Archive for the ‘youth media’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/24/08

April 28, 2008

Killing TV Softly — Lone Star Public Access Survives, Barely
by Nathan Diebenow
The Lone Star Iconoclast (TX)
04/15/08

What if there was a television channel on which you could watch whatever you wanted? Anytime throughout the day, the content from his station would follow your heart’s desire. You have a pension for the history of your town. It’s on. Need to feed your obsession about belly dancing? It’s on. Try a planning and zoning committee meeting on for size. It’s all available with a click of your remote control.

Now, let’s take it a step further. What if you had the power to show just about whatever you wanted on this channel? Your church’s annual Easter egg hunt, your advocacy for veterans’ health benefits, and even your teen’s high school football game are all part of a string of endless possibilities.

Here’s the thing: this special channel and many others exist, and chances are your cable provider and city have teamed up to give you them. Surprised? Well, the concept was invented and implemented in the early 1970s. It’s called public access television.

But if you don’t act soon, public access might disappear from your screens.   —>
http://www.lonestaricon.com/absolutenm/anmviewer.asp?a=2672&z=237
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Panel backs TV bill
by Michelle Millhollon
The Advocate (LA)
04/24/08

[ comments invited ]

A Senate panel advanced legislation Wednesday that would allow telecommunications companies to get a statewide franchise to offer television service.  Proponents of Senate Bill 422 said the legislation would offer consumers better service, new technology and competitive prices  Opponents said the bill would strip local governments of the franchise authority they currently wield.

The bill would not impact Baton Rouge, at least as far as AT&T is concerned.  Although AT&T is backing the bill, the telecommunications giant reached an agreement last month with the Metro Council to offer television service in East Baton Rouge Parish.  U-Verse — AT&T’s package of fiber-optic cable TV, telephone and high speed Internet service — will be available in 18 to 24 months at a cost of $44 to $154.

The statewide franchise legislation is similar to a bill that former Gov. Kathleen Blanco vetoed last year because of concerns about the bill’s impact on local governments.  At the outset of Wednesday’s committee meeting, Sen. Ann Duplessis, D-New Orleans, warned that the debate would be limited to six speakers on each side of the issue.  “We’re not going to hear all 50 cards,” she said of the requests submitted to the committee by people wanting to speak.   —>
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/politics/18098514.html
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AT&T, Cox: Our favorite flavor is Cherry/Red
by Mike Stagg
Lafayette Pro Fiber (LA)
04/24/08

[ 3 comments ]

This week’s edition of the Baton Rouge Business Report contains an informative story about the spirited battle that EATEL is waging against Cox on the eastern edge of the privately-held cable giant’s central Louisiana market footprint.  One comment that immediately jumped out was that the competition between EATEL (with its superior fiber network) and Cox (with its very deep corporate pockets) has prompted an in-your-face element of competition that neither the locally-owned phone company (EATEL) nor the Atlanta-based cable company (Cox) is accustomed to using:

“Brad Supple, the director of sales and marketing with EATEL, says the ads represent the first time they’ve countered the competition in such an aggressive fashion. Cox says it’s a first for them, too; the companies have battled for customers for nearly three years.”  […]

The real news, however, comes from a woman who once held McCormick’s job but now works as Cox’s vice president of government and public affairs, Sharon Kleinpeter. Commenting on AT&T’s push for passage of statewide video franchise legislation here, Kleinpeter confirmed a point made here recently — specifically, AT&T and the state’s largest cable provider are engaged in a carefully choreographed effort to relieve both elements of this communications duopoly from current legal requirements to serve all segments of the communities where local franchise agreements now exist.

Here’s the money passage:

“While AT&T’s earlier efforts to get statewide authority have failed, Kleinpeter says Cox doesn’t oppose it as long as it can also get options that would free the company from 55 20-year and 30-year franchises it has in 13 parishes, which have more stringent provisions. So far, AT&T hasn’t agreed to the move, which she says would otherwise give Cox a competitive advantage. Talks are under way on this issue.”

This is the Cherry/Red flavor of regulation they love.  That is, both AT&T and Cox (and other Louisiana cable providers) want the ability to provide services only in those neighborhoods where they believe they can make the highest rate of return and not have to provide services, say, all over Lafayette Parish as would be the case under the terms of the current franchise agreement here (and in, the article says, 55 other parts of the state).  They want to be able to legally cherry pick what they consider the best neighborhoods and legally redline those that they want to ignore. Cherry/Red.   —>
http://www.lafayetteprofiber.com/Blog/Blog.html
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Community radio the new voice of Congo rural women
by María Teresa Aguirre
digital opportunity channel
04/24/08

[ comments invited ]

The inhabitants of Mugogo, a village situated some 2,000 kilometres from Kinshasa, capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, will long remember January 4, 2008 as a very special day in the life of their community.   That was the day when the first broadcast of Radio Bubusa hit the air. An initiative of a group of rural women, the idea of the radio station was first mooted towards the end of 2003, and now, in 2008 and with the support of a grant from WACC, the idea finally came to fruition.

The first broadcast surprised more than one listener with its unique blend of traditional songs interspersed with a voice that announced in Mashi (a local dialect) the name of the station and the place it was coming from: Radio Bubusa, broadcasting from Mugogo.

Community media has long being recognised by social movements and development agencies alike as one of the most efficient ways for grassroots groups to articulate their demands and struggles for a more just and egalitarian society.  From Africa to Latin America, from the Caribbean to Asia, groups of marginalised people – often ‘invisible’ in mainstream media – have used myriad community media in order to claim and demand their rights both as human beings and as citizens.

And while sometimes, by their very nature, community initiatives may take time to become a concrete reality, in the end they do bear fruit as the inhabitants of this remote area in the Congolese province of Sud-Kivu well know.   —>
http://www.digitalopportunity.org/article/view/160093/1/1138
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CATV wants Mandan to partner with Bismarck
by Gordon Weixel
Bismarck Tribune (ND)
04/24/08

[ comments invited ]

When Community Access Television makes its pitch to the Mandan City Commission about televising meetings it will be more about forming a partnership with Bismarck than numbers of cameras and  when the reruns will air.  On Tuesday, CATV’s Mary Van Sickle will respond to the Mandan City Commission’s request for a proposal to cablecast commission meetings. But what Van Sickle will present is an opportunity for Mandan to join with Bismarck in funding of CATV.

“It’s really very simple, the bottom line, it’s a proposal for a partnership between Bismarck and Mandan to take over overall operation of CATV,” Van Sickle said.  “For 21 years Bismarck has been providing funding. Citizens of Mandan haven’t been treated any differently than those of Bismarck. They receive the channel and have used the services. CATV has never made a distinction of the people we serve. But it’s time to move on and it’s time for this discussion.”   —>
http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2008/04/24/news/update/doc4810f2d79c765830844479.txt
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Announcing the WYOU 36-Hour ON AIR Film Festival
WYOU 4 Madison’s Community Television (WI)
04/24/08

[ comments invited]

WYOU to Host Film Fest
The Local Cable Access Station is looking for a variety of Film Submissions That Celebrate Local Talent.

In the spirit of Wisconsin’s booming film industry, WYOU public access Channel 4 will host it’s own 36 hour On Air Film Fest in June. After the festival’s completion viewers will get to vote for their favorite flicks on WYOU’s website. The films’ receiving the most votes in their category will be featured at a 2 hour screening the weekend following the On Air Film Fest.   —>
http://wyou4.blogspot.com/2008/04/announcing-wyou-36-hour-on-air-film.html
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Ossining cable access channel struggles to find new home
by Sean Gorman
The Journal News (NY)
04/24/08

[ 2 comments ]

Greater Ossining Television has to move out of the high school by the end of next month, the latest blow to the beleaguered local access station.  GO-TV, a cash-strapped nonprofit that over the years has struggled to stay on air, has to vacate the studio space it uses in a high school classroom by May 31 – the end of its latest lease extension on the site.  “We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure we don’t go (off the air),” said Mary Prenon, a GO-TV board member.

GO-TV – which provides government and public access programming – is seeking out a temporary site downtown where it can place an office and perhaps the equipment that broadcasts its shows, Prenon said.  The station’s original 10-year lease on the Ossining High School space expired in June of 2007, but the school district has granted it a series of extensions as the station sought out a new location.

“The Ossining school district has been trying to work with GO-TV … understanding that they need to find space,” Deputy Superintendent Raymond Sanchez said. “We’ve made extensions for that reason. Now we’ve reached the point where we really need to look towards supporting the (high school’s) instructional program as well.”  The district plans to use the space for video and production instruction for students, Sanchez said.   —>
http://lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080424/NEWS02/804240444/-1/newsfront
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Hingham OKs cable contract with Verizon
by Karen Goulart
The Patriot Ledger (MA)
04/24/08

[ 1 comment ]

Residents will have a choice of cable TV service providers as soon as this fall.  Selectmen approved a 10-year contract with Verizon on Tuesday night. It was negotiated during the past four months by the town’s cable TV advisory committee.  Verizon will compete with Comcast, currently the only provider of cable service in town.

Cable TV advisory committee Chairman Guy Conrad said the Verizon contract, which could greatly enhance the town’s public-access television service, is a win for both sides.  The contract calls for Verizon to pay the town $400,000 over six years. The money will go toward building and equipping a public-access TV studio. Beginning in 2010, Verizon also will give the town 5 percent of its gross Hingham revenues, to support educational, governmental and public-access programming.   —>
http://www.patriotledger.com/news/x2124112665
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Cable competition: Verizon added to TV mix
by Carol Britton Meyer
Hingham Journal (MA)
04/24/08

[ comments invited ]

Hingham cable TV subscribers now have two choices – Comcast or Verizon.  This week the selectmen signed off on a 10-year contract negotiated by the town’s cable TV advisory committee with Verizon, which will provide video services as early as this fall for some residents.  Verizon’s advanced fiber-optics network accommodates voice data, Internet, and video needs and offers more than 300 digital channels.

The committee will soon begin negotiations with Comcast “to ascertain terms of its continuing status as a provider to Hingham residents,” said committee chairman Guy Conrad. Comcast’s current 10-year contract expires in Aug. 2009, but negotiations may begin as early as three years prior to the expiration date.  The goal is to engage in a competitive process that maximizes the value of service at the most reasonable cost.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/hingham/news/x1838789817
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Homeless Teens and At-Risk Young Adults Participate in 01SJ Global Festival of Art Enabled by Cisco
Certification Magazine
04/23/08

SANTA CLARA, CA – Homeless teens and at-risk young adults at Bill Wilson Center, a non-profit, community-based agency that provides counseling and support services to youth and families in Santa Clara County, will work with professional artists to develop new media artwork for the 2nd Biennial 01SJ Global Festival of Art on the Edge, June 4-8, in downtown San Jose. Festival organizer ZER01 and Visionary Festival sponsor Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO: 26.03, +0.59, +2.31%) announced today that all creative works will be displayed on a new “San Jose Culture Network” of digital signs powered by the Cisco Digital Media System technology at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and several other locations throughout San Jose.

The young artists, ranging in age from 14 to 24, have already started attending weekly hands-on workshops staffed by new media artists and will continue their training through June 8. As part of the new “San Jose Culture Network,” their artwork will be showcased across more than 20 large screen LCD displays using the Cisco Digital Media System’s Digital Signage solution, which will allow for the easy management and publishing of the young artists’ compelling content.

The Cisco project, developed with artist Dorit Cypis, ZER01 and Bill Wilson Center, is called We-C. The goal of We-C is to engage young adults in transitional life situations to critically look at themselves and consider how they want to be “seen” by the public, to whom they are often invisible. The artists-in-training will work in a wide array of new media art and creative media formats, including digital still cameras, live music, poetry, and the performing arts.   —>
http://www.certmag.com/industry_news/2008/April/2575/index.php
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Nigeria: Make Peace, Devt Your Watchword, Djebah Urges Media
by Omon-Julius Onabu
This Day (Lagos)
04/24/08

Promotion of peace and development journalism has been identified as the best means of advancing the noble contribution of the profession to democracy and national transformation.  The Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Oma Djebah, who made the assertion yesterday in Warri, therefore, urged the media in Nigeria , particularly journalists operating in the Niger-Delta, “to promote peace and development journalism instead of engaging in negative reporting of the crisis, violence and militancy.” Djebah was delivering a guest lecture titled, “The Role of the Media in Niger-Delta Development”, during a seminar to mark the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Warri Correspondents Chapel held at Wellington Hotel, Effurun-Warri.

He stressed the urgent need for the media “to strike a balance between ethical journalism and certain limitations” bearing in mind that negative reports “have far graver consequences and impact on peoples and governments”.   —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200804240679.html
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

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Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/15/08

April 20, 2008

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

[ 1 comment ]

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

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

[ comments invited ]

Why is it that public affairs and public access channels get such short shrift and lack of attention from cable companies and Internet Protocol-based television purveyors? It was only a few years ago that cable providers in this region made unfathomable attempts to cut back on local public access channels. Now, the Connecticut Television Network, devoted to coverage of state government issues, fears it might receive second-class treatment as AT&T rolls out its newly authorized U-verse service in many communities across Connecticut. CT-N officials are fighting back — and rightfully so. —>
http://simsburytv.org/blog/2008/04/why-is-it-that-public-affairs-and.html
Also in The Stamford Advocate (comments invited): http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/opinion/ci_8927505
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Democracy means aiding participation
Citizen of Laconia (NH)
04/15/08

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

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

[ comments invited ]

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

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

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

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

“Public access and citywide buildout are a given,” Brewer said, “but Verizon also needs to support the social layer.” That means all of the things in addition to access that people need to use the Internet, especially computers, training and relevant content. There are many groups in the city like Per Scholas in the Bronx and Computers For Youth that provide these kinds of services. Since the Bush administration cut community technology funding in his first term, these programs have relied almost exclusively on foundation support. —>
http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/tech/20080416/19/2493/
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Hook ‘Em with Technology, Keep ‘Em with Relationships
by Kimberlie Kranich
Jouth Media Reporter
04/15/08

[ comments invited ]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

… FWCS officials also produced an annual report and fact sheet to distribute to the public and developed videos and documentaries about students and the district to be aired on the public-access channel. Hall plans to add community members to the communications team, develop an electronic newsletter and expand television productions. —>
http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080415/LOCAL04/804150307/1002/LOCAL
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Production Manager Karen Adams Nominated for an Emmy!
by Stan Ng
Midpeninsula Community Media Center (CA)
04/14/08

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

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

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

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

It’s a federal mandate to local cable companies (the Federal Cable and Telecommunications Acts of 1984, 1992 and 1996, to be exact): depending on your city or county’s franchise agreement with your local cable company, there may be an entire video production organization at your disposal – everything from video gear, video editing computers, studio space and even a way to broadcast your finished masterpiece at no cost to you. All you have to do is provide the labor and brainpower. In the Beginning… —>
http://www.videomaker.com/article/13870/
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This concludes our broadcast…
by Helder Mira
Mira Hartford (CT)
04/14/08

[ comments invited ]

While not as long as the 11 seasons of M*A*S*H*, my broadcasting days at Hartford Public Access Television have now concluded. I have officially resigned from the organization to pursue my own endeavors. It’s been an interesting ride over 7 years, despite the last seasons having ‘jumped the shark’, but it was still the place to be. And it is still the place to tune to find out what’s happening in Hartford. After a brief hiatus, I will be producing programs again (right now, just acting as sponsor on Saturday Fright Special). —>
http://www.mirahartford.net/2008/04/this-concludes-our-broadcast.html
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/10/08

April 12, 2008

Joe Powell breaks down the AT&T cable franchise bill
by R. Neal
TennViews (TN)
04/08/08

[ comments invited ]

Joe Powell has an in-depth analysis of the “new and improved” AT&T statewide cable franchise bill. His conclusion in a nutshell:  “The more I read of this plan, the more it seems to be a program geared to look out for the interests of AT&T and not for consumers.”   Joe Powell’s thorough analysis, backed with additional commentary by Bunnie Riedel of Riedel Communications, answers many questions about the bill and raises some ones regarding the players involved.
http://www.tennviews.com/node/3557
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The AT&T cable franchise bill looks like a winner for AT&T and a Loser for all of us Consumers.
by WhitesCreek
Roane Views
04/10/08

[ comments invited ]

Analysts who are familiar with the current Bill say that it looks like it could be the worst bill in the Nation except for the one passed in Nevada as far as consumers go.  Could somebody get our State legislators out of that restaurant and explain that this is a really bad deal for us?  Joe Powell has the analysis.
http://www.roaneviews.com/index.php?q=node/858
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Tennessee Waltz
by Bunnie Riedel
Telecommunications Consulting
04/10/08

It’s every woman’s nightmare. You take your sweetheart to a dance and your best friend dances off with him. Sure it feels like betrayal, but they couldn’t help themselves, they fell in love with each other while they were dancing. Nothing personal, mind you, nothing personal.

I would have loved to been a fly on the wall when at&t, Charter, Comcast and James O. “Jimmy” Naifeh (Speaker of the House of Representatives) were waltzing around, falling in love and leaving the people of Tennessee in the dust. Their love child is the second worst piece of statewide video franchising legislation in this country. It is a clumsy and ugly progeny that is better left locked in a cellar never to see the light of day.  Where do I begin?   —>
http://riedelcommunications.blogspot.com/
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Devilish Details In TN Cable Franchise Legislation
by Joe Powell
Cup of Joe Powell (TN)
04/10/08

[ 1 comment ]

A definition of the word Legislation: a solution to a problem which may, or may not actually exist, which may or may not actually create any observable results, and typically is a hand-stitched agreement crafted after some great length of time in order that the public be aroused or dulled and during which time money may be applied to preserve, alter or eliminate debate.

That thought kept running through my head as I was reading the proposal to allow AT&T to by-pass local control of franchises for cable television – especially since they could now today be offering ‘competitive’ plans to consumers across the state. Wading into and through the complex legal language is and always has been a chore. My brother is the lawyer, not me. And sometimes I’m not even sure what he says and/or means.

I wrote previously this week about this draft agreement. The plain fact is the plan does have some odd and downright wrong components. Keep in mind this bill was created to provide AT&T with a statewide cable franchise proposal, though there is much in the bill addressing the access to internet services, too.

For example, when it comes to verifying whether or not a franchise holder has attained the mandated deployment of broadband access to the internet, Section 12 (d) of the plan says that the state agency Connected Tennessee will be providing the information. I wrote recently about Connected Tennessee, since it’s board members are former Bell South/AT&T employees. How handy the agency was created prior to this legislation – sure sounds like the fox watching the henhouse to me…

I also received an email from Bunnie Riedel of Riedel Communications, and former Executive Director of the National Alliance for Community Media, who has been reviewing and analyzing these franchise plans being pushed across the country state by state. She wrote that in reviewing the plans: “The worst bill to have passed is Nevada, TN’s bill comes in 2nd to that one. AT&T is about to take TN on a nice long ride.”   —>
http://cupofjoepowell.blogspot.com/2008/04/devilish-details-in-tn-cable-franchise.html
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Is community TV facing its Waterloo?
by Marsha Lederman
Globe and Mail (Canada)
04/10/08

[ 9 comments ]

Grassroots local TV has been a source of community information and a training ground for future professionals. But as part of a sweeping review, the CRTC may rule cable distributors will no longer be required to carry the service

—>  This week, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is considering removing the requirement that community channels remain on basic cable as part of a sweeping review of broadcast distribution regulations. The public hearings began Tuesday in Gatineau.

Alarmed by the possible disappearance of community television, where he spent more than 30 years as a volunteer, Richard Ward of the Community Media Education Society has written to the CRTC, urging it not to expel community TV from basic cable.

While Ward acknowledges that the issue is just a tiny part of the CRTC’s review, the overall discussion about deregulation has him worried. “We have got distinctly Canadian things to say and the community channel [has] the broadest reach of all of the parts of Canada’s broadcasting system,” he said from Calgary. “I think it’s prudent to be on guard, even if the threat is not directed primarily at the community channel. I don’t think you wait until everyone else has been destroyed before you speak up.”   —>
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080410.wcommunitytv/BNStory/Entertainment/Television/
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Route 51 cable users now will have a choice
by Jim McMahon
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
04/10/08

Choice is the watchword for Route 51 cable subscribers who, along with local government officials, have sought for years to encourage competition in programming and pricing.  And now thanks to a 10-year franchising agreement with Verizon through the South Hills Council of Governments, residents of Baldwin borough and township, Brentwood, Jefferson Hills and Whitehall boroughs will be able to choose from Verizon or Comcast.  …As part of the agreement, Verizon will provide local schools, libraries and municipal facilities with free basic cable services and will provide as many as six PEG channels (public, educational and government) for SHACOG use.   —>
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08101/871811-55.stm
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New TV station nears completion
by Mike Gaffney
Saugus Advertiser (MA)
04/10/08

[ 1 comment ]

Work is nearing completion on the refurbished cable television access studio at Saugus High School. In the coming months, workshops to train the public on the new equipment are expected to be offered.  Richard Garabedian, executive director for Saugus Community Television, Inc., reported the project has moved along smoothly since the volunteer organization decided last year to upgrade and expand the cable studio located in the rear of the high school.

The task of providing local cable access programming fell to the town in November 2006 after the Board of Selectmen signed a new agreement with Comcast.  Under the terms of the deal, the town is responsible for providing public, educational and governmental (PEG) access programming to subscribers.  To pull off this duty, the selectmen created SCTV, a non-profit public access corporation that oversees the management of the studio and handles local programming.

After looking for potential suitors across town, SCTV ultimately determined the high school represented the most feasible site for the revamped studio.  Representatives of SCTV led the Advertiser on a tour of the new facility last week. Garabedian said it is amazing to see how far the studio has come since the physical alterations began this past winter.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/saugus/homepage/x1620715128
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ORCTV and Comcast finalize an agreement
by Kim Miot
The Sentinel (MA)
04/10/08

[ comments invited ]

Marion – ORCTV and Comcast have signed an agreement to house Marion and Mattapoisett’s INET hubs at the local cable access station facility, located in the Captain Hadley House on Route 6. The agreement also details plans to connect the facility to the system, the “lighting up” the tri-town’s educational Channel 18 and constructing Rochester’s government access channel.

All parties agreed on March 28 to the final parameters effectively starting the clock on the build out specifications. It had taken several months to work out the language on the agreement. ORCTV wanted to be sure the tri-towns were protected in the document and that all elements were in place to fulfill each town’s complete access channel lineup.  In the document, Comcast has scoped a 14-16 week time frame on the work to be completed, putting the finish date in June. ORCTV is excited to be moving ahead with the plans.

ORCTV moved into the Captain Hadley House in August 2007. ORCTV staff has been working on the facility to develop it into a functioning community access television station that serves Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester. The studio and edit bays were completed in the fall of 2007. Staff is now working on the control room and playback systems. Once Comcast connects the facility to the INET system, it will operate all community access channels from the ORCTV building. This includes the public Channel 9 for all three towns, the educational Channel 18 for all three towns and each town’s separate government channel.   —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/marion/news/business/x681525719
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5 residents seeking seats on Jackson school board
by Dave Benjamin
Tri-Town News (NJ)
04/10/08

—>   Each candidate was asked by the Tri- Town News to respond to three questions on current issues.  The three topics were: cable television and how it could be used in the schools; how to improve security in the schools during and after school hours while remaining within the budget; and while there were 30,123 registered voters in Jackson last year, only 4,893 voters cast their ballots (16.24 percent) in the election. This year there are 30,610 registered voters. How would you actively get people out to vote in the upcoming election?   —>
http://tritown.gmnews.com/news/2008/0410/Schools/009.html
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“Monmouth in Focus”: Brookdale television students produce county government news program
by Sarah Webster
Asbury Park Press (NJ)
04/10/08

[ comments invited ]

The Brookdale Community College television station helps keep Monmouth County government and services “in focus” for county residents.  A televised program for the county, highlighting services to the community is being produced at Brookdale in Middletown by television staff and students enrolled in TV production classes, said Executive Director of the Brookdale Network Cheryl Cummings.

Production of the program, “Monmouth in Focus,” started in January 2008, according to Cummings, and it serves the approximately 655,000 residents of Monmouth County, she added.  The show is a half-hour program with two 12-minute segments.  Each segment features a different aspect of county government. Shows already have been produced about the county budget, the library system, parks and a general overview of the functions of county government.  Future shows will feature the Reclamation Center, Social Services department and economic development, to name a few, according to a prepared statement.   —>
http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080410/COMMUNITY/804100347
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Rip City? Teen sportscaster all over it
On camera – Reynolds High junior Trevor Christenson’s passion leads to anchoring a cable-access sports show
by Casey Parks
The Oregonian (OR)
04/10/08

Trevor Christenson is running out of things to say.  He’s in the studio, a massive gray room equipped with lights and big cameras. All pointing at him.  Usually, when Christenson, a black-blazered teen sitting at a red desk, hosts his sports show “Top This,” he has guests. They joust back and forth, arguing sports for half an hour every other week.  But during spring break, he hosted the show solo. It’s hard work to fill 30 minutes by yourself, but Christenson, 17, has been in front of cameras long enough to handle it. He starts ad-libbing.

He started “Top This” a year ago after a two-year run as sports anchor on another MetroEast Community Media show, “Rose City News.”  He grew up playing basketball, shooting hoops while his dad coached. But at 14, he stood barely at 5 feet tall. A career on the courts wasn’t likely. But he knew sports. And he thought he might like to become an actor.

After a few years with “Rose City News,” he wanted more responsibility. His dad warned him it would be tough. Hosting his own show would mean setting up cameras, editing and producing. It would mean cleaning up after everyone went home.   —>
http://www.oregonlive.com/metroeast/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/metro_east_news/120744333852610.xml&coll=7
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Columbia’s Kindred Spirits (MO)
by T.J. Greaney
Our Strange World
04/10/08

[ comments invited ]

A group of paranormal investigators in Columbia (Missouri) is raising eyebrows by seeking out haunted spots, spending the night and airing the findings on cable access television.

Calling themselves the Kindred Moon Paranormal Society, the enthusiasts have been on air for three months and have already scared the daylights out of workers at Jack’s Gourmet Restaurant on the Business Loop, “reunited” a wife with her deceased husband in Hartsburg and picked up bone-chilling audio at the University of Missouri’s Ellis Library.   —>
http://www.ourstrangeworld.net/?p=12118
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UN press freedom prize goes to crusading Mexican journalist
Agence France-Presse
04/10/08

PARIS – Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro will be given the UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize for her work exposing political corruption and organized crime, the UN cultural body said Wednesday.

“Through investigative journalism, she uncovered the involvement of businessmen, politicians and drug traffickers in prostitution and child pornography” in Mexico, said UNESCO in a statement announcing the award.  Her work continued “in the face of death threats, an attempt on her life and legal battles,” it added, noting that she had also been the victim of police harassment.

“A journalist who knows the antagonistic environment in which he or she operates and continues to do the right thing by keeping readers, listeners or viewers informed about their society deserves recognition for their contribution to freedom of expression around the world,” said Joe Thloloe, the president of the UNESCO jury of journalists and editors.  “Lydia Cacho is such a laureate,” he added in the statement.   —>
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/world/view/20080410-129448/UN-press-freedom-prize-goes-to-crusading-Mexican-journalist
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/03/08

April 4, 2008

Don’t Downgrade CT-N
Hartford Courant (CT)
04/03/08

[ 8 comments ]

AT&T’s new U-verse service doesn’t have to play by all the rules that cable TV companies do. But it should play by one: It should offer viewers the same quality public affairs broadcasts that cable viewers now enjoy.

The Connecticut Television Network, aptly described as Connecticut’s C-SPAN, covers state government, including debates on bills before the General Assembly. CT-N fears, with good reason, that AT&T will move it to a substandard channel that will be hard for viewers to connect with and see clearly.

Paul Giguere, president and CEO of CT-N, recently did a side-by-side comparison of public affairs programs on U-verse and cable TV in a town in Michigan. (The comparison can be seen at www.compare.ct-n.com.)

On U-verse, the public access channel took more than a minute to appear on the screen. The picture was fuzzier than on cable TV. Also, viewers couldn’t record U-verse public access programs with DVRs. These changes will surely upset the many fans of the invaluable CT-N.

AT&T has fought its way into the Connecticut cable TV market this past year with promises of great quality and competitive pricing on its service. The legislature relaxed its regulations last year to give the newcomer a chance. But even the lighter regulatory system still included public access requirements for U-verse.

The legislature must make sure CT-N viewers don’t get shortchanged with the new service. They should have the same easy, crisp viewing experience as they will have with C-SPAN and CPTV, which will be carried on commercial channels.

CT-N has become too vital to the informed citizenry of Connecticut to allow anything less.
http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-ctn.artapr04,0,2491936.story
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Secrecy granted to cable TV providers
by Timothy C. Barmann
Providence Journal (RI)
04/03/08

The state’s three cable TV companies have asked state regulators to keep secret some of the details the businesses are required to file about their operations each year.  Eric Palazzo, the state’s top cable regulator, has granted that request.

Cox Communications, Verizon Communications and Full Channel TV all contend that releasing some of the information in their annual reports, such as how many customers each company has, would harm their competitive positions.  Cox has gone a step further by also requesting that financial information, such as its balance sheet and income statements, be kept confidential as well.  These filings, in their entirety, have been made available to the public for 25 years.

Palazzo said the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers supported cable competition within Rhode Island, adding “We do not want to do anything that the companies feel would be negative in the competitive environment.”  The three companies filed their annual reports Tuesday, the deadline for doing so. The Journal has asked Thomas Ahern, administrator of the division, to review Palazzo’s decision to withhold the information.

Ahern said that state law gives the agency 10 days to respond to The Journal’s request. He said that Palazzo has asked the cable companies to file memos that expand upon their reasons for wanting to keep the information confidential.  The state rules that govern cable TV have required cable companies to file annual reports since the industry’s inception in Rhode Island in the early 1980s.  The reports are to contain information about each company’s ownership, management, financial condition, facilities, services and subscriber information…

Linda Lotridge Levin, a professor of journalism at the University of Rhode Island, said the information that the cable companies don’t want disclosed could be helpful to consumers.  “If you have the information, then you can make a better informed decision,” Levin said, who is also chairwoman of Access Rhode Island, a group that works to ensure that the workings of government are open to the citizens of the state.

“As a proponent of open government …. I think the residents of the state have a right to know the details of these businesses.”  She said that since these companies are regulated by the state, citizens “should be able to know what our state is regulating.”   —>
http://www.projo.com/business/content/bz_cable_secrets03_04-03-08_K19KE3D_v14.2a635b3.html
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Pointdexter
The 411 Show (TX)
04/03/08

[ comments invited ]

Meet Pointdexter, the lost dog (http://blip.tv/file/get/411Show-Pointdexter125.mov). If anybody recognizes him, send us a message.  This clip was filmed for San Antonio Public Access TV.
http://411show.blogspot.com/2008/04/pointdexter.html
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Public access and grassroots video
by Forty Brown
40Brown
04/03/08

[ comments invited ]

I’m attending a lecture today given by DeeDee Halleck, an expert in public access television programing and the use of communications in grassroots development.  You can follow along here.
http://40brown.wordpress.com/2008/04/03/public-access-and-grassroots-video/
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Clash over ‘white spaces’
by Chris Frates
Politico
04/03/08

[ comments invited ]

The big guns of high tech and consumer advocacy are launching a major lobbying blitz next week to convince policymakers to allow unlicensed electronic gadgets to operate on the television spectrum.   While a bit esoteric-sounding, the issue of allowing unlicensed electronics to use vacant spectrum space between television channels will have a dramatic and lasting impact on consumers, argue supporters and opponents alike.

The high-tech community contends that allowing laptops, PDAs and other unlicensed devices to operate in the so-called “white spaces” will revolutionize wireless broadband access. Broadcasters counter that such a move would interfere with television signals and distort TV picture quality for millions of Americans.   A classic Washington clash of the titans, the fight between the broadcasters and the tech companies has turned savage, with each side accusing the other of distortion and greed.

The techies contend the broadcasters want to keep the white spaces for themselves until they can figure out how to make money selling them. The broadcasters say the tech giants are trying to score free spectrum space — unlicensed devices mean companies don’t have to buy expensive spectrum space that licensed devices require.   Each side dismisses its opponent’s arguments as bunk.

To push their cause, Microsoft, Dell, Google and other tech companies, along with several public interest groups, have formed the Wireless Innovation Alliance. And it has bought a round of print ads to run in Washington publications over the next several weeks.  The ads criticize the National Association of Broadcasters for what the alliance calls NAB’s pattern of opposition over the years to FM radio, cable television and the VCR, among other innovations. The alliance expects to begin a second round of advertising in late May or early June.

On Capitol Hill, the alliance is targeting lawmakers charged with overseeing the Federal Communications Commission, which is currently testing unlicensed devices to determine whether they cause interference. Specifically, the alliance intends to lobby the 70 lawmakers who wrote to the FCC to express their concern about unlicensed devices.

“Many of these members merely voiced concern over television interference, not the technological opportunity that will bring wireless broadband access to millions of Americans and close the gap between American schools, rural communities and underserved populations,” said alliance spokesman Brian Peters. “Opposing interference and supporting NAB’s position are two very different things.”

To mobilize consumers, the alliance has tapped its partners to help build a grass-roots network. More than 500,000 members of the media reform organization Free Press have filed more than 20,000 comments with the FCC supporting unlicensed devices to use white spaces, said Shawn Chang, the consumer advocacy group’s deputy policy director. The move will help counter NAB’s constituency of station owners.

Free Press believes white spaces can increase Internet access, a message it has pitched to the civil rights, music and rural groups it has asked to sign on to the fight, Chang said.   “The goal is expanding the number of coalitions and bringing a diverse perspective into the debate,” Chang said. “Traditionally, people don’t view this as a digital divide issue. They view it as one large industry, tech companies, versus another large industry: the broadcasters. It’s really about connecting more people to the Internet.”    —>
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0408/9344.html
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REPACTED: Giving Voice To The Kenyan Youths
by Rezwan
Rising Voices
04/03/08

[ comments invited ]

REPACTED is the abbreviation of Rapid Effective Participatory Action in Community Theater Education and Development.  REPACTED was formed in the year 2001 by young theater artists from the Nakuru Players Theater Club with assistance from an international NGO. Their aim is to improve the community by encouraging young people and involving them in community development through participatory theater methodologies, awareness campaigns and peer education and counseling.

The scope of the Youth Media Consultative Forum is stated in their application to Rising Voices:

“The youth media consultative forum will collect news, stories, information, and other content from their respective communities among the target population and post them on the internet, through photography, broadcast, video, blogging, and magazines. The project will also use Magnet Theater to inform, educate, and communicate to the target population. With the above activities the target population will be able to communicate with like minded population in the whole world, and show the true picture of their community. The kind of news and stories that we will collect and share using the above tools will be to show the struggles that young people are going through here in Nakuru Kenya and give them a voice.”

In their first post in Rising Voices REPACTED tells about its works and achievements till-to-date.

Dennis Kimambo is the resource mobilizer of the program. We have talked with him recently to learn about the program and its progress in details. Here is the interview.   —>
http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/blog/2008/04/03/repacted-giving-voice-to-the-kenyan-youths/
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/02/08

April 3, 2008

Future of town government TV heads to Hartford for debate
The Wilton Bulletin (CT)
04/02/08

Thousands of area residents who watch their town government in action on local cable stations may be in for a shock, according to a release from the Area 9 Cable Council.  While Cablevision continues to air such stations on channel 79, new competitors to the TV market may make such valuable programming harder to find, the group said. Area Nine Cable Council members recently submitted testimony at the state Capitol, as the legislature’s technology committee heard comments on the future of community access television-the public, educational, and governmental, or PEG, access stations that Wilton residents view on channels 77, 78, and 79.

Cable TV advisory boards, state officials, and public broadcasters argued that, like cable companies, AT&T should not charge local communities for carrying their local access stations on its new U-Verse video service and that local access channels deserve equivalent status to other channels on U-Verse’s line-up.

Last year the state legislature adopted a new law that allows AT&T and others to offer television services to state residents under a certificate system that contains fewer regulations than the current cable franchise system, the group said. The Area Nine Cable Council supports competition, but supports a regulatory level playing field for consumers to receive the benefits of true competition, according to the release.

Hal Levy of Westport, chairman of the cable council, said as an advocate for community access television, the council opposes not only charging municipalities and customers for interconnection costs, but also the way in which AT&T proposes to carry local community access channels and the Connecticut Network in its newly launched U-Verse system. Unlike cable TV, the U-Verse system employs a separate, drop-down menu, Web-based system in its channel line-up for broadcasting PEG channels, the group said.  “There’s no reason to make public affairs and town government TV a ‘second class citizen’ on the AT&T system,” said Mr. Levy.

Carole Young-Kleinfeld, who testified at the Capitol as one of Wilton’s representatives to the cable council, said that U-Verse demonstrations from other states show that AT&T’s system for viewing community access channels can take almost a minute to load these channels, offers poorer resolution and a smaller screen than regular channels, is not closed-captionable, and is not recordable.   —>
http://www.acorn-online.com/news/publish/wilton/31321.shtml
~

New Hampshire High School Short Film Festival approaching
Film New Hampshire
04/02/08

[ comments invited ]

Submissions for first-ever New Hampshire High School Short Film Festival have been arriving at the New Hampshire Film and Television Office for weeks, reflecting the state’s wide pool of talented young filmmakers—and their interests.  Designed to foster and reward interest in film for future members of the industry, the Festival is open to students currently enrolled in New Hampshire public or private high schools (grades 9-12), although submissions do not have to have been created as part of a school project… The deadline to submit films to the competition is April 4, 2008. They must arrive at the State Library in Concord by 4 p.m. on that date.

A panel of judges made up of New Hampshire film professionals will select films to be shown at the Festival, which takes place at New Hampshire Technical Institute’s Sweeney Hall Auditorium in Concord on May 17, beginning at noon. Five winning films will be packaged onto a DVD, which will also include brief interviews with the films’ respective directors. Copies of the DVD will be distributed to every community access television station in the state for future broadcast.   —>
http://nhfilmoffice.blogspot.com/2008/04/new-hampshire-high-school-short-film.html
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City’s fifth graders ready for quiz show challenge this spring
by Patrick Blais
Daily Times Chronicle (MA)
04/02/08

WOBURN – Fifth grade students will face-off later this spring in a quiz show that’s being sponsored as part of a collaborative public relations effort between the school district and the city’s public media center.  During the most recent School Committee meeting, former Altavesta Principal Fran Mooney and William Bishop, the Executive Director at the Woburn Public Media Center, unveiled their plans to launch the city-wide competition…  “We came up with [the] idea to get the community aware of the community media center and to also give a boost to the schools,” explained Mooney. “We thought we’d get these kids on TV and give them an idea of what it’s like to be on television.”   —>
http://www.woburnonline.com/frontpage/april08/4108-3.html
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Niagara County Legislature won’t return Christy to cable
He blames GOP for cancellation
by Thomas J. Prohaska
The Buffalo News (NY)
04/02/08

LOCKPORT — Despite protests from a gathering of supporters, the Niagara County Legislature Tuesday defeated a resolution calling for the return of host Tom Christy to a cable television program.  Christy, who attended the meeting, blamed the county’s Republicans for the cancellation of the weekly phone-in program, “Legislative Journal,” produced at Lockport Community Television and shown throughout Niagara and Erie counties.

As of last Thursday, it has been replaced by a show called “Access to Government,” which premiered with a Republican elected official interviewing another Republican elected official, and it received no telephone callers.  But the new show’s existence was used as a reason for Legislature Chairman William L. Ross, C-Wheatfield, to withdraw a resolution asking LCTV to bring back a phone-in show but making no mention of Christy.  “I watched about five minutes, and I turned it off, it was so boring,” said Legislature Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls, who was a frequent guest on Christy’s show. “It was nothing like ‘Legislative Journal.’ Tom Christy was the ultimate host.”

The Buffalo News has reported that the Lockport Community Cable Commission, appointed by the Republican-led governments of the City and Town of Lockport, wrote to the state Public Service Commission, asking permission to censor Christy, and received it.  Christy’s criticism of the GOP didn’t sit well with the Republicans who control the Legislature or other top county officials.  The pro-Christy resolution was defeated on a straight caucus- line vote — 14 Republicans and their adherents opposed, five “regular” Democrats in favor.   —>
http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/story/313501.html
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Stay Up With Penny Dreadful: MetroCast’s late-night horror flicks beckon to night-owls.
by Stephen Chupaska
The Day (CT)
04/02/08

[ comments invited ]

Once thought to be deceased, hosted horror movie shows are still alive, or rather, still undead, on local public access.  This year, MetroCast Cable, which services residences throughout Waterford, East Lyme, New London, and Montville, picked up Penny Dreadful’s Shilling Shockers, a humorous homage to old late-night horror shows, such as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and Commander USA.

Begun in 2006 by a group of horror-loving friends in Worcester, Mass., the show is now seen in all six New England states on more than 50 public access channels.  The show does two, seven-episode seasons per year and sends DVD copies out to public access channels.   —>
http://zip06.theday.com/blogs/waterford_times/archive/2008/04/02/get-your-penny-dreadfuls-here.aspx
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Hope for Detroit
by Larry Gabriel
Unending Conversations of Hope (MI)
04/02/08

[ comments invited ]

[This article was featured in the MetroTimes, Detroit’s free weekly alternative, on 3/26/08. Grace Lee Boggs and Ron Scott, both members of the Detroit City of Hope campaign, take an alternative position on the resolution of the Detroit’s mayoral scandal.]

—>   We’re wounded. The lost promise of one Kwame Kilpatrick, a young man so many of us had so much hope in just a few years ago, will aggravate our long-standing pains. Picking up the pieces will be that much harder than it was before all the ugly revelations.  We need transformation. We need trust. We need to change our discourse, dynamics and destiny. We need truth and reconciliation.

I must admit that I was in the mob with torches and pitchforks ready to descend on Manoogian Mansion. I’m not recanting my last few columns, but a friend who is active in the Detroit City of Hope campaign changed the course of my thinking. He asked me to think about how the Kilpatrick scandal presented opportunities for reconciliation in Detroit. City of Hope endorsers, community organizations that share the vision of hope, look at the bigger picture of community healing rather than just throwing the rascal out.

“No matter which way the legal process goes, that is a process that has to happen. It’s too bad that couldn’t have happened a lot earlier,” says activist Ron Scott, spokesperson for the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality and producer for the public access television program For My People. “You have to start in on a community level and have the support of a number of disparate factions. People who have worked with the mayor need to go to him and various factions. It has to be a combination of people who come together and have an honest dialogue about what they want their community to be. If it doesn’t transform the community then it misses its mark.”

The concept is rooted in the truth and reconciliation process that Bishop Desmond Tutu led in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. Also used in Rwanda and other countries, it involves bringing together the perpetrator and the perpetrated upon outside of the justice system to speak about the effect wrongdoing had on each of them. It’s about understanding what happened, why it happened and the thoughts of those involved in order to come to terms with past events.   —>
http://conversationsthatyouwillneverfinish.wordpress.com/2008/04/02/hope-for-detroit/
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Public Interest Mashup* Follows Political Money Trail
by H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik
Iconic Woman
04/02/08

[ comments invited ]

MAPLight.org is developing a mashup* that shows a correlation between political campaign contributions and the way lawmakers vote.  During the Watergate scandal that eventually toppled President Richard Nixon, confidential source “Deep Throat” advised two enterprising Washington Post reporters to “follow the money” to uncover the scandal’s ringleaders.

MAPLight.org, a small, not-for-profit company, is developing a database groundbreaking public database, illuminates the connection between campaign donations and legislative votes in unprecedented ways. Elected officials collect large sums of money to run their campaigns, and they often pay back campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws. This common practice is contrary to the public interest, yet legal. The Maplight database and application mashup* allows the public to follow another money trail—the connection between campaign contributions and the way lawmakers vote, making the money/vote connections transparent, to help citizens hold their legislators accountable…

For example, the H.R. 5252 bill, which was before Congress in 2006, was originally designed to create a national cable franchise and provide the Federal Communications Commission with the authority to ensure net neutrality.  The end result was “a telephone bill that did not ensure net neutrality,” said Dan Newman, co-founder and executive director of MAPLight.org. “The telecommunications companies really favored the bill—they didn’t want net neutrality—while Google and Yahoo opposed it. You can see on our Web site that the telephone utilities gave an average of $15,000 to each legislator voting yes—almost triple the amount for legislators voting no.”

The company currently has a database that tracks every single bill in Congress and it is working, through volunteers and funding donations, to extend the service to 50 states.  But to finish the actual coding on the Mapping Money and Politics mashup*, MAPLight.org is entering the NetSquared’s N2Y3 Mashup* Challenge. The contest, put on by NetSquared—another not-for-profit company whose mission is to “spur responsible adoption of social Web tools by social benefit organizations,” according to its Web site—has a $100,000 prize.   —>
http://iconicwoman.com/follow-the-money/public-interest-mashup-follows-political-money-trail
~

Talk to the Newsroom: David Carr, Culture Reporter and Business Columnist
New York Times
03/31/08

David Carr, culture reporter and business columnist, is answering questions from readers March 31 to April 4…  Mr. Carr writes the Media Equation column for the Monday business section and is a general assignment culture reporter. During the Oscar season, Mr. Carr blogs daily about the Oscars and makes weekly videos as well.

In dividing his duties between culture and business, Mr. Carr is something of a hybrid — high mileage (see photo) with intermittent horsepower. As a reporter for The Times, Mr. Carr has taken a book tour with an author on a raft in the Mississippi, questioned whether news reports during Hurricane Katrina needlessly inflamed public opinion, and hidden in the bushes at the annual mogul conclave in Sun Valley. As a columnist and reporter, Mr. Carr is particularly interested in media in all its forms — Web, film, music, television — and how platform shifts are changing consumer habits. He subscribes to four newspapers and has 3,336 songs on his iPod — The National is currently on heavy rotation…

The Old Minneapolis Days

Q. I used to watch you on the Minneapolis Community Network with Brian Lambert and Erik Eskola. Do you consider that the big break that catapulted you to The Times?

A. Um, that wasn’t me. O.K.. it was, but I’ve grown so much since then. If, as you suggest, “The Facts as We Know Them,” as it was called, was my big break, it should be mentioned that Al Gore had to invent the Internet for me to finally get some more face time in front of the camera. During the awards season, I make weekly videos about the Oscars and movies. My time on the chair lift in Sundance with Tom Arnold is, well, classic, in sort of a Three Stooges minus one guy sort of way. With a face that looks as if were crafted out of mashed potatoes and a voice that sounds like a trash compactor that needs oil, I’m not a natural for television, but Web TV? Hey, real is the new beautiful. I have incredibly fond memories of “The Facts as We Know Them,” if for no other reason that in all of my job travels, I have yet to come across two journalists who are as talented and fun to work with as Erik Eskola and Brian Lambert.    —>
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/31/business/media/28asktheeditors.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/28/08

March 30, 2008

Verizon CEO seeks pact on a state cable license
by Jay Fitzgerald
Boston Herald (MA)
03/28/08

[ comments invited ]

Verizon’s Ivan Seidenberg wants to cut a broadband deal with Massachusetts – and Mayor Thomas Menino signaled yesterday he’s willing to listen to his offers. The giant telecom’s chief executive, who spoke at yesterday’s Boston College Chief Executives’ Club of Boston lunch, said Verizon is willing to wire rural and other remote areas of the state if lawmakers give the company a “statewide license” to deploy its broadband cable and Internet service without negotiating with individual towns. —>
http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?articleid=1083342
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AT&T, EBR approve TV deal
Action adds new competitor
by Ben Calder
Advocate (LA)
03/28/08

AT&T and the city-parish have reached an agreement to allow the company to offer television service in East Baton Rouge Parish, adding another competitor to a market that includes cable provider Cox Communications and satellite services Dish Network and Direct TV. The agreement, ratified by a unanimous vote by the Metro Council Wednesday night, will allow the company to begin providing Internet-based television programming along with its Internet and phone service through fiber or copper lines using a set-top box.

But AT&T spokeswoman Karen Beck said the company will not say when people can begin using the service, called AT&T U-verse, already offered in 12 states. The city-parish will get 5 percent of AT&T’s gross revenue from subscription fees and 0.5 percent of gross revenue to support the capital costs incurred for the construction and operation of the city-parish’s public, educational and governmental channels.

The mayor’s office did not return a call for comment Thursday. The council approved the deal without comment the evening before. The agreement, which Beck said has been in the works for about six months, is the first between a Louisiana municipality and AT&T. Beck said while AT&T plans to pursue similar agreements with New Orleans and other cities with a home rule charter predating 1974, its next step will be to try to get a statewide franchise.

AT&T did so two years ago, but then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco vetoed the bill. The company said House Bill No. 1009 and Senate Bill No. 422 were filed late last week and will enable AT&T to obtain a statewide franchise. Beck said she did not know whether Gov. Bobby Jindal would be more receptive to the bill if it passes again. —>
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/17077326.html
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“AT&T, EBR approve TV deal”
by John St. Julien
Lafayette Pro Fiber (LA)
03/28/08

[ 2 comments ]

Well, that was fast! The day before yesterday we noted here that AT&T through its astroturf subsidary TV4US had launched the public relations champaign to support its statewide video franchise law. This morning we see the first substantial political move in the upcoming battle. Baton Rouge has cut a deal with AT&T and so is taken off the board in an early first move of the chess pieces.

AT&T, according to the Advocate, has reached a franchise agreement with the East Baton Rouge City-Parish government to provide cable TV (aka “video services”) in the parish. Follows a summary of what seems to be going on with the caveat that all I have to go on is the article…I can’t find the ordinance or contract online as I would be able to in Lafayette—anyone have access?

AT&T will have the right to offer its new “U-verse” services (site, overview) in the parish for 5 percent of revenues to the general fund and .5% of revenues to support public, educational, and governmental channels (PEG channels). Presuming that turns out to be correct (and enforceable) its a good deal on two of the three major issues that any locale should consider: a fair price for the rental of public land and support for local media. Realizing any actual benefit from those two will depend on the third leg: the product being offered to a sizeable number of citizens.

AT&T has long made it clear that they do not intend to offer this product to just anyone…instead they want to offer it chiefly to their “high value” customers and less than 5% of their “low-value” purchasers. (Fiber To The Rich, FTTR) If you figure out the implications of what they told investors back when this plan got underway they only intend to offer this product to about half of their current population base. Baton Rouge and other wealthy centers in generally cash-poor Louisiana might get U-Verse in rich neighborhoods but I’d be surprised if it went much into North Baton Rouge and Scotlandville. That might prove a difficult thing for Mayor Kip Holden to explain.

A bit of unease about the part AT&T was unwilling to promise might well, in turn, explain the secrecy with which this deal was constructed and the stealth with which it was executed. Holden received the council’s blessing to negotiate on Wednesday with no (that’s NO) discussion, and was able close and announce the deal on Thursday. The fix was in. (*) What didn’t happen was any public discussion of the pros and cons of the deal offered by AT&T–discussion which might well have lead to uncomfortable demands that the city-parish require AT&T to actually serve the citizens whose property AT&T wants to use. Such a requirement is part of Cox’s deal…but not, I have to strongly suspect, part of the deal with AT&T. —>

And, speaking of Cox, what about the cable companies? Where do they play in this game? A smart reporter will try and delve into that question. AT&T is using its extraordinary influence in the legislature to push two very bad video bills through the legislature. By comparison the cable companies have relatively little influence. What’s curious is that Lafayette is the state’s largest community to whom these bills will apply. Should Lafayette succeed, as she did two years ago, in getting herself excluded along with other older home rule communities the five largest metro areas of the state comprising the wealthiest 35-40% of the state’s population will have to have local franchises anyway. Since no one (except deliberately naive legislators) actually believes that AT&T is going to provide video in rural regions the question has to be who will really benefit?

One devious answer would have to be: the cable companies. They will be able to drop their local franchises with the communities that actually own the land they want to use, pick up a state franchise at a 30% discount in fees and NO local obligation to serve PEG channels. In other states like North Carolina where the phone company waged a bitter war to win the right to a state video franchise they didn’t make use of it and filed few such requests. On the other hand their supposed cable opponents made out like bandits snatching up state franchises which allowed them to drop the more demanding local ones. The end result was no significant new competition, no price drops, and a huge drop in income to local municipalities.

Somebody in North Carolina got taken…..and the grifters are on the prowl here

(*)Revealing tidbit: The wikipedia section on U-Verse vailability was updated to include Baton Rouge on the 25th, two days before Baton Rouge supposedly concluded the deal and one day before the city-parish council approved negotiations. Not surprisingly, the prescient anonymous editor who added Baton Rouge to the list of cities was operating from a “BellSouth” (now AT&T) URL. The fix was in….
http://lafayetteprofiber.com/Blog/2008/03/at-ebr-approve-tv-deal.html
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Metro Live Television Chat Far More Informative Than Metro Live Online Chat
by Fred Camino
MetroRider LA (CA)
03/28/08

[ 11 comments ]

Last night, Metro Board member Pam O’Connor answered questions and spoke about the Long Range Transit Plan on Los Angeles Public Access Television. I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch the live show last night, but watched it on the web this morning. You can check out the show on LA36’s website, right here.

The hour long show proved to be a much better medium for Pam than her monthly home on the Metro Interactive online chat, which is pretty much universally panned for its inability to be either interactive or informative. Metro Live, despite its obviously public access level production values, managed to keep my attention for the entire hour. Pam’s answers came off a lot more candid and sincere than they do on the online chat, which for the most part seem like copy-paste clippings from Metro press releases. That’s not to say she didn’t paint a rosy picture of Metro when faced with some hardballs, from hearing her talk you’d think the TAP card is the second coming and fare gates are neccessary, well, just because. Here’s some highlights (and lowlights). —>
http://metroriderla.com/2008/03/28/metro-live-television-chat-far-more-informative-than-metro-live-online-chat/
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March Madness: Bruins, O’Connor Both Win During TV Showdown
by Damien Newton
Streetsblog Los Angeles (CA)
03/28/08

[ 1 comment ]

LA Streetsblog picks up the action as UCLA holds a 28-15 lead over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in their Sweet Sixteen match up in the NCAA Tournament. UCLA is wearing their home whites despite being miles from Westwood. The game is being broadcast nationally at CBS.

Meanwhile, Metro Board Chair Pam O’Connor was wearing her road pinks at her home court at Santa Monica City Hall for a call-in-show about Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan. Metro Live! was broadcast on LA City Cable Channel 36 and Santa Monica Channel 16. Just like UCLA ended up winning after some shaky moments, O’Connor gave a strong performance despite perhaps over focusing on the benefits of TAP cards. We pick up the action, after the jump. —>
http://la.streetsblog.org/2008/03/28/march-madness-bruins-o%e2%80%99connor-both-win-during-tv-showdown/
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Singer in tune with message
by Kerri Roche
Daily News Tribune (MA)
03/28/08

[ 2 comments ]

Unlike many celebrities and stars, Renee Marcou is not waiting for fame to envelop her before she gets puts her name next to an important cause. While she puts together her second album, Marcou, 19, also serves as the spokeswoman for the Baby Safe Haven New England Foundation. Yesterday morning, she belted out her latest tunes for a student-produced segment on Waltham Education Television, combining her passion for pop, rhythm and blues with a less than Hollywood-glamour conversation about abandoned babies…

A Wilmington native, Marcou, who has family, including Councilor at-large David Marcou, living in Waltham, has performed at Gillette Stadium and in Los Angeles and Chicago. When she’s not performing, she is a guest on radio and television shows throughout New England, promoting her songs and the options for reluctant parents.

Although WE-TV won’t get the audiences of NECN, where Marcou has previously appeared, Morrisey said local cable television and radio shows generate attention from their target audience – young adults. “You would think a high school TV station wouldn’t be important, but actually we found … they’re probably the most important media outlets to get the message out to. That’s what kids listen to,” said Morrisey. “She’s done every genre of radio of format from punk rock to sports talk.”

Waltham students invited Marcou to their half-hour magazine-style news show because of her vocal and dancing talents, said Patrick Daly, high school television production teacher. Although the student interviewers P.J. Centofanti and Jen Gullotti will likely focus on her career path, the conversation will undoubtedly shift toward Marcou’s more serious work, said Daly. “That’s the cause that she promotes, so we’ll talk about that as well,” said Daly, who added that the segment will air in a few weeks. —>
http://www.dailynewstribune.com/news/x334360812
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One Class
by Will Okun
New York Times
03/27/08

[ 185 comments ]

The average Chicago Public School freshman misses 20 school days a year and fails more than two semester classes. At my high school on the Westside of Chicago, attendance trumps intelligence, work ethic and economic background as the most important indicator of achievement versus failure. In this case, Woody Allen is correct: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

In most communities, students attend school every day because they are convinced that educational achievement is essential to their future success. For many unfortunate reasons, however, this expectation does not exist for most low-income students in Chicago and other urban areas. How do we improve attendance at low-income schools where the current incentive of “a better future” is not sufficient?

According to high school junior Mark Hill, “One special class can make the difference. I know people who come to school just because they are involved in a sport or a certain extracurricular program or they have one great class that they are interested in.”

When rap superstar Kanye West explained the purpose of his education foundation, he stressed that music production classes could inspire “at-risk” kids to attend and remain in school in the same manner as athletics often do. “We have to involve kids in their education,” he told the reporters. “Kids will go to school if they have the opportunity to study something they love. Right now, they are not motivated by the curriculum.”

In my own nine years of teaching, students enrolled in my photography class boast a 90% daily attendance rate while students enrolled in my English classes maintain a daily attendance rate of only 70%. However, an even better example of the positive effect of a single class is Jeff McCarter’s Free Spirit Media video production program at North Lawndale College Prep.

McCarter’s students produce the insanely popular television show “Hoops High,” which features play-by-play game coverage of Chicago high school athletic events. The students are responsible for all aspects of production: they shoot, edit, and announce all of the action themselves. The students even conduct sideline interviews. “Everything you see is us — we’re doing it all,” brags freshman Daryl Jackson. “Most kids’ programs are run by adults where they control the final project, but here we are in charge.”

The final product is telecast every Saturday night on public access T.V. (CAN-TV) and is one of the station’s most popular shows with over 70,000 regular viewers. Students and faculty at my own school regularly watch the telecast. “First of all, they shoot all the best games, they know which games we want to see. But also, the announcers know what’s going on in the schools so you get all these side stories about the players and the fans,” explains student Lazzerick Allen. —>
http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/one-class/
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Media Re:public Forum Panel on Participatory Media: Defining Success, Measuring Impact
by Victoria Stodden
Victoria Stodden
03/28/08

[ comments invited ]

Margaret Duffy is a Professor from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and she is speaking at Berkman’s Media Re:public Forum. She leads a Citizen Media Participation project to create a taxonomy of news categories and get a sense of the state of citizen media via sampling news across the nation. They are interested in where the funding in coming from, the amount of citizen participation, and getting an idea of what the content is. They are also creating a social network called NewNewsMedia.org connecting seekers and posters to bring together people interested in the same sorts of things…

Duffy is followed by Carol Darr, director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet (ipdi) at George Washington University. She is discussing the “Media Habits of Poli-fluentials” and building on work from the book, “The Influentials” by Ed Keller and Jon Berry. The idea is that one person in ten tells the other nine how to votes, where to eat, etc. The interesting thing Darr notes is that poli-fluentials (her term) are not elites in the traditional sense but local community leaders and ordinary folk who appear to be knowledgable to their peers. She notes that people who seem to know a lot of people tend to be these poli-fluentials. —>
http://blog.stodden.net/2008/03/28/media-republic-panel-defining-success-measuring-impact-of-participatory-media/
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Media Re:Public, part 7
by Nathaniel James
Phase Transitions
03/28/08

[ comments invited ]

Media Re:public is hosting this back channel. I got into this conversation with Sasha Costanza-Chock.

Nathan: For Ron C: how can cable access centers reach out to, connect, and collaborate with the world of new media and user generated content? There’s a tradition there that needs to connect!
schock: Check out Manhattan Neighborhood Network, and Denver Open Access. They are great examples of public access connecting to new media.
Nathan: Absolutely! But why are MNN, etc the exception? How can we port those models to PEG/access more universally?
schock: Well there’s one thing the funders might think about 🙂 Support extending those models around the country.
http://phasetransitions.blogspot.com/2008/03/media-republic-part-7.html
~

Comcast admits it can do the impossible
‘We will stop busting BitTorrents’
by Cade Metz
The Register (UK)
03/28/08

[ 16 commemnts ]

Faced with continued scrutiny from the US Federal Communications Commission, Comcast has agreed to release its choke hold on BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer traffic. It says it will soon adopt an alternative method of controlling upload traffic on its cable-based internet service. This also means that Comcast has acknowledged there’s an alternative method of controlling upload traffic on its cable-based internet service.

Today, with an early morning press release, the big-name American ISP and cable television provider said it would switch to “a capacity management technique that is protocol agnostic” by the end of the year. “We will have to rapidly reconfigure our network management systems, but the outcome will be a traffic management technique that is more appropriate for today’s emerging Internet trends,” Comcast Cable CTO Tony Werner said in a canned statement. “We have been discussing this migration and its effects with leaders in the Internet community for the last several months, and we will refine, adjust, and publish the technique based upon feedback and initial trial results.” Werner did not point out that Comcast also spent the last several months publicly defending its right to bust BitTorrents. —>
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/28/comcast_to_stop_busting_bittorrents/
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Liberating the Electromagnetic Commons
by Andrew Back
carrierdetect.com (UK)
03/28/08

[ comments invited ]

I’ve always been fascinated with radio and it’s many applications: from Rugby’s MSF time signal and long-wave broadcast radio, through HF amateur radio and VHF PMR, to television, wireless networks and satellite navigation systems. Yes, I’m a radio geek.

So it should be of no surprise that I take a keen interest in how our incredibly scarce resource – the electromagnetic spectrum – is managed. And let’s be clear it is our resource as it truly belongs to the people and is not the product of the labours of an organisation or state, despite what some would rather have us believe. But since it is a finite resource and one of such value there is no avoiding the fact that it must be carefully managed. And this comes down at a top level to government agencies such as the FCC in the USA and Ofcom in the UK.

Up until now such agencies have largely done a good job of managing this resource and ensuring that spectrum is shared fairly and amongst a diverse range of users with varying needs. Of course for this thankless task they have not gone short of a bob or two, as has been demonstrated most visibly via the auctions for spectrum required for operating a 3G mobile service in the UK, which raised in excess of £22billion. —>
http://carrierdetect.com/?p=103
~

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

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/26/08

March 27, 2008

Comcast to Milford: Access still on the way
by Hattie Bernstein
Nashua Telegraph (NH)
03/26/08

[ comments invited ]

Comcast, a local cable services provider, has agreed to honor a contract it made five years ago with the town to provide a second public access channel.  But the commitment, made Monday night during a public hearing at the Town Hall, doesn’t resolve the town’s complaints about poor customer service, including months of being ignored by the company.   —>
http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080326/NEWS01/729596568/-1/OPINION02
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Comcast Takes Heat From BOS, Public
Lack of response and poor performance lead to public hearing
by Nancy Bean Foster
Milford Observer (NH)
03/26/08

Comcast Senior Manager of Government and Community Relations Bryan Christiansen found himself on the hot seat Monday night (March 24), as Town Administrator Guy Scaife, members of the board of selectmen, and even residents, took the cable company to task over poor communication.

Since August of last year, Scaife said, the town has been trying to get Comcast, the town’s cable provider, to install a third public access channel, as required by the franchise agreement between the cable giant and the town. Despite repeated requests, a long chain of correspondence, and numerous phone calls, Scaife said he got nowhere with Comcast.

Per the franchise agreement, Scaife decided to call a Comcast Performance Evaluation public hearing on Monday to get the problems with the cable, phone and Internet provider out on the table. After hearing about the meeting, Comcast finally came through with a date to set up the third channel, Scaife said.

At Monday’s meeting, Scaife didn’t pull any punches. After being told by Christiansen that the reason the launch of the third channel took so long was the company hadn’t budgeted the necessary $30,000, Scaife threw out some numbers of his own.

“I’m certainly glad that you found some money for this, but I find it ironic that a $30.9 billion corporation that just posted a 54 percent increase in (fourth quarter) profits, and announced a significant dividend to shareholders couldn’t find $30,000 for Milford,” Scaife said. “Of course, Comcast is planning to spend $3 billion for stock buy-backs. I guess I can see where it’s hard to find $30,000 when you’ve set aside $3 billion for stocks.”   —>
http://milfordobserver.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=Default&mad=No&sdetail=518&wpage=&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2117&hn=milfordobserver&he=.com
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Nonprofit hopes to take over tctv2 channel
by Melissa Domsic
Traverse City Record-Eagle (MI)
03/26/08

A local nonprofit and its supporters hope to keep the closing credits from rolling on public access television and launch a new season.  Channel tctv2 will lose public funding and operational support this summer, but local nonprofit Land Information Access Association proposed to take over and keep the station on the air.

“It fits with our overall mission, which is about civic engagement and helping people in communities become better informed about their communities,” said Joe VanderMeulen, executive director.  “Public access television has a long history in the state that is one of providing public access in a free and equitable way,” he said. “We would like to make TV 2 a stronger community service.”

The Traverse Area District Library supplies administrative services and oversees operation of tctv2, but will sever its involvement at the end of June, when area municipalities pull the funding plug.  The channel receives 30 percent of cable franchise fees collected by Traverse City, Elmwood and Garfield townships, the three remaining members of the Cherry Capital Cable Council. Paradise Township and the Village of Kingsley also contribute.  The council is dissolving after changes to franchise agreements dropped Charter Communication’s operational funding responsibilities, leaving local governments to foot the bill. Seven area townships left the council since that change in 2005.

The Land Information Access Association also hopes to take over operation of the new governmental channel 99.  LIAA is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides technical and educational services to local citizens, municipalities and nonprofit groups for land use planning, resource management, emergency management and environmental protection.  The association plans to build a television studio in its office on Munson Avenue in Traverse City.  A citizen’s advisory board would set policies and standards for tctv2 programming and services.   —>
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_086095049.html
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Comcast viewers speak out
by Terry L. Jones
Hattiesburg American (MS)
03/26/08

[ 5 comments ]

A public hearing to discuss renewal of Hattiesburg’s cable franchise agreement with Comcast turned into a witch hunt against the city’s cable television monopoly Tuesday night.  Tuesday’s hearing was the public’s second chance to address future cable-related needs and interests. The first hearing was held last year in September.  Comcast officials said they service an estimated 18,000 homes in Hattiesburg.

The existing franchise agreement between the city of Hattiesburg and Comcast expires on Dec. 7. Comcast submitted a letter and a renewal franchise agreement to the city on May 2, 2006.  Should an agreement between Comcast and the city not be reached by Dec. 7, Hattiesburg will continue to operate under the current agreement until the city adopts a resolution terminating the contract, said Ken Smith, chairman of the city’s cable advisory board…

The board expects to have a proposed agreement ready for the City Council to review sometime in June, he said.  The board is recommending the city enter into a 5-year agreement with Comcast instead of the 10-year agreement Comcast asked for.  Smith said their recommendation will also include televising City Council meetings.   —>
http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080326/NEWS01/803260310
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Teen film project offers television studio and field production classes
Argus Observer (OR)
03/26/08

[ comments invited ]

Vale — Are you a film maker? Do you want to work in television or make movies someday?  The Drexel H. Foundation is providing an opportunity for teens to participate in television production and film-making classes this spring.  This program has provided students, since 2004, with the opportunity to create film and videos and learn about television studios.

It is once again time to dust off that old camera, grab a friend, enjoy the weather and create a film.  The Teen Film Project is a great opportunity to learn about the amazing world of film.  Registration is simple and one can participate by attending classes at TVTV (a Boise public access channel) in May, June and July, or by attending classes offered in Vale during the summer.

The classes include a “field production”and “studio production” class at TVTV, Boise.    The lighting, film editing, sound, camera work and composition classes will take place in Vale.

There is no cost to the students. The Drexel H. Foundation provides classes in Vale, pays for the TVTV classes and provides transportation to the studio in Boise. Because there is no cost to participants, registration space is limited.  The Drexel Foundation is a registered producer with TVTV and will give out scholarships for these classes to the individuals.   —>
http://www.argusobserver.com/articles/2008/03/26/news/us/doc47ea7fc4d9298798080831.txt
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WT-TV moving to new channel
Courier-Post (NJ)
03/26/08

WASHINGTON TWP. – The township’s public access cable station, WT-TV, is moving from Channel 13 to Channel 9 on April 12.  Comcast Corporation plans to add new high-definition channels to its lineup and needs to reserve Channel 13 for the new stations.   —>
http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080326/NEWS01/80326003/1006
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United Nations Meets Web 2.0 Seminar taking place this week in the UN HQ in New York.
Rialtas.net – Government 2.0
03/26/08

In February 2007, the Global Alliance organized “United Nations Meets Silicon Valley” in Santa Clara, California, which explored how the technology industry and business community in Silicon Valley can bolster development. Attended by prominent members of industry, academia, and the venture capital community alongside members of the Strategy Council of the Global Alliance, the meeting discussed challenges and partnerships between the public and private sectors in the area of ICT for development.  “UN Meets Web 2.0″ is a follow up to the meeting in Silicon Valley and is being held in New York City.

The event  consists  of a series of policy dialogues and panel sessions on the first day (yesterday),which showcased a variety of perspectives on key issues, including the use of technology to drive development; understanding what is in the mind of ICT entrepreneurs; and how the new media and content are shaping the landscapes of business and economics in developing countries. Today’s session  will include an Investors Forum, showcasing emerging business and investment opportunities in information and communication technologies in developing nations, including ICT initiatives from countries across Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Middle East, the Pacific, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe.

The UN hope Participants will learn how new media and content are shaping the landscapes of business, economics and policy in developing countries; learn about global ICT opportunities; and understand what is in the mind of ICT entrepreneurs and investors.  The event will be attended by representatives of governments, business and industry, academia and professional institutions, non-governmental organizations and media.  View the event programme (pdf)
http://www.rialtas.net/blog/2008/03/26/united-nations-meets-web-20-seminar-taking-place-this-week-in-the-un-hq-in-new-york/
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The New York Times Company Foundation to Sponsor ‘Ethnic Media Watchdog Workshop’ in May
Ad-Hoc-News
03/26/08

Journalists from The New York Times and Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc will conduct a two-day workshop on investigative and enterprise reporting for reporters and editors from foreign-language newspapers in New York City. The Ethnic Media Watchdog Workshop will also invite enrolled college students studying journalism to participate. The workshop will be held at The New York Times Building, the newspaper’s new headquarters in New York City, on May 9 and 10.

The workshop will include sessions on covering the police and the courts; how to use the Internet for enterprise stories; how to investigate immigration issues; and how to obtain background information on people and businesses. Sessions will examine how best to exploit laws that provide access to government records and explore the rights of journalists when dealing with legal issues.   —>
http://www.ad-hoc-news.de/drucken.html?art_id=16062697
~

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