How does media policy affect us?

Ted Ernst is a good friend – I missed this gem from last Friday 13th…
Ted Ernst is a good friend – I missed this gem from last Friday 13th…
A variant of this question dropped into my inbox not long ago this morning and I could not help but start writing… the question is not quite the same as the title above – it was more focused on a language of “real individuals” telling their stories about how media policy issues affect them. The intent has to do with sharing stories to affect policy or to get potential supporters to take media policy more seriously.

I’m interested in more public dialogue, viagra so I only provide my reaction here, story and leave the others in that email exchange to speak for themselves and to audiences of their choosing – but as I have something to get off my chest, apoplexy here I go…

(Wow, well, glad interest has been sparked…) my read is that real (as opposed to who?) people are affected in so many cross-cutting ways by media policies that they can’t even see it (or if and to the extent they do they are seeing so many things at once, and potentially different things from each other, with different languages to interpret or speak about them).

We’re embedded in the results/effects of media policy. Another factor to consider is the manner in which policy obscures itself. To the extent that those shaping policy are often angling for particular perks, obscurity is a strategy and an advantage … to those passing legislation/policy and serving narrow interests. The contrast between narrow interest vs. general interest in any policy (media or other policy) is the big puzzle. We’ve tended to accept the exigency of acceding to the narrow interest to get things done, or to get the uncomfortable questions off the table. We tend to steer away from the real work that would build enduring, generative capacity.

None of this is terribly helpful, I am sure.

Thom Clark makes excellent points in that capacity is policy … i.e. local capacity is both a (variably effective) policy maker and the result of policy. If we are to collectively “grow ours” (in contrast with “get mine”) then we have to invest in meaningful capacity building that seeds the local and builds lateral connections over these localities (not necessarliy spatial/geographic nearness) – in multiple dimensions – capacity in fields of interest, of professions, of other “community” of various stripes.

That is, every sector of life is touched by this.

In our work on Digital Excellence this was perhaps our central point. (We blend the concepts of Digital Literacy and Media Literacy at this point, at a very deep level, so they maybe synonymous or united at a higher level.)

Every sector, every aspect of our individual and collective lives is touched by media/technology processes. It’s important to pair these terms – individual and collective – it’s not just individual lives here, it’s how we live together that is affected, and our own awareness of our role and freedom to shape this. So it’s groups and communities and families, and organizations that have to be part of the story, too. Each of these flavor and shape the quality of my individual life and I have to take time to care for these aspects of my/our selves.

My gut is to flip the question on it’s head… show me any story or any aspect of life not affected by media policy. I recognize that that’s probably not compelling for the audience.

FWIW, (and to state the banal) I’m an individual… I engage in media activism, and media policy, and I buy into the importance of “being the media”. I endeavored to get others to some state of awareness on several interrelated topics (and to build my own awareness and understanding thereby), not to mention awareness of their interrelatedness, and I employ multiple strategies to do so. I have perhaps a very different notion of “policy work” than what may be commonly understood, but there’s the rub — all sorts of work are being re-imagined and restructured. (That’s nothin’ new, but perhaps only more so now..)

“Be the media” as sentiment and strategy is an expression of this transformation of work and life, and a recognition that practice and policy are one. Policy may otherwise be regarded as something that happens above, or elsewhere, or happens to you … but in this model, policy is what we contest and what we make and how we practice. If you’ve the motivation and I haven’t worn out my welcome take a look at the entry for Grassroots Public Policy Development in the Public Sphere Pattern Language project spearheaded by Doug Schuler.

Getting to this practice of “being the media” and being with (and for) each other in community, talking about and reforming our practice and our communities at the same time gives us something fairly exciting to talk about. Trying to be clear: talking about or sharing any of the strategies we’ve employed feels like a success story to me in that we’ve been building community and community capacity.

I’m tempted to enumerate tools, devices, strategies – ranging from the pattern language process itself to open space and other civic focused gatherings to new models of philanthropic or educational/research engagement to positive media to open data commons models – but any list would be partial, and would not honor the plethora of ongoing efforts and approaches to living together in a new way. So many things tied together … we’re enmeshed in good and bad ways. And as the story goes – each interpretation of the moment is subject to revision. Perhaps.

Any of you are welcome to tell your story here – or anywhere. How does media policy affect you, personally, or the things you care about?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.