Grassroots visions :environmental advocacy and public access television

Holder, Nelda Frances
Mitch Thomashow
Department of Environmental Studies
Grassroots Visions: Environmental Advocacy and Public Access Television is a study of the horizontally democratic concepts of cable public television, which exists in some 2,000 communities in the United States, and how these concepts and their technical manifestation can be utilized as an environmental advocacy tool. The study introduces the activist history of the public access movement to secure First Amendment cable communication privileges on behalf of the general public in cable franchise areas, and briefly explores the environment of media monopoly and control by which public access is surrounded. Characteristics of the electronic media which have bearing on the potential for public dialogue and the public forum status of access are highlighted, and a comprehensive guide to the actual use of public access stations is then presented. This guide includes details of the various forms of programming available to individuals, and explains how public access production itself can lead to ad hoc networking beyond the cable service area, thus magnifying the potential for advocacy. Twelve profiles of environmental producers are compiled to illustrate the concepts of access utilization and its sociopolitical capacity for democratic empowerment. Further resource compilations include a survey of national environmental organizations and their status regarding use of the public access medium to reach the public; a list of sources of environmental tapes available for programming on public access channels (or for other public or educational use); a glossary of public access terms; and a list of detailed production references.

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