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CIMA Longterm Report

CIMA Longterm Report

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Published by MAG-Net
There’s a lot going on right now in the realm of media policy and infrastructure in the United States. Government initiatives, funding bubbles, nonprofit programs and community projects are buzzing around such topics as “digital public media”; “the future of media and information needs of communities”; “broadband adoption”; “arts and social change”; and “community radio.” At the same time, media outlets and nonprofits are reconfiguring in an economic downturn. Advocates and communities are responding with urgency to policy developments, business deals and grant opportunities affecting the development of the
internet, journalism, culture and communication.

Efforts to increase equity and meet community needs may be urgent, but they are confronting deeply entrenched, systemic problems and persistent historical trends. What does it look like to tackle immediate policy and activist campaigns while working for profound, time-consuming, long-term political, economic and
cultural transformation?

This brief report, “Working Together to Shape the Media,” brings together observations and recommendations from dozens of organizers, nonprofit researchers, advocates, network-builders and funders working at the intersection of media and social change.
There’s a lot going on right now in the realm of media policy and infrastructure in the United States. Government initiatives, funding bubbles, nonprofit programs and community projects are buzzing around such topics as “digital public media”; “the future of media and information needs of communities”; “broadband adoption”; “arts and social change”; and “community radio.” At the same time, media outlets and nonprofits are reconfiguring in an economic downturn. Advocates and communities are responding with urgency to policy developments, business deals and grant opportunities affecting the development of the
internet, journalism, culture and communication.

Efforts to increase equity and meet community needs may be urgent, but they are confronting deeply entrenched, systemic problems and persistent historical trends. What does it look like to tackle immediate policy and activist campaigns while working for profound, time-consuming, long-term political, economic and
cultural transformation?

This brief report, “Working Together to Shape the Media,” brings together observations and recommendations from dozens of organizers, nonprofit researchers, advocates, network-builders and funders working at the intersection of media and social change.

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Published by: MAG-Net on May 13, 2011
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09/07/2012

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Working Together to Shape the Media
Opportunities for groups concerned with democracy, equity, culture, technology and communication
CIMA: Center for International Media ActionFebruary 2011
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
There’s a lot going on right now in the realm of media policy and infrastructure in the United States.Government initiatives, funding bubbles, nonprofit programs and community projects are buzzing aroundsuch topics as “digital public media”; “the future of media and information needs of communities”;“broadband adoption”; “arts and social change”; and “community radio.” At the same time, media outletsand nonprofits are reconfiguring in an economic downturn. Advocates and communities are responding withurgency to policy developments, business deals and grant opportunities affecting the development of theinternet, journalism, culture and communication.Efforts to increase equity and meet community needs may be urgent, but they are confronting deeplyentrenched, systemic problems and persistent historical trends. What does it look like to tackle immediatepolicy and activist campaigns while working for profound, time-consuming, long-term political, economic andcultural transformation?This brief report, “Working Together to Shape the Media,” brings together observations andrecommendations from dozens of organizers, nonprofit researchers, advocates, network-builders andfunders working at the intersection of media and social change.
Key findings:
1
There is a potentially powerful movement to develop communications, information, and culturalsystems that can advance democracy, equity, justice and the rights for all to have healthy, thrivingcommunities. Significant assets and strengths among existing organizations can be leveragedthrough strategic partnerships.
2
This collective potential is restricted when critical components of the movement remain under-resourced. National and regional organizations working for media in the public interest need toinvest in community-rooted partners who have the information, relationships, history and expertise toeffectively reveal community needs, generate innovation and implement solutions.
3
Urgent short-term activities need to be linked into a longer-term framework. Rapid-response, tacticalcoalitions and campaigns need to be paired with activities for sustaining and growing this movement.
Specific recommendations for funders and organizations
:
 
allocate budget lines for longer-range activities within short-term campaigns, events and projects
 
develop collaborative assessment tools, community research capacities and partnerships
 
resource “people’s scholarship” – knowledge, analysis and theory developed by practitioners
 
invest in cost-saving infrastructure shared across nonprofits
 
build capacity within community-rooted groups and under-resourced areas
 
integrate arts into policy development and social change work
This publication was developed by CIMA: Center for International Action, an organization that between 2003 and 2010focused on strategy-development and alliance-building support for groups concerned with equity and rights in mediaand communications policy. The research was conducted for CIMA’s internal planning; the summary report was writtento contribute to conversations among our allies and partners.
For more information on this report, contact Aliza Dichter, liza @ mhcable.com
 
Working Together to Shape the Media
Opportunities for groups concerned with democracy, equity, culture, technology and communication
TABLE OF CONTENTS
pp. 1-3... Executive Summary, Table of Contents, Introductionpp. 4-7... What We Heard: Views on the Field
Hot topics and trends need to be handled in a longer-term context
Energy is concentrated on short-term activities over long-term work
Critical movement components are under-resourced
Media-change work is part of a potentially powerful democracy movement
pp. 8-10... Recommendations: Strategic Investments for Long-term Strength1.
 Allocate a percentage from current budgets for longer-range components
2.
Develop international alliances and knowledge
3.
Build capacity in existing/emerging work, and in underrepresented locations
4.
Generate “peoples' scholarship” - analysis and theory by/for practitioners
5.
Integrate art at every stage of community and policy development
6.
Support collaborative action research
7.
Improve how groups work together 
pp. 11-12... Appendix: Research methods, sources, publications referenced
For more information on this report, contact Aliza Dichter, liza @ mhcable.com
 
Working Together to Shape the Media
Opportunities for groups concerned with democracy, equity, culture, technology and communication.
CIMA: Center for International Media ActionFebruary 2011
INTRODUCTION
 
There’s a lot going on in the realm of media policy and infrastructure in the United States.National Stimulus grants are funding local broadband projects that aim to close digital divides.The old public broadcasting model is challenged from all sides as the categories and institutionsof “public media” are reorganized. After a 10-year grassroots campaign, the federal governmentpassed the Local Community Radio Act, creating new opportunities for community radio acrossthe United States. The Federal Communications Commission has launched a programinvestigating “The Future of Media and Information Needs of Communities....” on the heels of think-tank reports and community forums on the same topic.“Internet freedom” and “access for all” are the high stakes for nonprofit and community-basedcoalitions engaged in a series of current policy struggles. Media and telecom conglomerates are jockeying to be able to control networks and wealth. Media jobs, media outlets, libraries,governments and nonprofits of all types are operating with rapidly shrinking public andphilanthropic money.The economics and ecology of media are being reconfigured, raising a “transform or die”challenge across the commercial and nonprofit spectrum of journalism and culture.These may be urgent times for advocates, media-makers and community groups working onthese issues, but they are confronting deeply entrenched, systemic problems and persistenthistorical trends. The immediate goal may be to influence a policy change or shape a mediaproject. But if the purpose is
meeting community needs
through the media of the future,important questions lie before us: How to shift the role of corporations in our democracy? How toincrease equity and reduce poverty? How to undermine age-old systems that disadvantagepeople on the basis of wealth, race and other social status?
What does it look like to tackle immediate policy and activist campaigns while workingfor profound, time-consuming, long-term political, economic and cultural transformation?
This report summarizes ideas we’ve gathered in response to that question.
ABOUT THIS REPORT
This research was conducted for CIMA: Center for International Media Action in 2009-2010 as anassessment of current opportunities to invest in the long-term impact of groups working for media and communications systems that serve equity and social justice.To gather information about the state of movement-building with minimal research costs, we reviewedexisting reports and commentaries by people active in collaborative media-change work, and concludedwith in-depth interviews with individuals deeply involved in intersecting networks. We synthesized our findings in this report to contribute to ongoing conversations, and welcome comments, feedback andfurther discussion. Thank you to all the people who shared their wisdom. Sources listed in the appendix.
“Working Together to Shape the Media“ February 2011 ---- Page 3 of 12 

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