by German Lopez
Posted In: News
at 11:18 AM | Permalink
Public access media organization to close by end of year
Local public access media organization Media Bridges is shutting its doors for good by the end of the year, ending nearly 25 years of public service.
The organization’s demise is a result of the city eliminating funding for Media Bridges in its latest budget, which was passed by City Council in May.
“It is with great sadness that I must announce that Media Bridges will close its doors by the end of 2013. The city has made it extremely clear that we will not be receiving any more funding from them. While we have tried many other avenues for revenue it has become clear that we will be unable to sustain operations beyond 2013,” Media
Bridges Executive Director Tom Bishop announced Tuesday in the organization’s newsletter.The shutdown will be a steady process, with Media Bridges completely closing once its channels are
transferred or Dec. 13 — whichever comes first.The city’s budget cuts were originally considered in December, but City
Council managed to restore some funding to keep the organization
afloat. Prior to the partial restoration, Bishop had called the cuts a “meteor” to his organization’s budget.
City officials previously defended the cuts to Media Bridges, citing city
surveys that ranked the program poorly in terms of budgetary importance.
For the surveys, the city used meetings and mailed questionnaires to gauge public
But Bishop claims the surveys’
demographics were lopsided against low-income Cincinnatians, the income
group that benefits the most from public access programs like Media
For both the meeting-based and mail-in surveys, Bishop’s
claim checks out. His concern is even directly acknowledged and backed in the documented survey results for the meetings:
“Twenty-two percent of meeting participants earned less than $23,050
per year, compared to 40.8 percent of the population at large who earn
less than $24,999 per year. While this is not representative of the
population at large, the data does indicate strong participation from
low income residents.”
Meanwhile, wealthier Cincinnatians were much better
represented, with 11 percent of meeting participants making
$150,000 or more per year despite only 6 percent of the city at large
belonging to that income group, according to the survey results.
The same issue can be found in the mail-in survey: Only 22 percent of respondents made less than $25,000, while 10 percent made $150,000 or more.“It’s ridiculous that they would call that representative of the city of Cincinnati,” Bishop says.
Instead of using its skewed survey results,
Bishop argues the city should have looked at the 2010 Spring Greater
Cincinnati Survey from the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for
Policy Research. In that survey, Cincinnati respondents were asked how
important it was to provide recording equipment to citizens and
neighborhoods so they can “produce educational and public access
programs for cable television.” About 54.3 percent called it “very
important,” 33.9 percent labeled it “somewhat important” and 11.7
percent said it was “not too important.”
City officials also defended the cuts by claiming that funding was only provided as a
“one-year reprieve” after Media Bridges lost state funding that came
through Time Warner Cable, which successfully lobbied to end its
required contributions in 2011.
Bishop disputes the city’s claim, saying Media Bridges and its staff weren’t informed that the city funding was meant to be temporary — at least until it was too late.
Media Bridges is a public access media organization founded in 1988 that
allows anyone in Cincinnati to record video and sound for publicly
broadcasted television and radio. It also provides educational programs for people new to the process.
Although Media Bridges is closing down, the city is still
funding CitiCable, which, among other programming, broadcasts City
Council and county commissioner meetings, through franchise fees from
Cincinnati Bell and Time Warner.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 26, 2013
A press card means we’re special until we
irritate someone who can ignore it or take it away. It doesn’t matter
what level of government is involved; the power to issue a press card is
the power to withhold.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Language abuse — as opposed to abusive language — is as old as language itself.
After 50-plus years of reporting and
editing, I should be used to it, but I’m increasingly irritated by its
deliberate, partisan misuse.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 29, 2013
If sources begin to think twice about
contacting us in any fashion other than midnight meetings in darkened
parking garages, public service reporting will become an endangered
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Intruding is something
reporters do. Intrusions can be personal, professional, financial or
commercial. Or more than one of the above. And, yes, despite
inexplicably loud cell phone conversations, awareness of omnipresent
smartphone cameras and overly revealing Facebook posts, many Americans
still assert their right to privacy.
0 Comments · Thursday, May 2, 2013
You want news of a real weapon of mass
destruction? Try ammonium nitrate fertilizer stored in tanks in the tiny
town of West, Texas. At least 14 dead. Hundreds wounded. High school
and nursing home blitzed. Dozens of homes destroyed.
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I began this column wondering, “With so many search engines and online sources available, how much is enough?” Before the Internet, phone calls and checking clippings often sufficed.
4 Comments · Wednesday, March 20, 2013
LGBT-supporting Cincinnatians had a
bipolar March 15, with Sen. Rob Portman coming out in support of
same-sex marriage and the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network
(GLSEN) being publicly barred from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on the
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 20, 2013
The newest haute Hollywood beauty trend is a procedure
called a “vampire facial,” which involves injecting your own blood —
drawn from your arm — back into your face, to stimulate collagen
production. WORLD -2
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 19, 2013
After Benedict XVI quit and before
cardinals began voting for his successor, daily news-free news stories
left us as ignorant as the day before. Until Francis’ election, nothing really
happened. That’s one reason NPR received 200-plus complaints, its
ombudsman reported, mostly about 47 stories running during the four
weeks between popes.