Community Media Culture at ACM Boston 2006

(cross-post from my acmboston blog)

Community Media Culture

I am sitting in on the “Community Media Culture: Trends and Emerging Practices in Community Media” at the ACM Boston conference this morning. Here are some notes from the session:

Fred Johnson, The Community Media & Technology Program,
University of Massachussetts Boston, College of Public & Community Service

Fred introduced the session and began by saying that “We’re in a five year fight with the telephone companies and the cable companies about our rights of way.. . .And we want to address that with this session” – Fred Johnson

There is an “exploding level of community media practices all over the world. . . [because] mainstream media is incapable of providing social benefits.”

“[There is a battle over] funding, legislation, free speech, etc. at the local, state, and national level.”

“This session will include a breakout session for concrete suggestions about what to do for the next four or five years.”

Inja Coates, Media Tank

Community Media Culture

Inja mentioned that “media is an issue that effects everyone whether they know it or not. Policy is a very important place to engage if you want to make change. If you’re talking about corporate policy or governmental policy. It is at the roots of trying to make things better. Media tank is in it’s fifth year, we do media literacy training and public events.”

Media Tank has been involved in cable organizing, the “grassroots cable campaign. . . to address state franchising and community wireless. . . A battle that’s being fought at the state level.”

“We’ve started a local monitoring process this year, we’re working with people all around the country to share knowledge and strategies.”

Hye-Jung Park, Program Director, Media Justice Fund, Funding Exchange

Community Media Culture

Hye-Jung began by saying that The Media Justice Fund is focused on “using media as a tool for change.” Hye-Jung said she “worked in media arts and public access and now the funding exchange.”

“Through this experience, I am creating content and I am doing something.” Previously she said she was involved in actions that were more reactive that didn’t make “the impact that I wanted to have.” It was “changing the system stayed that in my mind.”

Media Justice Fund is a an initiative of the funding exchange [which] started in 1979.” The Funding Exchange gives grants to 1000 social change organizations every year. It also funds the Paul Robeson fund.

It provides grants for content and media justice fund is focused on supporting the leadership of people in traditional marginalized communities.

“Media justice has been a buzz word in recent years, I hope this is not just a one time funding trend.”

Media Justice is not just about media reform, it goes beyond it. . . to include “notions of just and fair media. . . like the fight for fair wages and against homelessness in the us.” Traditional groups in media reform have focused on and have access to people in power inside the beltway, in D.C.

“The Media Justice Fund moves funds to smaller groups who fight for a media that serves a larger social justice mission.”

“There is need to collaborate and to share knowledge so that everyone can understand and take action.”

Barbara Popovic, Executive Director, Chicago Access Corp.

Community Media Culture

Barbara said that “We need to be connecting to issues in our community, if you do that that you are building political strength.”

We are positioned to have lon -term relationships with our communities, if this thing [community media] survives. There is a tremendous amount of potential”

She concluded by saying that the question now is “How do we translate that [potential] into political action.”

Colin Rhinesmith
President, ACMEBoston

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