Com_. Media Review

Com_. Media Review - Framing a Community Media Mission for...

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Fred Johnson is a documentary maker and teacher. He directs the Community Media and Technology program at UMass Boston's College of Public and Community Service, www.cpcs.umb.edu/cmt. He is a founding member of Media Working Group, Inc. www.mwg.org. Fred can be reached at fjohnson@mw~.org [Please visit www.newcom- munitvmedia.org for in- formation about this study and related activities.] Framing a Community Media Mission for a Networked Culture by Fred Johnson N WINTER 2005, the Coln~llunity Me- tivities: (1) access; (2) media conlpetency dia and Technology program at UMass and literacy; (3) community building; and Boston joined the Benton Foundation in a (4) the creation of alternative content. collaborative study of community me- ,; #-. gj ktc!p/t.f;:i dia practices in I - this moment of in- +-Ijc ::.;rt.r:::ii ff:t?!ity of oiil ineclitr a. tense political and ystf2!7: cud if!^ ~;jfc.nfia! !ji :,:cdi<i technical media +. change. The study if! t!!ir nctwcirkc:l C! 6 r'ii.!i\fil r ?;is ,:I; aimstounderstand t;pf?c;ii.c. $tjrc*/,; [:{)[) i[?!l!?lj[y /rjtbfj;fj dt, .-* community media . a vaa I ; j *" as a coherent set ~~jj~~jfic'tj~;~ !i,ij;cpf; liji:: '2~~j~~j~~,++~,y of common values and practices. This is not an acadeillic exercise; Karen Menichelli, my partner in the work at the Benton Foundation, and I both have a strong sense that now is an urgent time to begin imagining and visioning the profusion of "place-based" media as one comnlunity media sector. The study considers community as it ex- ists geographically as well as virtually, but acknowledges that they are two complete- ly different kinds of community. We are examining place-based media as a vital part of the work of community media. We are finding in the course of the It is strategically timely and politically urgent to begin understanding and acting in ways that allow these areas of "empow- erment" to converge culturally across con- verging media platforms, disparate fund- ing, and a variety of institutional settings. What we need to visualize, construct, and act on is a common community media culture. That means examining the re- lationships between community media organizations and their communities and, perhaps more importantly, between community media organizations and other comnlunity media organizations study that community media is, what [it might be timk to consider imitating John Downing in his book RADICAL MEDIA, calls a "fuzzy concept," one that when pushed too hard toward precise definition has a tendency to disappear in a fashion similar to looking too closely at a news print photo until it appears to be only meaningless light and dark dots. But we are finding that when standing at just the right distance some important things - corporate America and begin ceaselessly merging into entirely different media or- ganizations - aggregating our resources for greater effect and impact]. As we look at the potential transformation of media, we look for a media environment that embodies diversity, dialogue, civic en- gagement and local empowerment, and rejects the simple notion that media have come clearly into focus. ~e chart on the only commercial communication value.
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Com_. Media Review - Framing a Community Media Mission for...

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