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Digital Media Centres... Libraries for the 21st Century. 1. I’ll talk about: Challenges for local media. The digital economy and opportunities in local digital broadcasting. You’ll walk away with ideas to: Improve your local media infrastructure.
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Challenges for local media.
The digital economy and opportunities in local digital broadcasting.
You’ll walk away with ideas to:
Improve your local media infrastructure.
Better equip residents to participate in the digital economy.
1. First, there were newspapers and libraries.
People participated in civic affairs by joining local organizations and by reading newspapers.
People learned to read and write in school. Municipalities have supported
life-long literacy and access to information through schools and libraries
since the 1800s.
Where commercial incentives cannot
sustain local newspapers, community
newspapers often fill the gap. These
may be not-for-profits, with
contributions by volunteers as well
as professional journalists.
required cable operators to set aside one channel as an open-access platform for local expression, and for Canadians to gain media literacy skills in the new dominant medium of the day.
There were just under 300 cable community TV channels in Canada by the 1980s.
Many municipalities as well as provincial and federal officials have used this platform to address constituents “face-to-face”, using interactive formats such as the “call-in”.
A Famous Case Study: Fogo IslandEarly CRTC policy for community television was aimed at poverty-reduction.
Fogo Island is a small island off Newfoundland that had depended on fishing, until large trawlers threatening islanders’ livelhood. Before moving islanders to the mainland, the government of Canada asked the NFB to capture on film what islanders themselves thought should be done.
The results were surprising: Islanders insisted on
viewing and editing the footage before it went to
Ottawa. In the process of reviewing their own and
their neighbours’ thoughts on their common economic
and social challenges, they discovered that they were
more articulate than they believed, and came up with
solutions to their own problems.
Ottawa dubbed the new tool “the mirror machine”, and began sending NFB film crews into various communities across Canada that faced economic hardship. In each case, the process of articulating the community’s challenges on film generated its own solutions.
When cable TV and the first video Portapacs came to Canada, the requirement that each cable operator offer training and equipment access to communities was the government’s way of putting “the mirror machine” in the hands of every community. (first film)
was developed to address:
We sometimes think of media (especially video) as just entertainment, or an outlet for cultural expression, or at best a conduit for the news.
As we discovered on Fogo Island, high-quality local media in which individuals, businesses, cultural and community organizations, and civil authorities can participate is vital to local economic development.
The need for an accurate ‘mirror machine’ is more vital than ever, the more our municipalities undergo rapid economic, social and cultural change.
But hasn’t everything changed since then?Yes… and no.The component media we use to create messages are the same:- print- audio- imagesTwo things have changed:1) the flexibility to combine them 2) the platforms for distribution
Neither federal policy nor local institutions are keeping up with our need for access to:
Many local papers, radio and TV channels have closed withintense media ownership concentration.
The Internet and social media are great at linking communities ofinterest internationally, but tend not to be as good at aggregating local audiences, especially using video.
Some Media Literacy Training, but it Stops in Highschool:
Libaries: Many hosted Industry Canada-funded “CAP” sites (Community Access Portals) until funding was cut in 2012. Most were passive Internet portals for residents without Internet at home. A few taught web and digital media production.
Book loans at most libraries have been falling for years. Libraries are aware that they need to redefine their mandates in the digital age. CACTUS’ vision is supported by the Canadian Library Association and the Ontario Library Association.
Schools: Grade 11 Language Arts in Ontario includes a module on “media literacy”. A few schools have full-blown media studios. Most have time to critique ads or caution kids about web use, but not to build a comprehensive skills set.
The potential of former TVO, CBC, and other local communications towers, with digital TV transmitters:
International recognition of the critical role played by community media in the digital economy: