Access 360o - Rebuilding citizen participation in the community information ecosystem

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Responding to the challenges of the digital future, AmherstMedia.org commissioned a communication needs assessment of its users, seeking broader community input and participation in ongoing efforts to …

Responding to the challenges of the digital future, AmherstMedia.org commissioned a communication needs assessment of its users, seeking broader community input and participation in ongoing efforts to strengthen its services in the digital transition. This report summarizes the findings of the research that took place between April and November 2011, and involved a general survey, focus group discussions, and in-depth interviews with users of Amherst Media’s facilities and training services, and viewers of video content distributed through local cable channels, and the Web.

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  • 1. oAccess  360  Building  engaged  communities  in  a  digital  age                 AMHERSTMEDIA .ORG      
  • 2.                                                      By  Martha  Fuentes  Bautista,  Ph.D.,  with  assistance  from  Verity  Norman  and  Diana  Coryat.  National  Center  of  Digital  Government,  UMass  Amherst  Amherst,  Massachusetts    The   author   wants   to   express   her   gratitude   to   Amherst   Media’s   user   community,   staff,  board  members,  and  the  Town  of  Amherst  for  their  participation  in  and  support  to  this  study.          This  work  is  licensed  under  the  Creative  Commons  Attribution-­‐NonCommercial-­‐ShareAlike  3.0  Unported  License.  To  view  a  copy  of  this  license,  visit  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-­‐nc-­‐sa/3.0/.  
  • 3.   AMHERSTMEDIA .ORG    In  recent  years,  broadband  and  digital  media  technologies  have  renewed  opportunities  to  produce,  distribute  and  exchange  information  and  culture.    However,  according  to  the  FCC’s  groundbreaking  report  on  “The  Information  Needs  of  Communities”  (2010),  localities  around  the  country  now  face  new  challenges,  more  prominently,  a  shortage  of  locally  relevant  information  and  news,  less  accountability,  and  diminished  local  capacities  to  generate  content  that  meets  these  needs.      In  2008,  after  more  than  three  decades  of  operation,  Amherst  Media  revamped  its  services  to  expand  digital  media  training,  citizen  productions  and  online  distribution  of  digital  media  content  to  serve  public,  educational,  and  government  information  needs  of  our  community.  In  the  last  four  years,  and  with  continuous  support  of  the  Town  of  Amherst  and  local  residents,  we  have  reorganized  our  operations  to  become  a  Digital  Community  Access  Center.  This  process  has  entailed  digitizing  and  retooling  the  equipment,  developing  new  training  services,  upgrading  online  distribution  of  our  programs,  reorganizing  staff  positions  to  fulfill  new  functions,  rebranding  our  organization,  and  becoming  an  Apple  Authorized  Training  Center.      Seeking  broader  citizen  input  and  participation  in  this  process  of  change,  Amherst  Media  commissioned  an  evaluation  of  its  services.  We  wanted  to  better  understand  who  was  using  or  not  using  our  services;  how  our  programs  and  services  meet  information  needs  of  local  residents;  and  what  they  would  like  to  see  improved.  We  are  pleased  to  present  the  results  of  this  process  of  public  consultation  that  engaged  more  than  200  users  of  our  services  through  surveys,  focus  group  discussions  and  individual  interviews.  Amherst  Media  would  like  to  thanks  Dr.  Martha  Fuentes-­‐Bautista,  faculty  of  Communication  and  Public  Policy  at  UMass  Amherst,  and  her  team  for  designing  the  research,  and  leading  the  consultation  process.    Findings  of  the  evaluation  have  been  both  encouraging  and  surprising,  identifying  practical  ways  to  improve  our  services.  For  instance,  we  found  that  the  majority  of  our  users  not  only  watch  our  programs  on  cable  channels  and  online  but  also  make  intensive  use  of  our  facilities  for  various  activities.  They  include:  video  production  and  software  development;  access  to  state-­‐of-­‐the-­‐art  digital  equipment  and  broadband  services;  vocational  training,  educational  and  career  projects;  and  variety  of  community  events  and  social  gatherings.  The  public  expresses  great  approval  for  the  changes  implemented  so  far.  However,  users  would  like  to  see  more  media  training  classes,  and  expanded  outreach  to  local  youth  and  students  of  the  Five  Colleges,  senior  citizens,  and  members  of  low-­‐income  neighborhoods  in  the  greater  Amherst.        
  • 4. This  evaluation  also  reveals  that  in  fact  Amherst  Media  functions  as  a  regional  access  resource  for  communities  of  Western  Mass.  Forty  percent  of  participants  in  the  study  are  residents  of  up  to  17  communities  throughout  the  region.  Some  of  them  watch  our  programs  online,  and  drive  long  distance  to  use  our  services.  They  greatly  appreciate  and  contribute  to  the  creative  culture  and  economy  of  Amherst.    The  survey  finds  that  75%  of  our  users  have  used  our  website  to  watch  programs,  check  community  information,  register  in  media  training  classes,  or  do  other  transaction  with  the  center.  They  consider  http://amherstmedia.org  a  great  community  resource  but  would  like  to  see  better  archiving  practices,  so  content  can  be  more  easily  located.  Users  also  watch  the  local  Government  Channel  (Ch  17)  frequently,  and  as  they  explain  it,  its  transmissions  add  transparency  and  openness  to  our  local  government.  However,  they  would  like  to  see  citizen  news  segments  developed,  and  more  dynamic  coverage  of  local  public  affairs.  They  recommend  developing  partnerships  with  local  newspapers  and  other  access  centers  in  the  region  to  increase  the  circulation  of  locally  relevant  information.    Findings  and  recommendations  of  this  report  will  inform  our  strategic  planning  as  we  continue  our  work  to  alleviate  any  sign  of  “digital  divides”  and  “participation  gaps”  in  the  Town  of  Amherst.  We  also  invite  other  media  access  centers  to  use  the  template  developed  by  Dr.  Fuentes-­‐Bautista,  and  consider  expanding  the  framework  to  gather  data  about  community  access  users  and  operations.  Access  users  can  not  only  help  us  to  improve  our  work  but  also  inform  and  lead  local,  state  and  national  advocacy  for  the  work  of  community  media.      Jim  Lescault  Executive  Director  Amherst  Media                         Amherst Media is a dynamic, community driven, non-profit, public access, information, communication & technology center. AmherstMedia.org 246 College Street Amherst MA 01002 (413) 259-3300
  • 5. Table  of  Contents      I.  Introduction      ……………………………………………………………………………………    1    II.  Media  Localism  2.0      ……………………………………………………………………….    2    III.  Mapping  Amherst  Media  Publics      ………………………………………………….    7     1. Users’  socio-­‐demographics      ……………………………………………………    8   2. Amherst  Media  as  a  Regional  Community  Access  Resource      ….      9   3. Uses  of  Media  Technologies  and  Exposure  to  Video  Content      ..   10   4. Awareness  of  Amherst  Media  Services      ………………………………….   13    IV.  Amherst  Media  and  the  Local  Information  Ecosystem  ……………………   15     1. Different  Forms  of  Public  Involvement  in  Amherst  Media      ……..   15   2. Amherst  Media  as  Community  Infrastructure      ………………………..   18   3. Amherst  Media  and  the  Creation  of  Local  Skills  and  Capacities  ..   22   4. Amherst  Media  and  the  Availability  of  Local  Media  Content    ……   27    V.  Recommendations      ………………………………………………………………………..   37    Appendix  A:  Public  Comments      …………………………………………………………..   39    Appendix  B:  Survey  Protocol      ……………………………………………………………..   45          
  • 6. I.  Introduction    In  the  last  two  years,  results  of  studies  and  public  inquiries  on  the  future  of  media  in  the  U.S.  indicate  that  amidst  the  communication  renaissance  enabled  by  broadband  and  digital  technologies,  citizens  are  facing  serious  challenges  to  take  advantage  of  this  opportunity  for  increased  sustainability  of  and  participation  in  their  local  communities.  On  the  one  hand,  abundance  of  digital  platforms  and  media  outlets  has  not  translated  into  more  reporting,  accountability,  and  information  about  local  issues,1  leaving  localities  uninformed  about  everyday  problems  that  affect  them.  On  the  other  hand,  media  and  broadband  providers  unevenly  serve  local  communities.  The  compound  effect  of  broadband,  information  and  literacy  gaps  threatens  to  widen  the  “participatory  gap,”2  undermining  the  capacity  of  underserved  populations  to  engage  in  community  life  and  local  governance.    Responding  to  the  challenges  of  the  digital  future,  Amherst  Media  (AM)  commissioned  a  communication  needs  assessment  of  its  users,  seeking  broader  community  input  and  participation  in  ongoing  efforts  to  strengthen  its  services  in  the  digital  transition.  This  report  summarizes  the  findings  of  the  research  that  took  place  between  April  and  November  2011,  and  involved  a  general  survey  (N=  191),  focus  group  discussions  (n=55),  and  in-­‐depth  interviews  (n=10)  with  users  of  Amherst  Media’s  facilities  and  training  services,  and  viewers  of  video  content  distributed  through  local  cable  channels,  and  the  Web.  More  specifically,  this  report:       (1)  identifies  characteristics  of  local  publics  served  by  Amherst  Media;   (2)  describes  different  forms  of  public  involvement  with  Amherst  Media;  and   (3)  explores    Amherst  Media’s  contribution  to  the  local  information  ecosystem,   taking  into  account  users’  preferences,  and  the  value  of  Amherst  Media  services  vis-­‐ à-­‐vis  other  media  offerings  and  communication  services  available  in  the  region.    Each  section  concludes  with  a  summary  of  key  points  and  areas  where  more  attention  and  action  are  needed  to  better  serve  the  local  community.          1  Waldman,  S.  (June  2011)  “The  Information  Needs  of  Communities:  The  changing  media  landscape  in  a  broadband  age”  Washington  D.C.,  The  Federal  Communications  Commission  (FCC).  2  Knight  Commission  on  the  Information  Needs  of  Communities  in  a  Democracy  (October  2009)  “Informing  Communities:  Sustaining  Democracy  in  the  Digital  Age.”  Washington,  D.C.:  The  Aspen  Institute.   1
  • 7. II.  Media  Localism  2.0      Media  localism  policies  in  the  U.S.  have  been  conceived  as  a  means  to  support  liberal  democratic  objectives  of  enhanced  political  participation,  the  existence  of  a  better-­‐informed  citizenry,  and  decentralized  decision-­‐making.  Even  before  the  Internet,  PEG  Public-­‐Educational-­‐Government    (PEG)  access  centers  supported  media  localism  by  enabling  direct  participation  of  local  publics,  educational  institutions  (i.e.  schools,  high-­‐schools  and  community  colleges),  and  municipalities  in  the  production  of  video  projects  distributed  through  local  cable  channels.  Amherst  Media  was  a  pioneer  of  this  movement,  serving  the  Amherst  community  since  1976.  Nowadays  there  are  approximately  5,000  centers  unevenly  distributed  in  the  nation  The  majority  of  these  projects  are  funded  with  revenues  from  municipal  franchise  agreements  with  cable  operators.  However,  since  2005,  many  states  seeking  to  deregulate  the  emerging  multi-­‐channel  video  programming  distribution  (MVPD)  market  have  assumed  this  function,  and  municipalities  have  scaled  down  or  closed  PEG  operations.  According  to  recent  estimates,3  one  hundred  communities  across  the  country  closed  their  access  centers  between  2005  and  2010.  The  majority  of  these  closures  (93%)  affected  public  channels  that  distributed  local  content  produced  by  community  residents.    Policy  analysts  and  scholars  have  paid  more  attention  to  community  media  in  the  recent  years.  Contributions  by  Buckley,  Howley  or  Fuller  document  the  multi-­‐faceted  character  and  social  benefits  of  community  media.4  Some  authors  highlight  the  correspondence  between  community  media  and  the  traditions  associated  with  public  service  broadcasting  and  development  communication.    Others  examine  the  relationship  between  alternative,  independent  and  community  media  and  their  audiences—a  line  of  inquiry  that  emphasizes  community  building  and  organizing.    According  to  Carpentier,  Lie  and  Servaes5,  the  first  vision  emphasizes  how  community  media  serve  the  information  needs  of  local  residents,  whereas  the  second  sees  them  as  an  expression  and  integral  component  of  local  communities.    Seeking  to  continue  their  historical  mission  in  the  new  media  environment,  Amherst  Media  and  many  other  access  centers  around  the  nation  are  struggling  to  find  their  place  in  this  constantly  changing  landscape.  They  may  have  evolved  from  one  approach  to  another  in  dialogue  and  adjusting  to  the  environment  in  which  they  are  operating.  At  an  operational  level,  they  have  upgraded  their  systems  and  workflow  to  incorporate  3 Buske  Group  (April  8,  2011)  “Analysis  of  recent  PEG  access  center  closures,  funding  cutbacks  and  related  threats.”  A  report  prepared  for  the  Alliance  of  Communications  Democracy.4  Buckley,  Steve  (ed.)  (2012)  Community  Media:  A  good  practice  handbook.  Paris:  UNESCO;  Howley,  Kevin  (ed.)  (2010)  Understanding  community  media.  London  et  al.:  Sage;  Fuller  Linda  (ed.)  (2012)  The  Power  of  Global  Community  Media.  New  York:  Palgrave  MacMillan.  5  Carpentier,  N.,  Lie,  R.    and  Servaes,  J.  (2003),  “Community  media  :  Muting  the  democratic    media    discourse?”,    Continuum.  Journal  of  Media    &  Cultural  Studies,  (17)  1,  pp.  51-­‐68.   2
  • 8. digital  technologies,  and  distribute  video  content  online  and  across  different  media  platforms.  However,  questions  remain  among  practitioners,  policy-­‐makers  and  the  public  about  how  the  use  of  these  technologies  can  meet  the  information  needs  of  local  communities  in  an  ever-­‐changing  media  landscape.    In  the  past,  policy  discussions  on  access  to  media  have  tended  to  focus  on  technological  platforms  in  isolation,  ignoring  how  a  particular  medium  is  appropriated  and  integrated  in  the  information  environment  of  different  user  communities.  Assessing  the  challenges  of  digital  technologies  for  American  democracy,  the  Knight  Commission  on  the  Information  Needs  of  Communities  in  a  Democracy6  has  proposed  to  replace  this  vision  with  a  user-­‐centered,  ecological  approach  that  takes  into  account  how  citizens,  local  governments,  public  and  media  institutions  interact  in  strengthening  three  main  components  of  a  healthy  community  information  ecosystem  (Graph  1):     a)  communication  infrastructure  that  supports  the  delivery  and  flow  of  information   in  a  community;   b)  individual  and  institutional  skills  or  capacities  to  find,  create,  and  exchange   information  relevant  for  their  communities;  and   c)  the  availability  of  public  affairs  and  government  services  and  information,   community  news  and  events,  and  quality  of  life  information.    Graph  1.  Community  Information  Ecosystem        Source:  Knight  Commission’s  Community  Information  Toolkit    (2011)  6  Supra  2.   3
  • 9. Research  on  digital  media  education  has  also  found  that  increasing  user’s  competencies  in  the  new  media  environment  demands  much  more  than  just  “computer  skills.”  Abilities  to  collaborate,  negotiate  and  work  in  groups  to  solve  problems,  evaluate  different  forms  of  digital  media  content,  and  experiment  and  play  with  technologies  in  flexible  settings  foster  users’  autonomy  and  proficiencies  in  the  emerging  media  ecology.7  Such  important  aspects  of  social  access  supported  by  community  media  projects  are  commonly  overlooked;  however,  they  are  of  critical  importance  to  promote  sustainable  adoption  of  digital  media  technologies.    As  the  vision  of  the  Knight  Commission  suggests,  becoming  an  active  citizen  in  today’s  society  demands  not  only  opportunities  to  consume  local  information  and  news  but  also  the  abilities  to  create  and  share  messages  on  issues  that  affect  community  life.  In  this  context,  media  localism  should  be  understood  as  a  multifaceted  and  complex  process  that  requires  more  than  watching  local  content.  Although  of  critical  importance,  the  percentage  of  media  locally  produced  and  distributed  tells  us  little  about  people’s  ability  to  access  this  content,  how  diverse  local  publics  participate  in  these  productions,  how  their  voices  and  viewpoints  are  heard,  and  more  importantly,  how  this  process  impacts  dialogue,  local  governance,  citizens’  wellbeing,  and  community  life.8      Access  360 o  As  highlighted  by  the  Federal  Communication  Commission  (FCC)  in  its  groundbreaking  report  on  “The  Information  Needs  of  Communities,”  community  access  centers  that  have  successfully  transitioned  to  digital  operations  and  diversified  their  services  can  contribute  to  the  sustainability  and  quality  of  life  of  local  communities  by:     -­‐ enhancing  opportunities  for  digital  and  civic  literacy  training;     -­‐ offering  vocational  training  in  media  technology  related  careers  for  youth  and         adults;     -­‐ increasing  government  transparency  and  information;   -­‐ making  local  and  national  connections  via  social  networking  and  distribution  of   local  content  online;  and     -­‐ providing  open,  community  access  to  broadband  infrastructure  and  digital   technologies.  9  7  Jenkins,  H.  (2007)  Confronting  the  Challenges  of  Participatory  Culture:  Media  Education  for  the  21st  Century.  Whitepaper  for  the  MacArthur  Foundation.  Available  at  mitpress.mit.edu/books/full_pdfs/confronting_the_challenges.pdf  8  Fuentes-­‐Bautista,  M.  (2011)  “Digital  localism:  Understanding  needs  of  local  publics  in  the  transition.”  Paper  presented  at  the  38th  Annual  Telecommunication  Policy  Research  Conference,  Arlington,  VA;  Braman,  S.  (2007)  The  ideal  vs.  the  real  in  media  localism:  Regulatory  implications.  Communication  Law  and  Policy  12,  231-­‐278;  McDowell,  S.D.  and  Lee,  J.  (2007)  Tracking  “localism”  in  television  broadcasting:  Utilizing  and  Structuring  Public  Information.  In  Philip  Napoli  (ed)  Media  diversity  and  localism:  Meaning  and  metrics.  177-­‐191.  Lawrence  Erlbaum  Associate,  London,  New  Jersey.  9  Supra  1,  p.  174.   4
  • 10. PEG  channels  and  Community  Access  Centers  that  support  them  bear  great  potential  to  serve  as  a  bottom-­‐up,  integrated  approach  to  media  localism  for  the  digital  future.  Placed  at  the  intersections  of  government,  public  and  institutional  life  of  a  community,  these  projects  can  contribute  to  all  components  of  a  local  information  ecosystem  through  a  three-­‐prone  approach  that  integrates  media  training,  production  of  community  and  government  content,  and  diverse  media  distribution  activities  connecting  localities  with  regions  and  the  world  (Graph  2).      In  this  report  we  call  this  approach  “Access  360o,”  a  multi-­‐modal  access  strategy  defined  from  the  perspective  of  community  users,  aimed  at  enhancing  their  participation  in  the  local  information  ecosystem,  and  their  ability  to  connect  with  local  publics,  regions,  and  the  world.      Graph  2.  Access  360o   Web  -­‐-­‐  Global   Web  -­‐-­‐  Regional  &   National  Publics   Cable  -­‐-­‐  Local  Publics       Cable  -­‐-­‐  Local       Government  &   Institutions   Center  -­‐-­‐  Local   Production   Center  -­‐-­‐   Media   Training   Amherst   Media   Center        Few  studies  have  examined  how  members  of  local  communities  are  navigating  the  new  media  ecology  to  get  informed,  communicate  with  others,  and  participate  in  their  localities.  A  recent  national  survey  of  the  Pew  Internet  &  American  Life10  project  found  that  in  order  to  get  local  news  and  information,  Americans  are  turning  to  a  wider  range  of  platforms,  including  newspapers,  radio,  local  TV  stations,  social  media,  blogs  etc.  On  10  Tom  Rosenstiel,  Amy  Mitchell,  Kristen  Purcell  &  Lee  Rainie  (Sep  26,  2011)  “How  people  learn  about  their  local  community.”  Report  of  the  Pew  Internet  and  American  Life  Project.  Accessed  09/30/11  http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Local-­‐news.aspx     5
  • 11. the  whole,  local  newspapers  –print  and  online–  are  the  preferred  sources  of  public  affairs  and  government  information,  while  local  TV  news  is  mostly  consulted  for  weather,  breaking  news  and  to  a  lesser  extent  traffic.  Web-­‐only  outlets  (from  social  networking  to  video-­‐sharing  sites)  are  now  the  key  source  of  information  on  education,  local  businesses,  and  community  entertainment  (i.e.  restaurants,  music  and  performance  venues).    This  evaluation  adopts  a  media  ecology  approach  to  assess  Amherst  Media’s  role  in  the  local  community  information  ecosystem.  The  community  ecosystem  is  comprised  of  multiple  media  channels  and  community  spaces  used  by  Amherst  residents  to  get  informed  and  communicate  about  issues  that  matter  for  community  life.  The  following  section  describes  the  characteristics  of  different  user  communities  served  by  Amherst  Media,  their  patterns  of  consumption  of  video  content,  and  uses  of  new  media.    Then,  the  report  turns  to  an  evaluation  of  Amherst  Media’s  contribution  to  different  components  of  the  information  ecosystem  including:  (1)  communication  infrastructure;  (2)  institutional  and  individual  skills  to  create  and  exchange  community  content;  and  (3)  the  availability  of  government  and  community  information.  In  each  area,  we  asked  participants  of  the  study  to  compare  Amherst  Media’s  services  to  other  media  offerings  and  communication  services  available  in  the  region.     6
  • 12. III.  Mapping  Amherst  Media’s  Publics    This  study  assesses  only  the  experience  of  the  Amherst  Media  user  community.  The  goal  is  to  understand  how  AM  meets  their  communication  and  information  needs,  and  how  this  experience  can  be  improved.  Building  on  previous  studies  of  community  broadcasting  audiences  carried  out  in  the  U.S.  and  Australia,11  this  project  employed  a  user  survey,  focus  group  discussions  and  interviews  to  investigate  users’  reasons  for  watching  Amherst  Media  content,  using  its  facilities  and  training  services,  and  preferring  AM  content  and  services  over  other  media  offerings  and  services  (commercial,  public,  and  independent)  available  in  the  community.  This  design  constitutes  a  practical,  economical,  and  in-­‐depth  audience  research  approach  that  ensures  the  collection  of  meaningful  evidence  about  how  community  access  serves  its  local  publics.      Participants  in  our  community  survey  were  recruited  between  April  and  June  of  2011  through  public  service  announcements  broadcast  on  Amherst  Media’s  access  channels,  and  via  its  website  and  social  media  outlets.  This  method  of  recruitment  ensured  that  we  recruit  active  AM  users  who  could  help  us  to  understand  the  factors  and  dynamics  that  attract  them  to  Amherst  Media,  evaluating  the  quality  of  their  experience  with  the  community  media  center.    The  drawback  of  this  approach  is  that  it  employs  a  convenience  sample  and  relies  on  self-­‐selected  participants,  therefore  limiting  the  generalizability  of  the  study.      Hundred  ninety-­‐one  (191)  members  of  the  public  answered  the  call  to  participate  in  an  online  survey  that  explored  diverse  forms  of  user  involvement  in  the  center,  users’  patterns  of  access  and  use  of  media  technologies,  preferences  in  the  consumption  of  local  information,  media  production  practices,  and  socio-­‐demographics.  From  this  pool,  fifty-­‐five  (55)  people  also  participated  in  ten  (10)  two-­‐hour  focus  group  discussions  conducted  at  the  access  center  between  May  and  July  2011.  These  conversations  explored  reasons  for  involvement  in  Amherst  Media,  value  of  AM  programs  and  services  vis-­‐à-­‐vis  other  local  media  offerings,  and  general  suggestions  for  improving  AM  services.  Follow-­‐up,  in-­‐depth  interviews  with  ten  (10)  AM  producers  further  investigated  the  advantages  and  challenges  faced  by  citizens  that  use  AM  facilities,  equipment  and  services  to  engage  with  the  local  community  through  community  productions.    11 Fuentes-­‐Bautista  (2009,  April)  Beyond  Television:  The  digital  transition  of  public  access.  SSRC  Report;  Amherst,  MA.;  Inouye,  T.,  Lacoe,  J.  and  Henderson-­‐Frakes,  J.  (November  8,  2004)  Youth  Media’s  Impact  on  Audience  &  Channels  of  Distribution:  An  Exploratory  Study.  A  report  for  the  Open  Society  Institute.  Meadows,  M.,  Forde,  S.,  Ewart,  J.,  and  Foxwell,  K.  (March,  2007).  Community  media  matters:  An  Audience  Study  of  the  Australian  community  broadcasting  sector.  Australia.  Available  at  http://www.cbonline.org.au/index.cfm?pageId=51,171,2,0;  McNair  Ingenuity  Research  (2004).  Community  Radio  Listener  Survey  —  Summary  Report  of  Findings,  available  at  cbon-­‐line.org.au.;  McNair  Ingenuity  Research  (2006),  Community  Radio  Listener  Survey  —  Summary  Report  of  Findings,  available  at  http://    www.cbonline.org.au/media/mcnair_survey_06/McNair_Report.pdf     7
  • 13. 1.  Users’  socio-­‐demographics      Participants  in  this  study  tended  to  be  older,  less  ethnically  diverse,  and  more  educated  than  the  overall  Amherst  population.  As  detailed  in  Table  1,  the  majority  was  white  (81%),  between  ages  30  and  50  (55%),  college-­‐educated  (73%),  and  lives  in  households  making  over  $50,000  a  year  (56%).      However,  users  under  30  years  old  (20%  of  participants)  show  some  unique  socio-­‐demographic  patterns.  They  were  mostly  males  (53%),  more  ethically  diverse  than  the  overall  sample  (68%  were  white),  low  or  middle  income  (70.3%),  attending  school  (51%)  or  working  part-­‐time  (27%).  Young  adults  –  who  clearly  are  mostly  students  –  also  account  for  almost  half  (45.8%)  of  low-­‐income  respondents.  Users  making  less  than  $30,000  a  year  represent  29%  of  our  sample.  They  tended  to  be  more  diverse  than  the  overall  sample  (70%  were  white),  college  educated  (63%),  working  part-­‐time  (44%)  or  full-­‐time  (19%),  or  attending  school  (29%).  Finally,  approximately  half  of  our  sample  (47%)  was  constituted  by  registered  members  of  Amherst  Media.  They  tend  to  be  college  educated,  in  their  20s  or  50s,  more  ethnically  diverse  than  the  overall  sample  (73%  are  white),  and  lower  or  middle  income.  We  compare  results  among  these  different  groups  to  explore  patterns  of  affiliation  and  degrees  of  involvement  of  different  publics  with  the  center.      Table  1.  Amherst  Media  Users  (Valid  N=191)   Amherst Amherst Media Town of Media Town of Survey Amherst Survey Amherst % % (2010) % % (2010) AGE EDUCATION < 20 years 3.2 N/A Some high school 2.1 N/A 20 – 29 16.7 N/A High school/ equiv. 5.3 N/A 30 – 39 8.1 N/A Some college 13.3 N/A 40 – 49 18.8 N/A Associate degree 5.9 N/A 50 – 59 28.5 N/A Bachelors degree 35.1 N/A N/A N/A 60 – 69 13.4 Graduate degree 38.3 > 70 years 11.3 N/A ANNUAL HOUSE. INCOME GENDER < $30,000 29.3 N/A Male 50.5 47.9 $30,000-$39,999 5.5 N/A $40,000-$49,999 9.8 N/A Female 49.5 52.1 $50,000-$74,999 20.7 N/A RACE $75,000-$99,999 20.7 N/A One Race 92 > $100,000 14 N/A White 80.7 78.9 WORKING STATUS African Amer. 5.3 5.5 Full-time 47.3 N/A N/A American Indian 0.5 0.2 Part-time 20.7 Asian 1.6 9.5 Going to school 12.2 N/A Other Race 3.7 Home caretaker 1.2 N/A Mixed races 8 Retired 13.8 N/A Hispanic/Latino 8 6.6 Unemployed 4.8 N/A 8
  • 14. 2.  Amherst  Media  as  a  Regional  Community  Access  Resource    Our  study  reveals  that  Amherst  Media  functions  as  a  regional  community  access  resource  that  meets  the  communication  and  information  needs  of  residents  of  Amherst  and  many  other  communities  in  Western  Massachusetts.  An  important  number  of  survey  respondents  –almost  forty  percent  (40%)–  were  residents  of  seventeen  (17)  other  communities  in  the  region,  including  neighboring  towns  (i.e.  Northampton  and  Hadley),  urban  centers  (Springfield,  26  miles  south  of  Amherst)  as  well  as  more  remote  ones  such  as  Turners  Falls,  Orange,  Williamsburg,  and  even  North  Adams  (52  miles  north  west  from  Amherst)  (Table  2).  Interestingly,  Amherst  residents  and  non-­‐residents  present  similar  socio-­‐demographics  and  patterns  of  affiliation  to  the  station.    Table  2.  Which  town  do  you  live  in?       Town Frequency % Amherst 113 60.1 Northampton 12 6.4 Springfield 8 4.3 Hadley 7 3.7 Sunderland 6 3.2 Belchertown 5 2.7 Easthampton 5 2.7 Leverett 4 2.1 Other 28 14.9 Total valid 188 100.0       9
  • 15. Non-­‐Amherst  residents  are  an  active  and  vibrant  part  of  the  AM  user  community.  In  focus  group  discussions,  they  explained  their  interest  in  Amherst  Media,  and  strong  motivation  to  commute  to  Amherst  –sometimes  over  long  distances–  based  on:     • The  lack  of  comparable  access  services  in  their  towns;   • Friendly  and  welcoming  atmosphere  at  the  center  that  is  also  opened  for  long   hours;     • Greater  quality  of  the  services  and  equipment  available  at  the  Amherst’s  access   center;     • Media  technology  classes  not  available  in  other  places;   • Opportunities  to  distribute  content  through  the  local  access  channels  and  online;   and   • Interest  in  the  work  of  community  producers  and  the  creative  community  of   Amherst.    3.  Use  of  Media  Technologies  and  Exposure  to  Video  Content    Participants  in  our  study  can  be  described  as  tech-­‐savvy  adults,  with  taste  for  alternative  forms  of  media  and  information,  and  who  routinely  use  a  blend  of  media  platforms  and  devices  to  watch  video  content  and  seek  out  local  information  (Graph  3).      Graph  3:  Do  you  use  these  electronic  devices  to  watch  video?  (Please  check  all  that  apply)        AM  users  we  surveyed  have  distinct  media  technology  habits  that  somewhat  reflect  the  social  dynamics  of  a  college  town.     • Use  a  laptop  computer  (82%)  or  desktop  computer  at  home  (65.9%)  to  watch   video.  Use  of  laptop  computers  at  home  is  particularly  high  among  users  under   30-­‐years  (94%);   10
  • 16. • Watch  online  videos:  69.9%  watches  between  one  and  ten  hours  of  online  videos   a  week,  and  3%  watches  10  hours  or  more.   •  AM  users  are  significantly  more  likely  than  US  adults12  to:   • Use  social  networking  sites  (80.1%  vs.  64%);  visit  a  local,  state  or  federal   government  website  (90.9%  vs.  67%);  get  their  news  from  online  sources  (94.3%   vs.  76%);  and  use  the  Web  to  look  for  jobs  (64.2%  vs.  56%).     • Overall,  social  networking,  reading  news,  and  e-­‐banking  are  the  most  preferred   online  activities  of  participants  in  our  study,  followed  closely  by  consulting  e-­‐ government  sites,  downloading  or  streaming  music,  chatting  with  friends  and   getting  or  receiving  advice  about  health  issues.     In  contrast,  they  were  less  likely  than  US  adults  to:   • Use  television  sets  to  watch  videos  (85%  vs.  compared  with  99%  of  all  US   adults).13  It  is  important  to  point  out  that  these  trends  are  even  more   pronounced  among  young  adults,  79%  of  whom  declared  having  TV  at  home.   • Watch  commercial  television.  The  majority  of  our  sample  (71.6%)  watches  less   than  20  hours  of  commercial  television  a  week,  and  23%  of  respondents  do  not   watch  commercial  television  at  all.  These  numbers  are  considerable  lower  than   the  average  consumption  of  commercial  TV  in  the  U.S.14    The  majority  of  survey  participants  subscribes  broadband  at  home  (84%),  uses  the  Internet  in  a  daily  basis  (92.3%),  and  goes  online  from  various  places,  mainly  home  and  work,  and  other  locations  (i.e.  school,  coffee  houses,  and  a  friend’s  house)  (Graph  4).     • These  results  place  our  sample  among  the  well-­‐connected  of  the  Internet  user   population  in  the  U.S.  According  to  the  most  recent  data  of  the  Pew  Internet  &   American  Life  project,  only  62%  of  all  adults  in  the  country  enjoy  a  high-­‐speed   broadband  connection  at  home,15  and  59%  of  American  adults  actually  use  the   Internet  everyday.    12  Recent  statistics  of  video  viewership  across  different  media  platforms  can  be  found  at  http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/american-­‐video-­‐habits-­‐by-­‐age-­‐gender-­‐and-­‐ethnicity/;  for  recent  trends  of  online  activities  see  http://www.pewinternet.org/Static-­‐Pages/Trend-­‐Data/Online-­‐Activites-­‐Total.aspx. For  recent  statistics  of  TV  ownership  see:  http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/media_entertainment/nielsen-­‐estimates-­‐number-­‐of-­‐u-­‐s-­‐television-­‐homes-­‐to-­‐be-­‐114-­‐7-­‐million13  Nielsen’s  Cross  Platform  report  (June  15,  2011)  http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/cross-­‐platform-­‐report-­‐americans-­‐watching-­‐more-­‐tv-­‐mobile-­‐and-­‐web-­‐video/    14  The  most  recent  reports  of  the  American  Time  Use  Survey  indicate  that  that  on  average,  Americans  age  15  and  over  spend  2.7  hours  per  day  watching  television  that  is  18.9  hours  a  week  (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.nr0.htm).  Nielsen  ratings  estimates  the  average  TV  viewing  in  around  20  hours  a  week.  15 Pew  Internet  &  American  Life  Project,  accessed  January  11th,  2012.  For  recent  statistics  on  daily  activities  online  see  http://www.pewinternet.org/Trend-­‐Data/Online-­‐Activities-­‐Daily.aspx;   11
  • 17. We  found  that  only  16%  of  people  in  our  sample  lack  of  high-­‐speed  Internet  access  at  home.     • The  top  reasons  behind  the  lack  of  home  broadband  access  were  high  prices  of   connection  and  monthly  fees  broadband  services  (64%),  lack  of  interest  in  these   services  (20%),  and  absence  of  broadband  providers  in  their  area  of  residency   (16%).    Graph  4.  In  a  regular  week,  how  often  do  you  go  online  form  the  following  locations?     Several   Once  a   3-­‐5  times/   1-­‐2  times/   Rarely  or   Location Total times  a  day day week week NeverHome 72.5% 17.4% 3.4% 2.2% 4.5% 100%Work 55.1% 6.7% 2.8% 3.4% 32.0% 100%School 12.4% 4.5% 2.2% 2.2% 78.7% 100%Public  Library 2.2% 1.1% 5.6% 9.6% 81.5% 100%Coffee  House  or  other  public   2.8% 1.1% 4.5% 19.7% 71.9% 100%locationA  friends  house 2.2% 1.1% 2.2% 12.4% 82.0% 100%  In  order  to  find  video  content  online,  Amherst  Media  users  tend  to  rely  on  search  engines,  recommendations  from  friends,  and  searches  on  video-­‐sharing  sites  like  YouTube  (Graph  5).    Graph  5.  How  do  you  regularly  find  video  content  online?  (N=176)  Estimates  about  broadband  penetration  are  available  at  http://www.pewinternet.org/Trend-­‐Data/Home-­‐Broadband-­‐Adoption.aspx.     12
  • 18. 4.  Awareness  of  Amherst  Media  services    Survey  results  indicate  that  contact  with  local  social  networks,  and  casual  TV  surfing  are  the  typical  ways  in  which  viewers  of  Amherst  Media  content  first  become  aware  of  the  local  channels  and  the  Center  (Table  3).  However,  as  explained  by  focus  group  participants,  watching  AM  content  on  cable  or  online  does  not  easily  translate  into  knowledge  and  awareness  of  the  full  spectrum  of  training  and  community  activities  offered  by  the  Center.      Table  3.  How  did  you  first  become  aware  of  Amherst  Media  channels  (Public,  Entertainment,  Government)?       Answers  options   %   A  friend   25%   Surfing  through  television  channels   19%   Local  government   16%   Community  organization   13%   My  local  school   7%   Local  newspaper   7%   Work   4%   Dont  remember   4%   Sought  out  for  local  TV  station   3%   OTHER   3%    Participants  in  focus  group  discussions  expressed  their  strong  desire  to  see  larger  sections  of  the  Amherst  community  represented  in  programs  aired  by  the  channels,  or  directly  involved  in  the  many  activities  organized  at  the  Center.  Overall,  there  was  a  consensus  that  Amherst  Media  needs  to  publicize  more  widely  their  services  and  programs  to  the  local  community.      Users  see  a  great  need  to  customize  outreach  efforts  to  engage  particular  sections  of  the  Amherst  population,  particularly  the  youth,  local  artists,  and  low-­‐income  residents.  For  instance,  Jacob16,  a  youth  local  artist  blacksmith  who  first  became  aware  of  AM  at  a  community  event  when  he  was  invited  to  visit  the  center,  proposed  to  increase  participation  of  community  artists  by  reaching  out  to  local  groups  of  artists,  and  create  and  air  regular  programs  featuring  their  work.  A  26-­‐year  old  community  producer  who  has  used  the  facilities  for  more  than  10  years,17  spoke  of  the  need  to  attract  more  youth  by  partnering  with  local  colleges  and  colleges,  and  offering  screenwriting,  citizen  journalism  and  performance  classes  for  students.    Bruce,18  a  local  contractor  who  produces  his  own  community  show  for  the  public  channel  (Channel  15),  believes  that  16 Focus  group  discussion  1,  04/16/2011.  17 Focus  group  discussion  4,  04/21/2011.18  Focus  group  discussion  2,  04/19/2011.   13
  • 19. the  center  should  think  more  creatively  of  training  and  outreach  activities  for  low-­‐income  residents  who  cannot  pay  for  training,  for  those  who  work  regular  hours  during  weekdays,  or  those  who  lack  awareness  or  do  not  understand  the  “do-­‐it-­‐yourself”  culture  and  grassroots  spirit  that  drives  community  media  productions.    College  students  and  other  members  of  the  public  would  like  to  see  a  more  active  working  relation  between  Amherst  Media  and  the  Five  Colleges.  Although  Amherst  Media  has  established  internship  programs  with  UMass  Amherst  and  Hampshire  College,  students  participants  in  our  study  explain  that  they  found  information  about  AM  through  social  networks  of  friends,  occasionally  through  professors,  or  through  Web  searches  while  looking  for  local  internship  opportunities.       “There  is  a  personal  link  between  several  faculty  in  the  Communication   department,  but  I  do  not  think  that  it  translates  into  a  student  connection  for   career  or  internship  possibilities.  I  went  to  a  career  office  on  campus  and  no  one   said  to  me  “Oh,  you  are  a  Comm  major,  you  should  go  to  Amherst  Media.”  I  also   don’t  think  it  is  institutionalized  on  the  campus  TV  station…”   Adrian,  AM  Intern,  Co-­‐producer,  Local  Sound  (personal  interview).     “I  found  out  about  Amherst  Media  probably  my  second  semester  here.    I   transferred  here  in  the  fall  of  2008,  so  probably  about  spring  ’09  and  at  that   time,  I  was  working  for  WMUA…  I  spent  a  lot  of  time  on  the  Internet  trying  to   find  things  out  Amherst  and  that’s  how  I  found  out  about  WMUA  and  while   working  there  one  day  I  heard  about  Amherst  Media… The  connection  between   U-­‐Mass  and  Amherst  Media,  I  think  primarily  comes  through  career  services  and   the  campus  television  station…  but  one  thing  that  they  don’t  tell  you  is  you  could   do  this  as  a  work-­‐study  job.    If  I  knew  that,  I  would’ve  found  a  way  because  I  took   two  jobs  these  years…I  worked  at  the  station  for  five  hours  a  week  and  I  did  a   security  job.    I  would’ve  taken  this  before  security  if  I  had  to  known.    I’d  transfer   work-­‐study  funds  here  and  gain  so  much  more  experience,  but  they  don’t  tell  you   that  at  first,  a  lot  of  information  is  missed…  really  it’s  on  you  to  go  and  find   information.”   Candace,  UMass  Amherst  student  and  AM  intern  (04/21/2011)     “I  needed  a  work-­‐study  job  and  all  the  campus  jobs  went  off  quickly,  and  I   wanted  something  media  involved  because  I’m  a  film  video  production  student,   so  Amherst  Media  definitely  filled  those  requirements  and  it  was  a  nice   environment…  I  think  I  saw  it  in  a  flyer  or  a  list  of  work  studies  of  campus…  but   we  have  a  missing  link  between  our  schools  to  our  resource  here…”   MelMel,  Hampshire  College  student  and  AM  intern  (04/21/2011).   14
  • 20. IV.  Amherst  Media  and  the  Local  Information  Ecosystem    Perhaps,  the  most  valuable  contribution  of  community  media  projects  to  community  life  is  their  ability  to  involve  local  citizens  in  variety  of  media  training,  education,  collaboration,  production  and  deliberation  activities  that  expand  knowledge  and  communicative  skills  that  people  can  use  in  many  aspects  of  their  lives:  from  politics,  education,  and  job-­‐related  pursuits,  to  creative  expression  and  entertainment.  We  assessed  the  contribution  of  Amherst  Media  to  its  local  information  ecosystem  by  examining  different  activities  through  which  the  public  participates  in  the  Amherst’s  access  center  and  its  channels.  We  evaluated  the  quality  of  this  experience  by  asking  users  to  compare  AM  services  to  other  media  offerings  available  in  the  region,  submitting  their  opinions  and  suggestions  for  improving  AM  operations.    1.  Different  forms  of  public  involvement  in  Amherst  Media    Viewing  content  distributed  through  local  cable  channels  and  the  Web  is  the  most  common  activity  (68.6%)  through  which  users  engage  with  Amherst  Media  (Graph  6).      Graph  6.  Public  involvement  in  Amherst  Media     Please check the boxes that describe your relationship with Amherst Media   (you may check more than one box) (N = 156)       I am a member of a local 2.6%   business that sponsors AM   I am a member of a non-profit 8.3%   organization that sponsors AM   I do volunteer work and time for 12.8%   AM   I produce video and web content 29.5%     I use AM facilities and services 46.8%       I watch AM video content 68.6%   0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 70.0% 80.0%    However,  the  majority  of  Amherst  Media  users  we  surveyed  (61%)  are  involved  with  the  center  through  many  other  activities  beyond  watching  video  content.  As  a  community  media  project,  Amherst  Media  enjoys  diverse  and  strong  ties  with  its  user  community;  people  tend  to  combine  the  viewer  experience  –arguably  a  passive  form  of  public  involvement–  with  different  forms  of  active  participation  through  training,  production  activities,  and  use  of  the  facilities  (Graph  7).   15
  • 21. • Direct  use  of  Amherst  center  facilities  (46.8%),  and  content  production  for  the   web  and  the  channels  (29.5%)  are  important  activities  that  characterize  the   regular  AM  user’s  experience.     • Participants  also  volunteer  time  at  the  station  (12.8%)  and  sponsor  programs   and  events  (10.9%),  bringing  direct  support  to  Amherst  Media  operations.   • Forty  percent  (40%)  of  users  are  engaged  with  the  center  in  more  than  one   activity.      Graph  7.  Types  of  Public  Involvement  (n=156)   Produce  content   Volunteer  only   Sponsor  only   only   3%   5%   3%   Use  the  facility   only   10%   Watch  content   only   39%   2  acaviaes   19%   ≥  3  acaviaes   21%      Registered  Amherst  Media  members  are  more  likely  to  engage  in  more  than  one  activity  with  the  access  center  (Table  4).  The  decision  of  joining  AM  as  a  member  is  connected  to  the  benefits  users  derived  from  engaging  in  different  activities  supported  by  the  community  access  center,  particularly  training  and  use  of  equipment.  In  order  to  increase  number  of  citizens  affiliated  to  the  center,  Amherst  Media  should  think  of  how  its  membership  can  “add  value”  to  the  experience  of  its  users,  beyond  offering  access  to  resources  (i.e.  equipment)  and  information  (in  the  case  of  viewers).  For  instance,  members  could  be  offered  discounts  to  attend  local  events  and  venues  that  sponsor  the  center  and  local  access  channels.    Table  4.  Number  of  Activities  in  which  AM  Members  Participate  (n=156)        N  of  Activities   Are  you  an  AMHERST   MEDIA  member?   No   Yes   1  activity   78.00%   39.20%   2  activities   17.10%   21.60%   3  activities  or  more   4.90%   39.20%   16
  • 22. The  need  of  ‘connecting’  with  local  community,  and  keeping  up  with  local  public  affairs  is  the  main  factor  driving  general  public  involvement  with  Amherst  Media.  This  can  happen  in  the  real  and  virtual  space  through  activities  at  the  access  center,  or  by  watching  local  video  content  distributed  through  the  cable  channels  and  the  Web.  Some  users  look  for  a  “medium”  to  broadcast  their  ideas,  while  others  seemed  more  interested  in  knowing  what  is  happening  in  town,  exchanging  opinions  or  engaging  in  dialogue  with  particular  members  of  the  local  community.      Focus  group  participants  described  Amherst  Media  as  a  “channel”  or  “space”  where  people  can  “meet  other  people,”  “reach  to  locals,”  “made  your  ideas  known  by  others  in  the  community,”  “find  like-­‐minded  people,”  “provide  alternative  viewpoints,”  or  “advocate”  for  a  cause.  This  need  for  ‘public  connection’  was  reflected  in  narratives  that  highlight  how  Amherst  Media  serves  as  a  forum  to  access  local  publics,  and  let  them  know  about  community  life  and  issues.     “I’m  a  parent  and  an  advocate  and  I’ve  been  involved  in  the  Amherst  public   school  system  for  more  than  20  years.    As  a  parent  of  color,  there  are  issues.    We   have  an  excellent  public  education  but  there  are  issues  with  inequality  and   educational  achievement  gaps.    It  [Amherst  Media]  is  important  to  let  people   know  about  these  issues  –  I  am  a  strong  advocate  for  social  justice,  from  special   education  issues  to  kids  of  color,  to  low-­‐income  families…”   Parent,  woman  of  color,  local  business  owner  (04/21/2011)     “I  think  its  important  that  residents  have  access  to  all  of  the  different  programs   and  things  that  are  happening  in  this  community.    There  are  so  many  and  its   hard  to  get  to  even  a  fraction  of  them,  so  I  think  its  important  that  Amherst   Media  records  them  made  them  available  for  all…”   Rebecca,  Amherst  resident,  President  of  League  of  Women  Voters   (04/27/2011)       “I  work  for  the  Amherst  Public  Schools  as  the  volunteer...    I  also  do  a  lot  of   community  outreach  and  development  for  the  Amherst  Public  Schools.    Currently,   I  help  in  our  [school  superintendent’s]  bimonthly  TV  show  here  at  Amherst  Media.     I  line  up  guests  and  coordinate  all  the  behind-­‐the-­‐scenes  things  that  go  on.    I’m   also  very  interested  in  doing  podcasts  of  the  school  events  that  we  have  coming   up,  and  community  events,  and  linking  those  podcasts  to  Amherst  Media  so   people  know  about  them.    Can  you  believe  it?”   Parent  and  school  volunteer  (05/18/2011)    The  second  most  prominent  factor  attracting  users  to  Amherst  Media  is  access  to  affordable  media  training  and  equipment.  Amherst  Media  serves  as  a  training  and  vocational  center  for  many  in  search  of  opportunities  to  learn  and  upgrade  their  media  technology  skills,  or  to  use  state-­‐of-­‐the-­‐art  equipment  and  software  they  cannot  afford  in  the  market.  It  is  important  to  point  out  that  even  for  those  who  come  to  the  center   17
  • 23. looking  for  training  opportunities,  contact  with  Amherst  media  staff  and  members  of  the  local  community  qualitatively  transform  and  enrich  this  experience,  adding  social  meaning  to  the  learning  process,  and  enhancing  their  sense  of  connection  to  the  local  community.     “I  started  coming  down  here  two  or  three  years  ago  when  everything  kinda  fell   off  economically.  I’m  a  contractor,  so  jobs  definitely  dried  up...  I  thought  perhaps   I  could  make  money  on  this,  maybe  or  it  could  lead  to  some  other  opportunity...  I   am  philosophically  opposed  to  computers  and  don’t  feel  comfortable  with  them;   I’m  not  interested  in  the  whole  media  thing  online.  But  I  have  acquired  some   skills  and  I  produce  my  own  program.  I  figure  some  people  watch  in  Amherst,  and   I  occasionally  get  some  feedback  from  people  around  here.  Most  of  it  is  locally-­‐ related.  I  don’t  like  to  dwell  on  the  politics  all  the  time,  I  think  it’s  depressing...   But  I’m  here  to  offer  an  alternative  viewpoint  to  the  people;  that’s  basically  what   I’m  doing  here…”       Bruce,  Amherst  resident,  local  contractor  and  AM  producer  (04/19/2011)     “I  came  to  Amherst  to  study  a  master’s  of  fine  arts  and  poetry  at  UMASS...  [My   partner  and  I]  decided  we’d  like  to  record  some  of  the  readings  that  happen  at   UMASS,  around  Northampton  and  Amherst,  and  put  them  up  on  a  podcast.  So,   we  come  here  [to  Amherst  Media]  and  we  record  a  podcast  with  an  introduction   and  then  a  live  reading.    We  keep  it  very  light  and  conversational.    I’m  a  veteran   listener  to  podcasts,  so  I  kind  of  try  to  follow  the  formats  there.  As  for  TV,  we   don’t  even  have  our  television  plugged  in.    We  don’t  have  cable.    That’s  not  out  of   snobbishness!  We  watch  online,  that  includes  a  little  bit  of  Amherst  media   website.    Simply,  as  a  student  and  a  teacher,  I  don’t  really  have  all  sorts  of  money   to  invest  in  all  sorts  of  equipment  to  record  a  podcast.    It’s  great  to  come  here   and  have  James’  assistance  when  it  comes  to  recording  and  uploading  it.    We’ve   learned  a  lot  about  recording  audio.    Amherst  Media  has  been  very  helpful  to  us   as  far  as  that  goes.”   Greg,  graduate  student  at  UMass  Amherst,  poet,  producer  (04/21/2011)    2.  Amherst  Media  as  Community  Infrastructure    Forty  seven  percent  (47%)  of  people  we  surveyed  use  Amherst  Media  facilities.  Amherst  Media  functions  as  a  “community  center”  that  supports  not  only  the  production  of  content  distributed  through  its  channels  but  also  vocational,  economic  and  social  life  of  its  users.  Users  of  the  facilities  tend  to  be  white  (68%)  males  (52.4%)  residents  of  Amherst  (76%),  who  are  in  their  20s  or  40s,  who  and  make  less  than  $50,000  a  year  (53.4%).    The  centrality  of  Amherst  Media  as  community  access  infrastructure  is  illustrated  in  Table  5.  The  use  of  the  facility  is  common  not  only  among  those  who  produce  content  at  the  center  but  also  among  viewers,  volunteers  and  sponsors  of  Amherst  Media.       18
  • 24. Table  5.  Types  of  Public  involvement  in  Amherst  Media  (n=156)     Activities   %   Watch  AM  content   39.1   Use  facilities  &  services   10.3   Watch/produce  content,  use  facilities   10.3   Watch  content  &  use  facilities   6.4   Produce  content  &  use  facilities   6.4   Watch/produce  content,  use  facilities  &  volunteer   5.1   Sponsor  AM   4.5   Produce  content   3.2   Volunteer  at  AM   2.6   Watch  content  &  sponsor   1.9   Use  facilities  &  sponsor   1.9   Use  facilities  &  volunteer   1.9   Watch/produce  content   1.3   Watch  content,  use  facilities  &  sponsor   1.3   Produce  content,  use  facilities  &  volunteer   1.3   Other   2.5    The  importance  of  the  community  access  center  for  AM  users  was  expressed  in  numerous  testimonies  collected  through  our  focus  groups.  Participants  described  Amherst  Media  as  a  “town  center,”  the  “modern  digital  library,”  a  “fire  station  for  freedom  of  speech,”  an  “open  community  space,”  and  “an  affordable  training  center”  with  a  welcoming  environment,  and  flexible  hours.     “I  think  of  it  [Amherst  Media]  as  a  community  center  potentially  because  of  the   communication  going  on  in  and  out  here  all  of  the  time,  connecting  up  people,   making  this  like  a  town  center.    At  the  moment,  towns  struggle  for  having  a   “town  center;”  this  could  be  part  of  the  town  center  out  of  the  cultural,  personal,   social  networks  created  here.    And  we  need  that  because  –  well,  I  do  go   downtown,  but  some  Amherst  people  dont  walk  around,  dont  connect,  but  this   could  be  a  source  of  connection…”   Rachel,  artist  and  social  worker,  representative  of  the  Amherst  Public  Arts   Commission  (04/14/2011).     “…  This  [Amherst  Media]  is  a  resource  for  people  in  the  community  that  serves  as   a  modern  library  in  a  way.    I  mean,  libraries  provide  books  and  some  media   access  and  they  provide  a  little  bit  of  Internet,  but  this  one  provides  a  different   type  of  media  access.  Its  open  to  the  public  and  it  is  almost  a  library  and  a  vital   service  in  that  way,  helping  people  connect  with  the  21st  century  media...”   Jacob,  Amherst  resident,  local  artist  and  blacksmith  (04/14/2011).     19
  • 25. “Amherst  Media  is  this  place…  Today,  you  think  of  a  library  as  a  physical  meeting   space.    Well,  really  there  are  digital  meeting  spaces  now.    Who’s  going  to  provide   the  local  digital  meeting  space  for  Amherst?    How  are  we  going  to  find  out  what   the  events  are  in  Amherst?    Where  are  we  going  to  have  discussions  about   Amherst,  in  the  ether,  in  the  cloud?    Who’s  going  to  provide  that  infrastructure?     Libraries,  cafes,  town  government  meetings,  actual  meetings  used  to  do  it,  but   it’s  very  hard  to  attend  meetings  all  the  time.  But  you  really  don’t  have  to  attend   meetings  anymore  because  you  can  have  those  conversations  online  in  an   asynchronous  way.    So,  who’s  going  to  provide  that  opportunity?“   Baird,  local  business  owner,  parent,  involved  in  local  government   (05/11/2011)     “It  [Amherst  Media]  is  a  bit  more  of  a  professional  environment.  We  just  had  a   poet  record  for  our  [podcast]  program,  and  we  could  do  it  at  home  but  having   the  studio  is  kind  of  neat…  this  may  be  part  of  a  community  space  –that  space   between  work  and  home.  It’s  another  space  in  town  in  which  to  be  civic;  and  this   is  a  good  thing!”   Greg,  graduate  student  at  UMass  Amherst,  poet,  producer  (04/21/2011)    Users  under  30-­‐years  of  age  (70%),  those  from  low  and  middle-­‐income  households  (68%),  registered  Amherst  Media  members  (75%),  tend  to  be  the  main  users  of  the  access  center.  As  Graph  8  illustrates,  the  use  the  facility  is  a  central  activity  even  among  those  who  do  not  watch  content  produced  at  the  center.    Graph  8.  –  Use  of  Amherst  Media  Facilities  Among  Non-­‐viewers  and  Young  Adults        When  asked  to  compare  Amherst  Media  facilities  to  other  access  centers  in  the  region,  and  similar  spaces  in  the  Five  Colleges  (such  as  computer  labs,  radio  or  television  stations),  users  explain  the  advantages  of  the  Amherst’s  community  access  center  in  terms  of:     20
  • 26. • Openness:  all  Amherst  residents  and  other  members  of  the  public  can  use  the   facility  and  services.   • Schedule:  the  Center  is  opened  for  longer  hours.   • Flexibility:  flexible  rules  for  the  use  of  the  equipment  and  space,  allowing  for   experimentation  in  a  more  relaxed  environment.   • Quality  of  equipment:  advanced  video  and  computer  equipment  not  available  in   other  places.   • Staff:  helpful  and  knowledgeable  staff  ready  to  assists  users.   • Comfort:  welcoming  atmosphere,  organized  and  clean  facilities.     “I  think  for  community  it  [Amherst  Media]  is  the  best  space…  I  work  at  U-­‐Mass   but  there  are  a  lot  of  things  that  I  can’t  be  a  part  of  because  I’m  just  staff.    You   have  to  be  a  student  or  a  faculty  or  somebody,  and  I  don’t  fit  in  that  category,   but  here  it’s  for  everyone,  it’s  for  the  community…”   Robin,  UMass  Amherst  staff,  access  producer  (04/21/2011)     “Greenfield  [access  center]  has  got  nice  offices  with  computers  in  it  and   everything,  and  people  are  very  friendly  like  in  Northampton  –really  nice  guys   there;  and  there  are  other  centers  too  but  in  many  of  them  you  have  to  be  a   member  or  resident  to  air  a  show.  And  I  found  that  to  be  a  member,  either  not   everybody  was  eligible,  and  you  have  to  have  a  sponsor  from  the  community,  or   it  was  too  expensive…”   Bruce,  Amherst  resident,  local  contractor  and  producer  of  “The  Bruce’s   Show”  (04/19/2011)     “I  got  one  of  their  [Amherst  Media]  Thursday  afternoon  tours,  and  was  bowled   over  by  the  equipment,  cuz  I  wasn’t  working  with  anything  like  it  [in  the  high   school].  And  the  fact  that  it  was  $10  for  membership  at  that  time,  and  then  you   would  get  all  of  these  services  for  free.  I  saw  it  as  a  really  great  opportunity...   Amherst  Media  was  the  only  TV  station  with  which  one  could  do  that.  It  just   seemed  perfect  for  what  we  were  looking  for.”   Josh,  High  school  student,  Co-­‐producer  of  Student  News     “The  reason  I  come  here  a  lot  is  because  the  equipment  is  state-­‐of-­‐the-­‐art,   because  I  know  that  I’m  going  to  get  the  best  quality  software  and  pertinent   tools  consistently,  so  that’s  why  I  come  here…”   White  male,  UMass  undergraduate  student  (04/21/2011)    Amherst  Media  users  expressed  concerns  about  the  future  of  the  community  center,  and  asked  to  hold  a  public  discussion  with  board  members  and  town  representative  about  the  future  of  the  facilities.  In  2010  Western  Mass  Electric  Company  (WMCO)  did  not  renew  the  long-­‐term  the  lease  on  the  Amherst  Media  building  located  at  246  College  St,  and  since  then  AM  has  been  seeking  out  a  new  space  to  relocate.  Focus   21
  • 27. group  participants  raised  questions  about  the  lack  of  information  and  debate  about  the  future  of  Amherst  Media  facilities,  and  propose  to  host  an  open  discussion  with  town  authorities  and  board  members  about  the  alternative  solutions  to  this  problem.    3.  Amherst  Media  and  the  Creation  of  Local  Skills  and  Capacities    3.1.  Media  and  Technology  Training    The  majority  of  users  we  surveyed  (53%)  have  taken  media  and  technology  training  classes  in  Amherst  Media.  Curiously  we  found  that  in  this  group,  users  of  all  ages  have  benefited  from  different  forms  of  AM  training;  however,  in  our  sample  college  educated  (81.5%),  females  (52%),  from  low  and  middle  income  (53.7%)  households  were  more  likely  to  participate  in  training  activities.      Graph  9.  Have  you  ever  taken  a  training  class  at  Amherst  Media?  (Valid  N=  101)     Please indicate the reasons why you have attended training classes at Amherst Media (Valid N= 54) 100% 89% 90% 80% 70% No 70% 47% 60% 56% 54% Yes 53% 50% 40% 28% 30% 20% 10% 0% I wanted to learn Classes at AM are I wanted to I wanted to use My friends new skills or very affordable produce my own state of the art recommended it update my media content digital equipment   knowledge    Interest  in  learning  or  upgrading  communication  abilities  that  can  be  applied  to  jobs,  education,  social  life,  and  cultural  and  political  expression  are  the  main  reasons  behind  the  decision  to  pursue  training  classes  at  the  center  (Graph  9).  Affordability  of  these  services,  and  the  possibility  to  employ  state-­‐of-­‐the-­‐art  digital  equipment  are  also  important  factors  attracting  users  to  AM  classes.      Through  formal  training  classes  as  well  as  through  informal  and  peer-­‐learning  activities  of  natural  occurrence  at  the  center,  Amherst  Media  exhibits  great  flexibility  to  meet  the  media  educational  needs  of  diverse  groups  in  the  community.  In  this  unique  environment,  beginners,  amateurs  and  professional  mingle  and  share  experiences  and  knowledge  that  enrich  their  learning  experience.  Focus  group  participants  and  interviewees  explained  that  such  exchanges  are  very  valuable  for  them,  spark  their  creativity  and  foster  sense  of  community.       “I’ve  produced  for  the  History  Channel,  for  PBS  –mostly  the  History  Channel–  and   also  museums…    I  have  pieces  that  I  made  that  are  in  the  Connecticut  Science   22
  • 28. Center  and  the  Naval  Academy.    I’ve  done  a  lot  of  editing  and  producing  of  short   things,  so  I’ve  always  been  involved  in  media.    But  I  started  coming  here  to  bone   up  on  my  editing  skills,  and  it  has  been  great.    So,  I  came  here  to  learn  how  to   better  edit,  and  also  talked  to  them  quite  a  bit  about  programming  that  they   need…”   Jacqueline,  Amherst  resident,  professional  TV  producer    (05/11/2011)     “I  can’t  keep  up  with  the  constant  technology  changes  ....  Craig  [staff  member]   was  just  in  here  telling  me  that  the  new  Final  Cut  [editing  software]  is  out,  what   it  is  like,  and  are  we  interested  in  using  with  our  kids?  It  would  be  so  much  more   stagnant  if  the  editing  were  happening  in  the  schools.  Our  administrators  are   very  supportive  of  using  this  resource,  so  it  is  easy,  convenient,  cutting  edge,   there  is  so  much  support.  I  don’t  have  to  be  the  expert  on  the  new  technology   and  the  editing.  I  can  be  the  support  person,  the  facilitator,  I  can  focus  on  the   class.”   Netania,  Alternative  High  School  Teacher    Amherst  Media  also  fulfills  an  important  role  as  a  vocational  center  in  the  region.  In  our  interactions  with  Amherst  Media  users  in  focus  groups  and  interviews,  we  found  numerous  stories  about  how  the  AM  experience  has  sparked  interest  or  complement  their  formal  training  and  careers  as  media  professionals.     “I  have  a  bachelor’s  degree  in  communications  with  a  concentration  in  television   production.  And  I  don’t  really  remember  how  I  heard  about  ACTV  [now  Amherst   Media].    I  just  –  maybe  it  was  an  article  in  the  paper  or  something,  but  I  wanted   to  broaden  my  television  production  skills,  so  I  came  over  here…  My  early   experiences  with  ACTV  prompted  me  to  –  in  part,  prompted  me  to  pursue  a   career  in  television  production…”   White  male,  Hadley  resident,  Amherst  Media  producer  (04/19/2011)     “The  Communications  Department  [at  UMass]  is  not  production  focused;  it’s   more  theoretical  and  research  focused  and  that  fine  but  if  you  want  a  practical   experience,  you  have  to  go  off  campus…  their  radio  station  was  awesome   because  they  have  a  great  radio  station  –  but  here  [in  Amherst  Media]  you’re   doing  real  things  for  the  community…  There  were  people  in  my  television   production  class  that  were  already  here  before  I  even  thought  of  coming...    Some   of  them  are  using  the  studio.    I  would’ve  loved  it  if  my  professor  comes  here  and   we  use  this  studio  as  opposed  to  the  one  on  campus.    We  do  have  a  fully   functional  studio…”   Candace,  UMass  student,  AM  intern  (04/21/2011)    3.2.  From  Training  to  Local  Content  Production  Transforming  regular  media  consumers  into  producers  of  local  content  and  active  citizens  is  a  complicated  process  that  does  not  happen  overnight.  Developing  a  “voice”   23
  • 29. in  the  community  demands  more  than  ‘skills;’  it  requires  motivation,  time,  resources,  confidence  and  ability  to  work  in  groups.  Only  29%  of  our  sample  reported  producing  video  content.  Video  producers  tend  to  be  white  males,  who  are  in  their  20s  or  50s,  who  are  either  attending  school  or  working  fulltime,  and  make  less  than  $50,000  a  year.  The  majority  consists  of  are  AM  members  (80%)  who  produce  content  for  the  Public  Channel  (Ch  12),  they  are  frequent  users  of  the  facilities  (83%)  but  watch  AM  content  less  frequently  than  other  participants  in  our  study.      Producers  generate  content  from  different  locations;  however,  AM  is  their  second  most  used  location  after  producing  at  home.  They  produce  independently  at  home,  work,  or  school  but  use  Amherst  Media  to  complete  projects  in  groups  (Table  10).    Table  10.  Preferred  Places  for  Content  Production   !"#$"%#&()#"*#+*"%,&#-(&"#,".)&.)#/.$01&*&#&23&#")1&*#)1/.# 451&*3)#6&(/7#891""3&#/22#)1/)#/++2$:#8;/2(#<#=#>?@: &$#$% *!#% *$#$% ,$#$% +$#$% !"#$% !&#!% )$#$% !$#$% $#&% (#"% $#$% )#*% $#$% -./0123 -20345./63789 -./5:011; -./<14= >?@AB C1  Supporting  community  media,  freedom  of  expression  and  engaging  with  local  community  are  the  top  three  reasons  making  producers  share  their  content  through  Amherst  Media  Channels.      Table  6.  Reasons  for  producing  AM  content  (Strongly  agree=5  to  1=Strongly  disagree)     Reasons   Mean   I  believe  in  public  access  television  and  want  to  see  it  continue   4.65   I  enjoy  the  creative  process  of  video  production   4.48   I  enjoy  seeing  my  video  broadcast  on  cable  or  the  web   4.15   I  want  to  engage  with  local  audiences   4.02   I  have  an  important  message  to  share  with  the  local  community   3.89   I  want  to  have  an  impact  on  local  public  affairs   3.61     24
  • 30. Younger  users  are  attracted  to  Amherst  Media  mostly  by  training  and  learning  opportunities  offered  at  the  center.  The  majority  of  users  under  30  (56%)  have  taken  training  classes  at  Amherst  Media  (Graph  11)  but  not  all  media  content  they  produce  is  distributed  through  Amherst  Media  channels.  Young  users  tend  to  produce  content  at  other  locations  (including  home,  school  and  work),  but  they  greatly  value  the  training,  equipment  and  support  they  find  at  the  station.      Graph  11.  Training  and  Content  Creation  Among  Younger  AM  Users                          The  following  quote  from  a  26-­‐year  old  producer  with  10  years  of  involvement  at  the  center  explains  how  a  computer-­‐savvy,  creative  Millennial  benefits  from  the  use  of  equipment,  training  and  facilities  at  the  Amherst  media  center:     “Nowadays,  it  is  really  easy  for  a  lot  of  people  to  do  what  they  want.  I’m  a   musician  too  and  I  know  that  any  kid  my  age  can  have  a  laptop,  and  be   producing  in  his  room  instead  of  having  to  spend  time  in  a  real  studio.  But  at  the   same  time,  if  you  want  to  take  that  to  the  next  level,  you  have  to  take  courses,   get  more  detailed...you  come  here  and  I  love  it,  I  love  video,  and  I  love  music   almost  equally.  I  just  like  creating...  I  would  not  have  been  able  to  do  any  of  this   stuff  unless  I  use  borrowed  equipment.  I  have  a  crappy  camera  I  never  use  it,  and   I  don’t  have  final  Cut  Pro.  This  place  [Amherst  Media]  has  helped  me  develop  my   skills,  that’s  the  most  important  thing…”  (04/21/2011)     25
  • 31. Amherst  Media  users  would  like  to  see  more  creative  and  media  education  classes  such  as  screenwriting,  video-­‐editing,  documentary  filmmaking,  digital  story  telling,  citizen  journalism  and  website  development  that  complement  current  computer  software  courses  offered  at  the  Center.  Focus  group  participants  explained  that  without  creative  skills  and  proficiency  in  the  particular  language  of  different  media,  they  could  not  explore  and  effectively  use  technological  skills  learned  in  computer,  digital  video,  audio  and  camera  classes.  They  suggested  that  offering  these  courses  would  potentially  attract  more  users  and  translate  into  better  quality  of  programming  and  overall  content  produced  by  citizens  at  the  Center.    Graph  12.  Use  of  Local  Media  Outlets      Most  citizen  productions  at  the  center  are  occasional,  not  all  are  part  of  Amherst  Media  regular  programming,  and  a  few  become  series  that  can  be  regularly  broadcast  on  AM  channels.  Only  11%  of  producers  we  surveyed  generate  programs  every  week.  Most  of  producers  in  our  study  produce  programs  once  a  month  (28%)  or  once  a  year  (20%).  Producers  in  our  focus  groups  explained  that  lack  of  time  and  resources  prevent  them  from  engaging  in  content  production  more  regularly.  They  offered  some  suggestions  to  increase  the  sustainability  of  local  productions  by:   • Matching  citizen  producers  with  organizations  and  local  groups  that  can  fund   and  support  their  projects.  Participants  suggested  that  Amherst  Media  could   help  non-­‐profits  and  local  organizations  in  need  of  video  projects  by  inviting  and   facilitating  collaboration  with  local  producers.   • Organizing  regular  meet-­‐ups  for  community  producers,  and  between  producers   and  other  members  of  the  public.  Volunteer  work  is  an  important  source  of   support  for  community  productions;  producers  suggested  that  Amherst  Media   could  organize  and  promote  collaboration  among  other  producers,  volunteers   and  members  of  the  public  by  organizing  monthly  meetings  at  the  Center.   26
  • 32. • Offering  competitive  grants  and  scholarships  for  citizens  producers  who   distribute  content  through  AM  channels.  It  was  also  suggested  that  Amherst   Media  could  provide  incentives  for  citizen  productions  by  offering  scholarships   and  grants  for  projects,  or  by  hosting  fundraising  activities  at  the  Center.   • Involving  AM  interns  in  citizen  productions.  Producers  suggested  making   Amherst  Media  internship  program  extensive  to  citizen  productions,  in  particular   to  projects  that  can  increase  public  affairs  and  educational  programming.    4.  Amherst  Media  and  the  Availability  of  Local  Media  Content    Probably  the  most  visible  contribution  of  Amherst  Media  to  the  local  information  ecosystem  is  the  distribution  of  video  content  generated  by  the  municipal  government,  local  schools  and  citizen  producers  through  the  public  (Ch  12),  educational  (Ch  15)  and  governments  (Ch  17)  channels  on  cable,  and  AM  website  (amherstmedia.org).  We  evaluated  how  these  different  outlets  meet  the  communication  needs  of  AM  publics  in  relation  to  other  local  media  offerings  available  in  the  region,  why  users  watch  AM  content,  and  we  gathered  public  suggestions  to  improve  programming.    Amherst  Media  users  consult  a  wide  range  of  media  outlets  to  get  local  news  and  learn  about  their  local  community,  and  they  tend  to  prefer  local  newspapers  papers  and  public  media  outlets  over  others  (Graph  13).  Focus  group  participants  explained  that  the  current  local  media  landscape  is  very  fragmented,  and  consulting  one  or  two  media  outlets  is  not  enough  to  be  well  informed  about  local  issues.        Graph  13.  Use  of  Local  Media  Outlets  (Valid  N=172)     90% 86% 79% 80% 74% 75% 74% 70% 68% 64% 61% 60% 61% 63% 60% 55% 56% 57% 53% 52% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% te A te 5) S x) ) te n tin ) ) an ) R an BS 12 17 LP io U PB FC et ca si Fo l1 gi ic lle M at W eb (C az W bl el el vo lle W ne Bu St d (W pu nn nn W G an Co Ad l3 an o t Re re ha ha ia 2 rs di ne BC Ch y l2 ed hi Ra (C (C he lle an (A ps l( ne M Va Am ic t Ch r na am en ve an t 0 bl rs l4 io nm Pu Ri Ch H he at ne e Am er uc Th an ov Ed Ch G   27
  • 33. According  to  focus  groups  participants,  the  fragmentation  of  the  local  news  particularly  affects  the  coverage  of  the  municipal  government.  Local  newspapers  stand  out  as  community  “agenda  setters,”  that  convey  the  broad  picture  of  local  public  affairs  through  news  and  editorial  content.  In  order  to  be  better  informed  about  local  issues,  AM  users  are  likely  to  supplement  their  frequent  use  of  local  newspapers  and  public  media  stations  with  occasional  viewing  of  Amherst  Media  channels  (Table  7).     “I’ve  been  extremely  concerned  about  the  vanishing  coverage  of  local   government  meetings  particularly.    Boards  and  committees  used  to  be  covered   by  the  press  and  as  the  press  is  fading  away….  The  Republican  and  the  Gazette   are  still  around,  and  they  carry  90%  of  what’s  going  on  and  occasionally  about   their  [Northampton]  local  government  but  not  ours,  and  that’s  all.  I  know  this   because  I’ve  been  sending  the  news  releases  for  the  League  [of  Women  Voters]   for  years;  and  of  course,  you  can  send  the  information  but  you  can’t  count  it  will   be  published…  This  organization  [Amherst  Media]  is  the  main  source  of   information  on  local  government  in  any  depth…”   Margaret,  Chair  of  the  Town  Meeting  Coordinating  Committee     (04/16/2011).    Table  7:  In  a  regular  week,  when  you  want  to  get  local  news  or  find  out  what  is  happening  in  town,  how  often  do  you  consult  the  following  media  outlets?  (Valid  N=172)     Non-­‐Users   Occasional  Users   Frequent  Users   Local  Media   (%)   (%)   (%)   Print  Media         Valley  Advocate   25.6   54.1   20.3   Amherst  Bulletin   20.9   32   47.1   Collegian   47.1   46.5   6.4   Hampshire  Gazette   14.5   38.4   47.1   Republican   39   45.9   15.1   Local  Television         Public  (Channel  12)   40.1   52.3   7.6   Educational  (Channel  15)   45.3   48.3   6.4   Government  (Channel  17)   43.6   45.9   10.5   PBS   25   43.6   31.4   Channel  22  (WWLP)   32.6   38.4   29.1   Channel  40  (ABC  and  Fox)   36   44.2   19.8   Channel  3  (CBS)   39   43.6   17.4   Amherst  Media  Website   37.2   48.8   14   Local  Radio         WMUA   43   43   14   WFCR   26.2   28.5   45.3   The  River  Radio  Station   47.7   33.7   18.6   28
  • 34. 4.1.  Use  of  AM  Channels  Compared  to  Other  Local  Media  Outlets    As  explained  by  AM  users,  local  access  channels  allow  citizens  to  follow  local  stories  with  more  detail,  fostering  feelings  of  transparency,  participation  and  open  deliberation  even  in  the  case  of  controversial  topics.  Whereas  PBS  and  NPR  stations  connect  viewers  to  international  and  regional  news  and  debates,  Amherst  Media  offers  a  “hyper-­‐local”  experience  that  connects  publics  and  members  of  the  local  community.       “I  think  it  [Amherst  Media]  fills  a  tremendous  need  for  local  government  and   public  information.    I  don’t  watch  it  for  international  news  much  because  I  mainly   watch  PBS  and  get  information  on  the  Internet  for  that;  but  this  [Amherst  Media]   is  a  unique  spot  to  capture  what’s  going  on  locally…”   Ellie,  Amherst  resident,  local  radio  producer  (04/16/2011)     “There  are  lots  of  very  energetic,  engaged  people  who  watch  [Amherst  Media].    I   know  because  they  tackle  me  at  work  and  they  tackle  me  at  the  coffee  shop   when  I’m  in  town  and  say,  “I  saw  you  on  TV  saying  this”,  which  is  really  great…”   Aaron,  member  of  the  Planning  Board,  AM  viewer  (04/16/2011)    Contrary  to  local  blogs  that  are  mostly  seen  as  partisan  and  politically  biased  sources  of  information,  transmissions  of  public  meetings  through  the  local  channels  tend  to  be  trusted,  and  regarded  as  unmediated  accounts  of  community  events.  The  perceived  “neutrality”  of  Amherst  Media  is  strengthened  by  media  practices  such  as  the  inclusion  of  different  viewpoints  on  local  issues.  Participants  explained  that  Amherst  Media  coverage  enables  deeper  understanding  of  local  issues.     “Recently  there  was  an  issue  about  whether  or  not  the  Town  enter  into  an   agreement  to  create  a  solar  photovoltaic  facility  on  the  old  landfill  site.    It  sounds   like  a  very  good  deal  for  the  town,  but  it  turns  out  that  there  were  issues  raised   primarily  by  neighbors  of  the  landfill  site,  and  it  sounded  quite  controversial.     There  was  a  flurry  in  a  variety  of  media.    There  was  a  group  that  created  a   website  and  claimed  all  kinds  of  problems.  The  town  officials  responded  to  those   and  it  was  a  very  interesting  development  of  town  policy  in  the  face  of   substantial  opposition.    I  was  impressed  on  how  well  it  turned  out  in  the  end,  but   I  was  able  to  follow  it  very  closely  on  Amherst  Media...”   Richard,  retired  college  professor,  Amherst  resident  (05/18/2011)    Focus  group  participants  recommended  improving  live  transmissions  of  local  events  by  developing  citizen  journalism  programs  or  segments  on  community  affairs  that  present  summaries  of  issues  and  events.  Users  suggested  partnering  with  local  colleges  or  local  newspapers  to  develop  such  programs,  and  maybe  employing  student  interns  as  regular  contributors  of  this  content.  Users  insisted  that  the  most  important  aspects  to  be  preserved  are  in-­‐depth  coverage  of  local  issues,  presenting  all  viewpoint  on  local  issues.   29
  • 35. 4.2.  Viewers’  motivations  to  watch  Amherst  Media  channels    Interest  in  local  news  and  public  affairs  and  in  alternative  media  programming  are  the  top  reasons  why  participants  in  our  study  watch  Amherst  Media  content.  Interest  and  support  for  local  community  content  is  high  among  Amherst  Media  viewers,  and  attracts  viewers  that  eventually  become  media  producers  at  the  station.      Table  8.  Top  Reasons  for  Watching  AMHERST  MEDIA  Video  Content  (online  or  cable)  (Valid  N=98)     Options   %   To  get  local  news  and  public  affairs   67   Programs  are  not  available  elsewhere   51   Support  independent  voices     49   Residents  can  air  their  views   44   To  find  information  about  local  cultural  events   43   I  like  the  local  producers   41   To  support  local  musicians  and  bands   33   There  is  diversity  in  programming   33   Other   11     “Why  am  I  here?    I  really  believe  in  this  form  of  public  media.  I’m  really  pretty   disgusted  with  the  commercial  media  that  we  have  to  suffer  through  in  this   country,  although  I  don’t  watch  it.    I  just  hear  about  it  from  others  who  do…  I   believe  in  democracy,  and  I  think  this  is  a  good  example  of  democracy  in  action,   particularly  in  things  like  the  airing  of  tele-­‐meetings  and  other  public  meetings,   which  get  on  to  ACTV.    I  think  it  opens  up  the  process  to  people  in  a  way,  which  is   really  wonderful.    I  have  sometimes  brought  in  films  and  asked  ACTV  to  put  them   on  the  air,  which  they  did.    I  have  created  one  video,  which  is  available  by   streaming  on  the  Internet  at  which  I  actually  incorporate  into  one  of  the   websites,  which  I  maintain,  so  that’s  very  useful…”   Roger,  retired  scientist,  Amherst  resident,  AM  viewer  and  producer   (05/18/2011)    However,  as  many  explained  during  our  interviews  and  focus  group  discussions,  Amherst  Media  should  do  a  better  work  in  cultivating  its  local  audiences.  Participants  identify  a  number  of  problems  preventing  current  and  potential  viewers  from  following  content  distributed  through  different  AM  channels:     • Difficulties  in  finding  regular  information  on  the  channels’  programming   schedules,  and  content  regularly  distributed  by  Amherst  Media.      Publishing  programming  schedules  on  Amherst  Media  website  seems   to  help  and  provide  enough  information  for  some  users  but  not   everyone  feels  comfortable  navigating  the  website.     30
  • 36.  Users  recommended  publicizing  the  schedule  in  local  newspapers,   and  on  the  website  of  the  Town  of  Amherst.  The  latter  may   potentially  increase  the  traffic  of  users  to  the  AM  site.    Users  also  recommend  posting  information  about  the  channels  and   programming  schedule  accessible  locations  such  as  the  town  library,   the  senior  center,  and  cafes  in  the  downtown  area.     • Lack  of  awareness  about  the  concept  and  dynamics  that  guide  “community-­‐ based  media.”  We  found  that  many  viewers  and  active  users  of  Amherst  Media   services  are  not  familiar  with  the  amateur  and  non-­‐profit  practices  that  drive   programming  available  on  the  channels.  Users  recommend  using  PSAs  in  the   regular  programming  of  the  channels,  explaining  AM  mission  and  practices  to   increase  general  public  awareness  and  understanding  of  AM  services.     • Rules  and  regulations  of  programming  are  not  known  by  many  producers,  and  by   the  viewer  community.  AM  users  recommend  publicizing  on  the  website,  and  on   boards  at  the  center  current  rules  to  schedule  programs  and  petition  for  reruns   of  programs  that  have  been  aired.        4.3.  Viewership  of  AM  Channels    In  our  sample,  college  educated  females,  in  their  40s  or  older,  residents  of  Amherst,  heavy  Internet-­‐users,  or  those  who  use  TV  to  watch  video  content  were  most  likely  to  have  watched  Amherst  Media  content.  However,  we  observed  some  variations  in  the  composition  of  viewer  groups  across  channels  according  to  age,  income,  ethnic  background,  and  area  of  residency  (Table  9).    Table  9.  Have  you  ever  watched  video  content  on…?  (Valid  N=172)   Public  Channel  (CH  12)  =  63%   Educational  Channel  (CH  15)  =  52%  Viewers’  profile:   Viewers’  profile:  Female:  58%   Female:  57%  White:  74%   White:  77%  Age:  >  40s  (86%)     Age:  >  40s    (92%)  College  education:  80%   College  education:  89%  Household  income:  >  $50,000  (54%)   Household  income:  >  $50,000  (58%)  Amherst  residents:  74%   Amherst  residents:  71%  Daily  Internet  User:  92%   Daily  Internet  User:  92%  Use  TV  to  watch  video:  95%   Use  TV  to  watch  video:  96%  Use  laptop  to  watch  video:  74%   Use  laptop  to  watch  video:  73%  AM  member:  51%   AM  member:  56%       31
  • 37. Government  Channel  (CH  17)  =  53%   Amherst  Media  Website  =  58%  Viewers’  profile:   Viewers’  profile:  Females:  56%   Females:  57%  White:  81%   White:  73%  Age:  >  40s  (90%)   Age:  >  40s  (77%)  College  education:  83%   College  education:  73%  Household  income:  >  $50,000  (57%)   Household  income:  <  50,000  (43%)  Amherst  residents:  85%   Amherst  residents:  67%  Daily  Internet  User:  95%   Daily  Internet  User:  95%  Use  TV  to  watch  video:  93%   Use  TV  to  watch  video:  89%  Use  laptop  to  watch  video:  79%   Use  laptop  to  watch  video:  80%  AM  member:  45%   AM  member:  50%    The  Public  Access  channel  (Ch  12)  enjoys  the  highest  penetration  (63%)  among  viewers  of  AM  content  we  surveyed.  Its  viewers  tend  to  be  slightly  more  ethnically  diverse  than  the  overall  sample,  and  they  engage  in  other  activities  of  the  center.  Focus  group  participants  describe  Ch  12  programming  as  a  “community  conversation”  or  “organic  communication”  that  transmits  feelings  of  belonging  and  being  part  of  a  community  where  there  is  diversity  of  viewpoints,  and  ideas  can  be  freely  exchanged.      The  Educational  Channel  (Ch  15)  has  the  lowest  penetration  (52%)  among  viewers  of  AM  content.  Viewers  of  Ch  15  tend  to  be  older  and  less  diverse  than  other  viewers  groups,  they  are  college  educated,  and  come  from  higher  income  households.  Focus  group  participants  recommended  increasing  student-­‐driven  content  on  the  Educational  Channel.    Viewership  of  the  Government  Channel  (Ch  17)  is  moderate  (53%)  it  is  the  channel  most  frequently  watched  among  residents  of  Amherst  (Graph  14).  Viewers  are  likely  to  be  in  their  40s  or  older,  from  middle  and  upper  income  households.  Viewers  of  Ch  17  are  not  likely  to  be  registered  members  of  Amherst  Media,  and  are  less  engage  in  other  activities  organized  by  the  access  center.  The  majority  of  viewers  of  Ch  17  participants  in  our  focus  groups  were  civically  engaged  individuals,  active  in  community  service  or  the  local  government,  and  with  a  higher  than  average  interest  in  local  issues  and  political  discussions.     “My  relationship  with  ACTV  has  changed  over  the  years.  In  ‘99,  I  became  a   member  of  the  Town  Meeting,  so  I  became  aware  of  ACTV,  obviously  associated   with  that  because  they  cover  all  the  Town  Meetings.    And  then  over  the  years  I   was  elected  to  the  School  Committee  –and  Im  not  currently  on  the  Select  Board–   but  I  watch  all  the  meetings…  were  constantly  wanting  more  of  it  taped  because   its  really  ridiculous  how  many  people  watch  those  meetings!    But  it  gives  them  a   chance  to  engage…  now  that  everythings  available  on  demand,  it  makes  it  so   much  easier…”   Alisa,  Amherst  resident  and  Amherst  Media  viewer.  (04/27/2011)   32
  • 38. “I’m  a  UMASS  grad  student  and  live  off  campus.    I  guess  I’m  a  viewer;  I  mostly   just  watch  the  education  and  the  planning  board  and  all  that  stuff  because   sometimes  there  are  some  pretty  good  debates.  I’m  a  little  nosey;  I  want  to  know   what’s  happening  here... I’ve  always  been  interested  in  political  issues,   something  from  my  mom;  she’s  pretty  politically  active  in  Boston…”     Lee,  UMass  Amherst  graduate  student,  Amherst  Media  viewer   (04/21/2011)    Graph  14.  Percentage  of  Frequent  Users  of  Local  Media,  Amherst  Residents    Focus  groups  participants  explained  that  Amherst  Media  facilitates  municipal  government-­‐citizens  relations  in  four  ways:   • As  a  channel  to  access  government  information,  Amherst  Media  is  regarded  as   an  open  government  mechanism,  and  as  the  realization  of  local  government   function  to  inform  the  public.   • As  a  tool  for  “citizen  monitoring”  of  the  local  government  and  public  affairs   issues,  adding  to  the  transparency  of  the  decision  making  process.   • As  a  deliberative  space  where  people  can  discuss  of  local  issues.   • As  an  alternative  media  outlet  that  cover  local  news  not  covered  by  the   commercial  media.     “I’m  on  the  town  meeting  coordinating  committee  where  we  have  to  plan  events   to  educate  town  meeting  members  and  the  public  about  various  issues,  and  I  find   Amherst  Media  is  crucial  to  keeping  our  government  transparent.    That’s  a  strong   value  of  mine...    So,  I  would  like  to  see  even  more  meetings  covered,  because  I   think  it  really  helps  to  keep  everything  on  the  up-­‐and-­‐up  and  honest  that  way.   Mary,  retired  teacher  and  community  activist  (04/21/2011)   33
  • 39. 4.4.  Amherst  Media  Website    Amherst  Media  website  has  become  a  vital  link  connecting  local  publics  with  the  access  center.  The  majority  of  our  sample  (75%)  have  used  Amherst  Media  website  for  different  activities  (watch  programs,  consult  the  cable  programming  schedule,  check  classes  or  events  etc.).  Online  users  are  likely  to  be  in  their  30s  (22%)  or  50s  (32%),  and  they  represent  a  more  diverse  group  among  participants  in  our  study.  Amherst  Media  online  presence  is  the  main  window  used  by  users  who  do  not  live  in  Amherst  to  watch  and  distribute  programs  produced  at  the  center  (Graph  15)    Graph  15.  Have  you  ever  visited  Amherst  Media  website?   No 25% Yes 75% (Valid N = 169)    Graph  16..  Percentage  of  Frequent  Users  of  Local  Media,  Non-­‐Amherst  Residents   34
  • 40.  Most  people  in  our  study  use  the  Amherst  Media  website  to  watch  programs,  and  check  events  and  training  classes  offered  at  the  access  center  (Table  10).  The  on-­‐demand  and  archiving  features  of  the  AM  website  is  highly  valued  by  AM  users.  They  appreciate  the  center’s  efforts  to  distribute  content  online,  and  would  like  to  see  it  continued  and  expanded.  The  main  benefits  of  having  the  content  on  AM  website  include:  the  ability  to  check  programs  and  content  any  time;  and  having  access  to  archive  of  programs  and  listings  of  programs  and  schedules.    Table  10.  How  often  do  you  visit  the  website  to  do  the  following?       Daily   Weekly   Monthly   Every  three   Never   %   %   %   months  %   %   Watch  AM  programs   2.4   14.3   22.2   30.2   31   Watch  repeats  of  AM  videos  or   1.6   12.7   15.9   21.4   48.4   shows   Check  cable  schedule   0.8   16.7   10.3   15.9   56.3   Check  for  AM  events  or  training   0.8   18.3   18.3   20.6   42.1   workshops     It’s  been  a  fascinating  thing  for  me  to  watch  the  TV  industry  grow...  I  see  Jim   [Amherst  Media  Executive  director]  wrestling  with  integrating  all  new   technologies  because  our  expectations  as  users  are  also  shooting  up  a  lot   arithmetically...  This  TV  station  is  finding  itself  in  a  pretty  interesting  and  tough   spot.  They  have  to  bridge  the  gap  between  the  oldest  forms  of  communication  – like  sitting  around  and  deliberate  in  a  town  meeting  or  chat  with  your  neighbor–   and  what  people  do  online  like  Facebook…  the  website  could  help  to  do  that…”   Jerry,  retired  teacher  and  computer  analyst,  Amherst  Media  viewer   (04/16/2011)    However,  some  participants  still    find  the  website  difficult  to  navigate  and  search.  Users  connected  these  problems  to:     • Constant  redesign  of  the  website:  users  understand  that  Amherst  Media  is   working  on  the  website  to  improve  it  but  many  complained  about  constant   changes  that  make  the  use  of  the  website  more  complex  than  needed.  They  also   referred  to  problems  in  understanding  applications  that  require  add-­‐ons  to   download  content.   • Not  being  able  to  find  schedule  of  the  government  channel  was  a  problem  cited   by  many  participants.  A  select  board  member  suggested  publicising  the  listings   of  meetings  of  different  town  committees  on  AM  website.   • Problems  in  archiving  and  curation  of  programs:  users  would  like  to  see  more   detailed  information  about  content  distributed  online.  Program  titles  say  little   35
  • 41. about  the  content  of  a  program;  users  recommend  requiring  producers  to   provide  short  descriptions  of  the  programs  they  produce,  and  using  tags  to   organize  program  by  “genres”  (i.e.  “public/current  affairs”,  “documentaries”,   “comedy”,  “experimental”  etc.)      Users  want  Amherst  Media  to  expand  its  role  as  curator  of  local  content  online  to  include  more  local  content  not  created  by  the  station  and  its  producers.  Many  participants  pointed  out  that  Amherst  Media  should  also  archive  and  curate  local  video  content  not  produced  at  the  station,  becoming  the  “local  You  Tube”  of  Amherst.  Users  suggest  organize  a  space  on  the  Amherst  Media  website  for  local  artists,  musicians  and  filmmakers  where  they  could  distribute  and  feature  their  videos.     “Amherst  Media  needs  to  be  an  active  participant,  an  active  player  in  the   community  inviting  people  to  participate  in  many  ways  like  saying,  "Yes,  we   produce  our  own  content,  but  were  also  interested  in  hosting  and  curating  all  of   the  content  of  this  local  area"…  so  if  someone  gives  a  talk  at  one  of  the  libraries,   or  someone  does  a  performance  at  Amherst  Coffee  and  someone  record  it,  they   know  that  there  is  a  space  here  to  share  it  online…  This  would  introduce  new   people  to  Amherst  Media,  give  local  artists  and  events  exposure,  and  give   Amherst  Media  content  more  visibility…”   Jacob,  Amherst  resident,  local  artist  and  blacksmith  (04/14/2011).             36
  • 42. V.  Recommendations    Amherst  Media  should  develop  target  outreach  efforts  to  attract  and  serve  a  wider  diversity  of  local  publics,  in  particular  to  include:   • Members  of  lower  income  and  minority  communities  in  Amherst.   • A  broader  cross-­‐section  of  the  youth  and  student  population,  from  middle  and   high  school  to  college  students.    Amherst  Media  community  outreach  will  greatly  benefit  from  direct  participation  of  the  active  user  community  in  these  efforts.  Amherst  Media  users  are  strong  advocates  of  access  services,  and  they  highly  value  their  experience  at  the  center.  Among  other  activities,  users  recommend:   • More  live  broadcasting  of  community  events  hosted  at  the  station.   • Discounts  for  group  training  sessions.   • More  publicity  about  scholarships  and  discounts  available  for  students  and  low-­‐ income  residents.    Users  would  like  to  see  a  stronger  cooperation  and  involvement  with  the  Five  College  community,  in  particular  with  students.     • College  students  in  our  study  recommended  a  more  active  relation  with  career   services  offices  of  the  different  campuses,  and  posting  online  information  about   internships  and  work-­‐study  programs  available  at  the  center.    Amherst  Media  users  would  like  to  see  more  creative  and  media  education  classes  such  as:  screenwriting,  video-­‐editing,  documentary  filmmaking,  digital  story  telling,  citizen  journalism  and  website  development  that  complement  current  computer  software  courses  offered  at  the  center.  Focus  group  participants  suggested  that  these  courses  could  also  improve  the  quality  of  Amherst  Media  programming.    Users  also  recommended  increasing  student-­‐driven  content  on  the  Educational  Channel  (Ch  15)  to  attract  a  larger  and  more  diverse  audience.    Producers  suggested  increasing  the  sustainability  of  local  productions  by:   • Matching  citizen  producers  with  organizations  and  local  groups  and   organizations  that  can  sponsor  and  support  their  projects.   • Organizing  regular  meet-­‐ups  for  community  producers,  and  between  producers   and  other  members  of  the  public.  This  can  increase  the  volunteer  base  for  work   to  support  community  productions.     • Offering  competitive  grants  and  scholarships  for  citizens  producers  who   distribute  content  through  AM  channels.     • Involving  AM  interns  in  citizen  productions.       37
  • 43. Users  recommended  improving  live  transmissions  of  local  government  and  community  events  by  developing  citizen  journalism  and  community  affairs  programs  that  present  summaries  of  local  issues  and  events.     • Sustainability  of  these  programs  can  be  enhanced  through  partnerships  with   local  newspapers  and  colleges.   • Users  insisted  that  the  most  important  aspects  to  be  preserved  are  in-­‐depth   coverage  of  local  issues,  presenting  diverse  viewpoints  on  local  issues.    Amherst  Media  can  strengthen  and  enhance  its  local  government  information  functions  by  publicizing  government  programming  on  the  Town  of  Amherst’s  website    Partnerships  with  local  newspapers  can  also  be  an  effective  way  to  increase  community  outreach  and  the  production  capacities  of  Amherst  Media.  Drawing  on  its  strengths  as  a  trusted  source  of  community  information,  Amherst  Media  can  function  as  a  hyper-­‐local  portal  to  Amherst  and  neighboring  communities.      Other  efforts  to  cultivate  local  audiences  may  include  distributing  and  posting  programming  and  event  information  at  particular  community  locations  including  the  town  library,  the  senior  center,  and  cafes  in  the  downtown  area.    More  attention  is  needed  on  the  curation  and  archiving  practices  of  online  materials.  Users  suggest  revising  the  tagging  system  used  to  archive  web  content,  and  require  producers  to  provide  more  accurate  descriptions  of  the  content  they  distribute  online.  In  sum,  Amherst  Media  aims  to  become  the  best,  dynamic,  member-­‐driven,  non-­‐profit,  public  access,  information,  communication  and  technology  center  in  the  nation.     38
  • 44. Appendix  “A”.        Transcription  of  Public  Comments  Gathered  Through  the  Public  Survey.  Q:  “Do  you  have  any  additional  recommendations  for  Amherst  Media?”    1.  Continue  to  promote  services  and  access  widely.    2.  Target  outreach  to  older  generations.    Address  last  mile  web  access  issues.  Great  job.    3.  Great  Job!    4.  I  would  like  to  see  the  classical  arts  showcase  (I  am  not  sure  of  its  exact  title,  but  it  is  often  aired  on  weekends)  broadcast  more  frequently.    Thank  you.      5.  More  James  Rolfe  and  Cinemassacre!  Less  political  stuff.    6.  More  local  programming…  and  good  quality  programming!  Better  scheduling  and  more  PR  about  when  things  are  shown  on  TV      7.  ACTV  is  important  and  necessary  for  the  community  at  large.      8.  Have  some  weekend  hours  to  attract  those  that  are  unable  to  produce  during  the  week  due  to  family  and  work  commitments.      9.  "What  about  project-­‐based  workshops  to  produce  video  based  on  a  specific  topic?  Perhaps  as  a  next  step  after  attending  training  workshops.    Once  trained,  a  group  of  people  interested  in  pursuing  a  project  could  join  together....  making  it  less  daunting  than  producing  a  video  solo.,  i.e.  a  group  of  people  who  are  interested  in  doing  a  video   39
  • 45. documentary  on  issues  of  local  homelessness/affordable  housing  or  other  local  topics....  Otherwise,  youre  doing  Great  Work!    Hope  to  become  more  involved!"      10.  So  far,  so  good.    Staff  is  knowledgeable  and  has  a  very  apparent  interest  in  their  job,  teaching,  and  in  this  field.  Keep  it  up!        11.    Advertise  more  in  general  since  I  dont  think  most  people  have  no  idea  what  you  do    I  love  the  ACTV  staff!  They  are  very  wonderful  and  talented  people!      12.  Have  an  ACTV  Float  in  the  Amherst  July  4th  parade  (local  musicians  can  play  or  march);  some  hours  open  on  weekends  (Maybe  3  hours  on  Sat./Sun.)"      13.  No,  I  havent  been  involved  much,  but  I  know  that  youre  a  great  organization.    I  didnt  realize  ACTV  programs  are  available  online  -­‐-­‐  thanks.    Ill  use  that  more  since  I  dont  have  cable  service.      14.  From  a  number  of  former  ACTV  member/producers,  current  ACTV  member/producers,  and  producers  who  were  involved  in  Youth  Action  Coalitions  program  ""Video  Vanguards,""  I  have  gotten  the  distinct  impression  that  they  found  ACTV  rather  cold,  unhelpful,  and  undervalued  their  work  -­‐  especially  some  of  the  teens  from  Video  Vanguards.  As  someone  who  has  been  with  ACTV  for  a  number  of  years,  I  havent  often  found  this  to  be  the  case,  and  I  know  a  lot  has  been  done  to  try  to  combat  these  feelings.  Nevertheless,  the  feelings  are  still  there,  and  even  more  recent  anecdotes  within  the  last  2-­‐3  years  have  not  always  been  encouraging  toward  making  ACTV  warm  and  friendly.  Besides  that,  I  feel  like  I  never  know  when  programs  are  on,  what  they  are  about,  what  programs  exist,  or  how  to  access  them.  Some  of  the  programs  that  I  do  watch,  I  like,  but  then  it’s  hard  to  find  them  again.  Clearer  scheduling  and  better  promotion/information  on  the  video  programs  would  help,  I  think.  Your  services  need  more  marketing!    15.  I  was  a  producer  a  LONG  time  ago  (when  Myra  Lenburg  was  there).  There  is  no  incentive  for  me  to  become  involved  -­‐-­‐  I  am  a  creative  type  who  would  like  to  construct  programs  rather  than  be  the  "techie".        16.  Keep  it  up.      17.  I  wish  I  could  view  ACTV  live  from  Belchertown,  though  I  cant.    Would  like  to  watch  Town  Meeting  while  it  is  happening.        18.  Doing  great!          19.  ACTV  from  the  time  I  joined  seems  to  be  updating  and  keeping  up  with  technology  as  it  should.       40
  • 46. 20.  Wonderful,  helpful  staff.    Perhaps  classes  could  be  longer.      21.  I  think  it  would  be  better  in  the  long  run  to  share  files  electronically  via  PEGmedia  and  the  like.  Perhaps  we  can  start  to  shift  in  that  direction  so  its  easier  for  everyone  including  staff.        22.  I  would  very  much  like  to  be  able  to  access  a  regular  program  schedule  for  ACTV  shows  (on  12,  15,17).  I  remember  happening  on  the  9/11  special  last  year  and  being  sorry  I  didnt  know  about  it.  I  know  you  cant  produce  a  "TV  guide",  but  if  there  was  somewhere  a  list  of  shows  with  descriptions,  that  would  be  so  helpful.  Another  example,  I  am  a  school  guidance  counselor,  and  a  group  of  us  at  the  school  always  enjoy  “Student  News”  and  the  other  comedy  show  by  teens,  but  we  never  know  when  a  new  show  is  released.  Is  there  some  way  we  could  subscribe  and  get  notices  when  new  shows  come  out?    You  have  some  great  content  at  ACTV  but  unless  you  stumble  upon  it,  you  might  never  know.      23.  When  you  move  keep  hours,  nights  and  weekends  for  people  in  community  who  work  fulltime.        24.  Yes,  keep  doing  what  youre  doing-­‐you  are  becoming  a  national  model  of  excellence  as  a  comprehensive  access  station.      25.  Continue  having  music  and  other  public  entertainment.    26.  Hold  classes  especially  for  none  electronic  savvy  seniors.      27.  I  was  on  the  board  of  ACTV  over  20  years  ago  and  I  really  dont  know  whats  going  on  there  any  more.  I  think  with  the  changes  better  public  relations  is  needed.      28.  Make  it  easier  to  find  out  on  the  website  what  programs  will  be  coming.      29.  Keep  up  the  great  work!      30.  Keep  it  up.  Youre  doing  a  great  job.      31.  Explore  whether  you  could  co-­‐locate  some  of  your  training  &  programming  at  the  Jones  Library.      32.  PEOPLE  EDITING  OUR  MATERIAL,  SETTING  RIGHT  FOR  BROADCASTING      33.  Congratulations  on  all  your  changes;  your  increased  outreach  is  a  wonderful  part  of  our  community  and  a  great  asset  to  the  area.      34.  Broadcast  more  documentaries  and  points  of  view     41
  • 47.  35.  Nice  Work!      36.  I  wish  there  was  more  live  broadcasting,  creating  a  tighter  community  by  working  together.      37.  I  would  love  to  see  more  classes  available…  Though  they  are  available,  I  just  dont  always  have  enough  time!!!!      38.  The  on-­‐demand  video  function  is  great.    39.  Maybe  if  you  could  wire  another  meeting  room  in  addition  to  the  Town  Room,  you  could  more  easily  cover  school  committee  meetings  as  well  as  select  board  meetings,  and  maybe  some  other  town  committees,  without  having  to  have  interns  schlep  all  the  equipment  each  time."      40.  I  am  thrilled  that  this  facility  is  in  our  community  and  welcomes  programming  of  all  types.    To  see  a  program  being  filmed  and  then  shown  on  air  is  remarkable  to  me.    I  look  forward  to  using  the  facilities  more  in  the  2011-­‐2012  school  year  to  create  programming  for  the  public  which  spotlights  our  schools,  community  events  and  initiatives.      41.  I  love  the  move  to  being  Amherst  Media.    Cable  is  dying  and  Media  is  growing!        42.  Computer  literacy  will  define  the  success  of  our  communities  in  the  future,  Amherst  Media  can  be  at  the  forefront  of  this  revolution  locally.    Focus  on  computer  and  software  literacy,  giving  local  folks  access  to  broadcast/publishing  ability,  etc.  is  great!      43.  Well.  I  probably  should  make  use  of  this  resource!  Ill  have  to  figure  out  how  to  do  that!      44.  Stay  in  the  building  as  long  as  possible:)      45.  Keep  being  awesome.      46.  Have  one  website  not  two:-­‐)  keep  working  on  website  design  -­‐-­‐  I  know  its  hard  to  meet  everyones  needs!      47.  I  dont  know  how  to  participate  in  a  community  of  users  of  ACTV  -­‐-­‐  I  dont  feel  strongly  attached  and  would  like  to,  but  dont  know  how.      48.  I  think  I  should  find  out  more  about  ACTV      49.  Increase  visibility  &  expand  collaboration  with  UMass  &  ARPS  to  offer  training  opportunities  for  the  students  (many  do  not  know  about)     42
  • 48.  50.  Get  more  community-­‐based  shows  that  arent  just  talk  shows  ("talking  heads").  Would  love  to  see  variety,  sketch,  or  other  types  of  shows.      51.  Let  producers  take  out  equipment  for  more  than  just  one  day.      52.  Go  the  distance.      53.  Keep  expanding,  you  are  moving  in  the  right  direction,  more  more  MORE  !      54.  I  like  the  new  focus  on  miscellaneous  media  not  just  video  production.  Make  dubbing  equipment  and  transfer/conversion  equipment  easily  available  to  the  general  public.      55.  I  appreciate  quality  local  community  programming.      56.  Please  continue  and  increase  coverage  of  Town  of  Amherst  governmental  meetings  and  events.    Offer  some  free  or  inexpensive  ($10-­‐20)  video  editing  and  Photoshop  training.    57.  Create  a  regular  local  news  program.    58.  Make  the  new  website  easier  to  locate  things.    59.  Rebroadcast  Ch.  17  programs  round  the  clock.    Continue  and  expand  ""On  Demand""  programs  -­‐  theyre  great!    60.  If  possible  have  program  listing  times  online  a  week  in  advance.      61.  It  might  be  an  interesting  idea  to  have  an  audio/video  club  that  meets  here  and  to  record  it  as  a  podcast.      62.  Im  not  sure  if  this  happens  already  and  Ive  missed  it,  but  maybe  put  the  TV  programming  schedule  in  the  Gazette  or  the  Amherst  Bulletin.      63.  I  think  it  would  be  good  if  people  could  edit  in  this  spare  computer  room  when  the  high  school  takes  the  other  room.      64.  I  would  like  there  to  be  3  to  7  day  seminars  in  video  production/editing  for  documentary  and  film...such  as  what  is  available  at  Maine  Media.      65.  Free  coffee  counter  in  the  lobby  during  the  morning  hours?       43
  • 49. 66.  Your  post-­‐production  facilities  are  state-­‐of-­‐the-­‐art,  but  your  field  equipment  is  getting  dated  and  some  of  it  is  not  in  very  good  condition.      It  does  not  matter  how  good  your  post-­‐production  (editing)  equipment  is  if  your  field  equipment  is  sub-­‐par.    As  they  say  ""Garbage  in,  Garbage  out"".    67.  ACTV  staff  isnt  always  as  friendly  and  accessible  as  it  should  be.      68.  Do  more,  not  less  coverage,  of  town  board  and  committee  meetings.      69.  Advertise  art  exhibits  on  WMUA.  Work  together  with  WMUA.    70.  Keep  up  the  good  work.    There  is  such  an  important  role  for  a  hot  medium  like  TV  in  the  community  I  am  glad  its  here  in  Amherst  Media.      71.  Improve  content  -­‐  some  of  it  is  juvenile.         44
  • 50. Appendix  “B”      Survey  Protocol    Section  1.  Socio-­‐demographics  &  Amherst  Media  membership    *  In  what  zip  code  do  you  live?  *  In  which  year  were  you  born?  *  Where  you  born  in  the  U.S.?  *  What  is  your  gender?     -­‐ Male;  Female;  Other;  Decline  to  state  *  What  is  the  highest  degree  or  level  of  school  you  have  COMPLETED?   -­‐ Less  than  high  school  diploma  or  equivalent  (for  example,  GED)   -­‐ High  school  or  equivalent   -­‐ Technical  certificate,  2-­‐year  college  degree,  or  some  college  education   -­‐ 4-­‐year  undergraduate  degree  (for  example,  BA,  AB,  BS)     -­‐ Graduate  or  professional  degree  (ex.  MA,  MS,  MD,  JD,  PhD)  *  What  best  describes  your  status  as  of  last  week?   -­‐ Working  full-­‐time     -­‐ Working  part-­‐time     -­‐ Student/Going  to  school     -­‐ Home  caretaker     -­‐ Retired     -­‐ Unemployed  or  laid  off  *  What  best  describes  your  ethnicity?  (Please  mark  all  that  may  apply)   -­‐ White   -­‐ African-­‐American   -­‐ Asian-­‐American  or  Asian   -­‐ American  Indian  or  Alaskan  Native   -­‐ Mixed   -­‐ Other  (please  specify)  *Are  you  Hispanic  or  Latino  origin?  (Yes  –  No)   If  yes,  any  particular  origin:  *Please  indicate  the  range  that  best  describes  your  Annual  Household  Income:   -­‐ Less  than  $10,000   -­‐ $10,000  to  $19,999   -­‐ $20,000  to  $29,999   -­‐ $30,000  to  $39,999   -­‐ $40,000  to  $49,999   -­‐ $50,000  to  $74,999   -­‐ $75,000  to  $99,999   -­‐ $100,000  or  more     -­‐ Dont  know  /  refuse     45
  • 51. *  Are  you  an  AMHERST  MEDIA  member?  (Yes  –  No)  *  Please  check  the  boxes  that  describe  your  relationship  with  AMHERST  MEDIA  (you  may  check  more  than  one  box)   -­‐ I  view  AMHERST  MEDIA  video  content     -­‐ I  produce  video  and  web  content     -­‐ I  use  AMHERST  MEDIA  facilities  and  services     -­‐ I  do  volunteer  work  and  time  for  AMHERST  MEDIA     -­‐ I  am  a  member  of  a  non-­‐profit  organization  that  sponsors  AMHERST  MEDIA     -­‐ I  am  a  member  of  a  local  business  that  sponsors  AMHERST  MEDIA   -­‐ Other  (please  specify)      Section  2.  Access  and  Use  of  Media  Technologies  In  this  section  we  are  going  to  ask  you  a  number  of  questions  about  your  access  and  use  of  electronic  and  digital  media  technologies.    *  Did  you  go  online  yesterday?  (Yes  –  No)    *  In  a  regular  WEEK,  approximately  HOW  OFTEN  do  you  go  online  or  check  your  email  from  the  following  locations:  (Several  times  a  day,  Once  a  day,  3-­‐5  times/  week  ,  1-­‐2  times/  week,  Rarely  or  Never)   -­‐ Home   -­‐ Work   -­‐ School   -­‐ Public  Library   -­‐ Coffee  House  or  other  public  location   -­‐ A  friends  house  *  Do  you  have  high-­‐speed  Internet  access  at  home?  (Yes  –  No)      *  If  Yes  At  home,  what  do  you  now  use  to  connect  to  the  Internet?   -­‐ Cable  modem     -­‐ DSL-­‐enabled  phone  line     -­‐ Mobile  broadband  wireless  connection     -­‐ Fixed  wireless  provider     -­‐ Dial-­‐up  phone  line     -­‐ Satellite  connection     -­‐ A  fiber  optic  connection  such  as  Verizon  FIOS     -­‐ T-­‐1  connection     -­‐ I  dont  know    Who  is  your  provider?       46
  • 52. *  If  No  Please  indicate  the  reasons  why  you  dont  have  Internet  at  home:   -­‐ Monthly  cost  is  too  expensive     -­‐ The  activation  and  installation  fee  to  get  the  service  is  too  much     -­‐ I  can  access  the  Internet  all  I  need  to  at  work     -­‐ I  cannot  afford  a  computer     -­‐ Im  worried  about  all  the  bad  things  that  can  happen  if  I  use  the  Internet     -­‐ It  is  not  available  where  I  live     -­‐ There  is  nothing  on  the  Internet  I  want  to  see  or  use     -­‐ The  Internet  is  just  a  waste  of  time     -­‐ Im  not  comfortable  using  computers    *  Here  is  a  list  of  activities  people  do  online.  HOW  REGULARLY  do  you  participate  in  the  following  online  activities?  (Daily,  Weekly,  Monthly,  Less  Often,  Never)   -­‐ Visit  local,  state  or  federal  government  Web  site   -­‐ Use  a  social  networking  site  Banking   -­‐ Get  international  or  national  news   -­‐ Chat  with  friends  Play  games   -­‐ Get  advice  about  a  health  or  safety  issue   -­‐ Get  information  about  /apply  for  a  job   -­‐ Download  or  stream  music/video   -­‐ Take  a  class   -­‐ Post  to  own  blog  or  group  blog   -­‐ Submit  a  review  for  a  product  or  service    *  Do  you  use  the  following  electronic  device(s)  to  watch  video  content?  Yes  –  No     -­‐ Television  at  home   -­‐ Television  at  work/school   -­‐ Desktop  computer  at  home   -­‐ Desktop  computer  at  work/school   -­‐ Laptop  computer  at  home   -­‐ Laptop  computer  at  work/school   -­‐ Cellular/Smart  Phone   -­‐ Game  Consoles   -­‐ Wii   -­‐ Other  (please  specify)    *  How  do  you  find  online  video  content?   -­‐ By  using  a  search  engine     -­‐ Searching  a  video-­‐sharing  website  such  as  YouTube     -­‐ Visiting  trusted  websites  you  know  and  visit  frequently     -­‐ Bookmarking  links  to  shows  you  watch  regularly     -­‐ A  friend  tells  me  or  sends  me  a  link     -­‐ Other  (please  specify)   47
  • 53. Section  3.  Local  media  consumption  In  this  section  we  are  going  to  ask  you  about  how  you  find  local  information  and  use  local  media  content,  including  AMHERST  MEDIA  videos  and  programs  *  When  you  want  to  get  LOCAL  NEWS  or  find  out  what  is  going  on  in  town,  how  often  do  you  consult  the  following  media  outlets?  (Daily,  Weekly,  Monthly,  Less  Often,  Never)  (Very  frequently;  Frequently;  Sometimes;  Rarely;  Never)  Local  Newspapers     -­‐ Valley  advocate     -­‐ Amherst  Bulletin     -­‐ Collegian     -­‐ Hampshire  Gazette     -­‐ Republican  Local  Channels   -­‐ Public  (Channel  12)     -­‐ Educational  (Channel  15)     -­‐ Government  (Channel  17)     -­‐ PBS   -­‐ Channel  22  (WWLP)     -­‐ Channel  40  (ABC  and  Fox)     -­‐ Channel  3  (CBS)  Local  radio  stations   -­‐ WMUA  radio  station     -­‐ WFCR  radio  station     -­‐ The  River  radio  station  Local  Websites  &  Blogs  AMHERST  MEDIA  website  –  www.amherstmedia.org  (or  www.actvamherst.com)  Other  (please  specify)    *Have  you  ever  watched  any  of  the  following  local  channels  on  your  cable  service?    (Yes  –  No)  *  Have  you  ever  watched  AMHERST  MEDIA  videos  online?  (Yes  –  No)    *  Please  check  your  reasons  for  watching  AMHERST  MEDIA  video  content  (online  or  cable  content).  You  may  check  more  than  one  option   -­‐ To  get  local  news  and  public  affairs     -­‐ To  support  local  musicians  and  bands     -­‐ To  find  information  about  local  cultural  events     -­‐ Programs  are  not  available  elsewhere     -­‐ I  like  the  local  producers     -­‐ They  give  an  independent  voice  that  is  not  owned  by  big  business  or  government     -­‐ There  is  diversity  in  programming  Residents  can  air  their  views     -­‐ Other  (please  specify)       48
  • 54.  *  Approximately  how  many  hours  PER  WEEK  do  you  spend  watching  AMHERST  MEDIA  content?  *How  did  you  first  become  aware  of  the  AMHERST  MEDIA  channels  (Public,  Entertainment,  Government)   -­‐ Surfing  through  television  channels     -­‐ A  friend     -­‐ My  local  school     -­‐ Local  newspaper   -­‐ Local  government     -­‐ Community  organization     -­‐ Other  (please  specify)  *  HOW  OFTEN  do  you  watch  the  following  type  of  video  content?  (Daily,  Weekly,  Monthly,  Less  Often,  Never)   -­‐ Comedy  shows/sitcoms   -­‐ Documentaries   -­‐ Sports   -­‐ Full-­‐length  movies   -­‐ Local  news  programs   -­‐ National/international  news  programs   -­‐ Religious  programming  Music  shows  and/or  videos   -­‐ Arts  and  culture  programming   -­‐ Experimental  and  hobby  Health  Educational  programming  Political  talk  shows   -­‐ Other  (please  specify)  *  Approximately  how  many  hours  PER  WEEK  do  you  spend  watching  the  following  content?   -­‐ Commercial  cable  or  satellite  television   -­‐ Rental  videos  online  or  offline  (for  instance,  Netflix,  Blockbuster)   -­‐ YouTube,  or  other  online  videos  (including  Facebook  videos)    Section  4:  Video  Editing  and  Production  at  AMHERST  MEDIA  This  section  asks  questions  about  your  experience  with  AMHERST  MEDIA’s  video  editing  and  production  services    *Have  you  ever  produced  a  video  at  Amherst  Media?  (Yes  –  No)  [If  Yes]  *  How  often  do  you  produce  content  for  AMHERST  MEDIA?   -­‐ More  than  one  program  per  week     -­‐ At  least  one  program  per  week     -­‐ At  least  one  program  per  month     -­‐ At  least  one  program  per  year   -­‐ I  have  produced  AMHERST  MEDIA  content  at  least  once  in  my  lifetime     -­‐ (I  have  never  produced  content  for  AMHERST  MEDIA)     49
  • 55. *  Which  AMHERST  MEDIA  channel(s)  do  you  produce  video  content  for?  (Choose  all  that  apply):  Public  (Channel  12),  Educational  (Channel  15),  Government  (Channel  17)    *  How  much  do  you  agree  with  the  following  reasons  for  producing  videos  and  programs  at  AMHERST  MEDIA?  (Choose  all  that  apply)  (Strongly  agree;  Agree;  Neither  agree  nor  disagree;  Disagree  ;  Strongly  disagree)   -­‐ I  enjoy  seeing  my  video  broadcast  on  cable  or  the  web   -­‐ I  have  an  important  message  to  share  with  the  local  community   -­‐ I  want  to  engage  with  local  audiences   -­‐ I  want  to  have  an  impact  on  local  public  affairs   -­‐ I  enjoy  the  creative  process  of  video  production   -­‐ I  believe  in  public  access  television  and  want  to  see  it  continue    *Do  you  use  AMHERST  MEDIA  video  editing  software  and  equipment  for  your  AMHERST  MEDIA  video  content?  (Yes  –  No)  Do  you  edit  or  produce  video  content  anywhere  else  other  than  AMHERST  MEDIA?  (Choose  all  that  apply)   -­‐ No     -­‐ At  home     -­‐ At  school     -­‐ At  work     -­‐ Other  (Please  specify)    *  Have  you  ever  visited  the  AMHERST  MEDIA  website  -­‐  www.amherstmedia.org  (or  our  old  site,  www.actvamherst.com)?      *  I  visit  AMHERST  MEDIAs  website  to  do  the  following:  (Daily;  At  least  twice  a  week;  Once  per  week   Once  per  month;  Once  every  three   ;  months)   -­‐ Watch  AMHERST  MEDIA  programs   -­‐ Watch  repeats  of  AMHERST  MEDIA  videos  or  shows   -­‐ Check  cable  schedule   -­‐ Check  for  AMHERST  MEDIA  events  or  training  workshops   -­‐ Other  (please  specify)    Section  5:  AMHERST  MEDIA  Facilities  and  Services  In  this  section,  we  ask  your  opinion  about  facilities  and  services  offered  by  the  AMHERST  MEDIA    *Have  you  ever  used  AMHERST  MEDIA  FACILITIES  or  SERVICES  (such  as  attending  events  at  access  center,  AMHERST  MEDIA  equipment,  computers,  studios,  training  sessions,  and  more?  (Yes  –  No)  *Have  you  ever  taken  a  training  class  at  AMHERST  MEDIA?  (Yes  –  No)     50
  • 56. *  Please  indicate  the  reasons  why  you  have  attended  training  classes  at  AMHERST  MEDIA:   -­‐ I  wanted  to  learn  new  skills  or  update  my  knowledge     -­‐ Classes  at  AMHERST  MEDIA  are  very  affordable     -­‐ I  wanted  to  produce  my  own  media  content     -­‐ I  wanted  to  use  state  of  the  art  digital  equipment     -­‐ My  friends  recommended  it   -­‐ Other  (please  specify)    *  How  often  have  you  made  use  of  the  following  AMHERST  MEDIA  community  services?  (Once  or  more/week;  Once  or  more/month;  Once  or  more/6  months;  Once  or  more/year;  Never).    *  What  training  would  you  like  to  see  more  of  at  AMHERST  MEDIA?  (Check  all  that  apply)   -­‐ Computers  to  access  the  Internet   -­‐ Computers  to  access  video  editing  software   -­‐ Video  cameras,  and  other  video  equipment   -­‐ Studios  for  video  or  audio  recording  purposes   -­‐ Training  workshops   -­‐ Meeting  rooms  or  studios  for  training/private  meetings   -­‐ Public  community  event   -­‐ Video  editing  Photo  editing  Camera  techniques  DVD  production  Studio  use   -­‐ Audio  recording  Computer  training  Internet  use  Podcasting   -­‐ Basic  computer  literacy     -­‐ Other  (please  specify)    *  Do  you  have  any  additional  recommendations  for  AMHERST  MEDIA?”  (Open-­‐ended)       51