Unplugging a Media Giant

December 30, 2005

(From National Radio Project)

"MAKING CONTACT – a weekly international radio program

Unplugging a Media Giant

December 21, 2005

A look at how Clear Channel came to be the largest owner of radio stations in North America and the many people fighting against it.

In this edition, we will hear about media monitoring campaigns across the country and legal challenges to Clear Channel stations that are not operating in the public interest. We'll explore the ties between Clear Channel CEO Larry Mayes, and the Bush family, and we'll check in on a battle in the company's hometown of San Antonio.


Malkia Cyril, executive director, Youth Media Council; Taishi Duchicela, media justice advocate, Youth Media Council; Youth Media Council's Si Se Puede Fellow, Leslie Ruiz; Jeff Perlstein, executive director, Media Alliance; Graciela Sanchez, executive director, Esperanza Peace and Justice Center; Deanne Cuellar, project director, Texas Media Empowerment Project; Austin Lounge Lizards, "The Tower."

This week's hosts: Tena Rubio and Emily Polk. Contributing producer: Sarah Grace Turner."

Listen to the program.


ACME Vermont Curriculum Resources

December 26, 2005

Regarding our conversation at the last ACMEBoston meeting about K-12 media literacy education, ACME Vermont has a number of resources available on their website for Elementary, Middle School, and High School teachers and students.

Check out these great resources available at ACME Vermont!

Job Openings at Project: Think Different

December 23, 2005

Project: Think Different is an empowerment media non-profit organization that uses the arts and popular culture media to increase the power of voices in civic dialogue and participation to ensure equity and fairness. We use music, film and video as an organizing tool to reach those disengaged and to inspire them to “think differently” about their ability to create positive change in their lives, communities, and society at large. Project: Think Different's (PTD) messages in music, film and video, fuel empowering beliefs about our ability to create positive social change.

Project: Think Different has just announced three new job openings for:

Youth Team Facilitator
(Part-Time Position)

Media Literacy Coordinator/Instructor
(Full-Time Position)

Electronic Community Developer

Click on the above links to read job descriptions and for information about how to apply.

Media Coverage of the NYC Transit Workers Strike

December 22, 2005

"Peak holiday shopping week", "Jail time", and "three-day strike that has crippled the city during the busy holiday season" are some of the key descriptive phrases you'll find in the media today involving the NYC Transport Workers Union Local 100 strike.

Over the past few days, it's been almost impossible to know why the Transport Workers were even striking at all, from reading, watching, or listening to the news media. Seems that holiday shopping and the union's thuggishness were more important catch phrases to use in reporting the story than the public's right to know about the real issues involved.

To NPR's credit, however, "All Things Considered" did produce a couple of segments that provided some background to the story, including: "Labor Issues, History Behind New York Transit Strike" (buried half way down the page on NPR's MAIN REPORT PAGE). And all of about 4 minutes long…

Read what Danny Schechter had to say about the media's coverage of the transit workers strike.

Panel Addresses Relationships between Media, Race, and Policy

December 20, 2005

(via Civil Rights.org)

By civilrights.org staff
December 19, 2005

The media often stimulate racial animosity, participants in a December 6 panel discussion at the U.S. Capitol said.

The panel, speaking at a briefing sponsored by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, said that the mass media convey impressions that whites occupy different moral universes from African Americans, Hispanics, and other people of color.

While the media do occasionally convey images of harmony and similarity, the impact of positive images is often swamped by the preponderance of the more common and vivid negative images, and by the effects of systematic omissions.

Professor Robert Entman of N.C State University presented new data on the way the media operate, the images they produce, and the influence they exert, concluding that these negative images have negative impact on both people of color and whites.

Among Entman's findings: local TV newscasts stereotype issues of crime and poverty; network newscasts rarely feature black and Latino experts; and black politicians receive more critical coverage than white politicians.

The situation in fiction media is equally bleak, with a paucity of what Entman called "serious" roles for African Americans, and "stereotyped, niche roles" for Latinos and Asian Americans.

A report issued December 1 by the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC) gives middling grades to the networks on their efforts to increase diversity before and behind the camera.

According to the report, The 2005 Asian Pacific American Report Card on Television Diversity, no major network earned an overall grade better than a C+. Grades are based on data provided by ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX.

"Primetime television this season does not mirror the realities of the growing numbers of Asian Pacific Americans in the USA," Karen Narasaki, president of the Asian American Justice Center and APAMC chair said.

Narasaki participated in the December 6 LCCREF panel, along with Kareem Shora, director, Legal Department / Policy, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; Gloria Tristani, managing director, Office of Communication, United Church of Christ, Inc. and former FCC commissioner; and Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president and CEO, Media Access Project.

More DTV Transition Updates & Resources from the Benton Foundation

December 20, 2005

Download the Benton Foundation's DTV Transition Bill Comparison (Matrix) to see how each bill spells out what's at stake with the digital television transitition.

In a Press Release from the Benton Foundation, Charles Benton, chairman of the Benton Foundation said:

"As the final decisions about the DTV transition now move to the Federal Communications Commission, critical questions remain unanswered: Will DTV broadcasters provide the necessary civic programming before elections necessary for an informed democracy, or will democracy itself be left behind? Will the DTV future include a variety of voices and views, or will the nation's diversity be left behind? Will DTV provide truly educational content, or will our children be left behind? Will DTV programming be accessible, or will people with sight- or hearing-impairments be left behind?

Download The Citizens' Guide to the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Brodcasters here.

Good Grief, Charlie Brown! The DTV Transition and Congress

December 19, 2005

As I noted on my blog last week, the political wrangling over the transition from analog to digital television is becoming a total mess!

And now this:

“The House of Representatives on Monday approved legislation to complete the country's transition to new, higher-quality digital television by February 17, 2009. Under a deal negotiated by Republicans in the Senate and House, a $5 billion fund would be created to help some consumers buy converter boxes so existing analog television signals do not go dark when the transition is finished.” (Find it here)

The key word being "some".

Maybe because:

"Current law requires stations to switch to airing only digital broadcasts when 85 percent of the country can receive the new signals, or by December 31, 2006, whichever comes later." (Read it here)

85%! I'm no math wizard, buy I know 85% percent of the country is not everyone.

And also this:

“By contrast, the House Commerce version sets a Dec. 31, 2008, date and only sets aside a little under $1 billion for the subsidy, and makes it a first-come, first-served program with a couple of administrative hoops to jump through, that may not cover everyone who needs it.” (Check it here)

But, what's most infuriating is this, from Markey’s interview on C-Span that I blogged about when he said:

“the Republicans want to use the funds that are going to be raised from auctioning off the analog spectrum for a tax break for people who are in the upper one percentile!”

Ah, yes. 'Tis the season…