Reality based multimedia?

Posted by Scott - November 9, 2016 (entry 723)

Some people remain stubbornly reality-based and may want to read, watch and listen to informational materials in order to better understand something. So for these troublemakers, here are some links to information that shows clearly, in the aggregate, why we’d better expand and more broadly define community media in an age of broadband, runaway media ownership consolidation, and shrinking newspaper ad revenue.

PhillyCam's WPPM at 106.5FM

Multimedia community media centers are proliferating

I recently spoke with Mike Wassenaar, the head of the peg access advocacy group Alliance for Community Media, and he pointed out that there are about fifty community television centers in the U.S. that also have a low power fm community radio license. Here are links to a few of them: PhillyCam's WPPM at 106.5FM (pictured above), a short overview of Grand Rapids Community Media Center (which has a full power radio station) and a link to its homepage, info about Davis Media Access in Davis CA, Dakota Media Access, Rochester Community Media Center, Arlington Independent Media, Boston Neighborhood Network, and Tucson CMC. For an excellent discussion of multimedia community media facilities, check out the event description of this 2011 panel discussion "Community Media: A Full Spectrum Future"; for really depressing statistics about the gutting of newsrooms, go to Steven Waldman at 6:40 to 14:30. Here is a link courtesy of the ACM to a 2016 panel discussion featuring spokespersons for community media facilities offering both community tv and lpfm.

Communities need information but independent investigative journalists need to eat

Research studies: The 2002 study by the Future of Music Coalition "Radio Deregulation: Has it Served Musicians and Citizens?" illuminates the extremely negative effects released by the radical deregulation of the Clinton Telecommunications Act of 1996 upon ownership concentration, format and program diversity, news, ad clutter, and the ability of artists to get on the radio. This study helped lead to the signing of the Local Community Radio Act in 2011 which created hundreds of new low power fm stations. The groundbreaking 2011 FCC study "The Information Needs of Communities" highlights the key (but underfunded) role community media must play in filling in the major gaps caused by the staff cuts and bankruptcies at our daily newspapers as internet advertising dimes replace print advertising dollars. Via reports like "State of the News Media Report 2016", the Pew Research Center breaks things down for each news medium annually. The 2007 Benton Foundation study "What's Going On in Community Media?" expertly details models of facilities evolving to adapt to the new media landscape in order to better help solve community problems.

(added 11/17/2016) More links examining the generally miserable state of sustainable funding for investigative and accountability journalism

More info has been brought to my attention by a squad of communications and journalism educators I am friends with: Steve Macek, Professor at North Central College reminds us of McChesney and Nichols' book "The Death and Life of Great American Newspapers" (2009) which covers a lot of facts about the loss of local journalism jobs. Andrew Kennis, Assistant Professor of Journalism at The University of Texas at El Paso provides the following -- Local Journalism: The Decline of Newspapers and the Rise of Digital Media (2015) published by the Reuters Institute at Oxford University; Less of the Same: The Lack of Local News on the Internet by Matthew Hindman, GWU; Less of Less FCC-commissioned report finds a "surprisingly small audience for local news traffic" Nieman Lab, 2011; Low Power to the People: Pirates, Protest, and Politics in FM Radio Activism MIT Press, 2014 - a book review by its author.

Media Justice, OWS, and Access: Who Gets to Speak?

James Owens at UMass Amherst provided some identity and activist oriented links that are also part of this discussion: Media Justice: Out of the Margins Cyril, M., Schmeider, K. - Extra!, 2009 "Access to media is difficult when “you’re poor, a person of color, a woman or queer: it’s harder when you’re living in an isolated rural community or a segregated and policed urban neighborhood"; Media Justice and the 99 Percent Movement by Betty Yu - Extra!, 2011 As the OWS Declaration in New York City put it, the 1 percent “purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.”But grassroots, independent media outlets like Democracy Now!, Pacifica Radio, the Indypendent newspapers and public access TV channels, with a combined audience of millions, covered the Occupation from the perspective of the people—the 99 percent. Grassroots Perspectives on Media Justice Organizing Davies, L. Radical History Review, 2013 Building a National Media Justice Movement:
 An Interview with Betty Yu, Membership Organizer, Media Action Grassroots Network, the Center for Media Justice; The Black Voice is in Jeopardy by Malkia Cyril - Extra!, 2014 While Malkia recognizes the power of Twitter, she fails to accept that this power on its own would change society’s perspective on Black’s people’s anger against police brutality; Occupy’s Precarious Pluralism: A study of the purposes, identities, and politics enabled by the NYC Occupy movement by James Owens, 2012 “Projects seeking to create spaces of communication and wage issue campaigns for healthcare and financial reform tended to emerge from alliances of wealthier, whiter, professional identified partners while non-professional partners from communities of color and low-income allied together to wage struggles for human rights, subsistence, and against foreclosures. . . . Rather than creating spaces to overcome differing interests, communication projects themselves appear to be expressions of particular interests; FAIR & Media Justice Goldstein, H., & Jackson, J. - Extra!, 2009 Who gets to speak? More inclusive and democratic media is “part of the bigger, longer fight for real social and economic justice”.

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