Projects

GLOBAL CRITICAL MEDIA LITERACY PROJECT

The Media Stewards Project is collaborating with the Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME) and Project Censored to develop their new joint venture, the Global Critical Media Literacy Project (GCMLP) which enlists undergraduate journalism students in service learning activities to engage citizens in local media reform efforts.

Most citizens do not realize that commercial media companies have important public service obligations they must balance with the need to make money to stay in business. Public service media, such as PBS, NPR, C-SPAN, ProPublica, Democracy Now, Free Speech TV and Link TV, exist on a non-profit basis, addressing their audiences primarily as citizens in a democracy, not consumers to be cultivated for commercial gain.

The GCMLP intends to address this problem by clarifying the economic underpinnings of all media and the general failure of commercial media to properly serve the information needs of American citizens.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR MEDIA CHANGE PROJECTS

The Media Stewards Project is announcing a new initiative and we need your ideas.
We are launching Action for Media Change, a new effort to strengthen public demand for a better national media system. Our goals are to work in alliance and coordination with existing media reform organizations to energize citizens to insist on a media system they deserve; to offer information, ideas, and debate; and to see a strong media change plank added to the emerging progressive platform.

Our new collaborative initiative seeks to highlight and support visionary public actions that illuminate the way forward. We are looking for your ideas for low-cost innovative citizen ACTIONS that will call out prevailing assumptions and practices; attract grassroots participants; educate people about our contemporary media landscape and how it got this way; and inspire ideas and hope for change. We seek creative, non-violent, legal actions to videotape and distribute, to complement other Action for Media Change videos we are planning.

Organizations and individuals may apply for project support. To submit your proposal, please send a crisp project description (1 page), info about yourself or your organization (1 page), and a discussion of the desired impact, with top-line budget and schedule (1 page). We are working on a rolling deadline and will consider projects 4 times a year. Email submissions to john@mediastewards.org.

CITIZENS FOR 317

As explained here, the Media Stewards Project encourages all citizens to become more familiar with the existing regulations associated with political advertising under Section 317 of the Communication Act which need to be strengthened.  Citizen groups involved in requiring greater disclosure of political advertising include Common Cause, the Public Interest Public Airwaves Coalition, the Sunlight Foundation, the Center for Effective Government, and the Action Coalition for Media Education. Read this excellent overview by Meredith McGehee of the Campaign Legal Center, and sign this petition to the FCC by Common Cause.

RULES CHANGE PROJECT

Calling for a time out for corporations, citizens and democracy, the Rules Change Project is an informal, non-partisan collaboration of individuals and independent groups seeking to help launch a national conversation. The Rules Change Project is an initiative to support action ideas for capitalism, democracy and the common good. The Media Stewards Project is helping develop the Rules Change Project in conjunction with Hedrick Smith, author of Who Stole The American Dream?

Rules Change: The DC Gathering, scheduled to take place Friday and Saturday, March 14 – 15, 2014 on the Arlington campus of George Mason University, has been postponed.  More information about future Rules Change Project developments is available on the project website.

KCSM-TV AND THE FUTURE OF LOCAL PUBLIC MEDIA

The pending sale over several years of KCSM-TV, a local PBS station operated since the 1960s by the San Mateo County (California) Community College District (SMCCD), brings into focus the challenges facing the future of local public media.

Experiencing deep budget cuts for its core mission of providing classroom instruction, and with annual operating losses at KCSM-TV of nearly one million dollars, SMCCD put the station up for sale in 2012 but experienced difficulty finding qualified buyers who meet FCC requirements for owning a non-commercial educational (NCE) broadcast license.  

This changed when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to allow license owners of broadcast spectrum, commercial or non-commercial, to auction off their licenses to wireless carriers in need of more spectrum, considerably enhancing the value of the KCSM TV station license.  A panel discussion of the implications of this sale at the National Conference For Media Reform in April is here.

On May 15, 2013, with no public disclosure of details of the agreement reached with LocusPoint Networks, a subsidiary of hedge fund firm the Blackstone Group, the SMCCD board of trustees agreed to sell all of the KCSM TV spectrum and let the station go dark if and when the spectrum auction takes place, perhaps in 2015.

The Media Stewards Project is working with Media Alliance to stop this sale and find alternative means to keep KCSM TV operating as a public asset.

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