Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit 2009

October 4, 2009 - October 6, 2009
Washington, DC

Music, Technology, Policy and Law Goes Back to the Future

Since 2001, FMC has organized seven Policy Summits, each bringing together a spectacular mixture of technologists, attorneys, musicians, managers and industry leaders for compelling and thought-provoking discussions about issues that affect the future of music and the artists who will create it.

On October 4-6, 2009 join FMC at Georgetown University in Washington, DC for a fast-paced, multifaceted, multimedia event that’s sure to be among the most significant music conferences of the year.

Idealware Software Tip of the Month

Online Survey Tools to Help You Gather Data

Online survey tools can be a very cost-effective way for delivering surveys, collecting results, and then analyzing the results all through one central system. These tools don’t have to be very expensive - online applications like SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, SurveyGizmo, and PollDaddy are great for gathering informal data quickly and easily.

Read more on the Idealware site.

Finding the perfect quote

The Transmission Project has been searching in advance of our website launch for the perfect quote that captures our vision and mission. The final quote we chose came from Lyndon Johnson’s signing remarks for the 1967 Public Broadcasting Act:

I do believe that we have important things to say to one another—and we have the wisdom to match our technical genius.

From those remarks also came:

So I think we must consider new ways to build a great network for knowledge — not just a broadcast system, but one that employs every means of sending and storing information that the individual can use.

Slightly drier, we dug through Fighting Poverty: Utilizing Community Media in a Digital Age from the World Congress on Communication for Development (WCCD) October 2006:

Access to the means of voice and communication is central to a people-centred approach to development both for its intrinsic human importance and its role in shared culture, access to knowledge and education, civic participation in decision making, ensuring good governance through accountability and providing other tools that assist the achievement of development goals.

Development institutions and organisations should provide assistance to build the capacity of community media through training, strengthening of networks and sector associations, technical assistance and investment. Support for community media should be provided on the basis of strategic long term commitment recognising that impact must be measured not only in short term results but in community media’s contribution to long term social change.

Some quotes from Marshall McLuhan:

Today we are beginning to notice that the new media are not just mechanical gimmicks for creating worlds of illusion, but new languages with new and unique powers of expression.

A new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in peace. It never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them.

The future masters of technology will have to be light-hearted and intelligent. The machine easily masters the grim and the dumb.

And John Naisbitt:

The most exciting breakthroughs of the 21st century will not occur because of technology but because of an expanding concept of what it means to be human

Allied Media Conference

July 16, 2009 - July 19, 2009
Detroit, MI

The 11th annual Allied Media Conference will be held July 16-19, 2009 in the McGregor Conference Center on the campus of Wayne State University in Detroit.

The Allied Media Conference is the central project of the Allied Media Projects (AMP) network, which emerges out of ten years of organic relationship-building. Since the first conference (then the Midwest Zine Conference) in 1999, people have been compelled by the concept of do-it-yourself media. Later, as the Underground Publishing Conference, the emphasis was on building a movement of alternative media makers. With the shift towards Allied Media, the AMC has attracted more and more people who are interested in using participatory media as a strategy for social justice organizing.

Voices that must be heard: Our media, our lives

Voices That Must Be Heard, the journal of the New York Community Media Alliance, has a great editorial on the state of Black Journalism. Drawing a line from Freedom’s Journal—the first African American owned and operated newspaper in the United States (1827-1829)—“We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us.” the editorial lays it out:

Today in 2009, there are many who say that they represent America, but what America do they represent? They show America as they see it. They show America through the lens of white America.

Whether in print or on TV, the lens is through the eyes of white editors and producers. They see our communities as the media has seen them historically, not as the actually are. If we look at newsrooms across the country, especially print, the numbers we were so optimistic about in the late 1990s have turned around. According to the American Society of News Editors, “American daily newspapers shed 5,900 newsroom jobs last year, reducing their employment of journalists by 11.3 percent to the levels of the early 1980s.”

The report continued, “Of the journalists who departed newsrooms, 854 were minorities, according to ASNE’s 2009 census. The overall year-over-year drop left 46,700 journalists, including 6,300 minority professionals, on newspaper staffs at the end of December 2008. The number of minority journalists stands at the level reported in the 1998 census.”

The American Society of News Editors report on newsroom diversity can be found here.

Grassroots.org Social Venture Consulting Program

Grassroots.org, a Transmission Project partner, has announced their Social Venture Consulting Program for Fall, 2009. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2009. The program…

pairs talented MBA students with Grassroots.org Member Organizations in semester-long project-based consulting partnerships. The program is designed to help entrepreneurial nonprofit startup organizations to increase their organizational capacity by providing them with direct access to free business consulting.

Strategic Planning opportunities offered by the likes of Grassroot.org, the Taproot Foundation, and others are great ways to get brief targeted assistance in developing long range plans—and perfect opportunities to develop timely and impactful projects for our Digital Arts Service Corps.

Rebooting Rockwell's America: Journalism That Matters comes to the Berkshires

September 11, 2009 - September 13, 2009
Stockbridge, MA

Journalism that Matters, the Media Giraffe Project and others are convening a three day gathering “to consider the roots of American community, freedom, democracy – and the journalism which protects each”:

The America of Norman Rockwell’s mid-20th-century illustrations was rich with simple truths and sometimes hard choices. In that world, we respected authority, and the flag. We were asked to embrace justice, equality and tolerance. The “Country Editor” personified the Four Freedoms at the grassroots.

On Sept. 11, 2001, it was as if the last vestiges of Rockwell’s stoic, insular, yet generous nation had been torn asunder, and a new, darker period of fear engaged. A buy-now-pay-later ethic has brought some of our most valued journalism institutions to the brink. Now even the Missouri country editor works with bits and bytes alongside type and ink. Yet innovation abounds on the Internet, and we find new ways to connect and circulate. If Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter have taught us anything, it’s that we may hunger for the constancy of community more than ever.

Can we reboot Rockwell’s America in a digital age? Do we want to? What might be the role of art, and culture? Join us Sept. 11-13 to consider the options – and tools.

Guide: Service Corps to Social Impact Career

Amy Potthast of Idealist.org just released a new guide for service corps members who wish to transition to a career in nonprofits. The guide is a free download and a companion to their Idealist Guides to Nonprofit Careers.

Your participation in national or international service gives you an incredible starting point for a career and life with social impact. This is true whether you are a recent high school or college graduate, or an encore professional. For people early in their careers, service also offers an opportunity to build hands-on experience before applying to college or graduate school.

As a service corps participant, your transition to a career or school is unique for several reasons. Right now you have an awesome opportunity to become part of the next wave of public service leaders. Projections indicate that from 2006 to 2016, U.S. nonprofits will need to attract and develop 640,000 new senior managers, or 2.4 times 2006 levels.

By learning career transition skills during your term of service, you can plan your professional growth and prepare to assume leadership roles throughout your career.

Creating Strategic Diversity

Diversity is one of the core values that underly the Transmission Project, as well as throughout the not-for-profit world. Pulling from a different playbook, the following is from the Chief of Information for the US Navy for naval officers:

  1. Leaders who embrace diversity and differing viewpoints and seek talent that embodies a broad range of life experiences ensure naval readiness today and tomorrow.
  2. The Navy must reflect the face of the nation. Further, we want an officer corps that is reflective of the enlisted force it leads.
  3. Obtaining talent from diverse populations across the U.S. strengthens the force and ensures forward progress.

It’s good advice for us with a quick search and replace of nouns. And of course, if you feel military thinking doesn’t apply to not-for-profits, just think about it next time you look at your strategic plan, develop your social media tactics and prepare for your capital campaign.

I found this quote from the Information Dissemination blog (“The intersection of maritime strategy and strategic communications”), and they have a pointed criticism that is also equally valid for nonprofits: diversity includes more than the factors involved between conception and 18 years old. If your staff all have similar work histories, or your leadership team all has similar management degrees, you haven’t achieved what the naval context calls command track diversity. Diverse professional histories are just as important as diverse personal histories.

Horizontal Learning and Urban Poverty

There is a fascinating of example networked-learning practice from Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI)They have developed peer-to-peer learning and sharing systems to spread community developed solutions between geographically dispersed urban environments. (via NetCentric Advocacy)

Horizontal exchange, then, is the primary learning strategy of SDI. Participants within the savings networks learn best from each other - when one savings group has initiated a successful income-generating project or has replanned a settlement or has built a toilet block, SDI enables groups to come together and learn from intra-network achievements. The community exchange process builds upon the logic of ‘doing is knowing’ and helps to develop a collective vision. As savers travel from Khayelitsha to Greenpoint or Nairobi to Colombo, the network is unified and strengthened - not only at a street level but between towns, regions and provinces, and nation-states. In this way, locally appropriate ideas get transfered into the global millieu through dialogue amongst slumdweller partners.

Community-to-community exchanges allow participants to see themselves and their peers as experts, thereby breaking isolation to create a unified voice of the urban poor, reclaiming sites of knowledge that have frequently been co-opted by professionals, and strengthening solidarity to increase critical mass. The pool of knowledge generated through exchange programmes becomes a collective asset of the SDI network - so that when slumdwellers meet with external actors to debate development policies, they can draw from international examples, forcing government and other stakeholders to listen.

As a connector of different organizational communications–media, arts, technology, broadcasting and movement building–it’s great to see the same practices we trade in used to empower people directly. Doing is Knowing.

Transmission Project