Community Media – Future Roles

I keep misplacing this brief overview of roles that I sent to the ACM list over a year ago. Thought I should post it here to I won’t loose it again.

CURRENT RESOURCES
I completely agree with you about your assessment on the need for studio space that is easier to use as well as a valuable asset that should not be given up. Also agree that LIVE programming becomes one of the things we have to offer that will continue to draw producers out of their homes. I also see the trend in staff produced initiatives that Chuck highlights. We should always be the folks who provide access to skills, equipment and systems outside the means / abilities of the average citizen (at this time it includes leveraging the skills of computer programmers, much like the early days of video engineering). We should also be prepared for the coming age of distributed distribution (via P2P and IP-enable systems) and the delivery of content by telcos and other infrastructure providers. Nothing that folks on this list aren’t already well aware of.In my mind, I see the field filling the following roles in the future:

EDUCATORS / KNOWLEDGE BROKERS
clearly this is a strong part of our tradition and as long as we stay ahead of the curve and continue to offer up knowledge at affordable or low-cost levels, we will have an important role to play. From my own experience, deepening and professionalizing our education programs needs to happen in many places.

COMMUNITY CONTENT GUIDES / AUDIENCE BROKER As we enter a world of increasing overabundance of content dished up via the Internet, how will anyone know where to find relevant content and information? We can be come the local guides / editors and recommendors of what’s out there. Building off strong local trust and reputation is key to fulfilling this role.

CONVENORS / CATALYSTS / ADVOCATES
Like other great public institutions (i.e. government, schools,
libraries), community communication centers have the ability to bring together folks who normally wouldn’t come together. Our broadconstituencies tied to a tradition of protecting free speech, and our understanding of technology developments and policies position us well to play an important role that few can fill. Challenge is how to we grow and strengthen this ability.

CULTURAL FACILITATORS / PRESERVATIONISTS
As more and more of our history and experiences get caught on media, electrified and digitized, we can play a leadership role in securing that this history is saved. We can also ensure that stories and knowledge that might disappear, get captured.

COMMUNITY COMMUNICATION (not just community media) With new forms and methods for sharing content and communicating with others, we should also be developing and promoting new “social” uses of communication technologies. These include everything from blogs, to discussion forums, to websites, to interactive community spaces (check out http://www.civicspacelabs.org and http://www.goskokie.org).This is a bit of the future I see. I’m glad you started this thread. Looking forward to more contributions from the list.

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