The Possible Future for the Freedom of Press and Free Speech

I wrote this post almost a week after the 2016 presidential election polls closed and saved it as a draft until publishing it today, as is.


As we prepare for the coming Trump administration taking office on January 20th, 2017, there is one thing I keeping coming back to pondering. When it comes down to it, it’s the first amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (Source: billofrightsinstitute.org)

Some time ago, general political discussions in college concluded the key to that amendment is that it does not grant you the right to free speech as much as it says that congress cannot pass any law prohibits it. There still lies some legal ambiguity that could allow them to shorten, or abridge, your ability to freely do so, essentially having the ability to take away some but not all of your freedom of speech.

I spent time in college with some very intellectual law students who loved to spout off about, after a few drinks, what they were learning and passionate about. These were conversations they were having in the classrooms and never had any real black and white resolutions to them because the government is supposed to be comprised of mechanisms that prevent these freedoms from ever being infringed.

But the way this new presidential office is looking, and there is still a ways to go before it’s put together, it makes me ponder a few possibilities that we could see in the future. These are my red book predictions for the near future.

podcasting gear
Podcasting Gear by DaveO on Flickr

At some point, the president will talk of or try to issue an order where anyone who insults the office of the presidency will be subject to a penalty of some type

To narrow that down, I would think this would be directed at the media at the start but have the fiery potential to expand towards anyone who says or distributes anything electronically. Any tweet, status update, video, or even this blog post could be considered for some sort of slander that is “not fair”.

A wealthy, successful businessman, who this new president certainly is, doesn’t seem like he would be one to care what anyone would say or write about him, but that’s not true. Do a simple Google search of “donald trump sues” and you will find a variety of lawsuits that range from defamation to a number of issues related to his numerous business matters.

From the Republican side of this race, the media was consistently attacked in the final months of the campaign for lying and rigging the election in terms of what was being fed through various outlets. Whether that was correct or wrong, the fact is that the results of the elections reinforce that notion because it was only the pundits who correctly predicted the final outcome while a majority of other outlets mostly said otherwise.

There could be an attempt to regulate non-traditional media to reduce “fake news” outlets

While I think it’s more important to be making people have a license to operate drones, the Trump administration will make an effort to regulate media outlets, more so not acknowledging a media outlet as a authentic or trustworthy unless you are registered and approved.

Who this will be done by remains to be seen. The FCC is there to mostly enforce the transmission methods and would probably be bypassed by the administration’s special council that they will setup and regulate.

Want to have a blog and not always be labeled as “fake”? Get yourself a license.

Want to have a podcast? You’ll need a license for that.

You’ll still be able to have or maintain whatever type of outlet that you want, but unless you have that seal of approval, your outlet will not count in the eyes of this administration.

Or, this could simply revert back to the era of the Nixon enemies list or McCarthyism era blacklists, where we’ll never really know who is or isn’t respected in the eyes of the administration.

Being a part of history at Empire Field while helping spread it through social media

Empire Field: Still getting ready

The radio day job always gets me into places around Vancouver that I would probably not wander through if it weren’t for the opportunities that keep coming up, and Empire Field is no exception.

TEAM Radio is the official broadcaster of the BC Lions, so during our initial test setup for the first home game back in June, I brought my camera along to hopefully snap some photos of the field before the public got to wander in for a peek. What I didn’t anticipate was that while the first event to be held at this temporary stadium was just days away, workers were all over the place, still getting ready.

Empire Field: Still getting ready Empire Field: Still getting ready

While BC Place[wiki] gets a new roof downtown, Empire Field[wiki] has been built on the former site of Empire Stadium[wiki], which used to be the home of the BC Lions Canadian Football League team prior to moving into the dome in the early 80’s.

The crazy aspect to this stadium is that it’s completely temporary, but I find that hard to tell at times.

Aside from the field turf and the four sets of lights at each corner of the stadium, all of this will be gone by the summer of 2011. The BC Lions get one full season to call this place temporarily home, and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC will start their inaugural MLS season on the same field.

Empire Field: Still getting ready Empire Field: Still getting ready

Empire Field: Still getting ready

In all actuality, I’m not an overly huge football fan. I like to watch it, but I don’t actively seek it out. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the sport by any means. I’ve certainly let the CFL grow on me, even though punting the ball on 3rd down continues to throw me off from time to time.

What can I say? I grew up in small town America where Friday nights belong to high school football, Saturday’s are for college ball(Go Hawks!), and Sunday was NFL. Four downs(CFL has three), the flags are yellow(CFL flags are orange), and the only time you can score a single point is kicking the ball through the uprights after a touchdown(I’m still confused by all the various ways you can score a single point in the CFL, but oh well).

I encourage football fans with the NFL Network in the states to try and catch some of the CFL broadcasts they will be running this summer. Let the rules and twelve men on the field be the second thing you pay attention to. The action is what you should focus on.

Empire Field: Still getting ready

It’s really tough to comprehend that this stadium will only exist for barely over a year. With the mountains as a gorgeous backdrop and the close proximity of the fans to the field, this isn’t just a great place to watch football or soccer. I could see this being a great outdoor concert venue as well.

Empire Field: Still getting ready

Whatever happens to this place in the future, it’s a little rewarding to be involved in a tiny piece of Vancouver’s history. Just like people talk about Expo ’86 or when the Olympics were here, I can say I was there, running around the field, ducking into the double-wide trailers that make up the locker rooms, and hauled plenty of equipment up and down stairs to make the radio side of things happen.

Interestingly enough, my photos have made the rounds on a handful of sites promoting the environmental sustainability aspect of the stadium, most noticeably the recycled tires that makes up the field turf.

inhabitat.com uses my photos of Empire Stadium inhabitat.com:
Vancouver Soccer Stadium Made With 22,000 Recycled Tires
by Bridgette Meinhold, 06/29/10

Inhabitat used my photos to highlight the use of “22,000 recycled tires, amounting to 346,000 pounds of crumb rubber,” in the field turf that makes up the playing surface of Empire Field. While that’s pretty cool in itself, the playing field can actually be altered in terms of response by either vacuuming up those tiny bits of rubber or adding more to change the amount of bounce you get from the field.

They found my photos on Flickr and published them in a post with proper attribution. That’s social networking done right.



Italian site ecopnues.it uses my photos of Empire Stadium ecopnues.it:
Lo stadio da calcio di Vancouver costruito con 22.000 pneumatici fuori uso

I was contacted directly about using my photos in this post, and that request was in English. As you can tell by the title of this post, all of this site is in Italian. Ecopnues is an Italian website that focuses on the use of recycled tires, taking a cue from the previous post I’ve already highlighted.

What fascinates me is the theme of sustainability being immensely popular around the world. Empire Field certainly has its critics, but in the bigger picture, the long term benefits to the communities around this area is viewed positively by many.

Rebecca also has a post with many of my photos as well as her trip to see the field on the day it was unveiled to the media.

Empire Field is a limited time experience and well worth it. If you go and are the adventurous type, get some seats in the end zones. Space was so limited in the construction of this stadium that they couldn’t put nets up to prevent balls from going into the stands.

How’s that for a souvenir? Well, that is if you’re willing to work for it.

True North Media House: 2010 independent, self-accredited reporting in Vancouver

TNMH Media Badge

TNMH Media Badge by John Biehler on Flickr

One of the ways I plan to to document my experiences during these winter games in Vancouver is through the various outlets that I have available to me on a personal level. Be it my photography, writing, video, audio, and most likely Twitter, there’s a lot more to share with the world other than what you see on TV during the time between opening and closing ceremonies.

This is where the True North Media House comes in.

I’ve watched this plan hatch from an idea to a project in full motion. Somewhere along the line, and most likely of my own doing, I’ve gotten myself involved with the venture of helping it come up on a quickly approaching horizon.

In order to better explain what TNMH is, here’s a quote from the website:

The True North Media House project aims to inspire social media creation and educate about best practices for sharing content with audience. We’ll do this through a variety of meet-ups, photo walks, field trips, and outings with international media makers and aggregating Olympic culture-related content licensed with a Creative Commons license. [truenorthmediahouse.com]

True North Media HouseLet’s be honest. There are a lot of other people out there in the world who like to create the types of media that me, Rebecca, or like many of our friends do. Chances are, some of them will be coming to Vancouver to follow the adventures of their fellow men and women from the countries coming to the lower mainland.

There are a thousands stories to tell from all sorts of perspectives, and True North is what aims to bring this people together to share an understanding of how to publish, create, generate, or whatever they do with their experiences. And more so, what you should or shouldn’t do to make sure that what you have made still falls inside the guidelines TNMH promotes.

Even further to what True North Media House is, Andrew Lavigne has released this great piece from the documentary he is making entitled, With Glowing Hearts. It’s great back story that gives a better foundation from how this group came about.

WGHthemovie.ca- Webisode #2 ‘True North Media House’ from Andrew Lavigne on Vimeo.

I’m looking forward to what should be some unique experiences as well as meeting new people, local and from afar, who are anxious to see what the lower mainland will be like over these next few weeks.

How are you spending your Olympics? No matter how you roll, whether you plan to celebrate, protest, or observe, my admonition is to document the people’s history about how the Olympics interacts with our communities like historian Howard Zinn would advise. Perhaps you’re skipping out of school to see some events or explore Vancouver’s hidden gems? Good. Recluse J.D. Salinger woulda wanted you to, but wouldn’t let you know it. [Dave Olson, vancouverobserver.com]

If you are interested in finding out more about True North Media House and maybe even getting on the bus, head over to the website for all the details.

Small town newspapers can have a great web presence

There is a high probability that what’s contained in this post will be conceived as another old media versus new media argument over who’s better than who or which one will die out first. That’s not my intention, even if does point out a newspaper’s website presence.

Basically, it boils down to this; I want information on what’s going on in the small town of where I grew up in Iowa. My only option? The local newspaper that has been operating their print publication since 1879.

What’s the point of online presence if you don’t do it well?

The newspaper in question does have a website, but it’s highly outdated in terms of how it is constructed and updated. In fact, the basic foundation is something I helped to create in the mid-90’s when my parents owned and operated a website business during that time, giving me my first, professional gigs that have transformed into the sixty4media projects of today.
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Social Media and the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

Photo by Roland Tanglao
Photo credit: Roland Tanglao on Flickr

On Thursday of last week, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of the minds, if you will, regarding an endeavor that is taking the social media scene in Vancouver and bringing the 2010 Winter Olympics together.

The task, needless to say, is daunting. The plan is in its infant stages, and the melting pots of minds, which there are many of, are heading down territories that are vastly uncharted. Bloggers, podcasters, photographers, video enthusiasts, and anything else you can use to convey a story are looking to see how they can interact with the biggest, global event to hit Vancouver so far this century, possibly ever.

The discussions are only just beginning, but there is a wealth of commitment from people who are interested in being apart of something new and different. The meeting last week had nearly fifty people in attendance, trying to figure out what the current scheme is while also finding out how they can get involved.

Photo by Roland Tanglao
Photo credit: Roland Tanglao on Flickr

To find out more about what was talked about, please check out Raul’s thorough live blog of the night as well as Dave’s informative post at Raincitystudios.com about the next steps and how you can get involved. I hope to write more about my thoughts on this matter in the coming days and weeks.

Is blogging killing journalism?

If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard someone snicker when I say something about blogging, then you know that I could quit my day job and live a nice, wealthy life. That’s why the argument of blogging versus journalism tends to fall into areas of white noise to me, mostly because I’ve been taught, by journalism professors, to not care anymore.

Still, there are those days when it gets me thinking, and it is more to the fact when journalists are the ones who are raising a stink over the legitimacy of this new medium. Such is the case that you can get more details on from a post that Raul made a few days ago.

It takes me back to the short time where I was once a journalism student. Wavering in and out of studies that would give me a better grasp on an educational background in broadcasting, I found myself surrounded by professors who saw print as the only worthwhile medium that one should dedicate themselves to in the realm of media.

Now, before I start to say anything negative, there is absolute truth in the need to develop a solid background in writing, and working in radio for as long as I have, I can assure you that there are folks who have missed this step in their career ladder in broadcasting. Point number one in your journey into TV or radio should be to learn how to write, and then you can focus on looking or sounding good doing it. Some improv acting wouldn’t hurt as well, but I digress.
Continue reading “Is blogging killing journalism?”

Photographs from Surrey Canada Day celebrations

Rebecca was contacted by the fine folks at the city of Surrey to be a media co-sponsor for their Canada Day events in Cloverdale. July 1st saw nearly 40,000 people crowd onto the Cloverdale Millennium Amphitheater grounds to play games, see stilt walkers, get their faces painted, and see a jam packed line-up of musical acts on the main stage, including the likes of Rymes With Orange, The Payola$, and Loverboy.

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Events like this tend to find me with media access for the both of us, and of course that means I have to take my camera along with. You can read all of Rebecca’s coverage of the event [Surrey Canada Day 2008: The Schedule, Morning Recap, The Music], but the following are some of my favorite shots that I took.

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Will is a really amazing musician. See him live if you can because you must.

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

That’s Mr. Bob Rock[wiki], ladies and gentlemen, in the flesh.

Surrey Canada Day 2008

You can see all 104 photos on Flickr. Shooting outdoor events can be a lot of fun, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s loud in the photo pit, not to mention the sweltering heat on that day. Sometimes I feel intimidated by being surrounded with folks that have larger and much more expensive photo equipment, but the pictures that come out from my endeavors tend to speak for themselves. It’s not what you got that matters. It’s how you use it, and I’m doing my damnedest to learn my camera and get better with every shot.

The folks at the Surrey Canada Day event were amazing in terms of getting us the media access and letting us know the low down on what was going on, where everything was located, and were just generally awesome people. By far, the best treatment I have ever experienced in terms of media access for new media folks.

Podcasting is like recorded history

I’ve been thinking about this lately, but what is the point of having a podcast when you don’t keep your episodes archived and available over the long term?

Podcasting, in its true form, is prerecorded media that is ready for download and playback, video or audio, at any given time. Unlike traditional, broadcast media, your audience doesn’t have to be there when it’s available or remember to set their recording apparatus, because the use of VCR’s is dwindling as we speak, just so they can be in the know.

When you podcast something, you publish it for the world. It’s shiny and new, ready for the devouring crowds to eat it up. Then it gets old when you publish the next one, but a month or so down the line, someone discovers it. They share it with a buddy, post a link to it on their blog or Facebook profile, or subscribe to your podcast just because they found something in your archives from a year ago. This person even goes through everything you have ever produced just to get caught up.

I’ve been doing this myself over the past month or so. I’m an admitted listener of the Daily Source Code, but I’m not a daily listener. It piles up on me, and I’ll go back to hear the conversations just because I find personal enjoyment from the conversations on that podcast.

I even do this to everything DaveO produces, get caught up on CNet News Podcasts because even though it’s from three weeks ago, I still like to hear the tech news that I might have missed while riding the bus. Remember when Microsoft wanted to buy Yahoo? It was fun to listen back on how that one played out, and that’s just a sample of short term history.

Even though the Vancouver Giants missed their chance at a repeat for the Memorial Cup this year, you might find enjoyment to hear the audio adventure that DaveO took when they had a public celebration for the team at Vancouver City Hall. A very good piece of historical evidence for you right there.

If anything, it’s something that you made and long term proof for anyone to stumble upon. The longer it’s there, the better chance it gets to soak in the Google juice and be discovered. However, if you are going to take the media away, do your best to remove all traces. Nothing more disgruntling than clicking on a link to an MP3 and it being not found.

Bridging Media conference thoughts, way after the fact

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I had the chance to attend the Bridging Media conference a few weeks ago while Rebecca live blogged the whole event as a media sponsor. It’s been a little while since then, but I figure it’s better late than never to post a few thoughts about it while showing off some photos that I snapped throughout the day.

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The purpose of this event was to bring the realms of traditional media into the same conversation as electronic media, and it was a really good mix of methods. Print, broadcast, and film shared the same stage as online video producers, bloggers, web marketers, and so on.

Being someone who currently works in the area of broadcasting, this is something that I struggle with on a daily, personal level. How can the realms of online media mesh with the traditional, highly stagnate methods of traditional media? That’s what this conference of sorts was meant to open the conversation to, not that I have a lot of weight or say as to how these two things are indeed bridged. I’m just a huge advocate for it.

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It’s really tough for me to break down each and every conversation at this point, so I really encourage you to read through Rebecca’s live blog to get a better sense of what was discussed.

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What I took away from this conference is that there is a lot to learn about how each side of the coin can work together in order to enrich media content as a whole. From education to story telling to information sharing to the way that marketers let you know about neat, new things, there are a lot of methods that have strengths and weaknesses which can only be helped through sharing the load.

In this world of electronic media, it’s tough to say that one form of distribution is better than the other. Each method has the way it delivers its message, and that message gets to a particular audience based on interest as well as the method. To me, it says that the only way to really strengthen your distribution is to have more ways to put out your message.

In radio, there is the old adage of saying it enough times and someone is bound to hear it at least once. But not everyone listens to the radio, and not everyone owns a TV. So it comes down to getting your message out to as many outlets that you can, and then doing it well. That’s what I think Bridging Media is trying to do, all the while opening new doors for traditional media to try out.

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And finally, congrats to Megan and Erica for pulling together a really great event. It was a great day that really left me feeling inspired and full of great ideas.

Duane does the 2008 Junos

My good friend Duane Storey has done some amazing coverage of the 2008 Junos this past weekend. He flew out there like a new media ninja and tossed out a lot of blog posts, videos, and photos from the media access he was granted for the whole event.

Michael Buble at the 2008 Junos, Photo by Duane Storey
Photo credit: duanestorey on Flickr

Have to say that I’m very impressed that he was able to do what he did. His level of access was on par to the big name players, and dare I say that it was better than what traditional media usually feeds you. Feel free to check out some of his posts here.