Tag Archives: UpTake

PointerGate points to the imperative of oversight

In another life I was a stooge on the Minnesota News Council. At some point I, as a member in good standing, read in the press that the MNC was to be no more – no explanation, a simple affirmation that the staff person had acquired a safe position at the University of St. Thomas. Because I was too otherwise engaged to explore the roots of a decision I accepted as a done deal, closed that file, and gave complicit assent to a decision I knew was wrong.

Bottom line: Minnesota News Council, thou art needed at this hour.

Though there are many, the efficient cause of my concern is PointerGate, the most ridiculous travesty of press neglect unfolding in recent journalistic days.

Thanks to The UpTake, a community resource of inestimable value that somehow escapes public acclamation, I just viewed a streamed account of the recent discussion of the PointerGate debacle sponsored by the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. ((http://theuptake.org/live-video-post/journalists-discuss-pointergate/)) The conversation offers clear insights that transcend the episode that has been blown far out of proportion by the press and by social media; the video is well worth a view.

The discussion, mostly among journalists, is enlightening. The questions raised by the audience are illustrative of the questions on the minds of many. There are not so many answers as questions. Still, listening/viewing the open discussion helps me to capitalize on an opportunity to learn and to understand the thinking of the individuals who were and are involved in an ongoing explication of the tempest in a teapot that was PointerGate.

The complexity of the issue expands with discussion – racism, gang-bating, the role of cops, the authority of the mayor, the objectivity of the press, the impact of the press on public attitudes….

On the one hand, there is the PointerGate issue – dead in the water as far as I am concerned. What remains is a question about the role of the press, the way in which the public, not only the press, has a role in determining the actions of the media. It matters.

From my perspective, PointerGate – and a host of press/media related issues – argue for resurrection of a Minnesota News Council that is restructured, given the authority and staff capable to meet the challenges of a fiercely competitive digital market of ideas. This is not the first, just the most obvious, need for the MNC.

I regret to this day that I gave silent consent so easily to a decision I knew was not in the interests of the people.

Advertisements

The UpTake Journalists Banned in Edina!

The intrepid crew from The Uptake hit its first bump in the transparency world this week when the Edina Chamber of Commerce banned all video and audio recording from Wednesday’s debate between candidates Erik Paulsen and Jim Meffert.  Not a major hurdle for the folks from The Update who have covered and shared a daunting roster of candidate forums, debates, town meetings and more during campaign 2010.

 

When the dust settles it will be interesting to learn just how many miles they’ve covered, camera in hand – From the Clinton visit to Blaine and Obama’s U of M appearance over last weekend to La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles in South Minneapolis, Farm Fest, the rambunctious Oberstar/Cravaak debate in Duluth and scores of other sites.  The Uptake crew covers the event live if possible, then records and posts the full program on The Uptake website.  They even offer fact check back up that is endlessly illuminating.

 

Today, Tuesday, The Uptake provides live coverage of the much-vaunted debate between Michele Bachmann and Tarryl Clark taking place in St. Cloud.  The enterprising Uptakers suggest that viewers watch the debate live from home or office, then contribute the cost of the gas saved to The Uptake.

 

At this point in the campaign every Minnesotan is burned out on sound bites and TV spots well-funded by a mix of vested interests.  The would-be informed voter might do well to take a breath, settle into an easy chair, and take time to view and listen to the candidates themselves – uninterrupted, on the spot, recorded by The Uptake.

 

Follow The Uptake any way that suits your social media fancy:

Facebook

Twitter:

YouTube

Blip.TV

Livestream.com:

Tumblr

MySpace

MN Broadband Summit – An Eyewitness Account

The 2010 Minnesota Broadband Summit breathed life into the reality and the future of broadband, not as an end but as a means – a means to economic development, of course, but more important, as a means to creating a state in which a Minnesota resident can live a rich live in a community with the tools of access to health care, civic engagement, lifelong learning, arts and culture. As convener and host, Senator Amy Klobuchar outlined the complex issues inherent in assuring access to high-speed broadband for all Minnesotans.  Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the Federal Communications, the regulatory agency responsible for telecommunications development, outlined the challenges he and members of a divided Commission face.

The intent was for the decision-makers from inside the DC Beltway to join an energetic and committed audience in learning from a truly fine panel of informed Minnesota leaders with unique perspectives on and experience with broadband.  Emphasis was on Minnesotans who are out of the loop because of geography, awareness, digital literacy or cost.

My original intent was to summarize the summit.  Even as I sorted through my notes and my reflections those who are more nimble and better equipped accomplished just that.  TheUpTake posted the video of the full summit on their site.  Blandin Foundation, which has taken the broadband lead in Greater Minnesota, has posted a virtual transcript of the proceedings.

What remains is to internalize and reflect.  Some thoughts:

  • Seldom have I heard a panel provide as much relevant, targeted and specialized information – I doubt that I have ever heard this much data, personal experience and vision delivered within the strict time limits dictated by the venue.  To a person, the spokespersons were “way above average.
  • Attendees included access leaders and visionaries who have been tilling the telecommunications turf for decades. For many present there was an “it’s about time” response. This cohort shares an implicit sense that there is a role for government to regulate (as well as fund) broadband development.
  • Along these lines, the panel touched on social issues generally absent from today’s politics.  They described with clarity specific strategies to ease or eliminate barriers, beginning with but not limited to geographic realities
  • Bruce Kerfoot. President and owner of the Gunflint Lodge, spoke for panelists and audience alike when he reminded the Senator and FCC chair that “the people on the end of the wires aren’t stupid.  We’re ready to roll and we have folks who want to be online.  We just need to be unified in our efforts to get heard.”
  • A consistent theme was collaboration broadly defined.   Kerfoot emphasized that Minnesota communities “just need to be unified in our efforts to get heard.”  Pam Lehmann, Executive Director of the Lac qui Parle County Development Authority, described how collaboration paid off for people in her county to apply where a Computer Commuter mobile tech lab was launched the following day.  More information on a StarTribune piece is available on Lac qui Parle’s site here.
  • Richard (Dick) King, CEO at Thomson Reuters, stressed that “people need to visualize themselves using technology. Stressing the imperative of public-private collaboration, King ticked off the reasons Thomson Reuters cares about broadband:  “We care because of our employees – we’d like for them to be able to work from home.  We’d like to bring other tech companies into the area.  Business needs a continuity plan — if something happens in the office, we still need to be able to carry on.  We need competition and redundancy.”
  • Engagement of local elected officials and decision-makers is a must, according to the panelists. A unified approach demands that local leaders are both informed and involved.
  • Panelists stressed that collaboration means public-private partnerships that are both essential and slow to nurture.  Speakers described in concrete terms the ways that the private sector, whether Thomson Reuter or Gunflint Lodge, depends on access and on collaborative efforts to promote a broadly-defined vision. Pam Lehmann, ED of the Pac qui Parle County EDA, described her county’s collaborative efforts and her vision of the impact of resulting federal funds on her community – proudly reminding the audience that the next day would see the launch of the Computer Commuter tech lab to spread digital literacy throughout the region.
  • Though the front-burner issue of net neutrality received modest attention, the implication was that this had been well addressed in the recent Net Neutrality town hall meeting chaired by Senator Al Franken.
  • Throughout the discussion the reality of cost was implicit.  Still it neither dominated nor stymied discussion which remained more on shared vision and possibilities.  The clear focus was on what was repeatedly described as a “win-win” approach.

In his introductory remarks Chairman Genachowski reminded attendees that, urgent as the issue, it’s not priority #1 with most people or their elected representatives.  His words seemed to me a hint, if not a clarion call, to those assembled to roll up our virtual sleeves.

The awesome volunteers and staff at the UpTake recorded Senator Amy Klobuchar’s remarks.

The FCC is Having a Public Hearing in MN Thursday Evening

Once again The UpTake steps to the plate!  The UpTake crew, mostly volunteers, will be on hand Thursday evening when media moguls, access advocates, journalists, librarians, entrepreneurs, and information mavens of every stripe —  just about anybody who has dipped a toe into the digital world – will gather for a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) public hearing on the future of the Internet.  The hearing is Thursday, August 19, 6:00 p.m. in the South High School Auditorium, 3131 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis.

What’s well publicized are the details of the unique hearing  featuring FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn along with locals including i Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and other speakers TBA.  Not so well publicized is the fact that The UpTake will be on site.  TheUpTake will provide live broadcast and will also video the entire event. You can catch the hearing in real time or at your leisure – when the kids go to bed or you get off work.

The hearing is hosted by three national organizations, i.e. Free Press, Main Street Project, and the Center for Media Justice. Through their Media Action Grassroots Project (MAG-net). These are among the national organizations that have lobbied long and hard on a host of pressing issues, most notably network neutrality and broadband access.  The premise of the TC’s hearing is that the big guys have had their say and that the Commission needs to hear from the rest of us.  The fact that Minnesota’s junior Senator has become the poster child for these progressive groups may have influenced the designation of Minneapolis as the one and only Greater-US hearing.

By way of introduction, the Uptake is currently providing great background material, including an overview of the hearing, a talk presented earlier this summer by Commissioner Copps, and an interview with Senator Al Franken, a vocal advocate for network neutrality and access.  You’ll find them all on the Uptake website.