The Future of Journalism: Unpacking the Rhetoric

When: 
April 29, 2010 - April 30, 2010
Where: 
Stanford, CA

April 29, 2010 - April 30, 2010
Thursday 4/29 Kick-off event: 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Friday 4/30 sessions: 9:00 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.
Sponsored by The Center for Internet and Society

This conference is designed to challenge and dissect the fundamental assumptions and biases embedded within the media debate. The event will bring together journalists, lawyers, scholars, technologists, and policymakers to analyze and discuss the evolution of journalism into the digital age.

The format of this conference will consist of a Thursday evening Kick-off event with Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, followed on Friday by four panels, each addressing one of the tenets of conventional wisdom on the media. Panels will open with a talk supporting a specific principle. The panel members will then question, analyze, and debate the speaker’s thesis in an effort to introduce complexity and substance into the national dialogue about the future of journalism.

VISIT THE EVENT WEBSITE to view the full agenda, list of speakers and more information.

This event is free and open to the public. Please note, registration is required for the Friday 4/30 sessions. No need to register for the Thursday 4/29 Kick-off event, but please show up early to ensure your seat.

Journalism Innovations III

When: 
April 30, 2010 - May 2, 2010
Where: 
San Francisco, CA

Now in its 3rd year, the conference, produced by Independent Arts & Media, The University of San Francisco, G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism and the Society for Professional Journalists, brings together some of the brightest minds and most innovative projects to network and share skills and ideas.

Last year’s conference drew over 300 attendees, and this year we’re expecting twice as many as the conference expands to include SPJ’s Western Regional journalism conference. There’s a lot of excitement in the industry at the moment and conversations around new business models, net neutrality, community engagement and multimedia training are already buzzing. We’re anticipating a great turnout and several enlightening sessions.

We are accepting proposals for session ideas and sponsorships now and will be sending out regular updates across a variety of mediums over the next few months. Please let us know how you would like to participate.

Sign up for the conference at our EventBrite page (http://bit.ly/9RvR43) , and take a minute to join our Facebook group (http://bit.ly/cOmfh9) to keep up on the latest developments.

* Info on Sponsorship: http://bit.ly/9spmyX
* Info on Sessions: http://bit.ly/9spmyX

A national service consensus on capacity building

In addition to being native to the islands of public media and technology, the Transmission Project is also a bright star in the constellation of national service initiatives. Over the past few months we have been participating in stakeholder dialogues with the Corporation for National Community Service on the topic of capacity building in nonprofits.

The summaries of those dialogues have been shared and the results are quite fascinating. While the Corporation for National Service is quite obviously interested in volunteerism, it is good to see that they recognize that fielding community resources requires more than many hands. Through the dialogues the following capacity building needs were identified:

The most critical capacity building issues facing small and midsize nonprofits right now are sustainability (cash flow and consistent funding, particularly for infrastructure), leadership, ability to nurture partnerships and relationships, capacity to manage and retain volunteers, weak understanding of the role of governance, short-term thinking and stagnation, capacity to use technology, and capacity to manage and cultivate human capital, both paid and volunteer.

Interesting also were the recommendation on the role the Corporation for National and Community service can play. On a small scale, they sound very similar to the role we see for the Transmission Project as we build to scale:

The most critical role the Corporation can play and where the Corporation can have the greatest impact for limited investment is in continuing to convene the stakeholders across sectors – government, nonprofit, and foundation/corporate; conduct and disseminate research on what’s working and not working in the nonprofit sector; establish a “framework of standardized or effective practices – “be the go-to place” for tools and funding opportunities; help to define the metrics for measuring social impact and train nonprofits on this; recognize and affirm what works; train the trainer; invest in the development of emerging leaders; support interagency collaboration; and streamline our grant processes. The Corporation was strongly encouraged to not duplicate what already exists, to work with
existing intermediaries, encourage other funders to invest in nonprofit capacity building, and to encourage interagency communication and collaboration. Cultural competency is critical to the effectiveness of capacity building strategies.

Lastly, I think the qualities of effective intermediaries and partners is quite enlightening (and also similar to the traits we seek out in our partners):

The Corporation should select intermediaries who demonstrate an ability to convene and partner with other intermediaries, have a solid infrastructure to measure their success…[and] a track-record of ongoing assistance with recipients

You can download a copy of the report below.

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FCC Proposes a Digital Literacy Corps

At today’s Digital Inclusion Summit, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn introduced the National Digital Literacy Corps as a recommendation within the to-be-announced National Broadband Plan:

The central feature in this program, the proposed National Digital Literacy Corps, is similar to programs like AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps. The Digital Literacy Corps will mobilize hundreds of digital ambassadors in local communities across the country. This is about neighbors helping neighbors get online. The Corps can target vulnerable communities with below-average adoption rates like low-income housing developments, rural towns, Tribal lands, and areas populated primarily by racial and ethnic minorities.

Our country has long recognized the power of education and information, particularly for those who face other disadvantages. Frederick Douglass once said, “Once you learn to read, you will forever be free.” Nothing can open more doors for a person than literacy. But knowing how to read is no longer sufficient to be “literate” in the 21st Century. Basic literacy must be supplemented with digital literacy.

The Commission already has experience in a related program that gives us confidence in its ability to succeed. During the waning months of the DTV transition, the FCC enlisted the help of AmeriCorps to go out into communities across the country to help consumers hook up their converter boxes in order to ensure that they would continue to receive free, over-the-air television following the transition. Young men and women fanned out across the country – from right here in Washington, D.C., to New Orleans, Denver, and Los Angeles. They were welcomed into people’s homes, and helped them get ready for the transition and beyond.

That same spirit can be applied to the longer-term goal of helping our nation’s citizens gain the necessary digital literacy skills to participate fully in all that broadband has to offer. Using people from within the community to help their neighbors can go a long way to ensuring that people are able to use the Internet safely, and to its fullest potential.

Some non-adopters, particularly older Americans and those who are not touched by technology in their communities, may be uncomfortable operating a computer or might be worried that being online exposes them to excessive dangers. Helping those people understand basics about computers and the Internet may be enough to get them online.

A recent study commissioned by the Social Science Research Council highlighted the role of communities in supporting digital literacy. Non-adopters and new users, especially those in low income and minority communities, often rely on the assistance of others to get online or provide one-on-one support. This fact is also why we recognize the need for continuing investment in public access points like libraries and community based organizations.

We have talented young people graduating college committed to doing volunteer work in their communities, who may be unable to find jobs right away. And we have workers laid-off mid-career searching for employment opportunities that require a new set of skills. The Corps can put these people to work building our nation’s digital skills and building upon its history of grassroots action and community service. Then our country and all of our people will be prepared to compete in the 21st Century global economy. It can help ensure that the online community is an inclusive one.

The principle of inclusion is part of the foundation of our democracy. It is embedded in the statute that created the FCC. And it must be at the heart of the National Broadband Plan.

Together, we can work to ensure that the rich promise of our technological future reaches all Americans, and that all Americans can take advantage of all that broadband has to offer. This is our aim, and this is our responsibility.

Here at the Transmission Project, we can’t help but notice the marked similarity this has to Recommendation #12 of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities. Commissioner Clyburn’s remarks do integrate our criticisms of that recommendation—that the Corps itself must model the inclusion it serves to create. This plan focuses both on young adults as well as mid-careerists.

No plans yet recognize the potential for creating a corps of retirees to serve as digital liaisons to their peers, or to harness retiree’s (and others’) experience in building the organizational capacity of public media and technology organizations who have been on the front-lines of technology adoption for quite some time.

Can Social Media build your nonprofit capacity?

…probably not. I’m thrilled by Idealware’s latest survey report: “Using Social Media to Meet Nonprofit Goals” because it gives credence to an opinion I’ve held for some time: the adoption of social media tools does not build nonprofit capacity.

Of all the options available, respondents considered Facebook the most effective channel for fundraising, although only 41 percent felt that it was, in fact, effective.

Across all channels, respondents were more likely to “know” [Social Media] didn’t work for raising money, in comparison to other goals.

While social media can be a powerful multiplier for efforts at engagement, fundraising, organizing and advocacy, it relies upon a solid base of vision, leadership, resources, outreach, and products and services (see excerpts from the Urban Institute’s report, Building Capacity in Nonprofit Organizations). And as this survey illustrates, that level of capacity is rare.

Last year’s Digital Arts Service Corps included several projects involving social media. We will be analyzing the impact of those projects but we are raising the bar for this year’s applicants who focus on social media channels and platforms. In capacity building the salient question is often “What do you need to do it yourself?”

Making Media Public Conference

When: 
May 5, 2010 - May 7, 2010
Where: 
Toronto, ON

Traditional ways of making media are in crisis and steadfast models are threatened with extinction: media giants teeter on the edge of bankruptcy, local television stations are being closed, thousands of media workers have been laid off, and community radio and television are poorly supported. At the same time, new media are increasingly embraced by publics that, linked through social networks, produce and distribute an increasing range of their own content. Old media meet new technology, traditional policies meet global political and economic challenges, and the future of journalism is under intense debate. In this volatile climate, the need to develop new media models and policies is urgent.

This conference, which is being held in Toronto at York and Ryerson Universities from 6-8 May 2010, will bring together a range of media publics, including local media producers, media and academic workers, students, policy makers, researchers, journalists, media activists and public organizations, to address the following questions: If the old models aren’t working, what are the possibilities for reorganizing media production in Canada? What opportunities and challenges does the current political economic climate pose for independent, autonomous and community media? How can mainstream media workers and their unions influence media development? What are essential public policy tenets, and what kinds of new policies can be forged?

The conference offers a unique opportunity to exchange experiences, ideas and strategies, to critique current models of media production, to problem-solve, and to envision new ways to democratically facilitate people’s participation in media decision-making. The goal is to help “make media public” — that is, to develop and build media models that address local concerns, that are sustainable, autonomous and independent, and involve a wide range of participation that reflect the daily political economic, social and cultural experiences of communities in Canada.

The conference is focused on four interrelated themes: history, labour, policy, and alternative/independent and community media. Submissions are invited on these themes and others that address the goal of “Making Media Public.”

“Art, Access & Action: The Moral Imperative?” (A Major Arts & Media Summit in Chicago)

When: 
April 8, 2010 - April 9, 2010
Where: 
Chicago, IL

Welcome.

This year a bunch of groups, organizations, and individuals will be coming together to host a major arts & media summit in Chicago. The Summit will be held at Columbia College Chicago and happen on April 8th and 9th from 10 am to 9 pm on both days.

Here is a list of organizations and individuals involved:

PEOPLE

Jeff Biggers, author of “Reckoning at Eagle Creek”

Elisa Kriesinger, PoliticalRemixVideo.com

Patrick Lichty, member of the Yes Men/Columbia College instructor

Kari Lydersen, In These Times contributing editor

Salim Muwakkil, In These Times senior editor & WVON personality

Gordon Quinn, Kartemquin Films

Tracy Van Slyke, Media Consortium

Jeff Spitz, Groundswell Films

Paul Street, frequent contributor to ZMag

Preserving Democracy: LA Media Reform Summit 2010

When: 
March 27, 2010
Where: 
Los Angeles, CA

If you are concerned that our democracy is being usurped by today’s media, that communities are being harmed by the absence of local news coverage, and that diverse groups lack access to the media, now is the time to act!

Join us for this informative half-day summit.

Saturday, March 27, 2010
Occidental College
11:00am to 5:00pm with reception to follow
Free parking for all, and free admission for Occidental students, faculty and staff
Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door
Discount tickets available for students, seniors and youth (18 and under) with valid ID

FTC Workshop on the Future of Journalism

When: 
March 9, 2010 - March 10, 2010
Where: 
Washington, DC

The Federal Trade Commission will hold its second two-day workshop on the future of journalism March 9-10, 2010, in Room 432 of the FTC Headquarters at 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. The agenda and information about the workshop can be found at http://www.ftc.gov/opp/workshops/news/mar9/agenda.pdf.

Consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet for news and information. Advertisers are moving ads to online sites and scaling back on ad buys as a result of the recession, and news organizations are struggling with large debts they took on during better times. As a result, some are questioning how journalism can survive and thrive in the future.

The FTC’s upcoming workshop will address proposals to better-support and lower the costs of journalism:

* Changes to copyright law have been suggested as means to require news aggregators to pay fees to news-gathering operations. Panelists will discuss whether such changes would be workable and likely achieve the desired results.
* Speakers will consider the potential advantages and disadvantages of combining the interests of for-profit and non-profit investors in hybrid entities, such as so-called L3Cs, as vehicles for new media organizations.
* Speakers will address efforts to make government data more accessible and easily managed in ways that may lower the costs of journalism.
* Panelists will discuss the wide variety of collaborations that news organizations may use to lower their costs and better support journalism.

In December 2009, the FTC held the first two-day workshop to consider a wide range of issues, including: the economics of journalism in print and online; the variety of new business and non-profit models for journalism online; factors relevant to the new economic realities for news organizations, such as behavioral and other online targeted advertising, online news aggregators, and bloggers; and ways in which the costs of journalism could be reduced.

The workshop is free and open to the public. Those planning to attend should arrive early to permit time to go through security screening.

FCC & Knight Foundation Digital Inclusion Summit

When: 
March 9, 2010
Where: 
Washington, DC

FCC & Knight Foundation Host Digital Inclusion Summit at Newseum on March 9

Media Advisory: FCC & Knight Foundation Host Digital Inclusion Summit at Newseum on March 9

Summit Includes Overview of Working Recommendations
for Broadband Adoption in FCC’s National Broadband Plan

The Federal Communications Commission and the John S. and James. L. Knight Foundation are hosting a March 9 summit to highlight solutions to the challenge of providing broadband for everyone. Called America’s Digital Inclusion Summit: Working Together to Expand Opportunity Through Universal Access, the event will be held at the Newseum and feature a wide range of broadband leaders, including FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Knight Foundation President and CEO Alberto Ibargüen, Lafayette, La. City-Parish President Joey Durel, FCC Commissioners Michael Copps, Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Attwell Baker, and members of Congress. The program will include a “voices of inclusion” segment providing an opportunity for people to share their stories about how broadband – or the lack of it – has affected their lives. The event is open to the press and public.

Nearly a third of American households lack broadband access at home, even when it is available in their community. The program will unveil some of the working recommendations in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan for increasing the nation’s rate of broadband adoption, a critical goal in an era when broadband is central to education, job search and training, economic development, and the information needs of communities. An Inclusion Showcase will demonstrate applications and programs that are already working to effectively bridge the digital divide and promote broadband adoption.

* WHAT: America’s Digital Inclusion Summit
* WHERE: The Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. (map)
* VIDEOCAST: FCC Commission Room, 445 12th St. SW, Washington, D.C. (map)
* WEBCAST: www.fcc.gov/live
* WHEN: Tuesday, March 9, 9:00 am to 12:15 pm. Continental breakfast available at 8:30 a.m.
* PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED at www.digisummit.org

Transmission Project