Turning Reporters Into Informants

Visit Defend the Press and learn how the U.S. Army is attempting to force a journalist into helping chill the speech of conscientiously-objecting soldiers and the coverage of their statements. The case of Lt. Ehren Watada itself stands to clarify the boundaries of what is considered acceptable public speech for those in uniform – but in no way should a journalist be hauled into court to substantiate this persecution.

I had the opportunity to interview Sarah Olson during the National Conference for Media Reform in Memphis earlier this month, and was proud to be her first signatory to the coalition seeking to keep her free to report such important stories, and journalism in general free from fear of being drafted.

NCMR ’07 Ahoy

This week the 2007 National Conference for Media Reform kicks off in Memphis, Tennessee. More than 2,500 folks are expected to converge and discuss the future of media over what should be a grueling but fruitful weekend.

The day before the official start of the NCMR, a media policy pre-conference is taking place, hosted by the Social Science Research Council. I’ll be presenting on the dangers of digital radio. The rest of the weekend I expect to be running around, mic and portable recorder in hand, to gather soundbites of notables for special daily editions of Media Minutes.

One of these years I hope to be more participant than observer….

Scene Reports: California, Illinois

California: Skidmark Bob just interviewed Monkey of the infamous Pirate Cat Radio. Monkey scored an early copy of Stephen Dunifer’s TV transmitter kit and put Pirate Cat TV on the air six months ago; its 80-watt signal can be seen on Channel 13 in the San Francisco area. Programming consists of a growing catalog of DIVX .avi files on a homebrew server with a terabyte of storage, and the station is actively soliciting more content.

As for Pirate Cat Radio, Monkey says there’s about 30 DJs presently, and the dues-paying fundraising model takes care of their needs. At the end of the interview he says the station will soon “upgrade” from 220 to 1,000 (!) watts, mostly by moving to a directional antenna system. Read More