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  • Sylvia Moore 5:16 pm on August 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , internet, , , , , , ,   

    Al Franken Calls Net Neutrality “Biggest Issue Since Freedom of Religion” 

    Video of Sen. Al Franken’s speech at last week’s Federal Communications Commission hearing on net neutrality:

  • Sylvia Moore 10:53 am on August 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , internet, , , , , , ,   

    Will the Public Finally Get Energized About Net Neutrality? 

    Sometimes I wonder what it was going to take to get the public more galvanized on the issue of protecting Net Neutrality. As if the Supreme Court’s enthusiastic approval of oligarchy wasn’t enough, we’re facing another one of the biggest threats to free speech and democracy – corporate control of the Web.

    Basically, the telecommunications industry wants to erect tollbooths on the Internet. They want to make content creators pay top dollar for their web sites to download faster. They want to choose winners and losers, get rid of competition and make consumers cough up more money. Gutting net neutrality is great if you’re a certain cable company, like, say, Comcast, who wants to merge with a certain entertainment company, like, say, NBC Universal, and combined, you wish to crush any troublesome Internet entertainment startup. Gutting net neutrality would also be great news for the giant television news outlets and bad news for any of the myriad of web sites that criticize them.

    Unfortunately, net neutrality was never the sexiest political issue. So maybe the announcement last week that Google and Verizon were proposing to put up the tollbooths on the wireless Internet (your smartphone) would wake people up. Google was initially the premier corporate champion of net neutrality, so the company’s about-face shocked and angered many. Apparently, since Google is now getting into the cell phone business, suddenly net neutrality was no longer good for the bottom line.

    Google and Verizon swear they want to keep the wired Internet (your PC) free and open, but the proverbial camel’s nose is sniffing under that tent. Consumer and media reform groups and some lawmakers have been the most vocal advocates for net neutrality. But greater support for net neutrality has to come from average Joes and Janes who use the Web. Too many people I fear are still apathetic on this issue. If you don’t start bugging your representatives, you may one day find that your favorite web sites are taking five minutes or more to load. Or you may find you have to pay extra for content you once got for free.

    Comedian and now U.S. Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, has been at the forefront in fighting for net neutrality in Congress. Today, at 4PM PST (6PM Central), the Federal Communications Commission is holding a hearing in Minneapolis on the issue. The proceedings will be streamed live.

    In the video below, Franken talks on local Minnesota television about the importance of net neutrality.

    Below are some good opinion pieces about net neutrality:

    Google-Verizon Deal: The End of The Internet as We Know It

    Our view on ‘net neutrality’: Don’t erect tollbooths on information superhighway

    To show your support for net neutrality, sign Sen. Franken’s petition and send your comments to the FCC by going to Save the Internet. And also, call, write and fax your congressperson and senators. If you don’t know your representatives, you can look them up by entering your zip code on Congress.org.

  • Will Coley 9:39 pm on August 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Gigaom, internet   

    Infographic: Our Very Connected, Always-On World 

    via Gigaom

  • Sylvia Moore 1:07 pm on July 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Institute of Popular Education, internet, , Mobile Voices, , Voces Moviles, VozMob, , ZeroDivide   

    Netroots Nation Panel on Bridging the Digital Divide 

    How can the poor, who often have limited or no access to the Internet, become content providers on the Web? What’s being done to help those who can’t afford computers get their concerns and messages across over the Internet? These issues and more were discussed last week at the Netroots Nation panel Building a National Broadband Plan: How Activists in California Are Bridging the Digital Divide. Featured speakers were Sasha Constanza-Chock, founder of VozMob (Voces Moviles, Mobile Voices); Madelou Gonzalez, a VozMob member and volunteer for the Institute of Popular Education of Southern California; Amalia Deloney, Grassroots Policy Director for the Center for Media Justice; and Ruth Williams, Community Investment Officer for ZeroDivide. LA Media Reform’s own Will Coley served as moderator. Watch the entire session below:

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

    • Amanda 2:55 pm on August 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Nice! I hope we can get some of those (all!) speakers at our upcoming summit… Access to Broadband as topic for our panel?

      As stated above, barriers to broadband include access and affordability…”One of the more hidden barriers is relevancy. For people to desire broadband generally, they must understand why it’s important to have it. This understanding is strongest when people become generators and producers of their own content. We found that content’s level of sophistication and the type of content is less important than the times people create. So the amount of time you spend creating, the amount of things that you do create, is more important to your understanding and desire for broadband. ”

      Maybe a nice tie-in with all of our media-creating workshops!

      • Sylvia 9:07 pm on August 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I agree, this would make a good workshop.

  • Sylvia Moore 12:42 pm on July 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Color of Change, internet, , , , , Poker Players Alliance, political activism   

    Netroots Nation Panel on Internet Freedom 

    Everyone who uses the Web for social networking, political action and entertainment should be concerned that the major telecommunications companies wish to get their grubby hands on the reins of the Internet so they can start gouging consumers more than they already do. Having a free and open Internet is essential for grassroots political activists who use the blogosphere to express alternative points of view shut out of the mainstream media. Last weekend’s Netroots Nation conference featured a panel on net neutrality, also known as Internet Freedom. The panel, called Protecting Rights in the Digital Realm, included Amalia Deloney, Grassroots Policy Director for the Center for Media Justice; Andy Bloch of the Poker Players Alliance; and James Rucker, co-founder of ColorofChange.org.

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

  • Sylvia Moore 5:20 pm on July 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , consolidation, , , , , internet, , , , merger, , , , ownership, ,   

    Big Media At It Again: Broadcasters Want FCC to Let Them Own Even More 

    As if the proposed Comcast/NBC Universal merger just wasn’t enough, the nation’s big broadcasters are strapping on the feed bag, ready to engorge themselves with more tasty snacks of the public’s television and radio airwaves. The Federal Communications Commission is reviewing its media ownership rules for the fourth time since 2000, and the National Association of Broadcasters is again asking the commission to ease up on the regulation.

    Specifically, the NAB wants the FCC to eliminate rules restricting cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations, relax radio station ownership rules as well as rules restricting ownership of television stations in certain markets. Media watchdog group, Free Press, immediately petitioned the FCC, criticizing the NAB’s request, and noting that the commission has gone too far already in allowing more media company consolidation. Free Press Policy Counsel Corie Wright:

    “The FCC’s media ownership rules are critical to ensuring that the public’s primary news and information sources do not become consolidated in the hands of a few companies. Moreover, the so-called efficiencies of consolidation have not materialized. Instead, the cost of consolidating has placed a number of companies that might otherwise be profitable in dire straits, resulting in disinvestment in newsgathering and job losses for journalists.

    “We urge the Commission to resist industry pressures to further weaken ownership limits. Companies that have made poor business decisions should not be rewarded with permission to engage in even more media consolidation that would further injure competition and diversity among local media outlets. It is not the Commission’s job to protect industry profit margins. Rather, its role is to promulgate and enforce regulations designed to promote competition, diversity and localism so that the public interest is served.”

    If the FCC lets broadcasters own just about every newspaper, television and radio station in one market, quality journalism will continue to suffer. We’ll have even fewer – if any – news stories about how the City Council is spending taxpayer money, and more gossip about Lindsay Lohan’s legal troubles. After all, to a media company looking after its bottom line, gossip sells – government doesn’t. And there will be fewer alternatives available for the kind of reliable information one needs to make good decisions in a democracy. The Internet has yet to become a sufficient destination for local news. Besides, most people still get their news from television. Instead of informing viewers, broadcasters are spoon-feeding them entertainment disguised as “news,” with the result being too many people who know next to nothing about how their government works. That’s what rampant consolidation has brought us.

    These broadcasters have stuffed themselves enough. Isn’t it time the FCC put them on a diet?

  • Sylvia Moore 12:07 pm on July 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: broadcast, , , , competition, , , , , internet, , , ,   

    Common Cause Joins 20 Other Groups Opposing Comcast/NBCU Merger 

    Good governance group Common Cause is joining with 20 other organizations in opposing the proposed merger between cable conglomerate Comcast and NBC Universal. Calling themselves The Coalition for Competition in Media, the groups include organizations across the political spectrum, from the conservative-leaning Parents Television Council to the more liberal National Organization for Women to the non-partisan Common Cause. The coalition argues that the proposed merger threatens consumer choice and fair competition in the media market.

    In the meantime, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Federal Communications Commission held public hearings July 8 and July 13 in Chicago on the merger. Click on the links below for testimony:

    Field Hearing on “Comcast and NBC Universal: Who Benefits?”

    “FCC commissioner is skeptical over Comcast, NBC Universal merger at hearing”

    “Critics Dominate Latest Hearing on Comcast-NBC Merger”

    “Free Press to FCC: Say No! to Comcast/NBC Merger”

  • Sylvia Moore 1:04 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: federal communication commission, internet, , , , , , technology,   

    Public Hearing at Stanford This Friday on Media Ownership 

    The Federal Communications Commission on Friday is holding a public hearing at Stanford University on the impact media consolidation and technological innovation has had on journalism. The hearing is part of the FCC’s review of its 2010 media ownership laws. This free event will feature a panel that includes Tim Westergren, Founder of Pandora Music, Eddy W. Hartenstein, Publisher and CEO, Los Angeles Times, Jim Joyce, President, National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, and Vice President, Communications Workers of America and Alan Mutter, Publisher, Reflections of a Newsosaur, and Tiffiniy Ying Cheng, Co-Founder, Participatory Culture Foundation. The public will be able to comment during two comment sections. A schedule is available here.

    The national media reform organization, Free Press, is urging all citizens concerned about too much corporate control over what we see and hear to attend this hearing. Says Josh Stearns, Program Manager for Free Press and SaveTheNews, “Even though President Obama has opposed media consolidation, Big Media has been beating down the door at the FCC. They are pushing the Obama FCC to go even farther than the Bush FCC and dramatically relax media ownership laws, letting absentee Big Media giants control even more local media.”

    Below is footage of the most recent public hearing held in Columbia, South Carolina.

    Although the Web has become a valuable refuge for those of us seeking alternatives to the Mainstream Media, most Americans still get the bulk of their news and information from the broadcast and cable networks and commercial talk radio. Most people still listen to music on commercial radio. And because of media consolidation, many cities, including Los Angeles, have lost newspapers, creating an environment where only one publication dominates. Contrary to what the big media conglomerates argue, letting fewer and fewer of these companies own more and more stations has not created competition, but stifled it, leading to dumbed-down infotainment masquerading as “news” and a lack of diverse voices in our media. As a result, Americans are as ill-served and ill-informed as ever – a situation that is having disastrous consequences for our democracy. With the pending Comcast/NBC Universal merger threatening to make our airwaves even more homogenized, it’s imperative that the public makes its voice heard. So if you can get up to Stanford this Friday and go to this, please do so.

    What: Media Ownership Public Hearing

    When: May 21, 2010, 10AM to 5PM (the public comment section is at 11:45 and 3:30)

    Where: Stanford University, Dinkelspiel Auditorium, 471 Lagunita Drive, Stanford, CA

  • Sylvia Moore 2:51 am on January 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: byron dorgan, center for digital democracy, internet, jeff chester, , ,   

    Senate Loses Key Media Reformer 

    The Center for Digital Democracy’s Jeff Chester talked to Democracy Now! on Thursday about the impending departure of North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, a leading opponent of media consolidation and proponent of net neutrality. An excerpt:

    See the entire video here.

    Dorgan’s departure is definitely a blow. Hopefully, someone else in the Senate (maybe Al Franken?) will take up the cause. Even better if the movement had more than one champion in the Senate.

    Chester’s concern about progressives not creating enough content on the Web is surprising. I thought liberal activists had been way ahead of conservatives in utilizing the blogosphere and web video, especially since progressive voices have nearly been shut out of the mainstream media. So, I’m not sure what Chester envisions. Maybe he means progressive activists should create more outlets on the Web that look like traditional newspapers and television newscasts? The biggest hurdle, of course, is having enough money to start up a news organization. There just aren’t enough wealthy benefactors funding progressive/diverse media these days. In the meantime, progressive activists are going to have to come up with creative ways to raise the cash needed to create the content.

  • Sylvia Moore 5:16 pm on December 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Federal Trade Commission, Huffington Post, internet, , revenue, Rupert Murdoch   

    Online News: To Pay Or Not to Pay? 

    Regarding the previous post, I had no idea there were so many of these conferences on the future of journalism. My brain hasn’t been saturated on the subject, so I still I found some value in listening to the News Media Workshop event at The Federal Trade Commission, which ran from Dec.1-2. If you’re not familiar with much of the debate raging among the journalistic establishment over how to save the newspaper industry, it’s worth watching the entire two-day workshop available for download at the FTC website here. The most interesting fireworks was the war of words between News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and Huffington Post founder and columnist Arianna Huffington. Both their speeches – in the morning session of Dec. 1 – are quite provocative.

    Murdoch and Huffington represent two sides of a battle between those in old media who think people should pay to read online news content (Murdoch) and those in new media who think it’s naive that people are going to pay, and that more innovative business models need to be created (Huffington). More specifically, Murdoch and others have accused news aggregators like the Huffington Post and Google of stealing content from online news sites. But aggregators say what they are doing is fair use.

    Many in the old media – newspapers and magazines – worry that if people don’t pay for news online, then where are publications going to get the resources to pay reporters? They blame the Internet for much of the turmoil in the industry right now – bankruptcies, reporter layoffs, declining circulation. But those in new media argue that newspapers were in trouble long before the Internet became ubiquitous.

    I can understand the concerns of Murdoch and other old-time news publishers. Citizen reporters working for free bring a much needed diversity to journalism, and are a valuable addition to the industry. But there does need to be some accountability in journalism, and that can only come from people who are paid well as professionals. Reporting shouldn’t just be a hobby. On the other hand, I think Murdoch is probably fighting a losing battle. Yes, his Wall Street Journal is proving to be successful at charging for some of its content. But, the Journal’s audience is largely affluent businesspeople who can afford subscriptions. Most people just aren’t going to pay for something that can so easily be had for free. A recent study showed that less than half of Americans are willing to pay for online news content. For people under 30, I’ll bet that figure is much lower.

    Besides, I’m not sure it’s such a good idea to force people to always pay for information. Knowledge is power, and we don’t want a society with information haves and have-nots, where good information is always offered for a premium. The Internet represents freedom, and I love going around the world on the Web reading about events happening in far off places. Restricting that access to many based on ability to pay would be a terrible blow to that freedom. New media should use its best efforts to come up with better ways to monetize the content, and compensate professional reporters, all the while keeping access as free (or at least as dirt cheap) as possible. For a comprehensive rundown of emerging business models being used for online journalism, watch the FTC’s New Media Workshop, or read this study, The Reconstruction of American Journalism by Leonard Downie Jr. and Michael Schudson.

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