Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The poetry of John Donne, Fayetteville and the world of public access television

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 11:52 AM

The poet John Donne wrote that “No man is an island,” and never has that been proven more true than in the world of public access television - which I hope your city is enlightened enough to provide for you.

Some time back I rejoined the Alliance for Community Media, which is an organization which, in their own words:

ACM Mission: Promoting Civic Engagement Through Community Media

ACM’s Vision: We envision an ever increasing array of media channels, with communities demanding relevant, factual and hyperlocal content from respected sources. The Alliance for Community Media will be a recognized contributor, aggregator and leader in that movement.

Our guiding principles are: promote free speech, expand civic engagement through local media, collaborate with others, and act with one voice.

Can’t beat that with a stick.

I have been a member of the ACM on-and-off since the 1990s, as has been the public access station in Fayetteville, whether it go by the moniker Fayetteville Open Channel, Access 4 Fayetteville, Community Access Television or Fayetteville Public Access Television. When I served as board member of CAT, I attended several ACM conferences, and even attended on my own, when I was not a board member.

In addition, Fayetteville has been the host to at least one regional conference. Most Government/public access stations across the United States belong to the ACM.

Which brings us to the “No Man is an Island” aspect of public access television.

In Fayetteville, we have already seen how members of Fayetteville - and from even beyond our tiny borders - have used public access over the years, and how folks who may have political/social disagreements with each other can still work on productions together, and teach and mentor.

For over two decades, in fact, public access television in Fayetteville served as the region’s only true arts, entertainment, political, religious and what-have-you channel . . . with most of the programming provided by citizens of Northwest Arkansas.

The rich diversity of programming (and I know - I am combing through years of CAT documentation) prove not only the worth of the channel, but the rich creativity provided by so many citizens in Fayetteville and nearby communities.

But belonging to the Alliance for Community Media? What is the point in belonging to an organization made up of fellow access providers and producers across the country?

Well, as Fayetteville is not an island, the truth is that our city and station have benefited enormously from attending conferences over the years. Many is the time a manager, staff member or producer would return excited about things they had learned.

And in return? On more than one occasion folks from other stations learned what we were doing, or from the workshops attendees from Fayetteville may have presented at national or regional conferences.


The access station in Sacramento, for example, still has a copy of the printed material I used in a workshop on how producers could promote their programming, a workshop I first gave in Washing DC, but also gave in Houston and Fayetteville.

Just for the sake of being practical, belonging to an organization like the ACM means that you can brainstorm - everyone learns from each other.

If an access station does not belong to it, they often find themselves at the mercy of those who would make up the rules as they go along, and just hope that no one notices, or cares.

Public access television is one of the ways in this modern age in which we attest that no, we are not islands, that YouTube - with its wonderful Siren’s Song - is essentially a solitary occupation. Public access is a song which brings in many voices, no matter their level of talent, and honors them all, and doesn’t make distinctions between the very wealthy and the homeless - both of whom have used public access in Fayetteville, than you very much.

Imagine . . . we have provided potential job training for the homeless!

We have all learned from each other, about our lives, our ideas, and talents here in Northwest Arkansas. Is there a political issue which hasn’t been addressed on public access?

How many new talents were presented to the world on public access?

How many simply shared their experiences with others on public access?

If I love Fayetteville, it’s largely because of what I have learned about my fellow citizens, on both sides of the camera.


And now, just because it’s such a cool poem

No Man Is An Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne


Quote of the Day

You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people because cats find humans useful domestic animals. A dog will flatter you but you have to flatter a cat. A dog is an employee; the cat is freelance. - George Mikes



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Richard Drake

Most Shared

  • Hot Springs firing range declared a "Muslim free zone" by its owner

    The owner of The Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range in Hot Springs, Jan Morgan, announced yesterday that she is banning the presence of Muslims in her business. Her reasoning: "Why would I hand guns and ammunition to people whose religion commands them to kill me and my non-muslim patrons?" OK, let's get that lawsuit rolling.
  • Americans for Prosperity sends out hundreds of thousands of mailers with fake voter registration information in North Carolina

    North Carolina's ABC affiliate reports on hundreds of thousands of mailers with false information about voter registration sent by Americans for Prosperity, the right-wing advocacy group backed by the Koch brothers. The official-looking mailers gave the wrong deadline for voter registration and told people to sign up with the wrong state agency. The mailers also gave the wrong office for questions regarding voter registration, the wrong zip code for turning in a voter registration form, and inaccurate information about how people would be notified of their precinct.
  • How the South became dead red

    Good piece in Politico from Stanford sociology professor Doug McAdam on the roots of our modern partisan divide. McAdam tells the familiar story of how the South flipped, as yellow dog Democrats in the old Confederacy abandoned the party in the wake of the Civil Rights movement.
  • Beverly Carter's body found in shallow grave on Highway 5 in northern Pulaski County — UPDATED

    The Pulaski sheriff's office reported early this morning that the body of Beverly Carter, the real estate agent apparently abducted while showing a home near Scott Thursday evening, had been found in a shallow grave near Cabot. The charges against Arron Lewis, her suspected abductor, have been upgraded to capital murder.
  • Mark Pryor highlights Cotton votes against Paycheck Fairness and Violence Against Women Acts

    Sen. Mark Pryor today began what the campaign is dubbing a "Women for Pryor" statewide tour. Pryor is highlighting Cotton's votes against paycheck fairness legislation and the Violence Against Women Act (all together now: the only member of the Arkansas congressional delegation to do so). Pryor was joined by his mother, the former first lady of Arkansas Barbara Pryor, at this morning's event at the Fresco Cafe in Fayetteville. Events will be held across the state to mobilize women in support of Pryor to vote.

Most Recent Comments



© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation