My early career included stints as a newspaper reporter and editor. I loved going to cover lectures, protests, and other events that opened my eyes to new information. It was my job to ask hard questions and look for more than one viewpoint or source. Newsrooms were very different places back then, and news outlets were owned by many hundreds of corporations. Since I’ve been working in non-commercial community media—20 years this month—commercial media in this country has endured consolidation and a loosening of restrictions on media cross-ownership, to the point where 90 percent of major media are owned by just six corporations. I’ve written reams about these issues, and about the dangers of watering down and homogenizing the Fourth Estate. In lieu of actual news, we’ve become a nation of news-feed junkies reinforcing our own stereotypes via the echo chamber that is social media.
This is, in large part, why non-commercial community media outlets, such as DMA’s Davis Community Television and KDRT, matter. Because, especially in times of unrest, we need to know what’s really happening in our communities. We need to watch the public meetings, and to hear the voices of our neighbors, whether they are grassroots activists, teachers, youth, college students, or elected officials. We need to hear from all the voices in our community—even those we don’t agree with—and we need to make sure they are represented. Non-commercial digital media plays a crucial role here.
Protecting and promoting free speech is challenging at times, but strengthening community through access to, and use of, non-commercial media is the foundation of what DMA does. I have a feeling that in days to come, the tug on our resources is going to be mighty. I hope our collective narrative in Yolo County will be one of resistance, renewal, rising up, and sharing powerful stories of change.
As a reminder, you can make your own media in response to these times, using your own equipment or DMA’s, and air it locally. Doing so helps you build audience, as DMA promotes through its newsletter, websites, and social media. Find out more by attending a General Orientation.
Know of something happening locally? Please let us know. We are a very small staff, and don’t have roving reporters, but we can sometimes arrange for volunteers or interns to cover events. Advance notice is key.
You can also bring your information, event or cause and plug in as a guest or host on “In the Studio.” You can learn more about all of this and more at davismedia.org.
Finally, please continue to support local media outlets. It’s the difference between us being able to do this work, and not. Thank you for your time, energy, and support.
Autumn Labbe-Renault, Executive Director