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The Inclusive Vision

Essays in Honor of Larry Gross

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Edited By Paul Messaris and David W. Park

Larry Gross is one of the most influential figures in the history of media studies. In this collection of original essays, his former students reflect on his groundbreaking contributions to three major developments: the emergence of visual studies as a distinct field of media theory and research; the analysis of media fiction as a symbol of power structures and a perpetuator of social inequalities; and the growing scholarly attention to the relationships between mass media and sexual minorities.

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10. The Community in Community Media: Islands and Interactions in a Digital Universe (Cindy Hing-Yuk Wong)

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10. The Community in Community Media: Islands and Interactions in a Digital Universe

CINDY HING-YUK WONG

Twenty plus years now have passed since I completed my dissertation on Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia under the direction of Larry Gross (Wong, 1999, 2002). In this work, I conducted an ethnographic study of Scribe, an organization devoted to making the tools of film/video-making available to members of its community. In subsequent years, while many of the social issues that underpinned my work and Scribe’s mission have continued to challenge Philadelphia and American society—racism, inequality, education, prejudice, loss of place and memory—the changes in the wider media environment have constituted a veritable 21st Century Gutenberg revolution. Looking back to the 1990s, I grappled with hand-held video and 2 GB non-linear editing suites as novel wonders. Even e-mail seemed new and exciting, and the possibilities of social media and constant access were hard to grasp when the virtual and flexible scarcely had been imagined outside of sci fi (the original Blade Runner 1992 does not even envision cell phones). At the final stage of writing of the dissertation in 1996–67, I was in Hong Kong, Larry and I corresponded via email; that felt like a real milestone. Yet even on this information pre-highway, one of the most important points Larry stressed for me was to articulate what made Scribe media community media: what exactly did Scribe participants mean by “community,...

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