Community Media

Articles about media by and for the people.

SXSW Panel: Access TV - Old School Media Confronts New Tech

I submitted a proposal for a panel at the 2009 South by Southwest Interactive Festival called "Access TV: Old School Media Confronts New Tech."

The description of the panel is:

Access television has given voice to local issues since the 1970s. More recently, media consolidation, television demographics and new technologies have radically changed the media landscape. What will the technology-enabled public soapbox look like in the future, and will old school community media play a role?

It appears in the SXSW Panel Picker here: You can go there and vote for this panel (please! please!) as well as give any comments or feedback.

Community Media Weekend

This has been my weekend of community media.

Saturday, I attended the Texas Community Media Summit. There were several highlights of the event for me. For instance, it was nice to see Debbie Austin from The Texas Observer give a shout-out to Austin Bloggers, a site I manage.

I also enjoyed finally meeting U.T. R.T.F. Professor Laura Stein who seems to have a good earthy handle on community media issues. She lead a session on media convergence. It got me thinking about funding for projects such as open source tools. One effect of Texas SB 5 is that many cities will find their PEG (access television) budgets cash rich for capital equipment, but starved for operating funds. Maybe some of those funds can be used for servers and other infrastructure for community media projects.

I had a blast chatting with public policy superstar Charles Benton. He got me thinking about the impacts the digital television transition will have on community media, and what opportunities there may be.

Then, on Sunday, I went to see the new Michel Gondry movie Be Kind Rewind.

"Wait! Wait!" you say. "What's that got to do with community media?"

I don't want to give too much away, but if you've seen the trailer you already know it's about a couple of guys who end up creating their own movies. What I enjoyed was seeing how the process of creating their own media ultimately affects their neighborhood and the people around them.

The movie was sweet and had a lot of heart. I enjoyed it a lot.

The embedded video is Michel Gondry's own sweded version of the movie trailer. (I'll also recommend the sweded trailer by these guys, with its inspired Big Lebowski bit.)

Warrantless Wiretaps are Illegal Again

The "Protect America Act" has expired.

This was a law passed in haste last year, as an addendum to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It authorized the previously illegal (and I would hope unconstitutional) act of spying on Americans without a warrant or court order.

Now that PAA has expired, no further warrantless wiretaps can be initiated. Existing surveillance continues, and new surveillance can be initiated with the rubber stamp of a FISA court. As the conservative Washington Times explains there will be little practical effect from the lapse.

The administration is claiming this is a severe blow to our intelligence gathering capability. Their actions, however, prove otherwise. If PAA was so necessary, the administration would have supported reauthorization without the poison pill of phone company amnesty.

Austin Technology Matters time change

A quick update to my previous post about my new access television show Austin Technology Matters. I just checked the posted programming schedule and the time has been bumped half an hour later. The schedule now says 9:00pm tonight (Nov. 2) on cable channel 10. Sorry for the confusion.

Austin Technology Matters premieres Thursday

I first mentioned the Austin Technology Matters television show early this month. And now, it's really, really happening. This Thursday (Nov. 2) at 8:30pm, tune into cable channel 10 to catch the premiere episode. For this first program, we'll be visiting a Dorkbot gathering. More information here.

Besides the web site, there is also a Myspace page. If you are a Myspace user, please add me as a friend. Because there is nothing quite so pathetic as a Myspace page with just six friends.

At the imPACT Awards

imPACT awards logo

I'm down at the PACT studios, helping set up for the first annual imPACT Awards. The awards happen tonight. They celebrate the best of public access television in Austin.

There will be a live show broadcast from the studio grounds on Northwestern Avenue, adjacent to the Boggy Creek Greenbelt. There will be magic, music, and food outside starting at 4:30pm today. The show will starts at 5:30pm and will be carried on all three access channels (cable chennels 10, 11, and 16). Keith Kelly of Esther's Follies will be the master of ceremonies. So it should be a lot of fun. And it's free. And it's a great way to celebrate make-your-own community television.

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