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On June 24, hours after the Third Circuit Court announced its ruling against the FCC's deregulation of ownership rules, Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein convened a Town Hall meeting on The Future of Media in Portland's Convention Center. The Commissioners heard public testimony on a wide range of issues including public interest obligations for digital broadcasters, labor rights and equal opportunity protections for industry employees, local cable issues, abuses of corporate power by Comcast and Clear Channel, and of course the pitfalls of media consolidation.Read more.
It's been a whole year since Michael Powell rammed through his radical vision of media consolidation at the FCC. But his plan backfired: a huge number of ordinary people stood up and said NO. Many members of Congress said NO. Soon, the 3rd Circuit Court will probably say NO. We've got a lot to celebrate -and still lots of work to do to protect our democracy by democratizing our media. Celebrate and support community media activism at this year's Weapons of Mass Distraction - an evening of music, art, media and provocation headlined by reggae giants Clinton Fearon and the Boogie Brown Band.
The fun starts at 9pm June 12 at the Ballard Segway in Seattle. Speakers include Geov Parrish, Mahdy Maaweel, Michale Kernan, Mike McCormick, and Reclaim the Media's Daniel Hannah, Jonathan Lawson and Jan Strout. Oh yeah, and it's a benefit for Reclaim the Media and Eat the State.Read more.
A new media accountability organization, the
Citizens Committee for Responsible Journalism, has formed in Seattle. The group plans to monitor and critique local media on significant issue coverage, beginning with coverage of Iraq, but also plans to engage directly with the press, establishing dialogue between journalists and local experts to help humanize coverage of complex and often-distant subjects. "The media are failing us," CCRJ co-founder Bert Sacks told Counterpunch. "The media failed to ask critical questions about weapons of mass destruction, simply repeating what the government said without much investigation or without much critical questioning." Sacks hopes to mobilize thousands of readers in Seattle to contact local print and broadcast media and say, "This is not acceptable to us. You are failing in your function in a democracy." In 1999, Sacks' personal outreach to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's foreign editor convinced the paper to send a reporter to Iraq with Sacks, and to publish a landmark, award-winning eight-page spread on the effects of US sanctions. The CCRJ is currently gathering signatures in order to demonstrate broad community support for its project.
[ Citizens Committee for Responsible Journalism ]
[ Seattle P-I's March 99 special section on Iraq ]
[ Patty Murray's letter distributing the P-I report to the Senate ]
[ Bert Sacks: advice for working with the media ]
The Seattle City Council and its Office of Cable Communications have begun seeking public input on the city's franchise contract with cable provider Comcast. The agreement, which gives the company monopoly access to most of the local cable market, is up for renewal and will be renegotiated over the next year and a half.
Local cable franchise negotiations are designed by law to be adversarial, recognizing that the cable provider is a private business whose primary aim is growing profits for its shareholders. In turn, it falls to local government negotiators to push for strong public benefits to be included in the franchise agreement--benefits such as funding for public access TV, broadband networks for schools, libraries and public safety services, and so forth. The City can also negotiate to hold Comcast accountable to customer's rights and labor protections for local employees. However, all these things depend on the City entering negotiations with the will to fight for the public's rights--not to seek "cooperation" with one of the country's most ruthless and powerful communications firms. Click here for more information about Comcast and local franchise agreements. Then fill out the city's Cable Internet Survey or send your comments directly to Councilmember Jim Compton.Read more.
Media scholar and former Seattle independent media publisher Robert McChesney has been a central figure in the recent media reform insurgency across the US. His books and articles on the history of US media policy, global media governance and media activism include many landmark titles, including his latest: The Problem of the Media. Hear Bob speak at 7:30pm Thursday, May 6 at the University of Washington's Kane Hall, room 120. A portion of proceeds will benefit Reclaim the Media.
Bill Clinton called Amy Goodman "hostile, combative and even disrespectful." Newt Gingrich called her "the kind of reporter I warned my mother about." The independent journalist and host of Democracy Now! will read from and discuss her first book, The Exception to the Rulers. Hear Amy speak at Town Hall on Friday, May 7, in a benefit for community radio station KBCS (also featuring music from a certain world-class guitarist
McChesney/The Problem of the Media: May 6, 7:30pm, Kane Hall 120
Goodman/The Exception to the Rulers: May 6, noon, HUB auditorium
KBCS Benefit with Amy Goodman: May 7, 7pm, Town Hall Seattle
[ Goodman and McChesney Tackle Media's Problems ]
On Sunday, April 4, media strategist Celia Alario (San Francisco) will offer a free workshop for social and environmental justice organizers concerned with getting their message out in today's modern media environment. How do we get our message past corporate media gatekeepers? When and how do we create our own media alternatives? Every PR and media campaign for a social justice cause is an opportunity - not just to get your issue into the spotlight - but also to help radically transform the way media approach issue coverage and views sources. In this session we'll look at seven "meta vendettas" - larger, long term underlying media goals - that can leverage the efforts of any specific media campaign. We?ll explore ways to develop a proactive media plan, and promote the message of what we want for better leverage in any political climate.
7 Meta Vendettas for Revolutionary Media Strategies
April 4, 1-4pm, 911 Media Arts Center, 117 Yale Ave N. in Seattle
cosponsored by Reclaim the Media, 911 Media Arts and the Media and Democracy Coffee ClubRead more.
Radio listeners in Tacoma and Olympia will be able to enjoy KEXP's commercial-free modern rock as the station begins a simulcast on the newly-acquired KXOT 91.7 FM. In a deal several years in the making, Bates Technical College in South Tacoma has sold its student-run classic rock station (formerly KBTC) to Public Radio Capital, a self-described public radio "land trust" which buys stations and leases them to public radio operators.
This fall, Media Island's KOWA LPFM is scheduled to go on the air in Olympia, giving local listeners a remarkable four choices for noncommercial, progressive public affairs and independent music, including Free Radio Olympia and the venerable KAOS. How will all these listener-supported stations all find financial sustainability in the area? Will KEXP's professional DJs attract listeners away from the homegrown students and activists at the other stations? These will be luxurious dilemmas for South Sound radio audiences.Read more.
On Feb 28, a diverse group of broadcasting professionals, listeners, recording artists, media democracy activists and public officials advanced the debate around radio ownership, with a pair of public panel discussions followed by an in-depth policy roundtable, seeking legislative solutions to help radio a more useful tool serving us as artists, fans, local music communities and citizens.
Stay tuned.. We're taking all the good ideas expressed during our forum - from reinvigorating LPFM to breaking up the largest radio conglomerates - and rolling them into a Seattle Statement on Radio, to be released this spring.Read more.
On Monday, March 8, join Thenmozhi Soundararajan of Third World Majority for a public conversation about digital storytelling, community media and the growing national movement for Media Justice. The event begins at 7pm at 911 Media Arts.
[ Download a flyer for this event (pdf) ]
Feb 28 3pm-7pm, Experience Music Project
On Feb 28, broadcasting professionals, listeners, recording artists, media democracy activists and public officials will come together to advance the debate around radio ownership. We will move beyond critique to a forward-looking discussion of how radio can more effectively serve artists, fans, local music communities and citizens.
Co-presented by the Recording Academy (Northwest Region), Reclaim the Media, the Future of Music Coalition, Experience Music Project and KEXP. Click here for more information!Read more.