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CCTV Shows How Public Access TV Can Transition to Digital

Katie Donnelly

In 2008, Mike Rosen-Molina wrote on MediaShift about public access TV's "fight for relevance" in the digital age:

In an age when it's increasingly easy for amateur filmmakers, citizen journalists, and the general public to distribute videos online, is there any point in having a public-access cable channel? Some argue that public-access television has outlived its usefulness for this reason: Podcasting and online video have effectively eliminated the need to reserve television slots for public comment. In recent years, telecom companies have used this argument with great success to get out of having to contribute public-access funding. Lack of funding and public interest have caused many of these stations around the country to close up shop.

Since then, the fight for relevance has heated up considerably. But while many public access stations are struggling, others have been able to flourish by effectively leveraging Web 2.0 tools to their advantage. For example, Deproduction/The Open Media Foundation is spearheading the Open Media Project, a collaboration among public access stations based on open-access tools.

Another successful public access station is Cambridge Community Television. It serves the city of Cambridge, Mass., through three television channels (watch a live-stream here), an extensive website, and a host of training programs. According to its website, "CCTV provides training and access to telecommunications technology so that all may become active participants in electronic media. CCTV strives to involve the diverse population of Cambridge as producers and viewers, and to strengthen its efforts through collaborations with a wide variety of community institutions."

Read the rest of this article on MediaShift!