Venezuela's most prominent community television station, Catia TVe, was launched in 2000 by activists from the barrios of Caracas. Run on the principle that state resources should serve as a weapon of the poor to advance revolutionary social change, the station covered everything from Hugo Chávez’s speeches to barrio residents' complaints about bureaucratic mismanagement. In Channeling the State, Naomi Schiller explores how and why Catia TVe's founders embraced alliances with Venezuelan state officials and institutions. Drawing on long-term ethnographic research among the station's participants, Schiller shows how community television production created unique openings for Caracas's urban poor to embrace the state as a collective process with transformative potential. Rather than an unchangeable entity built for the exercise of elite power, the state emerges in Schiller's analysis as an uneven, variable process and a contentious terrain where institutions are continuously made and remade. In Venezuela under Chávez, media activists from poor communities did not assert their autonomy from the state but rather forged ties with the middle class to question whose state they were constructing and who it represented.
For two years, Clemencia Rodríguez did fieldwork in regions of Colombia where leftist guerillas, right-wing paramilitary groups, the army, and drug traffickers made their presence felt in the lives of unarmed civilians. Here, Rodríguez tells the story of the ways in which people living in the shadow of these armed intruders use community radio, television, video, digital photography, and the Internet to shield their communities from armed violence’s negative impacts.
Citizens’ media are most effective, Rodríguez posits, when they understand communication as performance rather than simply as persuasion or the transmission of information. Grassroots media that are deeply embedded in the communities they serve and responsive to local needs strengthen the ability of community members to productively react to violent incursions. Rodríguez demonstrates how citizens’ media privilege aspects of community life not hijacked by violence, providing people with the tools and the platform to forge lives for themselves and their families that are not entirely colonized by armed conflict and its effects.
Ultimately, Rodríguez shows that unarmed civilian communities that have been cornered by armed conflict can use community media to repair torn social fabrics, reconstruct eroded bonds, reclaim public spaces, resolve conflict, and sow the seeds of peace and stability.
Making Local News
Phyllis Kaniss University of Chicago Press, 1991 Library of Congress PN4749.K35 1991 | Dewey Decimal 302.230973
Why do crimes and accidents earn more news coverage than development and policy issues affecting thousands of people? Filled with revealing interviews with both journalists and city officials, Making Local News is the first comprehensive look at how the economic motives of media owners, professional motives of journalists, and the strategies of media-wise politicians shape the news we see and hear, thereby influencing urban policy.
"Making Local News by Phyllis Kaniss . . . is significant. . . . If we can continue to get smarter about that which journalism leaves out or distorts in its coverage of politics, we may eventually get smarter about politics itself."—Mitchell Stephens, The Philadelphia Inquirer View
"A convincing analysis of the factors and forces which color how and why local issues do, or do not, become newsworthy." —Michael H. Ebner, Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"This work serves as a reminder of the importance of a medium that is often overlooked until economic realities threaten its very existence." —Choice
"Kaniss is truly a pioneer in the study of local news."—Susan Herbst, Contemporary Sociology
How has American radio—once a grassroots, community-based medium—become a generic service that primarily benefits owners and shareholders and prohibits its listeners from receiving diversity of opinions, ideas, and entertainment through local programming? In The Quieted Voice: The Rise and Demise of Localism in American Radio, Robert L. Hilliard and Michael C. Keith blame the government’s continual deregulation of radio and the corporate obsession with the bottom line in the wake of the far-reaching and controversial Telecommunications Act of 1996. Fighting for greater democratization of the airwaves, Hilliard and Keith call for a return to localism to save radio from rampant media conglomeration and ever-narrowing music playlists—and to save Americans from corporate and government control of public information.
The Quieted Voice details radio’s obligation to broadcast in the public’s interest. Hilliard and Keith trace the origins of the public trusteeship behind the medium and argue that local programming is essential to the fulfillment of this responsibility. From historical and critical perspectives, they examine the decline of community-centered programming and outline the efforts of media watchdog and special interest groups that have vigorously opposed the decline of democracy and diversity in American radio. They also evaluate the implications of continuing delocalization of the radio medium and survey the perspectives of leading media scholars and experts.