Why the Kankakee County Farm Bureau hates net neutrality

Nate Anderson, Ars Technica

The Kankakee County Farm Bureau wants to stop net neutrality. So does the Erie Neighborhood House, along with Downtown Springfield Inc, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties, and the mayor of North Chicago.

The organizations all share several things: they are located in Illinois, they want the FCC to focus on broadband adoption rather than net neutrality, and... they all have connections to AT&T.

Read more.

Federal agencies announce next round of broadband stimulus guidelines

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) today announced availability of $4.8 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants and loans to expand broadband access and adoption in America. This is the second funding round for the agencies’ broadband programs. The investment will help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, and create jobs.

NTIA and RUS also announced the rules for applying in this funding round, which have been modified to make the application process easier for applicants and better target program resources.

Read more.

Harry Reid, Michael Steele, negro dialect & political grandstanding

Davey D, Davey D's Hip Hop Corner

By now everyone has heard about the racial firestorm that has brewed because of some remarks attributed to Senate majority leader Harry Reid in a new book called Game Change. They were made in a private conversation during the 2008 campaign where Reid noted that then Senator Obama might be successful because he was light-skin and didn’t speak with a ‘Negro Dialect’. Obama in typical fashion avoided the mess that can come when discussing race by quickly accepting Reid’s apology, downplaying the remarks and announcing ‘the book is closed’ on the subject.

Of course Obama’s Republican counterparts seeing that Reid is in a tight re-election race have been trying their best to blow this issue up. The party of Ronald Reagan who supported South African Apartheid, the party of John McCain who said ‘No to a Martin Luther King holiday are suddenly getting all Jesse Jackson-like and riding hard for all those who have been on the receiving end of racial insults and oppression.. Thank you Republican Party-I guess…Not! LOL

Read more.

Hispanic groups take sides in net neutrality debate

Erick Galindo, Hispanic Link News Service

High-stakes political maneuvering is dragging Hispanic advocacy groups here deeper into battle over the future of the Internet.

As the Federal Communications Commission moves ahead with plans to create a set of rules designed to block online monopolies from forming, supportive consumer protection organizations are pressing ethnic advocacy and civil rights groups, including the Urban League, One Economy and National Council of La Raza, to speak out in support of network neutrality.

Some, such as the NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership, are following the lead of telecommunication giants Verizon, AT&T and Comcast. Others are avoiding taking a position opposing the trio. Still others, including the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and non-white media groups, are lining up with consumer protection groups and Web giant Google.

Read more.

How news happens: new case study examines Baltimore news ecology

Project for Excellence in Journalism

Where does the news come from in today’s changing media?

Who really reports the news that most people get about their communities? What role do new media, blogs and specialty news sites now play?

How, in other words, does the modern news “ecosystem” of a large American city work? And if newspapers were to die—to the extent that we can infer from the current landscape—what would that imply for what citizens would know and not know about where they live?

The questions are becoming increasingly urgent. As the economic model that has subsidized professional journalism collapses, the number of people gathering news in traditional television, print and radio organizations is shrinking markedly. What, if anything, is taking up that slack?

The answers are a moving target; even trying to figure out how to answer them is a challenge. But a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, which takes a close look at the news ecosystem of one city suggests that while the news landscape has rapidly expanded, most of what the public learns is still overwhelmingly driven by traditional media—particularly newspapers.

The study, which examined all the outlets that produced local news in Baltimore, Md., for one week, surveyed their output and then did a closer examination of six major narratives during the week, finds that much of the “news” people receive contains no original reporting. Fully eight out of ten stories studied simply repeated or repackaged previously published information.

And of the stories that did contain new information nearly all, 95%, came from traditional media—most of them newspapers. These stories then tended to set the narrative agenda for most other media outlets.

The local papers, however, are also offering less than they once did. For all of 2009, for instance, the Sun produced 32% fewer stories on any subject than it did in 1999, and 73% fewer stories than in 1991, when the company still published an evening and morning paper with competing newsrooms. [1] And a comparison of one major story during the week studied—about state budget cuts—found newspapers in the area produced only one-third as many stories in 2009 as they did the last time the state made a similar round of budget cuts in 1991, and the Baltimore Sun one seventh as many. Yet the numbers suggest the addition of new media has not come close to making up the difference.

Read more.

FCC launches new site to spur discussion of agency reform

Chris Naoum, Broadband Breakfast

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday launched, a new interactive website attempting to foster public discussion on how to best improve the agency.

The site includes many opportunities for public input on a variety of facets of FCC operations, including greater release of FCC data, the development of new systems such a the “Consolidated Licensing System,” and the redesign of the main agency website, Ma href="">

The site is broken down into five sections: systems, rules and procedures, data, engagement and redesign. The home page also offers links to the RebootBlog – this reform efforts blog – plus all current FCC initiatives and upcoming events. Each section also includes the ability for users can comment, post suggestion and then vote on suggestions, Ideascale model.

Read more.

AT&T consultant conjures evidence to claim White House is soft on net neutrality

Tim Karr, Huffington Post

There's some buzz about a recent CNET article by Larry Downes claiming that the Obama administration is backing away from Net Neutrality.

Downes knits together a loose set of assumptions to make this case. And the usual suspects have amplified his argument as proof indisputable that Net Neutrality advocates are on the ropes.

It took Nancy Scola of The American Prospect to dig up dirt on Downes that CNET failed to disclose:

"[M]issing from Downes' scary op-ed on the Obama Administration's commitment to net neutrality: any mention that one of Downes' recent clients at the consulting firm Bell Mason Group is AT&T -- one of neutrality regulation's strongest opponents."

Read more.

Seattle journalist launches Olympia Newswire to cover legislature

Rosette Royale, Real Change News

Olympia Newswire launches this week. Join its Facebook fan page for updates.

This week, when Washington State legislators start work on the first day of the State’s legislative session, a new group of journalists will be there covering the news. Newly launched by independent journalist Trevor Griffey, Olympia Newswire is an independent, non-profit news collective, whose small staff of experienced reporters will push back against a steady erosion of the Olympia press corps.

Read more.

Is the White House backing away from net neutrality?

Larry Downes, CNet


The Obama administration and its allies at the Federal Communications Commission are retreating from a militant version of Net neutrality regulations first outlined by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in September.

That's my reading of a number of recent developments, underscored by comments made by government speakers on a panel on the first day of a Tech Policy Summit at CES in Las Vegas.

Read more.

Hot air: Why don't TV weathermen believe in climate change?

Columbia Journalism Review

The small makeup room off the main floor of KUSI’s studios, in a suburban canyon on the north end of San Diego, has seen better days. The carpet is stained; the couch sags. John Coleman, KUSI’s weatherman, pulls off the brown sweatshirt he has been wearing over his shirt and tie all day and appraises himself in the mirror, smoothing back his white hair and opening a makeup kit. “I kid that I have to use a trowel, to fill the crevasses of age,” he says, swiping powder under one eye and then the other. “People have tried to convince me to use more advanced makeup, but I don’t. I don’t try to fool anyone.”

Coleman is seventy-five years old, and looks it, which is refreshing in the Dorian Gray-like environs of television news. He refers to his position at KUSI, a modestly eccentric independent station in San Diego whose evening newscast usually runs fifth out of five in the local market, as his retirement job. When he steps in front of the green screen, it’s clear why he has chosen it over actual retirement; in front of the camera he moves, if not quite like a man half his age, then at least like a man three quarters of it. His eyes light up, and the slight stoop with which he otherwise carries himself disappears. His rumble of a voice evens out into a theatrical baritone, full of the practiced jocularity of someone who has spent all but the first nineteen years of his life on TV.

By his own rough estimate, John Coleman has performed more than a quarter million weathercasts. It is not a stretch to say that he is largely responsible for the shape of the modern weather report. As the first weatherman on ABC’s Good Morning America in the late 1970s and early ’80s, Coleman pioneered the use of the onscreen satellite technology and computer graphics that are now standard nearly everywhere. In 1982, chafing at the limitations of his daily slot on GMA, Coleman used his spare time—and media mogul Frank Batten’s money—to launch The Weather Channel. The idea seemed quixotic then, and his tenure as president ended a year later after an acrimonious split with Batten. But time proved Coleman to be something of a genius—the channel was turning a profit within four years, and by the time NBC-Universal bought it in 2008 it had 85 million viewers and a $3.5 billion price tag.

Read more.
The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey