A Note from the Director

I write frequently about the state of national media, here and elsewhere. And with each passing month, the news seems to get worse. From corporate favoritism and the death of Net Neutrality under the “watch” of the Federal Communications Commission, to the reorganization and downgrading of newsrooms at major dailies across California, to additional layoffs at our own community newspaper, the news about those who report it, is dire.

The Fourth Estate in this country used to be venerable, a watchdog against corruption. As CALMatters Editor David Lesher recently wrote, “Media is declining nationally, but unique pressures have made California into America’s laboratory for a dangerous experiment about what happens to the public interest when policy is made without the public’s awareness or accountability.”

This leaves non-profit community media centers such as Davis Media Access (DMA) facing new challenges. For years, our mission was to facilitate the production and distribution of content created by community members. Over the decades (DMA will celebrate 30 years of operation this October), that mission shifted to include more local content creation.

Last year, as the FCC eliminated the need for broadcasters to maintain local offices and record keeping, saying the Internet had eliminated that need—and as Lesher’s article notes, the role of newspapers has been greatly diminished—we noticed the impact. More people are arriving on DMA’s doorstep (in person and virtually), requesting coverage of events, asking for air time on DCTV or KDRT, or needing help getting the word out.

DMA’s small staff (4 full-time, 6 part-time on-call) routinely works with hundreds of volunteers and community members to play our part in the local media ecosystem. Our ability to do this is made possible in part by community support.

DMA will participate in the Big Day of Giving again this year, and on that day, also launch our Annual Appeal. I believe passionately that DMA helps make community life better, more informed, and hope that when you think about local causes meriting support, DMA is among your choices.

In community,

Autumn Labbé-Renault