Archive for the ‘user-generated content’ category

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
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[ 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
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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 – 03/09/08

March 10, 2008

An Act Concerning Community Access Television
by Pua Ford
Woodbridge Government Access (CT)
03/09/08

The state legislature meets in short session this year–closing in early May–so everything moves fast. Last year a law was passed to get the AT&T video service started. This year, the Energy & Technology committee started a bill to amend that, to correct some things regarding community access TV. A hearing on the bill (and 18 others) was held on 3/7.  The state public affairs channel, Connecticut Network, recorded the entire 14-hour hearing–viewable on their website. HB 5814 takes up almost 4 hours at the beginning.

Government access–the main concern here for Woodbridge at this time–is only one branch of community access. The others are educational (channel 78 for Woodbridge cable subscribers) and public (channel 77). Sometimes we say “PEG access” because it’s easier.  There is a comparison of PEG access on cable and on the U-Verse here. Be patient, it takes time to launch. It’s interesting.
http://wgatv.blogspot.com/2008/03/act-concerning-community-access.html
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Bill would give TV viewers more choice
by Bill O’Boyle
Times Leader (PA)
03/09/08

[ 2 comments; one below ]

Peter and Sylvia Reiss like to watch certain television channels, like Hallmark and The History Channel.  But to get those stations, they have to buy a special package from their cable company or satellite provider. They think that’s unfair.  “These companies have the market pretty much sewn up, and that’s not fair to consumers,” Peter Reiss said. “I think if I’m paying for the service, I should be able to choose which channels I want to watch.”  The Sugarloaf Township couple, along with most consumers in Pennsylvania, don’t have a choice when it comes to cable providers…

A bill pending in the state Legislature seeks to change that. House Bill 1490, introduced by state Rep. Todd Eachus, D-Butler Township, would allow consumers to choose their cable television provider, programming and service level. It proposes state oversight of an industry that currently offers customers no independent arbitrators when disputes occur.  “This proposal is all about giving the public a voice and giving the public the chance to get informed about expanding their power to choose,” Eachus said…

Opponents say the legislation isn’t needed; they maintain the current system is working. Attorney Daniel S. Cohen of Pittsburgh, who represents approximately 250 municipalities in Pennsylvania in cable and telecommunications matters, testified at the Feb. 7 committee hearing on the bill, arguing against statewide franchising.  “In short, House Bill 1490 would undermine municipal franchising authority, eliminate consumer service standards, potentially decelerate the build-out of competitive networks, reduce franchise fee revenue and accountability for municipalities’ legal exposure, and weaken enforcement of cable operator violations,” Cohen testified…

Comment on Article: Akbar Mytie, March 9, 2008 at 9:08 AM:
You folks had best be careful what you wish for. This “promise” is still getting a lot of attention among people who don’t know any better, but a growing body of evidence is showing that these efforts to give viewers “choice,” are worse than pipe dreams, they are ham-handed attempts to further screw the consumer.

http://www.timesleader.com/news/20080309_09_CHOICE_ART.html
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Public Access Video on FCC Hearing
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition (MA)
03/09/08

[ comments allowed ]

Somerville Community Access Television Executive Director Wendy Blom produced this short video (12 min 11 sec) above from the February 25 FCC hearing on Broadband Network Management Practices at the Harvard Law School.  The video, found online at SCAT’s Vlog!, includes some of the voices not heard by the FCC during the hearing on the controversial issue of network neutrality.   —>
http://cmediachange.net/blog/2008/03/09/public-access-video-on-fcc-hearing/
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Kingston Resident Donates $500 to KPA
by Jeremy Blaber
Blaber’s News and Commentary (NY)
03/09/08

[ 1 comment ]

I received a call on Thursday from a friend of mine that has decided to donate $500 to Kingston Public Access TV. The donor wants to remain anonymous and is a concerned resident of the 8th Ward in the City of Kingston. The generous donation was prompted after hearing “disappointing commentary” about funding KPA from Alderman Teetsel on Kingston Community Radio last week. I thank this donor for supporting Kingston Public Access!

Money Raised So Far:  $ 5000.00 Town of Ulster; $ 500.00 Supervisor Nick Woerner; $ 250.00 Councilman Eric Kitchen; $ 500.00 Private Donor. Total= $6250.00

With a bare bones budget of $9000.00, only $2750 is needed to keep KPA open this year… make sure that you call your local township and ask them to support your local access station.   —>
http://blabernews.blogspot.com/2008/03/kingston-resident-donates-500-to-kpa.html
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So you want to be a DJ…
Radio dreams bring eclectic tastes to Portsmouth Community Radio training session
by Dan Lorenz
SeacoastOnline.com (NH)
03/09/08

For fans of low-power community radio, expect big things in the near future.  A recent training session at WSCA 106.1 FM in Portsmouth drew more than 20 DJ hopefuls, each representing unique talents, experiences and musical interests.

YOUR TURN: Do you want to be on the radio?  WSCA is holding another Training Module 1 on April 17 at 7 p.m. For information, visit www.wscafm.org.

With ideas ranging from bluegrass to a “conservative talk show run by liberals,” the trainees all appeared eager to have a shot at running their own radio program.  Jason Brown, a DJ with the station since it first began broadcasting in 2004, says that this year’s training group represents a chance for new, unique programs.  “We have people from all ages, and all interests. There are all kind of opportunities,” Brown said. “We love bringing different people in and gaining a sense of community.”

Brown is no stranger to the dedication needed to operate an all-volunteer radio program. As a student at the University of New Hampshire, Brown volunteered at WUNH, the university’s low-power station. For six months, Brown held a nightly show from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.  “That might have caused me to skip some classes,” Brown said.

The experienced DJ offers additional advice to new members.  “None of us here are pros by any stretch,” Brown said. “We don’t expect you to become Casey Kasem right off the bat. Each programmer and DJ has their own style and nuances.”

Bjorn Turnquist, general manager of Portsmouth Community Radio, says that he is impressed with how many people attended the training session.  “It’s unbelievable that we have this turnout,” Turnquist said. “It’s helping us really get on the map.”  Portsmouth Community Radio began broadcasting on Sept. 12, 2004, completely through an all-volunteer effort. Today, with the aid of a 25-foot radio transmitter on the top of The Music Hall, the station reaches a wide listening audience in the Seacoast area. The station is also streamed live on the station’s Web site.   —>
http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080309/LIFE/803090305
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Marshall Economics Professor Returns to Huntington on TV
World Bank Retiree now Producing Public Access Television
HuntingtonNews.net (WV)
03/09/08

After a 39 year absence, former Marshall University faculty member and student Tom Hoopengardner has returned to Huntington, at least figuratively, via cable television. Hoopengardner produces “America’s Best Student Shorts”, a weekly, half-hour program that now appears on Comcast Cable TV Channel 20 (Huntington Public Access TV) on Thursday nights at 9:30 P.M. and 12:30 A.M..

America’s Best Student Shorts showcases “shorts” –short films and videos — produced by college students from all over the U.S. The program has been running on sixty campus and public access television stations from coast to coast, and Huntington’s Comcast Channel 20 becomes the sixty-first. America’s Best Student Shorts celebrates the creativity, energy and imagination that college film and video students are pouring into class projects and MFA theses. The short movies featured include all genres: drama, comedy, animation, biography, documentary, and even music videos. “The one thing they all have in common,” Hoopengardner explained, “Is that they are enormously entertaining.”

Public access TV channels provide air time non-commercial programming of all descriptions. The program content is usually created by grassroots producers — artists, entertainers, filmmakers, civic groups, non-profit organizations, churches, etc. In the Huntington area, public access programming is aired daily between 8pm and 10 p.m. on Comcast Channel 20, and the daily program block later repeats between 11 p.m. and 1 am. “Huntington Public Access TV is available to everyone,” said Richard Bartram, the public access TV community liaison who has championed public access television in the Huntington viewing area. “Yet participation has been very limited so far. Hopefully, community involvement will increase in many ways, including greater participation by Marshall students.”   —>
http://www.huntingtonnews.net/local/080309-staff-localtomhoopengardnerontv.html
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Lisa Beatman: A poet for the unsung workers of the Ames Safety Envelope Factory
Off The Shelf by Doug Holder
Somerville News (MA)
03/09/08

[ comments allowed ]

Lisa Beatman has penned a new poetry collection “Manufacturing America: Poems from the Factory Floor ( Ibbetson Press) that was inspired by her stint as an Adult Literacy teacher at the Ames Safety Envelope Factory in Somerville.

Beatman, after being outsourced from the factory, now manages the adult literacy program at the Harriet Tubman House in Boston. She has won honorable mention for the 2004 Miriam Landberg International Poetry Peace Prize, and was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant, as well as a fellowship to Sacatar Institute in Brazil. Her work has appeared in Lonely Planet, Lilith, Harvard Pacific Review, Rhino, Ibbetson Street and others. Her first collection of poetry was titled “Ladies Night at the Blue Hill Spa.” I spoke with Beatman on my Somerville Community Access TV show “Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer.”   —>
http://somervillenews.typepad.com/the_somerville_news/2008/03/lisa-beatman-a.html
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Newspapers Must Innovate or Die
by J.D. Lasica
Mediashift Idea Lab
03/09/08

[ comments allowed ]

—>   On Friday, Beatblogging.org’s David Cohn pointed to Clay Shirky’s new book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, and quoted this excerpt from Shirky’s book:

“A good deal of user-generated content isn’t actually “content” at all, at least not in the sense of material designed for an audience. Instead, a lot of it is just part of a conversation.

“Mainstream media has often missed this, because they are used to thinking of any group of people as an audience. Audience, though, is just one pattern a group can exist in; another is community. Most amateur media unfolds in a community setting, and a community isn’t just a small audience; it has a social density, a pattern of users talking to one another, that audiences lack. An audience isn’t just a big community either; it’s more anonymous, with many fewer ties between users. Now, though, the technological distinction between media made for an audience and media made for a community is evaporating; instead of having one kind of media come in through the TV and another kind come in through the phone, it all comes in over the internet.”

University of Florida new media professor Mindy McAdams chimed in :

“Newspapers used to be centered in communities. Now they are mostly not. People in much of North America don’t even live in communities.  Is this why newspapers are dying? Because there are no communities? …  It’s about what Shirky said: Audiences are not the same as communities, and communities are made up of people talking to one another.  What does a community need? How should journalists supply what communities need?”

Indeed, this is perhaps the key question for the survival of newspapers, but one that’s rarely heard in newsrooms or corporate media offices.  I was once optimistic about the resiliency of newspapers and the promise of their online news divisions. But that optimism has faded as media companies circle the wagons and hunker down, intent on shoring up short-term profits with few attempts to boldly experiment.

A handful of exceptions like the Beat Blogging project — a collaboration among 13 news organizations to determine how social networks can improve beat reporting — only prove the rule. The Mercury News seemed on course to embrace a new direction with its Next Newsroom Project, coming to Duke University on April 3-4. I hope I’m proved wrong, but the odds appear stacked against the paper’s Denver-based corporate owners embracing the kinds of still-evolving, far-reaching, disruptive changes on the table at Next Newsroom.

Most of the innovation in news continues to occur outside of the newspaper industry, ranging from Digg, Newsvine, NowPublic and Facebook (rivers of personalized news) to Placeblogger’s list of citizen media sites and David Cohn’s citizen newspaper network BrooWaha.   —>
http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2008/03/newspapers-the-innovation-chal.html
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10 Promotion Opportunities for Mitt This Week 3/9
by unitethegop
Romney for VP
03/09/08

[ comments allowed ]

I’ve numbered and listed some ways you can help this week.  If you are able to attend to any or some of them please post the status of your task via comment. Let’s accomplish as many of these as possible.  I would love to see hundred comments that say, “I’ve finished number …..”

—> 5. Gather free use video footage (not copyrighted) and photos of Romney and McCain that we could use to argue our position for Romney as the best possible choice for VP, and  make YouTube and Google videos to post on these sites and Public Access Cable TV.

6. Be a dedicated Radio Talk Show caller.  Try to get on with Rush, Coulter, Beck, Hannity, Ingram and other Conservative talk shows who supported Mitt.   —>
http://blogromneyforvp.unitethegop.com/2008/03/08/help-us-with-promotion-opportunities-for-mitt-this-week-39.aspx
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 02/24/08

February 26, 2008

Pequannock eyes public access TV
Daily Record (NJ)
02/24/08

[ 1 comment ]

The township council and any interested township residents will get together in a special session this week for a demonstration on the capabilities of public access cable channel 77.  Cablevision officials will explain who, how and when the strictly local channel may be used by the township and private citizens.   —>
http://www.dailyrecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080224/UPDATES01/802240323/-1/rss
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Maynard:  Snag in Renewing Cable Pact
by Matt Gunderson
Boston Globe (MA)
02/24/08

Selectmen have issued a preliminary denial of Comcast’s request to renew its operating license in town but will continue negotiating with the cable provider on an informal basis, said Town Administrator John Curran. The primary reason for the denial was Comcast’s unwillingness to award the town a higher franchise fee, which gives the town a certain percentage of the company’s local gross receipts to cover public-access cable expenses, Curran said. The town would like as much $120,000 annually, he said, while Comcast was willing to give about half that.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/02/24/hearing_on_demolition_request/?page=2
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Township gets another option in cable through agreement
by Shari L. Berg
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
02/24/08

Richland residents will have another option available for cable television service because of a new franchise agreement with Consolidated Communications.  The phone provider, formerly known as North Pittsburgh Telephone Co., will begin offering fully digital cable service next month. The agreement was unanimously approved during the township supervisors meeting Wednesday…

In addition to regular programming, educational and governmental channels also will be on the system, Mr. Swift said. The educational programming will feature news from the Pine-Richland School District and the governmental channel will feature Richland news and meetings.   —>
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08055/859341-54.stm
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Grandstanding or altruism?
by RAG
The (Somewhat) Daily Rag (WI)
02/21/08

[ 3 comments ]

Former Pleasant Prairie village board member Alex Tiahnybok banged the drum again this week for village board meetings to be televised, a position I don’t necessarily oppose.  Besides making comments at the Monday night’s village board meeting, Tiahnybok repeated his call today over at his blog.  There are, however, several problems with Tiahnybok’s rant.   —>
http://ragdujour.blogspot.com/2008/02/grandstanding-or-altruism.html
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Social entrepreneurs find their focus
Nonprofit group encourages volunteerism
by Anna L. Griffin
Worcester Telegram & Gazette
02/24/08

[ comments allowed ]

—>   “I think when you say ‘entrepreneur,’ people have a good idea of the type of person you’re talking about. A social entrepreneur is one who builds social capital and this is the idea behind Community Builders,” said Karin Oliveira, director of Community Builders, which is housed in the Center for Democracy and Humanity at Mount Wachusett Community College.

The nonprofit organization is a partnership between the United Way of North Central Massachusetts and Mount Wachusett Community College, in cooperation with Ashoka Innovators for the Public. The organization’s corporate partners are Bemis Associates and Unitil.  Its goal is to promote and build volunteerism within the region. Community Builders seeks to do this by educating, informing and inspiring community involvement through fellowships, training and volunteer opportunities.  A key component of the Community Builders program is the fellowships it gives out. Awards of $500 to $3,500 are handed out on a quarterly basis to those within the community with an established program — or those who would like to establish a program — to benefit the region.

“We are looking for individuals or organizations that have an idea that will benefit the community and get others involved,” Ms. Oliveira said.  Since starting two years ago, 16 fellowships have been awarded…

“For someone to be placed in the role of an executive and just to be out there, that was a little scary,” said W. Rachel Chery, who is the producer of the teen talk program, “Le’Burg.”  “Le’Burg” is produced by teens and stars a cast of teens involved in targeted discussions on serious topics. The show also offers entertainment. Produced at Fitchburg Access Television and shown on both FATV and Leominster Access Television, the show was up and running when Ms. Chery was made a fellow in Community Builders last year. She received a grant for $3,000.  “Community Builders has helped me in the way I go about the work I am doing,” Ms. Chery said. “They’ve pointed me in the right direction for answers to questions I have about administrative things. I now have more time to focus on the program, working with the teens, getting the program produced and just building the program.”   —>
http://www.telegram.com/article/20080224/NEWS/802240381/1008/NEWS02
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Making War Coverage a National Community Project
Salem-News.com (OR)
02/24/08

[ 3 comments ]

Sending a reporter into harm’s way is a risky business. We appreciate help and assistance from our community and from other Americans who want to see real stories about real people serving at war.

Salem-News.com reporter Tim King is preparing to visit Baghdad, Iraq in late March for four to six weeks to cover the Oregon Guard at war. This will be Tim’s second trip overseas to cover the combat operations of Oregon’s civilian soldiers. He will also cover operations of the U.S. Army’s historic 10th Mountain Division at Kirkuk, Iraq.

Americans at large seem to have lost interest in Iraq and in spite of the fact that tens of thousands of our soldiers go on fighting and in some cases, dying there, the demand for war coverage at the American networks has never been lower.  Groups like the conservative Media Research Center say FOX News is more fair when it comes to war coverage, but Portland’s local FOX affiliate which carried Tim’s work from Afghanistan during the winter of 2006/07 has declined to carry the Iraq coverage of Oregon’s soldiers.  Unfortunately for the Oregon National Guard, Portland, Oregon’s TV stations share a seemingly equal level of disinterest when it comes to Iraq. It appears as though it is up to the Internet and new media outlets to make up the difference.

Oregon’s soldiers in particular, have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan in some cases multiple times, in an attempt to feed the machine set into motion by our federal government.

Setting out to secure the necessary resources for a journalistic mission of this nature during the Vietnam War was only a fraction of the challenge for journalists, as the nation remained glued to combat reports on TV for the duration of the war. But coverage can make a war unpopular and so the trends affecting the Iraq War are different.

If this bothers you and you support our men and women in uniform who are fighting in Iraq, then help us accomplish this trip with a high degree of success by pitching in what you can to for expenses that won’t be accommodated or offset through one of our local stations.  Another option is to attach your name or your company’s name specifically to some of the equipment needs that exist. The items are listed below.   —>
http://www.salem-news.com/articles/february242008/tim_iraq_4_2-24-08.php
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Rethinking Participation and Access in Public Access Media
by Colin Rhinesmith
Community Media in Transition (MA)
02/24/08

[ comments allowed ]

In June 2007, after learning about this project Felicia Sullivan recommended that I read Community Media: A Global Introduction by Ellie Rennie. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve only just begun to realize – sigh – what an amazing resource it truly is. Particularly for students and scholars of old and new media interested in finding fresh perspectives within media studies and democratic theories of governance.

Rennie investigates community media through the frameworks of political and legal theory to study its ambition “in what it sets out to achieve” (12) and its “sometimes contradictory principles” (61) (see, Rethinking Access Philosophy).  Central to the definition of community media, Rennie highlights the terms “participation” and “access.”  “meaning that nonprofessional media makers are encouraged to become involved (participation), providing individuals and communities with a platform to express their views (access).” (3)

Terms both associated with the cultural phenomenon of self-produced media content and refuted by media justice advocates, who write “the critical issue of access isn’t access to the technology but access to power over how that technology is developed.” In her chapter, “Access Reconfigured,” Rennie reinforces the latter position by considering community media within Internet commons and free software philosophies. She writes “Some have called it ‘a new public interest,’ one that is based on an alternative regime where access is no longer about gaining access to a controlled territory, but where that territory is freely accessible to begin with.” (167)

While “alternative” and “radical” theories of community media remain part of their history, Rennie provides alternatives in her book that make us also look at “the good, the bad and the ordinary” (24). It is within this space, that Higgins’ approach to community media as process – rather than a means to an end (e.g., a program aired on public access television) – finds its place within community media studies.  “Community television as process conceptualizes constant change within individuals and the collectivities within which they participate” (Higgins, 1999).

A process, for Rennie, that brings “civil society into view” to understand how community media can negotiate both group needs and individual freedom (59).   —>
http://cmediachange.net/blog/2008/02/24/rethinking-participation-and-access-in-public-access-media/
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/25/08

January 26, 2008

Comcast fight joins federal case (MI)
by Deanna Rose
Source
01/27/08

A Macomb County court case against Comcast has been combined with a federal lawsuit, with several communities attempting to permanently halt the cable company’s movement of local access channels to higher-numbered digital channels.  Macomb County Circuit Judge David Viviano, in response to a lawsuit filed by the city of Warren, granted a motion for a temporary restraining order Jan. 14 that prohibited Comcast from relocating public, educational and government, or PEG, channels. The move, slated to occur Jan. 15, was to place PEG programming on digital channels in the 900s.

A hearing for a preliminary injunction on whether or not to make Viviano’s decision permanent was scheduled to take place Jan. 22, but the case has since been moved to the U.S. District Court in Detroit and combined with another case citing similar issues.

U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts, of the Eastern District of Michigan, issued the same action Jan. 14 as Viviano did. The federal decision was made on behalf of a motion filed Jan. 11 by Meridian Township and Dearborn against Comcast, which stated the move would no longer keep PEG channels on the lowest service plan, limiting access to senior citizens and low-income subscribers. With the channel switch, non-digital customers would have to purchase a converter box to watch PEG programming after Comcast’s promotional offer of a free converter box expired after one year.   —>
http://www.sourcenewspapers.com/stories/012708/loc_story3001.shtml
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Court won’t block bids for cable TV PEG contract
Maui News (HI)
01/25/08

WAILUKU – Second Circuit Judge Joel August said Thursday that the state could continue with a competitive procurement process for public-access television services.  Akaku: Maui Community Television, which holds the Maui contract for public-access TV, had asked August to stop the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs from using a competitive bidding process, saying it was illegal and inappropriate given the station’s role in protecting free speech.

But August said that while he wasn’t sure the state is required to use competitive procurement, it has “wide discretion” in awarding the contracts. “They’re free to use any reasonable form of designation they wish to,” he said.

State law requires cable TV companies to provide money and channels for public, education and government access on cable. The DCCA has contracted with nonprofit organizations like Akaku to manage the public-access services.  After years of awarding no-bid contracts to Akaku and three sister operations in other counties, the DCCA was told by procurement officials the contracts had to be awarded in a competitive process.

The agency issued requests for proposals in 2006. But the procurement notice has been on hold while the state addresses protests filed by Akaku and the Oahu operator, Olelo, and while the DCCA writes rules for the procurement process.  The department is currently seeking approval to hold a public hearing on the draft rules.  The state Procurement Office last month granted an extension of the current contracts to July 15 while the DCCA completes the rules and renews its request-for-proposals.

August said Thursday he was “rather pleased” the state had listened to his recommendation that it create procurement rules.  He suggested that in addition to other factors, the DCCA make a “commitment in writing” to looking at preservation of free speech as one of its selection criteria for the contracts.   —>
http://www.mauinews.com/news/2008/1/25/05couw0125.html
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Raymond’s RCTV paves the way for public access excellence
by Sean Bourbeau
Rockingham News (NH)
01/25/08

People that were trapped in their homes during the floods last year had power and cable TV, but they didn’t have land-line phone service and cell phone service was spotty at best.  Sure, there were images on the floods on Channel 7 and Channel 9, but they weren’t able to give people the type of information they needed if they wanted to venture out of their house.

That’s where Channel 22 stepped in, also known as Raymond Community Television (RCTV), providing roads that were open and closed throughout Raymond.  Marc Vadeboncoeur, member of the cable committee, went out to various roads and checked with the police and fire chiefs to find out information regarding road closings, safety measures, and other flood related coverage.

They were then able to post this information on Channel 22, giving people who had little or no information a wealth of it.  Their flood coverage is one example of how far RCTV has come in a decade since it started.  Vadeboncoeur said this coverage made the channel relevant.  “That was probably one of the best uses of local access,” he said. “The town (viewed) Channel 22 as a viable resource for them to get information out when needed.”   —>
http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080125/NEWS/801250382
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Letter: City public TV channel needs some attention
by Bernie del Llano (4 comments)
Nashua Telegraph (NH)
01/25/08

As I began typing this letter, it has become more to create awareness and relay concerns about our public, education and government channels here in Nashua.  Well, first of all, we do not have a public channel. We live in one of the biggest cities in New Hampshire, and we do not have a public channel. We are too big of a city not to have one.

I have done many “public” shows for Lowell, Revere and Malden, Mass., as well as in our own state. I co-hosted a flood-relief telethon for Merrimack, and now every Monday morning I co-host a live talk show in Manchester for MCAM on Channel 23.  But as a resident of Nashua, I cannot have a public access show in my “hometown” because there isn’t a public access channel to begin with.  Cable television advisory board, what is the status of the public channel? Do you need help with this? —>    http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080125/OPINION02/462238622
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City’s special session to focus on Suddenlink franchise agreement
Enid News (OK)
01/25/08

Enid City Commission will meet in special session 6:30 p.m. Tuesday for a public hearing on Suddenlink Communications and extension of its franchise agreement with the city.  During the hearing, commissioners will review Suddenlink’s compliance with its existing license, review results of a satisfaction survey and identify future cable-related community needs and interests.   —>
http://www.enidnews.com/localnews/local_story_025004752.html
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‘Humble Farmer’ makes TV return
by Ray Routhier (1 comment)
Kennebec Journal (ME)
01/25/08

Seven months after he lost his public radio show because he wouldn’t agree to restrictions on what he could say on the air, the man known as “The Humble Farmer” is bringing his humor and commentary back to Mainers via public access television.  Robert Skoglund sent new versions of “The Humble Farmer” on DVD to public and community access TV stations around the state this month, hoping to get them on. In an e-mail to fans, Skoglund wrote that 28 stations have agreed to show the program or consider it. Skoglund declined to comment on his TV efforts for this story.

Stations that have scheduled “The Humble Farmer” include Harpswell Community Television, South Portland Community Television and Saco River Community Television, which appears in Buxton, Hollis, Limerick, Limington, Standish and Waterboro.

Skoglund had done his weekly show on the radio stations of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for 28 years before he was dismissed in June. MPBN officials said Skoglund had refused to sign a letter indicating he would follow commentary guidelines that apply to the network’s non-news staff.   —>
http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/news/local/4692958.html
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Bismarck public art policy discussed
by Gordon Weixel (7 comments)
Bismarck Tribune (ND)
01/25/08

Questions from the community were as wide-ranging and diverse as the subject matter itself during the course of Thursday evening’s Public Arts Forum sponsored by the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District.  Originally intended as a four-person panel with a moderator, an unexpected fifth panelist appeared in the form of park district director Steve Neu, who found many of the questions directed his way. Other panelists included Bismarck State College instructor and artist Michelle Lindblom; local art dealer Ondine Baird; public art consultant Jack Becker; and Doug Kane, who started the process by questioning the park district’s policy on public art display…

…Neu said there will be further discussion with the community and that the information will be brought to the park board for their consideration. The forum was broadcast live on Community Access Television and will be repeated several times.   —>
http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2008/01/25/news/topnews/147344.txt
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FAQ: Inside the High-Stakes 700-MHz Spectrum Auction
by Bryan Gardiner
Wired
01/24/08

The FCC’s 700-MHz-spectrum auction officially began on January 24 and stands to be one of the most significant airwave auctions in U.S. history, potentially affecting everything from the cost of your wireless service to the competitive landscape among U.S. mobile providers for years to come.  With 214 qualified bidders expected to compete for various 700-MHz band licenses — including Verizon, AT&T and Google — some industry insiders say the government could rake in as much $30 billion in the auction. That money will be used to help transition to all digital TV signals by 2009.

Although bidding gets underway on Jan. 24, 2008, the public won’t know who the winners and losers are until the auction officially concludes. Per FCC rules, the entire bidding process for Auction 73 will be anonymous, and the government agency has warned participants not to disclose anything about the auction (or their bids) until after it’s over. That said, interested parties can track the auction’s progress by visiting the FCC’s auction homepage.

Over the next week, industry insiders will be watching Google in particular. If the company does win the highly coveted “C Block” of spectrum, the portion that has been deemed “open to any devices and services,” the resulting network could usher in much-needed innovation, improve services, and even a “third broadband pipe” (after DSL and cable) into the home — one that wouldn’t be controlled by any one company.

The “C Block” carriers a minimum bidding price of $4.6 billion, and the general consensus is that if Google does win this portion of spectrum, the company will have someone else build the network. Total build-out costs could be as high as $15 billion, according to industry analysts.  Of course, there are already enough loopholes attached to the “C Block” to render all of the open access stipulations obsolete if the FCC doesn’t get its asking price for the spectrum. Unquestionably, there’s a lot at stake.  Here’s a FAQ on how the FCC’s 700-MHz auction will work — and why you should be interested in its outcome.   —>
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/news/2008/01/auction_faq?currentPage=all
~

[  In the last few months I’ve been keeping an eye out for the term ‘ communitarian.’   That word comes freighted with tons of baggage, but yesterday this interesting reflection turned up – not unrelated to access television’s practices and effects.  – rm ]

The new commonwealth
by Deric Bownds (4 comments)
Deric Bownds’ Mindblog (WI)
01/25/08

Some interesting comments by Kevin Kelly on possible political consequences of the Wikipedia phenomenon, excerpted from his brief essay. He changed his initial assumption that an encyclopedia editable by anyone would be an impossibility. This commentary has a rather different spirit than yesterday’s post on the internet phenomenon.

“It has always been clear that collectives amplify power — that is what cities and civilizations are — but what’s been the big surprise for me is how minimal the tools and oversight are needed. The bureaucracy of Wikipedia is relatively so small as to be invisible. It’s the Wiki’s embedded code-based governance, versus manager-based governance that is the real news. Yet the greatest surprise brought by the Wikipedia is that we still don’t know how far this power can go. We haven’t seen the limits of wiki-ized intelligence. Can it make textbooks, music and movies? What about law and political governance?

“The reality of a working Wikipedia has made a type of communitarian socialism not only thinkable, but desirable. Along with other tools such as open-source software and open-source everything, this communtarian bias runs deep in the online world…In other words it runs deep in this young next generation. It may take several decades for this shifting world perspective to show its full colors. When you grow up knowing rather than admitting that such a thing as the Wikipedia works; when it is obvious to you that open source software is better; when you are certain that sharing your photos and other data yields more than safeguarding them — then these assumptions will become a platform for a yet more radical embrace of the commonwealth. I hate to say it but there is a new type of communism or socialism loose in the world, although neither of these outdated and tinged terms can accurately capture what is new about it.

“The Wikipedia has changed my mind, a fairly steady individualist, and lead me toward this new social sphere. I am now much more interested in both the new power of the collective, and the new obligations stemming from individuals toward the collective. In addition to expanding civil rights, I want to expand civil duties. I am convinced that the full impact of the Wikipedia is still subterranean, and that its mind-changing power is working subconsciously on the global millennial generation, providing them with an existence proof of a beneficial hive mind, and an appreciation for believing in the impossible.”

[ Kevin Kelly is Editor-At-Large for Wired, and author of “New Rules for the New Economy.”  There’s more of his essay at Edge’s World Question Center website.  Interesting place – the question for 2008 is “What Have You Changed Your Mind About?” – rm ]
http://mindblog.dericbownds.net/2008/01/new-commonwealth.html
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 11/15/07

November 16, 2007

Russ Decker’s fumbling attempts to get his priorities straight
by Emily Mills
Dane101.com (WI)
11/14/07

I read with some interest Russ Decker’s (D-Schofield) recent interview with The Daily Page for their “Comp Time With…” series. Decker recently took over for Judy Robson upon her deposal from the top spot amongst Senate Democrats as Majority Leader. His first action once in the position? Pushing through the so-called Video Competition Bill, a contentious piece of legislation that proponents claim will bring Wisconsin consumer’s greater cable competition and better rates, and that opponents say will destroy consumer protections, cut funding for public access and hurt access for people in more rural parts of the state.

So it was with particular interest that I read the following point-blank statement made by Decker in the interview. When asked “Why has the video franchise bill become a priority?” his response was simple: “The video franchise bill is not a priority for me.” Wait, what? Hadn’t I just been reading, in multiple sources, about Decker’s desire to make said bill his “first priority” once in as the Majority Leader? Or was my memory failing me? I started to dig around. —>
http://dane101.com/adventure/2007/11/14/russ_decker_s_fumbling_attempts_to_get_his_priorities_straight
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Let the competition begin-new cable provider coming to VP
by Lawerence W. Synett
Villa Park Review (IL)
11/14/07

With newly enacted state legislation, Villa Park and other Illinois municipalities will now have AT&T and other cable and video providers competing for residents’ business. Villa Park took a step forward at Monday night’s village board meeting by letting the competition begin between AT&T and Comcast after considering three ordinances that would allow AT&T to begin laying groundwork for offering village residents its services. “Eventually we will have AT&T competing with Comcast,” said Villa Park Village Manager Bob Niemann. “This is a statewide thing where they are trying to even the playing field.”

… The second proposed ordinance would allow the village to impose a 5-percent fee on gross sales of cable or video service, plus a 1-percent public, educational and governmental fee. This would not replace any fees contained in current franchise agreements, and the ordinance would further define what is to be included or excluded under the definition of gross sales. Niemann stated that the 5-percent fee and 1-percent fee coincide with the fees Comcast currently pays the village.

… One concern raised by the trustees and village president was whether or not AT&T, once established in the village, would offer a public access channel that would air such things as village board meetings and other happenings taking place in Villa Park. Currently, stated Niemann, AT&T is not planning on offering a public access channel. Comcast currently uses Channel 6 as Villa Park’s public access station. “We will just have to wait and see,” said Villa Park Village Attorney David Freeman. “I believe that we will be able to discuss that issue further with them.” —>
http://members.aol.com/lombardian/vpnews0746c.html
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Chamber discusses video franchise bill
by John B. Carpenter
The Herald-News (TN)
11/14/07

The Dayton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors stopped short of a formal endorsement of video franchising reform legislation Monday but generally expressed approval for AT&T’s bid for a statewide franchise to provide TV programming over its existing network of telephone lines. —>
http://www.rhea.xtn.net/index.php?template=news.view.subscriber&table=news&newsid=146246
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AT&T wins over Hamilton County
by Andrew Eder
KnoxNews.com (TN)
11/15/07

In advance of the next legislative session, AT&T representatives have been working hard to convince local governments across Tennessee that its statewide video-services franchising proposal won’t mean fewer fees and less control for cities and counties. Consider Hamilton County convinced. The mayor says his concerns have been “cleared up,” and the county commission is ready to consider a resolution in support of the bill, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. —>
http://blogs.knoxnews.com/knx/eder/2007/11/att_wins_over_hamilton_county.html
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C.A.T. critics finally getting what they want?
by Richard S. Drake
Arkansas Times
11/14/07

While people can’t really say that they can be surprised if C.A.T. and the Government Channel take some sort of hit in the current financial crisis hitting the city of Fayetteville, the proposed $70,000 cut is an amount that some see as a potentially crippling blow to one of the most successful programs the city of Fayetteville has ever supported.

From the Northwest Arkansas Times:

“The proposal also includes $ 70, 000 in cuts labeled “ departmental reorganization” for the Cable Administration and Long Range Planning. Becker, after the meeting, would not explain those cuts and deferred to Gary Dumas, director of operations. When asked whether reorganization meant that people will be fired, Dumas only repeated `a memo will be released Friday.’ “

Both Community Access Television and the Government Channel have helped to make Fayetteville’s electorate one of the most informed in the state – as well as giving them an ability to speak out on local issues. Both channels have made the mayor’s office less than happy over the years. Many of those critical of Dan Coody have used C.A.T. to discuss his policies.

Odd that the “memo” that will be released Friday will come the day after the November Telecomm Board meeting, when such a “departmental reorganization” should be discussed publicly. So much for respect – not only for process, but for the people of Fayetteville. —>
http://www.arktimes.com/blogs/streetjazz/2007/11/cat_critics_finally_getting_wh.aspx
~

Miro 1.0: For Those Who Want Not Just Free Video, But To Set Video Free
by Serdar Yegulalp
Information Week
11/14/07

Open-source video application Miro released its 1.0 version yesterday for Windows, Mac and Linux, but its creators don’t think of it as just another me-too media player. They want it to be something a little more … well, revolutionary. Miro is actually the new name for a project once called “Democracy Player”, a combination of video player application, feed aggregator, download manager and a number of other things in one package. I suspect the most immediately appealing features will be things that allow people to better access things they already know about, like the ability to download and save videos posted to YouTube orGoogle (NSDQ: GOOG) Video.

But the real purpose of Miro, according to its creators, the Participatory Culture Foundation, is to allow people to obtain video in an open, convenient and DRM-free way. “Miro is designed to eliminate gatekeepers,” says the PCF in one of its mission statements about Miro, currently posted to the front page of the PCF website. (Recent InformationWeek contributor Cory Doctorow is himself on the board of directors for the PCF.) It’s a portal, so to speak, to the worlds of user-created video content out there that are distributed without copy protection or restrictive licensing. —>
http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2007/11/miro_10_for_tho.html
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Herkimer County legislators’ panel may change public-comment rules
by Bryon Ackerman
Utica Observer-Dispatch (NY)
11/15/07

The Herkimer County Legislature’s Administration/Veterans Affairs Committee is now considering either eliminating or changing the public comment period at county legislature meetings. This new consideration is in addition to deciding whether or not to continue video-recording the meetings. Decisions about both possible changes were tabled Wednesday during a committee meeting and will be addressed during a future committee meeting, which hasn’t been scheduled yet, legislature Chairman Leonard Hendrix said.

… After concerns were raised about the county’s legal responsibility to store recordings of meetings broadcast on public access television by Herkimer County Community College, Hendrix decided to stop the recordings until a decision was made about what to do. Issues were also raised with legislature candidates using the 30-minute, public-comment period at the beginning of meetings as a way to campaign, so the rules of the comment period are being reviewed, Hendrix said. Possible changes discussed during the committee meeting included:

* Eliminating the comment period.
* Banning candidates from speaking.
* Requiring presubmitted forms about topics to be discussed or changing how long each speaker can talk.

“We may tweak the rules on the public comment period depending on what everybody wants to do,” Hendrix said. Committee members decided to table the decision to allow time to further review possibilities and talk to HCCC about how recordings would be stored. The county has been contacting other counties to see how they handle both issues. Herkimer County officials contacted all counties in the state about recording the meetings, county Administrator James Wallace said. So far, 24 counties responded. Seven record their meetings, the other 17 don’t.

Recorded broadcasts of the legislature meetings are popular, Hendrix said. “The public loves it,” he said. “A lot of people watch it.” —>
http://www.uticaod.com/homepage/x9497678
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Obama Joins Technology Innovation Debate
by Art Brodsky
Public Knowledge
11/14/07

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama today doubled the number of candidates aiming not only for support in the Internet and technology community, but also for anyone else interested in maintaining a free and open Internet. Far out front, until now, was former Sen. John Edwards.

The Edwards campaign for months has been talking about Net Neutrality and telecom policy. The campaign has a fairly comprehensive platform built around the concept of “open media” that talks about issues such as keeping the Internet open and allowing interoperability for wireless devices. Even more impressive, he sent a letter to the FCC in May as part of the proceeding to decide on rules for auctioning spectrum now held by TV stations, endorsing concepts raised by public interest groups, including PK, for ways to allow more entrepreneurs to have access to valuable spectrum.

Given the importance of the Internet to presidential campaigns, as well as to society as a whole, it was somewhat mystifying that Edwards was the only one to stake out a position. Granted, it’s not the war or health insurance and it’s a given that the policy issues can be dense, but it would be nice for candidates to recognize that there are serious disagreements that would call for new policies.

So it was nice to see Obama join the club with a nine-page paper on “Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation.” He certainly hits all the high points, starting with a pledge to “Protect the Openness of the Internet.” —>
http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/1277
~

Rudy Giuliani’s ties to Fox News
by Alex Koppelman and Erin Renzas
Salon.com
11/15/07

—>   The Time Warner lawsuit: In 1994, according to the New York Times, Giuliani prepared a speech for a reception honoring Ailes in which he wrote, “Roger has played an important role in my own career.” In 1996, Giuliani had an opportunity to repay the favor. Fox News was launching, with Ailes at the helm, and Time Warner, which provided cable service to 12 million homes nationwide, had decided it would not carry Fox News. Time Warner was the dominant cable operator in New York City, meaning that not only would 1.1 million city homes not get Fox, but the fledgling network would go unseen by media powerbrokers in the nation’s media capital.

Three days after Murdoch learned of Time Warner’s decision, a call from Ailes to Giuliani set in motion a series of unprecedented moves in favor of a cable network by the Giuliani administration. As calls and meetings continued between Fox and city officials, including Giuliani, the Giuliani administration reportedly threatened Time Warner executives with the loss of their cable franchise if the cable provider didn’t accept a deal in which the city would give up one of its own government channels so Fox News could take the slot. (Some 30 other cable networks had tried and failed to win channel space on Time Warner.) When Time Warner refused to take the deal, the city announced that it would go ahead with the plan anyway and force the cable provider to carry Fox News. A legal battle ensued.

Ultimately, the two warring parties made peace and Fox won carriage, but not before a judge and an appeals panel both ruled against the city’s plan. In granting Time Warner a temporary injunction, a federal district court judge issued a harsh rebuke to the Giuliani administration, saying the city had repeatedly shifted the legal justifications for its stand, indicating that “the City does not believe its own positions.” The judge further wrote, “The City’s purpose in acting to compel Time Warner to give Fox one of its commercial channels was to reward a friend… The very fact that the City chose Fox News out of all other news programs — not to mention the significant number of other programs which have been denied space on Time Warner’s commercial network — is by itself substantial evidence that the City chose Fox News based on its content.”   —>
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/11/15/regan/index.html
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Community Memory, or what Craig’s List looked like in 1974
by Michael Stevenson
Masters of Media – U. of Amsterdam
11/14/07

Notions of ‘virtual community’ and ‘virtual reality’ have been put to rest by locative aspects of the Web in recent years – from flickr maps to Facebook, from questions of legal jurisdiction to problems of national censorship. As much as we may have wanted to enter cyberspace, we now find ourselves clearly back in the here and now. But this move makes it easy to forget that virtual reality itself had to evolve out of previous ‘futures’ of digital media. One of these was the Community Memory (CM) project held in Berkeley and San Francisco in the early 1970s: —>
http://mastersofmedia.hum.uva.nl/2007/11/14/community-memory-or-what-craigs-list-looked-like-in-1974/
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UGC Is Not Dead
by Allison
Next Great Thing
11/15/07

We’ve been hearing over and over from industry professionals that “User-generated content is over.” Josh Fesler of Crackle, Sony’s video venture, said those exact words in OMMA magazine. Mania TV is no longer including any user-generated content (UGC) with its professional productions. As of it’s relaunch last month, it wiped out the 3,000 user videos. At the OMMA conference in September, Eileen Naughton, Director of Media Platforms at Google, said that while “a lot of the content out there is very amusing,” Google see “premium” content providers as much more valuable.

To make such statements is to miss the core value of user-generated content: the user. Anywhere there is UGC, there is an engaged, passionate community around it. Abolishing UGC like Mania TV did is just going to abolish this community. It makes them feel uninvolved, and they lose their investment in the site. Youth have grownup watching themselves on screen–from ballet recitals to graduation. They will continue to make videos, which will only improve in quality. The key is to combine both UGC and professional content because each add value. It’s the 80/20 rule. So even though Mania TV found that 80 percent of its viewers had been gravitating to the professional-based content, that 20 percent of passionate users who upload video are essential to the site. Check out Yahoo’s Passionistas study for some good stats.

Those who say that UGC is dead also fail to distinguish between the different types of UGC out there. It’s not all teen karaoke sessions. They should check out the high quality “user-generated” content on networks like blip.tv and College Humor. The content on these sites are like the public access shows of the web and are gaining audiences and advertisers. UGC—yes, but very much alive.
http://www.nextgreatthing.com/2007/11/15/ugc-is-not-dead/
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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 – 11/05/07

November 6, 2007

AT&T gets to write its own telecom rules
by State Senator Kathleen Vinehout
The Tomah Journal (WI)
11/04/07

A man from Eau Claire called this week. He was suspicious by a post card that came in the mail. “AT&T wants me to ask my senator for competition in cable. Don’t they really want something else?” He was looking for direction.  Here is what’s behind the stories being spun.

When you write the rules, you win the game. This week in the Senate, the fight will be over the rules governing the delivery of cable TV, internet, and telephone services for the foreseeable future. What kind of companies will get to compete? What rights will consumers have? Will local government have a say? At stake are billions of dollars.  The battle is over “video franchising,” a bill that would change the way cable and video companies operate. According to news stories, the bill was written under the supervision of AT&T attorneys in Washington, D.C., and has been introduced in numerous other states across the country.

What are some of the rules that AT&T wants?

* No meaningful community input.
* Minimal standards for quality.
* No future provisions for community access television.
* Loopholes to avoid serving low income and rural communities.
* Fewer consumer protections.
* No provisions for service to schools or other public buildings.

The bill as written, gives AT&T the power to do just about anything is wants, without consequences or the public having a say. This is the “competition” AT&T advertises on television and in direct mail across the state.

…This week I will offer the Illinois model as a substitute amendment on the floor of the Senate. We need the same political determination in Wisconsin. And we need to put protections into law because cable companies and AT&T cannot be trusted.

Lobbyists for AT&T told me that they want to continue to offer “charity” and provide service to public places like fire and police departments and schools but they don’t want the requirement in law. In Michigan, however, when providing public cable services became optional, the cables were cut to police departments, fire stations and local government. And there was no recourse.  That is why who writes the rules makes a difference.
http://www.tomahjournal.com/articles/2007/11/04/opinion/03vinehoutcolumn.txt
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Editorial: Headlong into the murk of media
The Seattle Times
11/04/07

The Federal Communications Commission must slow down. Nothing good can come from squeezing major changes to the laws that govern media ownership by year’s end.  FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wants a vote on media-ownership rules by Dec. 18. Never mind that the FCC has not held its required sixth and final hearing on media ownership. That hearing is now scheduled for Seattle on Nov. 9.

Expect the hearing to be a rushed affair. An FCC hearing to explore how broadcasters are serving communities was announced at the same time as the Seattle media-ownership hearing. The broadcaster — or localism — hearing was finalized the night of Oct. 24, giving the public only five business days to prepare. The localism hearing was not only degraded by its timing, but also by its venue. The hearing was tagged onto the end of a regularly scheduled FCC meeting on Halloween.

There is no logical reason for Martin to be in such a hurry other than to work something out for the sale of media conglomerate Tribune to Chicago developer Sam Zell. Zell wants the deal to go through by the end of the year. He also wants the deal to include Tribune’s television stations, many of which operate in the same cities as its newspapers.   —>
http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=fasted04&date=20071104&query=fcc
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Copps, A Liberal Voice On The FCC, Knows How To Get His Message Out
by Jim Puzzanghera
Los Angeles Times
11/04/07

His dark suits. His wing-tipped shoes. The nearly four decades he’s toiled in the nation’s capital, including the last six years on the Federal Communications Commission.  Everything about Michael J. Copps screams bureaucrat — until he opens his mouth.  Copps, a Democrat whose crusade against media consolidation has helped make him Hollywood’s public-policy enemy No. 1, is more proselytizer than pencil pusher.

The public airwaves, he says, are filled with “too much baloney passed off as news.” The Republican-led FCC is so lax that “unless you’re a child abuser or a wife beater, it’s a slam-dunk” to renew a TV station license. “Our country is paying a dreadful cost for this quarter-century fling with government abdication and media irresponsibility,” he said this year.

Copps’ ability to distill the complexities of media ownership into plain English and fire up crowds like a revivalist preacher helped derail an industry push in 2003 to loosen restrictions on owning broadcast stations.  Now, as the FCC prepares to tackle the volatile issue again, with Chairman Kevin J. Martin proposing a vote on new rules by the end of the year, the 67-year-old former history professor is reemerging as a hero to the firebrands fighting media consolidation.  In a city where officials speak in bland pronouncements, blurring their message with acronyms and jargon, Copps stands out like high-definition TV.   —>
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/business/la-fi-copps5nov05,1,6721866.story?coll=la-headlines-business-enter&ctrack=1&cset=true
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Ignoring Cantwell and Inslee, FCC rushes to conclude nationwide ownership debate in Seattle
FCC to Conclude Nationwide Public Debate on Media Ownership in Seattle
Chairman ignores request from Cantwell/Inslee, provides just five business days’ notice
by Jonathan Lawson
Reclaim the Media
11/04/07

On Friday afternoon, Chairman Kevin Martin of the Federal Communications Commission announced that the FCC will hold the last of six official hearings on media ownership on November 9, at Seattle’s Town Hall. The hearing, announced just five business days in advance despite a request from Senator Cantwell and Congressman Inslee to give at least four weeks’ notice, will be the only chance for Northwest residents to weigh in on proposed changes that would dramatically alter both national and local media landscapes. A significant proposed change would allow one media company to consolidate a town or city’s newspaper, TV and radio station under single ownership, and single editorial control.

“It’s appalling that the FCC would schedule a hearing of such importance with so little public notice,” said Jonathan Lawson, Executive Director of Reclaim the Media. “The FCC needs to hear from rural people, Native Americans, immigrants, working people and others who often get sidelined both in the media and in public debates on the media. Unfortunately, Martin’s disrespectful timing says to these same communities, ‘we don’t care what you think about the media.'”   —>
http://reclaimthemedia.org/legislation_and_regulation/ignoring_cantwell_inslee_fcc_r%3D5574
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The full Commission comes to Seattle
by Geov
horesesass.org
11/04/07

The “Commission,” in this case, is the Federal Communications Commission, and if this sounds familiar, it’s because it is.  Twice before — on March 7, 2003, and just last year, on November 30, 2006 — hundreds of area residents jammed auditoriums to testify overwhelmingly in opposition to a Republican-dominated FCC’s attempts to further weaken ownership limits on broadcast television and radio properties. In each case, the crowds testified only before the two Democratic commissioners; the three-person Republican majority was MIA.

But those crowds were broadly representative of a national movement for media democracy that in only a few years stymied former FCC Chair Michael Powell’s deregulation bid, preserved net neutrality, and stopped a telecommunications lobby “reform bill” widely expected to pass the Republican Congress in 2006. In last year’s hearing, local testifiers against deregulation spanned an unlikely ideological range, from Reclaim the Media’s Jonathan Lawson to Seattle Times owner Frank Blethen, from KVI Radio host John Carlson to UW President Mark Emmert.

This time, FCC Chair Kevin Martin, architect of the latest (big) industry deregulation scheme, is bringing the whole Commission to town to “prove” to them that Seattle really doesn’t care all that much about this arcane stuff. Which is why, despite the entreaties of local Congresspeople (who wanted four weeks), he has given exactly five business days’ notice for this unprecedented local hearing. The hearing was announced late in the day Friday, November 2, timed for the least-read and -viewed news time of the week. The hearing itself will also be on a Friday night, from 4-11 PM November 9 at Town Hall, 8th & Seneca near downtown Seattle.   —>
http://www.horsesass.org/?p=3725
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Urban LPFM Soon?
by Ernesto Aguilar
Rolas de Aztlan: KPFT/Pacifica/Media Notes
11/05/07

Here’s the take from the Prometheus Radio Project. The issues is an interesting one. Though doubtful for a full Senate vote soon, the idea of LPFM in major cities captures the imagination. The impact of such things on the signal of KPFT and other stations, as well, is intriguing. Current protections ensure broadcasters’ spectrum on the dial gets minimal interference; LPFMs, most note, will interfere with stations in some cases. However, for now, it’s a fascinating dialogue, for sure.   —>
http://kpft.wordpress.com/2007/11/05/urban-lpfm-soon/
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Comcast contract still bogged down
by Jason Graziadei
Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror (MA)
11/05/07

Comcast, the national cable television and internet service giant, has rebuffed nearly all of the town’s demands in the ongoing negotiations for a renewed television contract.  Nantucket’s 10-year contract with Comcast expired in March, and the town accepted an offer to continue its current service until a new contract is agreed upon.  The Cable Television Advisory Committee (CTAC) has spent the last two years attempting to solicit public input regarding cable service and has continued to review a draft of the proposed new contract from Comcast.

The committee’s requests for a 5 percent surcharge to fund public access stations, a senior citizen discount, to maintain the on-island Comcast office as well as an extension of areas where the cable service is available, have all been removed from the most recent contract proposal from Comcast.  “They’re really not negotiating,” CTAC chairman Gene Mahon said at Tuesday’s committee meeting. “They’ve basically said ‘no’ for no reason.”   —>
http://www.ack.net/Comcast072607.html
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ACI recognizes outstanding firms with VIVA Awards
New Mexico Business Weekly
11/05/07

The Association of Commerce and Industry of New Mexico honored six organizations this year during its VIVA Award ceremonies.  VIVA stands for vision, investment, vitality and action. The awards recognize New Mexico businesses that demonstrate a unique vision or corporate philosophy, as well as investment in their employees and communities.

… Edit House Productions LLC also received kudos for its growth from a home-based business to an enterprise with anticipated revenues of $1 million this year. The company operates Rio Rancho’s two public access television stations and creates an open, family environment that offers “just a little more” to customers, according to ACI.
http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/stories/2007/11/05/daily3.html
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Lecture to Explore Community-Based Media In People’s Movement in Oaxaca, Mexico
Allegheny College (PA)
11/05/07

Assistant Professor of Communication Arts River Branch will present a public lecture titled “From Protest to Movement: Community-Based Media in Oaxaca, Mexico.”  On June 14, 2006, at 4:00 in the morning, roughly 2,500 armed troops entered the Zocalo, the heart of Oaxaca City. For several hours, police drove the protestors, a peaceful group of unarmed teachers, from the square. Late in the morning, the teachers fought back and reoccupied the Zocalo. Today the city remains in turmoil.  “Deaths, disappearances, detentions and on-going acts of state-sanctioned violence mark Oaxaca’s struggle,” said Branch. “What shifted the events of June 14, 2006 from being one of the many crimes for which the people charge Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz into the spark for a popular people’s movement?”

Branch will explore the pivotal role played by community-based media within the people’s movement of Oaxaca. She argues that community-based media provided the essential vehicle for organizing, inspiring and informing the people of Oaxaca.  “Recognizing this, the state targeted and continues to target the individuals working within and the mechanisms of the community-based media network of Oaxaca — brutally beating and killing journalists and photographers and destroying community radio stations,” said Branch. “A vibrant, courageous and creative stand marks the people’s response.”

Branch will show footage she shot during the summer of 2007 in Oaxaca and discuss the expanding definitions and practices of community-based media as they develop in concert with the people’s movement of Oaxaca.   —>
http://www.allegheny.edu/news/releases/lecture_to_explore_communitybased_media_in_peoples_movement_in_oaxaca_mexico.php
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The Fast Lane and the Dirt Path: Corporate Media, Democracy and the FCC
by Paul Schmelzer
Minnesota Monitor
11/05/07

[Audio ]

In “Rich Media, Poor Democracy,” communications scholar Bob McChesney wrote about how democracy tends to be the first casualty in the collision of big media and big money. As keynote speaker at the Nov. 3 Citizen Media Forum put on by Twin Cities Media Alliance, he continued the theme in a discussion about “journalism’s freefall” and the challenges and triumphs of the fledgling media reform movement, which has grown exponentially since he founded its top advocacy group, Free Press, in 2002. One of the biggest feathers in the movement’s cap is the massive public campaign in 2003 that stalled the Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to relax media ownership rules. Another is the halting of attempts to ban “network neutrality,” the policy that ensures all web users, regardless of wealth or influence, get equal access.

But both of these successes are again facing threats. Under new chair Kevin Martin, the FCC is scrambling to relax longstanding rules governing media consolidation. It announced, with only one week’s notice, that the final public hearing on media ownership will be held in Seattle this Friday, Nov. 9. By year’s end, the Commission may change the provision that prevents the same company from owning both a TV station and newspaper in the same town. And net neutrality remains under fire, thanks to the telecommunications and cable industries that want to replace an equal-access Internet with a two-tiered scheme that McChesney calls a “fast lane” and a “dirt path.”

On Saturday, he spent a few minutes discussing these important policy crises and their impact on democracy.   —>
http://www.minnesotamonitor.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=2707
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Habermas blows off question about the Internet and the Public Sphere
by Howard Rheingold
Smart Mobs
11/05/07

I recently asked Jurgen Habermas in a public forum what his current opinion is about the state of the public sphere, now that the broadcast era has been supplanted by the many-to-many media that enable so many people to use the Internet as a means of political expression. He blew off the question without explanation, and a little further investigation into the very sparse pronouncements he has made in this regard has led me to understand that he simply does not understand the Internet. His ideas about the relationship between public opinion and democracy and the role of communication media, and the commodification and manipulation of political opinion via public relations, are still vitally important.

But I think it’s important now to build new theories and not simply to rely on Habermas, who is signalling his ignorance of the meaning of the changes in the infosphere that have taken place in recent decades. He did his part in his time, but the ideal public sphere he described — a bourgeois public sphere dominated by broadcast media — should not be taken as the model for the formation of public opinion in 21st century democracies. Some background on my interest in this subject and Habermas’ personal opinion follows. And then I’ll briefly describe my recent encounter with the man himself.

When I wrote The Virtual Community in 1992, the most important question to me was whether or not the advent of many-to-many communication via the Internet would lead to stronger or weaker democracies, more or less personal liberty, which led me to the work of Jurgen Habermas on what he called “the public sphere.” —>
http://www.smartmobs.com/2007/11/05/habermas-blows-off-question-about-the-internet-and-the-public-sphere/
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Ethnic social networking sites
by Qilan Zhao
Masters of Media – University of Amsterdam
11/04/07

It is no longer a matter of signing up for a social networking account, but rather choosing one from the existing social networking sites. Major social networking sites such as Facebook or Myspace have secured their position in the market. But according to the online competitive intelligence service, Hitwise, two ethnic social networking sites, Blackplanet.com (ranked 4) and Migente.com (ranked 19) made up the list of top 20 Social Networking sites from January to February 2007. Ethnicity forms a solid basis on which niche online communities may thrive. For this matter I want to look at three ethnic social networks, Blackplanet.com, Migente.com and Asianave.com with the following questions in mind:

– How do ethnic social networking sites contribute to an imagined community?
– What is the value-added of these ethnic social networking sites?

The emergence of niche social networking sites may arise from our need to build a community with people we do not personally know, but who we feel affiliated with, or as Benedict Anderson articulates:

it (the nation) is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion… In fact, all communities larger than primordial villages of face-to-face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined (Anderson 1991).    —>
http://mastersofmedia.hum.uva.nl/2007/11/04/the-surplus-of-ethnic-social-networking-sites/
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Can American blogging beat fascist trends?
by Subroto Roy
Indian & Pakastani Friends of Ron Paul
11/04/07

Ms Naomi Wolf has given a persuasive argument in The Guardian and elsewhere, including her new book and on the radio, to suggest the USA has been headed in a fascist direction. And of course whatever America does today, at least some other countries will follow tomorrow. About ten years ago, I gave a public lecture on “Transparency and Economic Policy”, which now appears at my main blog www.independentindian.com and is republished here. I think Ms Wolf’s analysis is excellent but unduly pessimistic for reasons I had outlined in that lecture. What we have seen since then too is the growth of blogging itself — and that is an antidote to fascism and totalitarianism.   —>
http://indiansandpakistanisforronpaul.wordpress.com/2007/11/04/can-american-blogging-beat-fascist-trends/
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 11/03/07

November 4, 2007

New TV show brings Douglas County — and one man’s dream — to life
by Jill Lufrano
Douglas Times (NV)
11/02/07

Living in this community, I am often struck by how kind most people are around here. It’s like no other place I’ve lived.  Michael Smith of Douglas County is one of those people who makes the world a better place with the many things he does every day.  I was fortunate to talk with him this week and learn about his newest project — a public television show that he hopes will encourage disabled people like himself to get out and do something.

The program, called “WHAT” airs Fridays through Sundays at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. in the Carson Valley on cable channel 16, and in Douglas County at Lake Tahoe on channel 19 at various times throughout the week. Smith co-produces it with friend and underwriter Mardi Lester, president of Dancing Heart Productions.  Topics featured on the one-hour show include organic gardening, the local play “Steel Magnolias,” a diabetes workshop, nature, Nevada history, health topics, the Genoa Candy Dance and a Civil War re-enactment.

“We’re very proud of it,” Smith said.  Smith is disabled, having survived a traumatic brain injury, and was once confined to his home. He knows what it’s like to be homebound, he said. The program brings events and information to those people who can’t get around. Now that he is able to get out and work in the community, he also wants to encourage others who may be reluctant to get out.  “We want people who are disabled to get out,” Smith said. “It makes you appreciate the little things. Now that I’m not a shut-in anymore, I want to take advantage of it.”   —>
http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071102/DOUGLAS07/711020367/1328/DOUGLAS
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LUS to sign franchise agreement
by Kevin Blanchard
The Advocate (LA)
11/03/07

The Lafayette Utilities System telecommunication business is taking a couple more procedural steps toward fruition.  The City-Parish Council is scheduled Tuesday to introduce two ordinances dealing with the project — a franchise agreement and a pole attachment deal.  While private companies sign similar deals with governments all the time, LUS’ situation is a bit unusual because it will be signing a deal with itself.  LUS Director Terry Huval said the agreements are part of the requirements of the state law called the Local Government Fair Competition Act.   —>
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/suburban/10990021.html
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Voice your views to the FCC next week
Seattle stop’s late notice criticized
by Bill Virgin
Seattle Post Intelligencer (WA)
11/02/07

The Federal Communications Commission says it plans to hold a hearing on media ownership next Friday in Seattle, but the late notice of the meeting drew immediate criticism from two FCC members.  The hearing, the sixth in a series that began last year, will run from 4 to 11 p.m. at Town Hall.  Details of the hearing’s agenda were sketchy Friday; the public will get a chance to make comments, although it’s not known yet when that will occur. A similar FCC hearing in Chicago in September included testimony from two panels of broadcast, labor union, academic and community organizations. An FCC spokesman said he didn’t know if the Seattle hearing will be set up the same way.   —>
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/337957_fcc03.html
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City revamping government access channel in bid to expand content
by Matthew Lane
Kingsport Times News (NY)
11/03/07

Kingsport’s government access channel is becoming more than just a home for public service announcements and replays of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meetings. City officials are experimenting with the channel, offering new, “quirky” shows and more information about what’s going on in the Model City.  Kingsport’s government access channel is Channel 16, and the city receives the channel free of charge as part of the franchise agreement with Charter Communications. The franchise agreement calls for Charter to pay Kingsport 3 percent of its gross revenue annually for the right to operate within the city.

Many people think of Channel 16 as being home to public service announcements for city departments and where the BMA meetings are aired live and rebroadcast throughout the week. In the past year or so, BMA members have periodically mentioned the need to improve Channel 16.  In response, city officials have placed more emphasis on the channel and have been working to improve its content.   —>
http://www.timesnews.net/article.php?id=9003730
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Town’s cable TV wants to expand
by Neil Vigdor
Greenwich Time (CT)
11/03/07

Greenwich Community Television, the town’s government-access cable channel, wants to hire its first paid employee to help volunteers “jump-start” the station’s expansion plans and a fundraising appeal to support programming.  The station is seeking a $35,000 interim appropriation from the Representative Town Meeting to pay a part-time program director, who would work 20 hours a week for the entire year.  “When you rely on volunteers solely, there’s a limit to what you can do,” said Paul Curtis, a volunteer who helped get the station up and running and serves as its operations director.

Live coverage of Board of Selectmen and RTM meetings is currently available, as well as rebroadcasts, on GCTV, Channel 79 for Cablevision customers. The station, started about three years ago, also tapes meetings of the Board of Estimate and Taxation for later broadcast and is looking to do the same with Board of Education meetings.  In addition to showing public meetings, the station produces original programs such as “The Word in Greenwich,” a commentary show on issues facing the town. The two candidates for first selectman and two candidates for selectman appeared in separate 40-minute episodes of the show during the campaign.  A pair of debates sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Greenwich for the selectmen and BET candidates also aired on GCTV.

“It’s hard to cover as much of the town government as we would like to,” said Curtis, a software engineer and RTM member from Pemberwick. “Seeking volunteers in the community is difficult, too. It really comes down to trying to get some more people involved in the channel.”…

In addition to expanding its meeting coverage, Curtis said the station’s goal is to provide an outlet for more community organizations to get their messages out to residents.  GCTV viewers will get a glimpse of the station’s new offerings Monday at 7 p.m., when it airs the first episode of a series of documentaries on 32 local World War II veterans produced by Greenwich High School students. The documentaries will air at 7 p.m. each night for the rest of the week, with the station showing a marathon of them on Nov. 11, Veterans Day.
http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/local/scn-gt-a1channel79nov03,0,7752986.story?coll=green-news-local-headlines
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E. Haven mayor takes comments to new channel
by Mark Zaretsky
New Haven Register (CT)
11/03/07

Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr.’s administration, at the urging of a regional cable TV agency, agreed to pull the mayor’s cable TV show from Comcast cable’s local government Channel 20. The move comes after Democratic Town Chairman Gene Ruocco complained that the program “makes several direct and derogatory statements about Democratic mayoral candidate April Capone Almon.”

But Maturo, a Republican, put the show right back up on ETV, Comcast’s local access Channel 18, on Friday after consulting with Susan Huizenga, chairwoman of the Cable Advisory Council South Central Connecticut.  Channel 18 is made for citizens to express their opinions about any topic, and it’s OK for the show to run on it because Capone Almon has the ability to rebut there, Huizenga said Friday.  Ruocco said Capone Almon, D-3, the only Democrat on the 15-member Town Council, will film a show today, which he said will be “positive,” outlining the positive things she would do if elected, rather than directly responding to Maturo’s show.   —>
http://www.nhregister.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18985246&BRD=1281&PAG=461&dept_id=517514&rfi=6
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Kids Video Club
Boston Globe (MA)
11/03/07

Children ages 9 to 13 can have fun while learning how to produce, write, direct, film, and act in their own television productions. Wakefield Community Access Television is offering a Kids Video Club after-school program this fall. The program will run from 2:45 to 4:45 p.m. Fridays, starting this week and running to Dec. 14. During those meetings, participants will get an overview of the equipment used for television production at WCAT, the station that runs two of the town’s cable-access channels. They will then work as a team to produce public-service announcements. At the end of the session, the children will get copies of the pieces. In a second, advanced session next spring, participants will review what they have learned and create a half-hour program. A $175 fee covers the cost of both sessions, as well as a one-year family membership in WCAT.    —>
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/11/04/vets_celebration_at_soldiers_home/?page=3
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AMARC Conference to Assess Impact of Community Radio
Media for Freedom
11/03/07

Hundreds of community broadcasters from around the world will be gathering in Amman, Jordan from 11 to 17 November 2006 to discuss the challenges facing community radio as part of the 9th World Conference and General Assembly of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).  AmmanNet, the Jordanian FM broadcaster, is hosting the conference in partnership with media and journalists groups from Jordan and Palestine.

Members of AMARC will be meeting to discuss and analyse the state of community radio around the world and its impact on poverty reduction, and AMARC’s effectiveness in relation to its mission and goals.  Members will also meet to elect a new International Board, adopt a strategic plan for 2006-2010, and issue joint declarations and resolutions on challenges facing the community radio movement.  For more information, visit: http://amarc9.amarc.org/
http://www.mediaforfreedom.com/ReadArticle.asp?ArticleID=5691
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A civic media success story: examining the BBC Action Network
MIT Center for Future Civic Media
11/03/07

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has a long history of innovation in civic media. One of the more intriguing instances of this tradition is the BBC Action Network, a grassroots online civic engagement initiative. It launched in 2003 under the name iCan, and quickly succeeded as a medium of choice for local community activism groups. The Action Network provides a space for the creation and organization of local action groups, incorporating a set of tools into the site that facilitates the operation of these groups.

While the initiative is nominally under the BBC’s purview, most of the content is user-generated, and the only section that includes a major editorial contribution from the BBC is in the Guides component. This includes a comprehensive library of civic media how-to articles–ranging from pieces on the exact procedure to lodge a complaint against the police to how to protect or change a public footpath. The section also contains more general advice directed toward the civic-minded citizens that frequent the site, including useful tips on how to recruit celebrities for community efforts and designing campaign logos.

The heart of the site is the campaign section. A concerned citizen forms the seed of the initiative by outlining a topic that concerns the local community. This may be anything from a pothole that requires repair to a move to block the destruction of a park. Every campaign-starter is organized and tagged both geographically and by issue (for example, “crime prevention” or “local policy”). That way, people browsing the website without a concrete movement to get behind can find a campaign associated with their location, or with an issue that concerns them. Once the initial post goes up, campaigns quickly build up steam as others join the effort and use the website to coordinate meetings, marches, petitions or whatever additional actions are required to advance the cause. Some people contribute advice; many offer their idle hours for volunteer activities and others donate money.   —>
http://civic.mit.edu/?p=30
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ELECTION 2007: Meet the mayoral candidates
Center of the City (San Francisco, CA)
11/03/07

—> Josh Wolf  —  “San Francisco is faced with many pressing issues that need real solutions. In a true democracy, such solutions properly arise from the people themselves. I’m running to help create such a democracy.”  Wolf, a freelance journalist, was jailed last year for refusing to give authorities footage he’d shot of a 2005 demonstration in San Francisco. Wolf now works at the Peralta Colleges television station, a public access, student-run organization.
http://sfnews.wordpress.com/2007/11/03/82/
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org