Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
I really, really like Councilor Leahy’s motion, tonight.
Unfortunately, it seems that Leahy is trying to draw just a ‘wee bit’ too much attention to the issue. Thus, to himself. By going to the biased Blog of Record, a ‘pay per view’ newspaper, Leahy has opened himself up to criticism he could have easily avoided. He turned a positive into a negative.
Worst still. The Sun can’t effectively deliver the goods. Look at this screen grab:
THAT .. is what you see when you click into the online version of the story. You’ve got to realize, in Youtube, the maker of the video has control of the image that appears on the screen, prior to activating the video. Does the cub reporter not know that? Or, just didn’t bother?
If a Councilor, Leahy or any other, is going to try to strum the Blog of Record to play their tune. They should take care that the Editors ensure it is done well. When you’re on the bubble, you can’t afford dumb mistakes.
I started blogging in the late Summer of 2007 during the NH Democratic Primary season. For the entire Primary, I blogged under a pseudonym, Sleeping Giant Stirs, as it was common to do so. By November, my face and name was well known in the circle of activists that participate with the various campaigns, but I didn’t openly blog as Jack Mitchell, until after the January 2008 primary election.
By 2009, I was active locally. Many of the campaigning tools I learned, as a volunteer in NH, I tried to apply to the local elections. It went well, in 2009; but even better in 2011.
Locally, there are two areas where I tend to dabble: ground game & communications. By ‘ground game,’ I mean contacting a specific subset of residents and encouraging them to vote. In the area of ‘communications,’ my principle focus has been undermining the slanted narratives of the Blog of Record and challenging the yarns they spin around the few politicians that Campi, et al, wish to fluff.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard those cowed by, what some call, the “Legacy Media;” endeavor to diminish the import and influence of Lowell’s vibrant blogscape. Frequently, I hear pols say, “I don’t read the blogs.” Others will down play by blurting, “How many people even read those blogs?”
The answer is … enough.
“… a consensus has formed that blogging is increasing in influence. Farrell and Drezner acknowledge that “A key reason they are important is that journalists and opinion leaders are readers of blogs.” …
… the appeal of blogs to media and political elites has had an impact much larger than the modest size of blog readership might suggest. In fact, “the important question in terms of political communication may not be how many, but who.” She writes that political blogs may “have effects that are quite disproportionate to the absolute numbers of participants because journalists, elected officials, and other influential elites are consuming them. …”
Just recently, a friendly member of the local ‘legacy media’ keenly noted that ‘certain news’ just won’t make it out into the light, because influential people will punish ‘professional’ news outlets by withholding ad revenue and access to their ‘realm.’ If ‘Legacy Media’ is beholden to these folks to put bread on the table, you can bet certain things are kept, intentionally, on the down low.
Or, as is glaringly obvious with the Lowell Sun, what is eventually reported is rigged to cast a kind spin for their allies, while conjuring hassles for their foes.
I won’t lie. I do the same thing, for free. I’ll have an ‘objectivity arm wrestle’ with the Blog of Record, anytime, anywhere.
If you are one of those individuals that complaints about your cable television programming and if you are one of those that wants more local access television, you have an opportunity to have your voice heard and make a difference.
The City of Lowell is currently holding public hearings to discuss the renewal of the City cable contract with Comcast. As some of you are aware, through a fee assessed on our monthly bill, funds are directed to the City of Lowell. The first hearing took place on March 13th.The second and last public hearing will be held this April 10th . All cable subscribers and interested parties are invited to attend the hearings and share comments or suggestions about cable service.
These funds are disbursed to the public, education and government (PEG) channels which are operated by the Lowell Communications Corporation (LTC) and Lowell Educational Television (LET) . LTC operates channels 8, 95 and 99. The first two are community programming and the last one is government. And LET operates Channel 22.
The City of Lowell also receives funds for its intranet as well as other technical operations. And I believe that Greater Lowell Technical High School also receives some funds from this contract.
As part of the information gathering the City of Lowell IT Department and LTC have partnered to survey of Lowell residents and gather information that will help in drafting an agreement which is responsive to the public’s needs and desires. The answers provided in this survey will also assist LTC and LET to better serve the City with its programming and outreach.
Here is the link to the survey
I just finished taking it and I did in 2 minutes.
Oh, and did I mention that everyone who takes this survey is eligible to win a $50 Amazon gift card.
Update (by Jack):
LTC does a lot for the community. First and foremost, the municipal channel airs our city government meetings live and in repeats and online. Without that, transparency is all but missing from our modern political process.
It also brings us great local programming (like our new show, Threads) and coverage of the big events in Lowell…the Folk Fest, the City of Lights parade, the various ethnic festivals, and more.
The third pillar of LTC is that it brings its members and even nonmembers classes on media and new media, like how to edit, how to produce a show, and even classes like my web design and Wordpress class (the new Wordpress class is being held this Saturday from 10:30 to 2pm, in case you are interested).
LTC is in the middle of contract negotiations with Comcast, on whom they rely for a large portion of their funding via a small fee levied on your bill. (So small compared to the overly large bill itself, you really can’t notice it.) LTC needs our support to get the best it can from Comcast, so it can continue to do what it does, and even expand.
To that end, the first hearing will be held tonight, Wednesday, March 13, 6:30 PM at Lowell City Hall Council Chambers. The second hearing is April 10, same time and place. You can support LTC by sending a letter to Miran Fernandez, MIS, Chief Information Officer, email@example.com.
LTC is looking to have support for its funding (increased funding, as the equipment is very expensive, and it would like to do more) as well as for getting LTC in the digital program guide, providing mirrored stations in the HD range, and giving LTC space on Comcast’s Video on Demand services so that the Lowell community can have access to programming that is relevant to them and local, and that it will be easy to find and watch on their schedule. Imagine being able to get Lowell City Council meetings On-Demand on your TV!
All of those things sound pie in the sky, but we can get them if enough of us demand it. And I will state here and now, if Comcast gives these things in the contract to LTC, I for one will stop bad mouthing them on Facebook and online everywhere. They’d have earned a lot of trust if they show they care about our community in such a way.
Please consider sending a letter, and if you can attend the meetings as a show of support I know it would be appreciated.
So we didn’t make a huge fuss about this in January, and we should have, because the new show we’re doing on LTC, “Threads,” is a lot of hard work and we’re proud of it! In case you missed it on Facebook or elsewhere, Threads is a hyperlocal cable access TV show with great local hosts and even greater local guests! Everything current affairs, culture, history, arts, politics or government is fair game. The aim is to bring new voices and diverse points of view together for a one hour show once a month.
Today we wrapped our studio segments (with a couple more field pieces to come), where this month’s host Corey Sciuto interviewed Dick Howe about his new book, Legendary Locals of Lowell (Facebook page here), and Joy Mosenfelder, coordinator for the Coalition for a Better Acre’s new program, Merrimack Valley Time Exchange. They were both great topics and timely, with Dick’s book coming out on Monday, and the MV Time Exchange looking for new members for its pilot program…people willing to give an hour of their own talent to get an hour from another person with a skill they need.
To keep abreast, I recommend Liking our Facebook page, and if you missed our pilot episode, you can catch it in segments or as a full episode at our website LowellThreads.com. Our first episode focused on the Master Plan draft that the city held public meetings on in January.
If you are interested in seeing what it takes to do a show on cable access, have a great idea for a segment, or want to become part of the team, we have plenty to do and never enough hands to do it, so email us at producers [at] lowellthreads.com (copy and paste, replace spaces and [at] with @)!
My bleeding heart is wrenched:
Whatever happened to government of the people, by the people and for the people?
Yes, the board’s decision just saved the city $877 yearly and thousands more in health-insurance premiums, but its insensitive, bean-counter — or worse — behavior leaves us wondering where humanity factors into the bottom line.
If you hear a distant wailing of, “Oh, .. the Humanity,” please note, it is not the Hindenburg crashing to terra firma. It is Jim Campanini’s credibility.
The Blog of Record’s Blogger-in-Chief penned, what is effectively, a carbon copy of former License Commissioner Ray Weicker’s Facebook musings, re: the CM’s apology to the City Council. No one I have talked to has accused Jim Campanini of ever having an original thought in his head. This observation has, apparently, not made its way across the continental divide to The Sun’s home office. (Ha! The Lowell Sun is run by a “blow in” and owned by a company HQ’d in Denver.)
Here is Campi’s closing argument. See how he narrows the universe to a small few.
In disrespecting one councilor, Lynch disrespected all nine — as well as the citizens of Lowell who elected them.
It should be clear to just about anyone, why I refer to the Lowell Sun as the Blog of Record.
THE ALLEGATION from a City Hall janitor that Mayor Patrick Murphy broke the glass on a City Hall door in anger after Tuesday’s meeting, which Murphy denies, prompted some council observers to wonder what Murphy could have been upset about.
Right away, the anonymous blogger that penned this bit, moves quickly past Murphy’s denial and drives on under the assumption that the janitor’s word is gold. Two things bolster this asumption. First, the Mayor, himself, has crafted a public persona as an edgey outsider. He has made bold moves, big moves. In reaction to the Mayor, his detractors have conjured a persona of him as a ‘hothead.’ This persona is not too far from reality. Though I know Murphy has the martial discipline required, I notice in his body language, a posture of one prepared to fight, in the moment. Anyone that watches hockey knows of what I mean. We see skaters beginning to square off and we’ll snort, “Oh. The gloves are coming off.” Mayor Murphy, when challenged, will find an engaged, cutting eye. One that promises more than just a trifle, should the challenge cross Murphy’s line.
But what stands out most in the farcical tale is this:
Councilors Ed Kennedy, Rita Mercier and Elliott all told The Sun that a city janitor asked them as they were exiting City Hall why Murphy was so upset.
The councilors said nothing happened that they were aware of, and asked the janitor why he was inquiring.
“He said ‘The mayor stormed out of City Hall and slammed the door and the glass broke,’” Kennedy said.
Elliott and Mercier confirmed that account.
At almost every City Council meeting I have attended, C.Elliott makes a hasty exit. It’s routine for him to be packing up his papers during the last motion, practically on his feet, if not standing, when the gavel falls for adjournment. How is it that, on this odd night, the entire ‘Axis of Chatty’ are ‘present’ to support Lyle Moran’s investigative high water mark.
“Be careful,” she said smugly, as she sauntered off.
This is a true story. The names are witheld, because it is a learning moment.
Tonight, a buddy of mine scored some tix to the UML v. UMASS hockey game. Good seats, center ice with access to the Pavilion. When we got to the Tsongas, my crew breezed into the blue collar swank of Martyville. It stank of Old Spice and the ladies had their second generation Acre Doos neatly sprayed in place. I have no sales pitch. I ain’t running for anything, so I broke from my gaggle and beelined out the other side. My seat was in the middle of a row, so I plopped in an open end seat and enjoyed the First Period.
With 3 minutes left, the Riverhawks were floundering on the Power Play, so I headed to the can and back to the Pavilion. I may dub it the Hawk Nest. That may never catch on, but you’d be surprised how some of my blog speak has stuck in the Bubble vernacular. I buy myself and the guy that got me in, each a Winter Lager, then got my chat on. Yada Yada … The Lowell Memorial Auditorium … Board of Trustees … Mike Dinneen .. it’s all good. What’s up for the City election? Yada Yada.
There is a table eye balling me. Whatevs. They looked like Brahmin from The Belvidere.
I see one of the City Councilors, then two. One Councilor has the sweetest lady of a wife. So, I stood nearby to offer a quick peck on the cheek and a friendly, “Hello.” She is the best. The circle sort of closed in and I stuck around to chat about the upgrades to the joint. How I had seen the Talking Heads in the Tully Forum. Yada Yada. Pleasant stuff. No politics, that I could discern. Councilors deserve some down time. My crew had headed to their seats.
It was literally, just at about the moment when I was about to make a break for it, offer a jovial, “I’ll let you enjoy the rest of the game … ,” when some strange woman approached me. I got some odd introductory, Belvidere version of Travis Bickle. I was confused, by this. But, then the City Councilors started to say say,”Hi” to this woman. I figured out what I had on my hands.
Let me say this, I respect that she had enough clan loyalty to approach me and make an effort to put me back on my heels. At this point, the Councilors were peeling away. I don’t blame them. These things are sticky. So, it’s me and her. It was civil. At first, I was very subdued. I took the lashing. Mostly because I don’t know how much she actually knows and how much she has been told by others. However, she opted to over emphasize her point and I was more firm. Public people on the public payroll are fair game. Period.
“You don’t know my family,” was a common utterance for the several minutes we mingled. As I think about it here, in the quite of the lamplight, I know she is correct. All of what I know is third party. Some is gossip, but more is printed in the Blog of Record. My tendency is to print the stuff that is verifiable. But, I’ll admit that the gossip colors my perspective, especially, gossip from several credible sources.
The whole episode took minutes. And, as it occured, I was shrunken a bit by the cockiness of a woman that doesn’t weigh a 140lbs, dripping wet. For some reason, maybe because I am aware of my physical size and bearing, I normally shrink when small people get pissy with me. I was genuinely feeling her disgust for me. I was trying to process it. That anger. That violation. That trespass. This was a woman that I would certainly dowse via Fire Marshall approved methods, should I notice any flames emanating from her proximity. She stood her ground. She squared off. I do respect that.
“Be careful,” she said smugly, as she sauntered off.
That bit was sketchy and I bristled. By now, I was an island. My crew was watching the game, 400 feet away. The Councilors had hightailed the scene of the crash and I knew it would have been imposing to cozy up to them, looking for affirmation. I was an island, floating in a sea of Old Spice & hair spray vapors. I was, in that moment, the proverbial ‘Leper,’ Paul Belley had warned me about. That moment sucked.
“Be careful,” she said smugly, as she sauntered off.
I sauntered off, through the guarded entry, into the crowd of common folks, enthralled by the spirit of sport. Game on!
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