Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Discussion Notes Part 3: Defining Public Media (& It's Impact)

In response to Alyce, an audience member, Curtis Henderson from BNN, commented that it's very hard in the Boston area to explain to funders why they should support public media. Alyce responded that there isn't any current research to determine the real impact of public media, including the impact of PBS. There have some evaluations of the impact of children's programming on PBS, but not on large scale for the larger social impacts. Another audience member pointed out that these media are not designed based on idea of helping people who want to create social change as a tool. So for example, substance abuse programs can get funded, with supplemental media campaigns, but not specifically to make a film about substance abuse. If you get people involved in making media, there's the potential for more empowerment. But often we see that the making of the media may be distracting from actually making the change. The question is how can we use media.

James from Cambridge asked for some more explanation of what a "caucus" entailed. Alyce said this format is more participatory.

Nettrice brought up the idea that the new media ecomonics will affect media policy and how media makers will create content in the future.

A representative from the Benton Foundation asked if all these "citizen journalists" and unprofessional media makers really have the public interest in mind, or whether they are creating useless content. Alyce pointed out that there is no longer a public and that the crisis is not just in the media arena. Other public institutions like public education is also in crisis.

A CPCS student asked about telecenters in the US and if they provide free access to technology. Andy responded that some are, but those centers don't last.

Michael, a local blogger, questioned the progressive politics role in fighting the current legistlation. He thinks that grassroots organizations will "get murdered" in the fight against big corporation - however, there is potentional in organizing the millions of gameplayers and internet users as a massive constinuency. These folks might not respond to the language and arguments of progressive politics - he thinks we need to broaden our approach to incorporate these individuals in the fight. Andy responded that the Save The Internet campaign has a very diverse coalition of groups fighting for network neutrality - it's not only "those liberals" involved in the fight.

Finally, Andy responded to a comment about MySpace. Recent protests by Latino students were organized on MySpace - this type of free social networking online services has potential as a community organizing tool.

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