018.html
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VON TV Webcast on Net Neutrality Features Leading Experts, and Intro Remarks by FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps
by PR Newswire
Sys-Con Media
03/11/08

Pulvermedia today announced that the live Net Neutrality webcast on the Internet TV Channel VON TV (http://www.vontv.net/) will take place today, March 11th, at 2 PM ET. As the Net Neutrality battle heats up in Washington D.C., today’s debate, featuring policy experts and industry professionals, promises to be an intense exchange of views on this controversial subject. To access this webcast, or for more information, please visit: http://www.vontv.net/events/080311/.

In introductory remarks pre-recorded for playback just prior to the debate, FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps calls on the FCC to adopt “a specific and enforceable principle of non-discrimination” that “should allow for reasonable network management, but make crystal clear that broadband network operators cannot twist reasonable network management into a not-so-reasonable mechanism for blatant network discrimination.” According to Copps, where “the line between discrimination and reasonable network management” is drawn should be determined through “a systematic, expeditious, case-by-case approach for adjudicating” discrimination claims.

Joining the debate will be Harold Feld, senior vice president of Media Access Project, Ken Ferree, president of the Progress & Freedom Foundation, Marvin Ammori, general counsel for Free Press and Lawrence J. Spiwak, president of the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Public Policy Studies. The discussion will be moderated by VON TV legal commentator Marty Stern. The webcast will also include a special pre-recorded feature with Paul Gallant, Senior Vice President and policy analyst with the Stanford Group, discussing reactions on Wall Street to recent developments in the net neutrality debate, and how various potential outcomes may impact industry performance. —>
http://www.sys-con.com/read/516917.htm
~

[ As “community” media moves inexorably onto the internet, its practitioners are faced with fresh questions and possibilities. Andrew Keen raises a couple good ones here. – rm ]

Anonymity: The Enemy of Civil Online Discourse
by Andrew Keen
The Independent
03/11/08

[ comments allowed ]

When it comes to the destructive consequences of online anonymity, Wikipedia is actually quite tame compared to the latest generation of open source information sites such as GossipReport.com, AutoAdmit.com and Wikileaks.org. GossipReport.com, for example, encourages its contributors to anonymously rate people — especially politicians — in terms of their personality, looks and skills in the bedroom.

Ten days ago, I coheadlined a Commonwealth Club of San Francisco debate with Jimmy Wales, the founder of the hugely popular open source Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia Latest News about Wikipedia. Held at the Bubble Lounge, a fashionable downtown San Francisco martini bar, this was a much-hyped dialectical wrestling match — pitting wiki-crusader Wales, the wannabe slayer of the Encyclopedia Britannica, against me, a wiki-skeptic lovingly described, by my Internet critics, as the Antichrist of Silicon Valley.

But, as so often happens at this type of staged gladiatorial contest, it transpired that Wales and I actually agreed more than we disagreed. So the debate, I suspect, might have tasted disappointingly bland for those in the Bubble Lounge audience thirsting for a splash of intellectual bloodshed to spice up their early evening martinis.

Naming Names

But the one issue over which Wales and I did profoundly disagree was Internet anonymity. Wiki technology undermines the authority of professional editors and enables anyone with an Internet connection to automatically become an author. But when you do away with editorial gatekeepers, there is no way of checking the identity of your contributors. Thus, Wikipedia’s content is created by a nameless and faceless army of potentially corrupt or ignorant contributors. Unlike Wales, I simply can’t trust information when I don’t know the identity of its authors. Rather than a right, I think Wikipedian editors have a responsibility to reveal who they are. As I told Jimmy Wales at our debate, I believe that Wikipedia will only become a genuinely reliable information resource when he changes the site’s rules to force Wikipedians to reveal their real identities.

When it comes to the destructive consequences of online anonymity, Wikipedia is actually quite tame compared to the latest generation of open source information sites such as GossipReport.com, AutoAdmit.com and Wikileaks.org. GossipReport.com, for example, encourages its contributors to anonymously gossip and rate people — especially politicians — in terms of their personality, looks and amorous skills in the bedroom. This site is, of course, just a way of legitimizing unverified and unverifiable witch-hunts against elected officials. Meanwhile on AutoAdmit.com, a notice board for law students, anonymous correspondents have posted so much abusive content about a couple of Yale University law students that the two women have been forced to take out a lawsuit against the site (Doe versus Ciolli). Meanwhile, Wikileaks.org — a Wikipedia-style site that encourages the anonymous leaking of corporate and political documents — recently posted content from a Swiss bank (the Julius Baer Bank) that revealed personal information from some of its clients.

So how, exactly, does the American law limit the rights of anonymous Internet users to post personal details about individuals, corporations or governments? It’s a highly complex set of legal issues around which American courts are struggling to legislate. Take the Wikileaks.org case for example. In mid February, Jeffrey S. White, a judge at San Francisco District Federal Court, ordered that Wikileaks.org should be disabled as punishment for its anonymous posting of confidential information about clients of the Swiss bank. But on March 1, White withdrew his order and so today Wikileaks.org is free to continue to publish its anonymous leaks.

A Challenge

The Wikileaks.org case shows the curse of Internet anonymity can’t be cured in the courts. As I told Jimmy Wales at our debate, discouraging anonymity is our collective responsibility. The solution to incivility of anonymous posts is education rather than legislation. We — parents, teachers, employers and policy makers — need to educate Internet users in to understanding that anonymity is the refuge of scoundrels and cowards. Wikipedia, GossipReport.com, AutoAdmit.com and Wikileaks.org are all fostering an ugly climate of personal irresponsibility.

Internet companies are also responsible for developing Web sites that actively discourage anonymous posts. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Latest News about Google is setting an excellent example here. Knol, Google’s open source encyclopedia, has been set up to bar anonymous entries. I publicly challenge Wales to follow Knol and force Wikipedian editors to reveal their identities. Come on Jimmy! Join the war against anonymity on the Internet and I’ll buy you a martini next time I run in to you at the Bubble Lounge…

Could the Internet Be Africa’s Savior?

Another week, another wrestling match. Last week, I was in London, at the swanky Holborn headquarters of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) debating Charles Leadbeater, the author of We-Think — likely to be the most controversial book about the Internet to be published in Britain this year.

Leadbeater, once a Tony Blair’s Internet maven, is Britain’s leading digital visionary, and We-Think is an optimistic take on our digital future. A highly readable British synthesis of James Surowiecki’s Wisdom of the Crowds and Chris Anderson’s Long Tail, Leadbeater’s We-Think is definitely an important book, even for skeptics like me who are suspicious of the seductive techno-utopian promises of the Web 2.0 revolution.

The Internet will revolutionize innovation, Leadbeater argues in We-Think. Collaborative Web sites will transform innovation from a selfish, individual preoccupation into the socially responsible activity of the community. The Internet will prioritize public interest over individual interest. The old Cartesian principle of “I think therefore I am” will be replaced by the communitarian credo of “We-Think therefore we are.” The consequences of this technological revolution on the future of capitalism, private property, the law and politics will be epochal, Leadbeater promises us.

We-Think is inspiring in its analysis of the impact of the Internet on the less developed world. Leadbeater suggests that the collaborative Internet will foster democracy, economic equality and social justice in Africa. For this insight alone, We-Think is thoughtful. I urge you to read it.
http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/Anonymity-The-Enemy-of-Civil-Online-Discourse-62042.html?welcome=1205284058
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/01/08

March 8, 2008

Astroturfs, Now Fighting for Cable
Side Cut Reports
03/01/08

[ comments allowed ]

Is there such a shortage of news around telecom public policy that normally respectable information outlets still fall so easily for astroturf announcements? If you are a Comcast lobbyist you just have to love the official sound of the lead graf in this non-news missive from IDG “news” service, which asserts that “a coalition of seven civil rights groups” is now banding together to fight off the resurrection of network neutrality, mainly in reference to the recent FCC hearing about Comcast’s network management practices.

C’mon. Please. Does anyone really believe anymore that the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association, League of Rural Voters, and National Council of Women’s Organizations just happen to have the same viewpoints on net neutrality and cable network management? Or maybe, they are all BFF and on Facebook together, and said “hey, we really need to work together to ensure our voices are heard.”

Right.  Or maybe, they are all organizations that get substantial contributions from large telecommunication companies or cable providers, whose legislative agendas just happen to mesh with those of the civil rights groups. (Or maybe they all just use the same policy PR firm, whose prinicpals have been at this a long time.)

C’mon, InfoWorld. C’mon, Mike. Do some digging before you post — the scoop on these outfits is already out there thanks to the fine work of Bruce Kushnick and many others.   —>
http://sidecutreports.com/2008/03/01/astroturfs-now-fighting-for-cable/
~

Lawsuit holds back digital cable switch
Public access channel still widely available
by Nicholas Deshais
Times Herald (MI)
03/01/08

[ comments allowed ]

Comcast announced a slate of programming changes Friday, including the removal of some channels from standard cable in order to move them to a high-definition format.  As part of the changes, effective March 27, Channel 900, the simulcast of public access standard-definition Channel 12, has been moved to Channel 901, which carries a digital signal. The announcement says programming available on Channel 12 will remain there but does not indicate if that could change after a lawsuit regarding moving public, educational and government channels is resolved.   —>
http://www.thetimesherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080301/NEWS01/803010308/1002
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Lights, camera, school board
by Stephen Sacco
Times Herald-Record (NY)
03/01/08

The Port Jervis School District now has its own educational public-access television station — Time Warner Cable Channel 20 in the Port Jervis viewing area. The channel was launched Feb. 8 and features live coverage of Port Jervis school board meetings.   —>
http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080301/NEWS/803010323
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Board of Supervisors meetings airing on TV
Residents may now view county Board of Supervisors’ meetings on the city’s public channel, City TV.
SignOnSanDiego.com (CA)
03/01/08

[ comments allowed ]

The meetings take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but will be aired in their entirety each Friday morning. The stations, Channel 24 on Cox and Time Warner cable and Channel 99 on AT&T, also air City Council and committee meetings, news conferences by city officials and some county programming.  Until now, television broadcasts of supervisors meetings were available only through the County Television Network, which does not appear on Cox. –J.V.
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20080301-9999-1m1b2briefs.html
~

City near long-delayed cable deal
by Amelia Flood
Kane County Chronicle (IL)
03/01/08

[ comments allowed ]

ST. CHARLES – A seven-year stalemate over a franchise agreement between St. Charles and its cable provider, Comcast, soon might be over, but it will have little impact on customers.  The new contract still must be approved by the City Council.  The city will continue to collect a 5 percent franchise fee from Comcast. That comes to about $375,000 a year.  In the future, residents could see a 35-cent monthly charge added to their bills. The money would go toward increasing public access programming. The city has no plans to implement the fee at this time, City Administrator Brian Townsend said, and it would require additional council action.   —>
http://www.kcchronicle.com/articles/2008/03/01/news/local/doc47c9330c412b2835593590.txt
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Goodies up for bid to assist GHS-TV
Student-run public-access station sets $40,000 goal
by Lela Garlington
Commercial Appeal (TN)
03/01/08

[ comments allowed ]

Interested in a five-day hotel stay in Orlando? Or getting your closet reorganized? How about VIP passes to the Stanford St. Jude Golf Championship?  This weekend, the award-winning Germantown Community Television hosts its 15th annual auction from 2 to 9 p.m. today and again from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Germantown residents can watch the auction on Channel 17. Viewers outside of Germantown can see a portion of Auction 2008 on Comcast Cable Channel 30 from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday. DirectTV viewers will not be able to see the cablecast, but anyone can bid online at ghstv.org.

“Last year we raised about $35,000 and this year we hope to make $40,000 or more,” said publicity co-chairwoman and student Johnnalee Kutzke. “The money from the auction will benefit the television studio and also contribute to our senior scholarships awarded at the end of the year.”   —>
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/mar/01/goodies-up-for-bid-to-assist-ghs-tv/
~

Community Organization with Digital Tools
by Dan Schultz
MediaShift Idea Lab
03/01/08

[ 4 comments ]

Last week I took a digital-communication-oriented glance at the war on Scientology being led by the nontraditional online group called Anonymous. I’m not exactly writing a part 2, but I want to start a follow-up discussion on a few of the comments made and questions posed by Anonymous about how digital media affects the dynamics of community organization. That being said, if you haven’t had the chance to browse the comments of that post it’s probably worthwhile.

I have mentioned in the past that I want to see digital media facilitate local impact; to do that well we need to understand some of the nuances of many-to-many digital communication and look at how those nuances might change the way communities can plan, organize, and ultimately act on the issues they find important. This post lists a few traits of online communication and what they might mean for digitally driven movements, including the one being led by Anonymous.   —>
http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2008/03/community-organization-with-di.html
~

Cable’s Class Act
CIC Boosts Its Profile as Education Leader
by Stuart Miller
Multichannel News
03/03/08

[ comments allowed ]

After nearly two decades, the Cable in the Classroom educational foundation continues to work closely with networks and operators to provide cable technology and programming to schools and libraries nationwide…

People often thought there was a catch to CIC, said Donna Krache, executive producer of CNN Student News. “They’d look at you sideways and just not believe that it was free.”  Overall, CIC was welcomed with open arms: Peggy Charren, the outspoken president of the advocacy group Action for Children’s Television, said at the time, “I’ve got problems with everything when it comes to children and television. I have no problems with this.”…

CIC is placing a growing emphasis on broadband access to provide schools with study guides, clips and even games. “Teachers are very busy and don’t have time to slog through material,” O’Connell said. “This is something that really works and it’s a good, reliable resource.”

Among CIC’s latest initiatives is eLECTIONS, which offers video from C-SPAN, CNN Student News and The History Channel to teach about the election process and lets students run their own campaigns in a multiplatform game. “The depth of resources with something like this is so great you almost don’t need the textbook,” said Krache.   —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6537156.html
~

Russia: NTV’s Past Points Toward REN-TV’s Future
by Robert Coalson
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
03/01/08

When independent experts this week released their assessment of media coverage of the Russian presidential election, there were few surprises. On Channel One, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev got 32 percent of election-related airtime; on Rossia, he got 26 percent; on TV-Tsentr, he got 35 percent; and on NTV he got 43 percent.

The other three official candidates all got single-digit coverage on all four national networks, with figures ranging from 6.8 percent to 0.1 percent, according to figures released by the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations. Also unsurprisingly, President Vladimir Putin — who isn’t running, of course — got more airtime even than Medvedev, ranging around 50-60 percent.

The one oddity in this bland picture, however, was REN-TV, a small, but still-private national network. REN-TV’s figures are truly startling: 31 percent of the airtime went to Putin, followed by 21 percent for Medvedev, 22 percent for Liberal Democratic Party of Russia head Vladimir Zhirinovsky, 21 percent to Communist candidate Gennady Zyuganov, and 6.3 percent to Democratic Party head Andrei Bogdanov.

Such even-handedness is unheard of in Russian national media these days. The reduced percentage to Bogdanov can easily be justified by the facts that his support consistently polls at about 1 percent, that his party received less than 1 percent of the vote in the December Duma elections, and that his candidacy is widely seen to be a Kremlin-inspired stratagem to create the impression that at least one liberal politician is in the race.

The contrast between REN-TV and NTV is particularly noteworthy. NTV, it should be recalled, is the once-private and once-respected national television network that was taken over by Gazprom in 2000-01 as one of the first major steps in Putin’s dismantling of civil society. At the time, Gazprom claimed the takeover was merely a business dispute and senior managers pledged endlessly the network would be sold off in short order.

Now, seven years later, Medvedev is the chairman of Gazprom’s board of directors and that channel is outdoing even the formally state-controlled Channel One and Rossia in violating the law ensuring equal media access to all candidates and in contributing to what the liberal-posing Medvedev has eloquently described as “legal nihilism.”   —>
http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2008/03/A111BAE5-42D5-4F2E-8AD8-26E4E9D96723.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 – 02/22/08

February 23, 2008

Another Chance to Preserve PEG!
by Cynthia Thomet
Akaku: Maui Community Television (HI)
02/22/08

If you want another opportunity to help preserve PEG access in Hawaii, now’s your chance to make a difference ! Support SB1789 now and submit your testimony. Deadline is Monday, Feb. 25 at 8:45 a.m. (And in case you didn’t know!… SB1789 & HB3417 are two bills in the Hawaii State Legislature that would help preserve PEG access and ensure that community access cable channels answer to you. —>
http://www.akaku.org/?p=58
~

[ State laws on cable franchises ]
by Derek Hodges
The Mountain Press (TN)
02/22/08

[ comments allowed ]

—>  The group also received a request from AT&T representative Dennis Wagner that it endorse the company’s efforts to get state laws on cable franchises changed. Currently, the law requires cable systems to operate franchises in the individual municipalities and counties they want to serve, with fees from that licensure going to local governments. Though a number of other neighboring states follow a similar system, AT&T has asked the rules be changed to allow for statewide franchising.

The proposal has drawn considerable attention from the public, with State Sen. Raymond Finney, R-Maryville, saying he’s gotten more mail on the subject than anything else the Legislature has considered since he was elected. Much of the correspondence has been opposed to the move, Finney says.

Wagner’s search for support for the proposed law change may be a tough one. During the session, Sevierville Alderman Barry Gibbs questioned Wagner as to whether the service would be available to all Sevier County residents.  Wagner conceded the service will only be available to those who already have access to the company’s broadband service, though he said AT&T hopes to expand those lines in the future.  Statewide, many have expressed concerns the company may not work to serve everyone like local cable franchises are asked to do. Some have also questioned why the company can’t comply with the state’s current rules.
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?BRD=1211&dept_id=169689&newsid=19316137&PAG=461&rfi=9
~

Clearing up the DTV Transition
Cable Tech Talk
02/22/08

[ 1 comment ]

There’s no denying that the Digital Television Transition is a complicated issue. Even those of us who work on it all the time sometimes have difficulty keeping all of the technical details straight. Some people seem confused over whether a box is always necessary to keep watching TV…

Here’s another example: In the latest edition of the Bose newsletter, there’s the same error. It says that you’ll need to do nothing for the transition if “You subscribe to digital cable TV.” Further down, it states that it is a “Myth” that cable subscribers are ready for the changeover, suggesting that cable subscribers who receive analog service will be left out.

The source of the confusion seems to be that two topics are combined. It’s important to remember that this DTV Transition is only for the over-the-air broadcast industry. Cable is going through its own “digital transition.” Because of that word “digital,” the two often get confused.

What will cable subscribers need to do in preparation for the DTV Transition next February? The current information is that cable customers – whether or not they have a set-top box – will still be able to watch television after Feb. 17, 2009. At the same time, the cable industry has been moving towards a digital platform; as part of that, sometimes operators will move channels from the analog tier to the digital tier, which then needs a digital set-top box for reception.

Bottom line: If you have cable service, you should be fine, with the set-top box as an irrelevant factor. However, if you want to get access to cable’s newer services, such as hi-def TV or digital video recorders, or if you want to see the hundreds of programming choices available through the digital cable platform, you’ll need to have the appropriate set-top box. You can avoid having a box by purchasing a Digital Cable Ready television, but the current sets are only one-way, which means you won’t have access to interactive services. However, the tru2way standard will address this issue.   —>
http://www.cabletechtalk.com/2008/02/22/clearing-up-the-dtv-transition/
~

Local Self Reliance (CA)
Mother Earth News
02/22/08

[ comments allowed ]

—>    Cable TV is a fast-growing, multibillion-dollar industry, and firms are scrambling to gain municipal franchises that will allow them exclusive rights to wire those territories for decades to come. In fact, one out of every four American homes is already reached by cable, and almost all of the systems that serve such residences are owned by major national corporations.

There are, however, a few exceptions. Several dozen smaller cities (including Conway, Arkansas and Jackson, Minnesota) have decided to finance and build their own cable services. Davis, California, though, will become the first major market to choose a third alternative: customer ownership. As a member of the Davis Cable Cooperative (DCC), each household will be able to vote on the types of programs and services that the system will offer.

“Cable cooperatives do exist, but not in major markets,” explains Robert Kahn, a DCC board member. “They’ve sprung up in the upper Midwest primarily because no one wanted to invest in those areas. But the industry wanted our market. In fact, several large companies that were bidding on a cable system for nearby Sacramento offered to tie Davis into it … but our community preferred a co-op.”   —>
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Nature-Community/1983-05-01/Cable-TV.aspx
~

Net Neutrality Is a Civil Rights Issue
by Mark Lloyd
Save The Internet
02/22/08

[ 3 comments ]

Decisions made by Congress and the Federal Communications Commission in the next few years — if not sooner — will determine whether we protect free speech online, close the digital divide, and bring a greater diversity of voices to this transformative medium.

The world of technology is rapidly changing. Pretty soon, you’ll get all your media — TV, phone, radio and the Web — from the same high-speed Internet connection. The potential democratic, economic, public safety and educational benefits of the Internet are almost limitless. Wiring our nation with a high-speed Internet connection is now a public necessity, just like water, gas or electricity.

Unfortunately, the powerful cable and telecom industry doesn’t value the Internet for its public interest benefits. Instead, these companies too often believe that to safeguard their profits, they must control what content you see and how you get it. Their plans could have dire consequences for those whose voices are often marginalized by our nation’s media system.

For communities of color, the Internet offers a critical opportunity to build a more equitable media system. It provides all Americans with the potential to speak for themselves without having to convince large media conglomerates that their voices are worthy of being heard.   —>
http://www.savetheinternet.com/blog/2008/02/22/net-neutrality-is-a-civil-right-issue/
~

Media community calls upon Somali government to change media laws
ijnet – International Center for Journalists
02/22/08

[ comments allowed ]

Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein has received a letter from the international media community urging the Somali government to change its media laws and work toward ending the oppression of journalists and members of the media. The letter encourages freedom of expression and freedom of press.  The action to write the letter was led by the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and other members and partners of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX).  To learn more, contact nusoj@nusoj.com.
http://www.ijnet.org/Director.aspx?P=Article&ID=307285&LID=1
~

Liberia: Community Radio Station Closed Down
Media Foundation for West Africa (Accra)
AllAfrica.com
02/21/08

[ comments allowed ]

Following a management dispute, SMILE FM, a community radio station based in Zwedru, a north eastern-town, about 643 kilometres from Monrovia, the police on February 20, 2008 closed down the station.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent reported that the Acting Superintendent of police in the area, Tarley Dweh and his Commander stormed the premises and closed the station at about 12 midday.

The station’s Advisory Board had in January suspended the Station’s Manager, Victor Gbeyeah following a recommendation of a committee that probed the station. The committee’s report indicated that Gbeyeah had misappropriated funds of the station.  Gbeyeah rejected the committee’s findings and complained to the local authorities.

The MFWA correspondent said for fear of losing their influence on the station, the authorities dissolved the Board which had been constituted by the community.
http://allafrica.com/stories/200802220778.html
~

Australia – Annual report 2008
Reporters Without Borders for Press Freedom
undated – 2008

The last years of conservative prime minister John Howard’s long period in power – brought to an end with his decisive defeat in elections in November – was marked by a growing battle with the press. The media even formed a coalition called Australia’s Right to Know to combat the administration’s lack of transparency. Meanwhile a journalist’s right to protect sources and the confidentiality of communications were once again under threat.

During the legislative election campaign, the Australia’s Right to Know coalition showed that a lot of news and information was not accessible to the press and public and that this right was obstructed by at least 1,500 legal decrees and rulings. One of the leaders of the campaign, John Hartigan, chairman and CEO of News Limited, said that journalists working for his group had been banned from: accessing information in an audit of politicians’ expenses; obtaining a list of restaurants against which public health authorities had taken action; and accessing ranking of hospitals according to the quality of care. A few days after his election, Labor Party leader, Kevin Rudd promised concrete improvements in access to public information.

Lack of rights for journalists to protect sources was demonstrated in June 2007 when two journalists working for the The West Australian in Perth were threatened with prison unless they revealed how they had obtained a confidential report of an anti-corruption commission which the newspaper had used to point the finger at a political figure.   —>
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=25611
~

Stories from the Global Grassroots
by Amy Wolf
The Indypendent
02/24/08

[ comments allowed ]

For a seasoned journalist finding a challenging assignment is no small task — but neither is mentoring journalists and building independent media production in communities around the world. On this assignment however, you are not judged on the merits of the stories you file, but on the work of those you train.

Craig Duff was one of 33 journalists faced with this challenge as a Knight Fellow at the International Center for Journalism (ICFJ) last year. As a former producer of television and web documentaries for CNN, Discovery and The New York Times, Duff wanted to get away from “voice of god” style narrated productions. Through the fellowship, Duff taught documentary production at American University in Cairo in 2007. There he set out to foster his 36 student’s innate story-telling capacity through the production of stories told in the first person.

Seven of these works were shown at a screening at the Tribeca Grand Hotel Feb. 12 with one of Duff’s students, Alaa Al Dajani, a young financier turned filmmaker.

Al Dajani’s film focused on Mustafa Said Mohamed Antar, a master musician on the oud, a pear-shaped, stringed instrument. The fact that the artist was blind from birth was not the point of the film; rather, the story explores the radical act of loving music and delivering it from the realm of the profane. (Music in some conservative Egyptian traditions is considered sinful.)

Another film, Kasr Masr, provides a portrait of the doctors inside Cairo’s over-crowded, under-resourced public charity hospital for which the film is named. Filmed with an arresting degree of access amid bloody chaos, the work hooks the viewer on the story of a small boy, hit by a donkey cart, who has sustained possible brain damage, blood trickling out of his ear. The injustice of his massive suffering unfolds in an abrupt, unresolved ending that leaves the boy’s condition a mystery.

According to Al Dajani, without a cinema dedicated to independent film and adequate investments in the arts, there are limited opportunities to create or watch independent films in Cairo. But with the new Al-Jazeera Documentary channel launched January 2007, the demand may help spur the supply. One or more of the documentaries produced in Duff’s classes will air on this new station. In addition to helping fill the dearth of documentaries produced in Cairo, Duff also mentored and trained professional journalists at Orbit, a premium cable channel broadcasting across the Middle East.

Last year, Knight Fellow Michelle Garcia helped El Salvadoran community radio stations, which are largely run by young volunteer farm workers, advance their programming and content goals. In a nation with an alarming murder rate, Garcia stated that an overall goal in this work was “to figure out a way to talk about violence in a way that the listener is not dulled and desensitized by it.”

Garcia also partnered with Providad, a pro-transparency and anti-corruption organization, to hold a nationwide conference aimed at opening dialogue between political opposition media, the radio stations and their listenership. The conference specifically addressed “how journalists see the public, how they see institutional power and how they report on them,” she said.   —>
http://www.indypendent.org/2008/02/22/stories-from-the-global-grassroots/
~

Verizon FiOS Wins Local Video Franchise in Chesapeake, Virginia
Telecommunications Industry News
02/22/08

[ comments allowed ]

The City Council of Chesapeake, Virginia, has awarded Verizon Communications with a local video franchise, licensing the telecom giant to provide fiber-optic television service to the city’s 81,000 households.  The 15-year franchise, retroactive to December 10, requires Verizon to roll-out its FiOS TV service to at least 65% of residents within the next seven years. It also makes provisions for three public access channels, and compels the company to supply grants worth $10,000 plus $0.22 per subscriber, to local public programs.

Verizon began deploying FiOS in Chesapeake in December under a default franchise set by state law, and currently offers the next-generation TV service to more than 6,400 homes in the area. This number will swell to approximately 22,000 within the next three years.
http://www.teleclick.ca/2008/02/verizon-fios-wins-local-video-franchise-in-chesapeake-virginia/
~

‘Captain Curling’ is in the house
by Keith Uhlig
Wausau Daily Herald (WI)
02/22/08

[ 1 comment ]

About 14 years ago, a knee injury kept Cal Tillisch from curling, the winter sport he loves.  It’s an exaggeration to say that curling is Tillisch’s life during the winter. He still eats, goes to work (he’s an attorney) and talks with his wife regularly. But curling never strays too far from his thoughts or actions.

So the knee injury was tough for him to take. Despite the gimp, he went to the opening ceremonies of the Badger State Winter Games that year, and he noticed cameras from public access television there. An idea hit him, and he marched to the public access offices and asked John Jordan, the Wausau public access cable coordinator, if Badger State curling matches could be televised, and if he could be the play-by-play announcer.

Jordan was hestitant at first. But Tillisch, 49, of Wausau can be an exhuberant booster of curling — imagine him as a cheerleader/preacher hybrid for the sport — and he prevailed.

Tillisch and curling have been a fixture of local public access television ever since. He covers curling for the Badger State Games, the Tietge Bonspiel (curling lingo for tournament) and high school state championships.  The Wausau public access coverage has won state awards, Jordan said. Curlers love the coverage, and even folks outside the sport have been drawn in. And Tillisch has become the face and voice of the sport for the viewing audience.   —>
http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080222/WDH04/802220403/1619
~

Internet-TV connection still far off, experts say
New sets allow users to watch Web videos from the couch, but many say technology isn’t there yet
by Alex Pham and Dawn C. Chmielewski
Los Angeles Times
02/22/08

[ comments allowed ]

Buyers of this year’s most advanced televisions might notice a curious new feature — a jack that connects the sets directly to the Internet.  For now, the capabilities are modest. Viewers can’t surf the Web as they can on their computers, but they can use their remote controls to receive updated local weather forecasts, personalized stock quotes, on-demand access to a handful of TV shows such as “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and thousands of YouTube videos.

But the Web connections eventually could upend the way TV programs have been distributed. The goal one day is to replace every set-top device — cable boxes, TiVos, media center computers, stereos and game consoles — so all you need is a TV set that does it all via the Internet.   —>
http://www.contracostatimes.com/business/ci_8334161
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 02/20/08

February 21, 2008

Fifth Annual NYC Grassroots Media Conference: March 2, 2008
Speaking Truth to Power: MEDIA JUSTICE IN OUR COMMUNITIES
Co-Sponsored by Film and Media Studies Department at Hunter College/CUNY

Download Conference Information Packet (PDF) here

For the past four years, we’ve come together to explore the political dimensions of media and how it shapes our lives. By developing relationships between community and media organizations, the NYC Grassroots Media Coalition is working to re-imagine issues of access to, control of, and power over our media system. That means defining our struggle as a struggle for Media Justice.

Media Justice recognizes the need for a media that comes from, and is responsive to, the people, a media that addresses systemic marginalization and discrimination and that speaks truth to power. Media Justice asserts that our communities and airwaves are more than markets, and that our relationship to the media must be more than passive consumption. Media Justice recognizes that the form of our current media system is not inevitable, but the result of an interplay of history, technology, power, and privilege. Media Justice seeks to integrate efforts to reform our media system with a social justice agenda, in order to create not just a better media, but a better world.

We invite you to join us at the 2008 NYC Grassroots Media Conference as we seek to define our understanding of and relationship to Media Justice as a community, and explore how we can not only envision an ideal world, but to make this vision a reality.   —>
http://nycgrassrootsmedia.org/08conference_mission
~

Editorial: Telling our story
The Daily Journal (IL)
02/19/08

[ comments allowed ]

Kankakee County’s Comcast users could be creeping closer to getting public access television.  A recent meeting of the Development and Operations Committee of the Kankakee County Board heard testimony from two strong supporters of the idea. One is Marc Wakat. Wakat is the Democratic precinct committeeman for Limestone 3 and fondly remembers the good old days of Kankakee Valley Prime Time Live, a tongue-in-cheek news magazine of 15 years ago. The other is Kankakee Community College. President Jerry Weber wrote a letter to the board, indicating that the college could make use of a public access channel to show lectures and classes…

The essence of public access is to set aside a cable channel for use by the general public, providing an outlet for educational and community happenings. Detractors worry about putting material on the air that might somehow be indecent or offensive.  Our view is that hundreds of wholesome community events could be aired. Each would help build a sense of local pride. It would bring the community home to people who are shut in. It would bring local government out into the open.

Here is just a sample of some of the programs that could easily be put up on a local access channel: parades for the Bourbonnais Friendship Festival and at Christmas in Bradley; meetings of the Kankakee City Council, Kankakee County Board and the Kankakee School District; programs at the Kankakee Public Library and the Kankakee County Museum; and the YMCA Living and Learning series.

Would it not be a plus to be able to broadcast the Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast? The Kankakee County spelling bee? The Memorial Day ceremony from the steps of the Kankakee County Courthouse lawn?

The County Board appears to be increasingly sympathetic to the idea and now appears to be ready to push out to other governments.  Cable has created a whole bunch of channels. We have shopping channels, Spanish channels, sports channels, golf, Animal Planet and the Eternal Word. Surely, room can be found for community events.  “We should tell the great stories that our community holds,” Wakat says.  We couldn’t agree more.
http://www.daily-journal.com/archives/dj/display.php?id=414520
~

It’s time for schools to budget for taped meetings
by Abbi Swanson
Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun (IA)
02/20/08

An open letter to the school boards and superintendents of Lisbon and Mount Vernon from the League of Women Voters:

As you prepare your budgets for the upcoming fiscal years, the League of Women Voters of Mount Vernon-Lisbon is calling upon the school districts in our communities to add a line item for payment to KMVL TV, in order for Dean Traver’s company to tape school board meetings and work sessions.

Dean has provided residents in this area with coverage of local events for decades as a public service.  The league is urging this taping expand, and begin something we have advocated for years but which has met with occasional resistance.   —>
http://www.mtvernonlisbonsun.com/article.php?viewID=2420
~

Knology to finish work
Cable firm agrees to invest $750K in citywide services
by Hayes Hickman
Knoxville News Sentinel
02/20/08

[ 18 comments ]

* PDF: Draft contract amendment to Knology’s Knoxville franchise agreement

After years of stalled progress, Knology Inc. has agreed to invest $750,000 this year toward completing its citywide Internet, cable and phone services network, under a renegotiated franchise agreement with the city of Knoxville.

Knology’s services were within reach of barely half of all city residences in 2006 when City Council members last raised the issue with the West Point, Ga.-based company. Knology was required to complete its build-out within four years after the city franchise took effect in April 2000, with noncompliance penalties of $5,000 per month.

Under terms of the new draft contract amendment, to be voted on by council members at their next meeting Feb. 26, the penalties would be waived as Knology agrees instead to apply 80 months’ worth of such damages, totaling $400,000, plus another $350,000 toward expanding its local network infrastructure this year.

Although the new agreement does not impose a revised, absolute deadline for completion, the bundled media services provider would agree to commit 5 percent of its annual gross revenues in Knoxville each year toward the continued network expansion, or at least $2.1 million total over the remainder of its contract through April 2015…

Knology also agrees to begin carrying local community access television in its channel lineup within 90 days of the amendment’s approval by City Council, and to equip several city recreation and community centers with cable service at no cost.   —>
    http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/feb/20/knology-finish-work/
also reported by WBIR

~

Deerfield Twp. prepares for new cable providers
by Eric Bradley
Community Press & Recorder (OH)
02/20/08

Residents here will soon have more options for cable TV, and Deerfield Township is making sure those providing it pay to use the public right of way.  Trustees passed a resolution Feb. 13 assessing a 5 percent fee on new cable and video service providers in the township.   —>
http://news.communitypress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080220/NEWS01/802200396/1085/RSS1301
~

Buck Center to host seminar
Novato Advance (CA)
02/20/08

[ comments allowed ]

—>  And for friends of Sustainable Novato, Novato Public Access Television (NPAT) Channel 26 TV (Novato) will rebroadcast Sustainable Novato’s highly successful “Green Schools Coalition” Community Forum every Wednesday and Sunday evening at 8:30 p.m. through the month of February.  Here’s a review of the Forum by Novato’s Annie Spiegelman in a Marin newspaper’s Feb. 8 letters to the editor:   —>    http://www.novatoadvance.com/articles/2008/02/20/business/doc47bc993d5ccf6095165137.txt
~

Latina Voices
by Sandra Fernandez
Sandra Says
02/20/08

[ comments allowed ]

Minerva Perez, formerly on KTRK ABC Channel 13, has a new project. Latino Talk TV is currently on public access TV. The show has become so popular that a national network is discussing syndication rights.  Here’s the premiere episode of her newest project, Latina Voices. It’s sure to be another success. (Can you tell I’m a fan?)
http://blog.sandrasays.com/2008/02/20/latina-voices/
~

St. Patrick’s parade faces TV blackout
Time Warner asking $3,500 to cover costs
by Brian Meyer
Buffalo News (NY)
02/20/08

This year, the only chance to see marchers in the St. Patrick’s Day in Buffalo may be in person.  Time Warner Cable is ending the tradition of providing free production for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade so the popular event can be later aired on the cable system. It wants parade sponsors to pay $3,500 for production costs or find their own video crews.

Organizers of one of downtown’s biggest events are furious, as are some city officials.  “It’s very sad,” said Brigid A. Knott, the parade’s chief of staff. “[Time Warner] certainly makes enough money from the people of the City of Buffalo, not to mention people in the suburbs.”   —>
http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/story/280539.html
~

Burma’s Media completely under military dictatorship
by Zin Linn
Asian Tribune
02/20/08

[ comments allowed ]

The press is the fourth pillar of democracy after parliament, the legislature and the judiciary. Not so in Burma, where parliament has been silenced by the military. As a result, the legislature and the judiciary are automatically defunct under the military autocracy. As a necessary outcome of the iron rule, the fourth estate also comes under the grip of military-dictatorship.

The Burmese military junta has enforced stringent censorship rules and regulations the world has ever known on the media. Every piece of text has to be scrutinized by military’s PSRD before being published. Burma achieved certain notoriety as predator of the press. No information is allowed to flow or be published/ broadcast without the junta’s prior approval.

The latest repressive attacks against the media took place on February 15, 2008. According to Burma Media Association (BMA), military intelligence officers carried out a four-hour search of the offices of the Myanmar Nation Journal and confiscated many documents, including a copy of Human Rights Report on Burma by Prof. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, videos of last anti-government protests in September, and hand-written poems. Police arrested editor, Thet Zin and manager, Sein Win Maung. The two journalists were taken to the Thin-gan-gyun township police station.   —>
http://www.asiantribune.com/?q=node/9685
~

BBC plans to sustain citizenship and civil society. Please tell us how
by Pete Clifton
Designing for a Civil Society
02/19/08

[ 13 comments ]

Here’s a story about how the BBC is developing new local multi-media services, its Charter remit for “sustaining citizenship and civil society”, the closure of BBC Action network, development of citizen (or networked) journalism, and how the BBC Trust consults us on what the BBC is for.

These developments and issues may be related … I don’t know …. but I think we should be told. But by whom? Maybe on the BBC Internet blog where they are exploring Digital Democracy.

My interest in these issues was re-awakened by a couple of e-mails in the UK and Ireland E-Democracy Exchange. E-democracy guru Steven Clift asked whether anyone has an update on the BBC Action Network, which has been hailed as a civic media success story, but as I had noted earlier is due to close soon. Steven wondered if future developments related to a Press Gazette story about Regional newspapers’ fury at BBC local web plan.   —>
http://www.designingforcivilsociety.org/2008/02/bbc-plans-to-su.html
~

SuzeMuse on Community TV and the Web
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition
02/19/08

[ comments allowed ]

—>  Sue wrote some really nice things about our conversation, including some thoughts on CCTV and our community there.  I wanted to highlight Sue’s post in particular because of her description of the possibilities she sees in community television and the social web working together, not apart.

“There has been some talk about the relevance of true community access television, with the advent of YouTube and other video services going online. If anyone can now make a video and post it for the world to see, why do community TV stations even need to exist any longer? The reason is simple. It’s about community. It’s about people physically coming together and producing valuable content, and the relationships that are formed when people are in this kind of environment. You can’t get that by hitting ‘Submit’ on your YouTube page.

“I think the Internet is going to be an extremely valuable outlet for those community television stations who choose to embrace its potential. By taking the power of community and sending it out to the world, everyone stands to benefit. Now, we not only have the power of being able to bring the community to the world…we have the possibility of linking these communities to make something even greater.”
http://cmediachange.net/blog/2008/02/19/suzemuse-on-community-tv-and-the-web/
~

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