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PEG Access

Public, Education, Government (PEG) Access and Institutional Networks (I-Nets) are among the most important resources communities acquire as compensation for granting cable franchises.

PEG Access encompasses video channels, production facilities, equipment and training dedicated to generating and cable-casting local programs.

Think of PEG Access as the local version of C-Span with the addition of education and public, as well as, government programming.

Over three thousand community groups and one million volunteer directors, presenters and technical staff participate in PEG access productions annually.

Volunteers generate more than 20,000 hours of new local programming each week! That's more than all the programming produced by NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX and PBS combined!

The most popular programs on government access are city council meetings. On public access channels, children’s sports events top the list.

Media Literacy and Competency

In addition to facilitating the production of video programming, PEG Access Center training develops media competency and literacy skills. One of the challenges of telecom policy development is recognizing the collective self-perception that we are media literate and competent. We watch TV, listen to radio, play our CD’s, DVD’s, download music to our I-Pods, read newspapers, routinely log on the Internet for email. As daily users, we feel like we’re media literate and competent but may not realize our limitations. If we don’t have a grasp of how media is used to shape perspectives, influence actions, promote a viewpoint, are we really literate or competent? Is our ability to independently analyze a situation and draw our own conclusions compromised? Do we unknowingly become passive receivers of censored, skewed information? Developing media competency and literacy requires the acquisition of a new knowledge / skill base in order to effectively evaluate information, develop educated strategies and communicate effectively.

Here’s a simple way to think of the difference between media competency and literacy:

Media Competency describes the process of knowing how to produce a media product, which could include videos, web sites, even an email. The process itself creates competency in that it requires the producer to select pertinent information and organize it to present a specific viewpoint. Thus what is left out of any media product may be as pertinent to the topic as what is included in the disseminated work. Every communication has an objective, a reason for being. Even something as simple as greeting a friend is based on our need to be liked and to sustain the friendship. Competency is how good you are at expressing your point of view.

Media Literacy describes the process of understanding how media products are created—literacy is the development of an informed eye and ear attuned to identifying the point of view encapsulated in the presentation, while acknowledging that there are other perspectives. Literacy is an openness to consider more than one point of view, which allows each individual to draw an independent conclusion. It’s the opposite of accepting what’s stated on the nightly news or your favorite talk radio station as the whole story. Literacy is a term used to describe the process of analyzing a presented point of view—the awareness that one’s perception is guided and managed by the media producer.

Institutional Networks (I-Nets)

I-Nets are broadband communications networks dedicated for public sector use.

I-Nets carry digital voice, video and data signals that support all kinds of services—such as secure inter-agency data sharing, GPS installations in police and fire vehicles and electronic delivery of public services such as acquiring building permits or paying taxes on line.

Communities fund I-Nets any number of ways—by forming public/private partnerships, with cable operators or others, or pooling expenditures in public-sector cooperatives.

Some cities build municipal fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) / wireless broadband I-Nets that offer low cost telecom service as an economic development incentive to businesses.

I-Nets are essential 21st Century government infrastructure needed to support comprehensive public safety, emergency management and homeland security operations.


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