Features

From the blog

What is digital media literacy?

Digital media literacy means more than just understanding how to use Facebook or conduct an effective Google search - it means being able to use and create digital media to participate in civic life and collaborate around the issues that matter to us. It also means changing the way we think about accessing, analyzing, and evaluating media, as the web provides us with an increasing number of choices for information, news, and entertainment and complicates our media landscape with new advertising and marketing tactics.

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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.

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From the blog

Journalism That Matters Seattle!

Journalism That Matters has concluded in Seattle: a forward-looking unconference on the theme: Re-Imagining News and Community in the Pacific Northwest. The 4-day event is the latest and largest in an ongoing series of meetings about the future of quality journalism, bringing together journalists, bloggers, editors, media activists, broadcasters, community media practictioners, educators and community leaders (attendees list here).

The conference kicked off Thursday evening with a session featuring "catalysts" former Mayor Norman Rice, Tracy Record (West Seattle Blog), and creative photojournalist Chris Jordan, reflecting on developing new information sources, economic solutions and accountability models that can revitalize journalism for a society grounded in social networking and civic engagement.

Conference registration capped at over 200 attendees. Details of the conference proceedings (including audio and video, tweets (#jtmpnw), photos and session notes) are archived here.

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House votes to expand local community radio

Reclaim the Media

On Dec. 16, the House of Representatives passed the Local Community Radio Act (HR 1147) by voice vote. The bill would allow for the creation of hundreds, possibly thousands, of new, low power FM (LPFM) radio stations dedicated to broadcasting community news and local perspectives to neighborhoods across the country.

In the Senate, the companion bill has been approved by the Commerce Committee, championed by Senator Maria Cantwell. A full-Senate vote has not yet been scheduled, but is the next and final step for the expansion of LPFM to become law.

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From the blog

Broadband: the next public utility

Glenn Fleishman at PubliCola:

Broadband in 2009 is electricity in 1900. We may think we know all the means to which high-speed Internet access may be put, but we clearly do not: YouTube and Twitter prove that new things are constantly on the way and will emerge as bandwidth and access continues to increase.

Like electricity, the notion of whether broadband is an inherent right and necessity of every citizen is up for grabs in the US. Sweden and Finland have already answered the question: It’s a birthright. Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and many European countries aren’t far behind in having created the right regulatory and market conditions to bring better and affordable broadband to a greater percentage of its citizens than in the US.

Read the rest, and consider that we may now have federal (FCC) and local (Seattle) public officials who are ready to help launch a new era of communication rights.

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56 newspapers issue joint, multinational editorial on climate change, but only 1 in US

Ian Katz, Guardian

On the eve of this week's international climate summit in Copenhagen, 56 major newspapers in 45 countries issued a joint editorial calling for dramatic action on climate change. No first-rank US papers took part. A number of major US titles evinced support for the project, even conceding that they agreed with everything in the editorial, but stopped short of signing up, leaving the admirably independent-minded Miami Herald as the sole representative of the world's second biggest polluter. It is hard not to be struck by the parallel with the Kyoto agreement when the US stood to one side as the world began to move against climate change.

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We must not let big telecom segregate the Internet

Malkia Cyril, Chris Rabb, Joseph Torres, ColorLines

Even though President Obama pledged he would “take a back seat to no one” on Net Neutrality, the big phone and cable companies are pulling out all the stops to derail it, including deploying Karl Rove-style scare tactics within our communities and using their massive resources to block Obama’s agenda. In the first nine months of 2009, they employed nearly 500 lobbyists and spent some $74 million to influence Congress and the FCC. Their misinformation has even convinced Glenn Beck that Net Neutrality is an attempt by Obama to take over the Internet. Who will protect the online rights of marginalized communities against the raw profit motive of big business? We urge leaders in our community not to yield to the underhanded scare tactics that corporations like AT&T have used on our communities.

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From the blog

Margins to mainstream: Indymedia anticipated blogs and social media

Norm Stockwell (WORT Madison) spoke on the development of Indymedia during last weekend's People's Summit, marking the tenth anniversary of the Seattle WTO. In today's Capitol Times, he reflects on what Indymedia has meant for the global expansion of participatory media:

On the first day of the WTO protests, Nov. 30, 1999 (now referred to as “N30”), the IndyMedia website claimed over 1 million hits -- more visitors than CNN. The reason was simple: CNN was still echoing the official press releases stating that rubber bullets were not being used against the demonstrators while IndyMedia journalists were grabbing up handfuls of rubber bullets, videotaping them, and putting the news out to the world across the Internet...

Many of the things IndyMedia did in the first half of this decade are now considered mainstream. In 2002-2003, I ran a website built on the IndyMedia experience called “IraqJournal” with independent journalist Jeremy Scahill and filmmaker Jacquie Soohen reporting live from Baghdad before the U.S. invasion. At the time, someone asked us: “Oh, is that a blog?” We said, “No, this is a news site. What’s a blog?”

Read the complete article here.

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From the blog

Amy Goodman in Seattle Nov 27

On Friday, Nov 27, KBCS and Reclaim the Media present Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, celebrating an expanding world of grassroots community journalism. The event, a benefit for KBCS Community Radio, will be held at Town Hall Seattle starting at 7pm. For tickets and more info, visit KBCS online.

UPDATE: Audio and video available.

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From the blog

Senate Committee Approves Low Power FM

The Senate Commerce Committee added its approval this morning to the Local Community Radio Act, passing the bill on a unanimous voice vote. The measure, introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell, would allow thousands of new Low Power FM radio stations to launch across the country. With the House companion bill also moving forward definitively, community radio advocates are highly optimistic about success this year.

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