February 14, 2009
Crowd-funding has come to public television! I’m pleased to announce that the collaboration between our non-profit organization, the Center for Media Change, Inc. and our ReelChanges.org project, and Maryland Public Television (MPT) hits the airwaves starting on Monday. At that time, MPT will start airing the following 15-second spot at the end of its television programs…
And here is a link to MPT’s new 30-second promo, which airs at various times of the day:
Finally, here is a link to the first project in the MPT production pipeline, which we carefully selected to demonstrate the power of our new public media fundraising model (sorry, I can’t embed it yet, that’s coming soon).
What’s really exciting is the growing validating support for the basic idea behind our crowd-funding model, which we share with David Cohn’s innovative open source Spot.us project (which is also fiscally sponsored by our Center for Media Change, Inc. non-profit).
David likes to say that what we are doing is trying to prove that “journalism can survive the death of so many of its institutions” and, to be sure, that’s a very big part of it. But I suspect he’d also agree its about experimenting with new ways to use the Internet that make mass media more democratic and representative while maintaining professional standards.
After all, why should a tiny handful of programming executives, mostly from big corporations, make all the critical decisions and have all the power to determine what we see on TV and what we read about in the newspapers? Shouldn’t we spread that power around a little more widely? Answer: we should. Better answer: we must, for the sake of our democracy, which depends on the free flow of information and ideas.
Faced with growing financial pressures, the big media corporations have, for the most part, abdicated that responsibility. This week, for example, many of them are busy running stories carrying the unexamined claim that the big usurious banks are “too big too fail” while simultaneously accepting lucrative full-page ads paid for by taxpayers from those very same firms. Gee, I wonder where the front page stories are about that?
Our work with MPT is another big step in our drive to enable the American people — you, me, all of us — to have a greater — and more direct — say in how the media operates, what they cover and from what perspective.
How can you help?
Well, if able, you could make a contribution, in any amount, to this project (or any of the others on reelchanges or spot.us). I believe the success of our new people-powered model is now inevitable. But the sooner we can show that we Americans are prepared to think for ourselves, and build our own more trusted and authentic sources of professionally produced information and news, the sooner we can build an alternative to the corporate-financed media that does such a poor job of reflecting who we really are and what we really care about.
This is a great country and our media should reflect that. It doesn’t. But we can fix that.