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Community-Based Multiliteracies and Digital Media Projects

Questioning Assumptions and Exploring Realities


Edited By Heather M. Pleasants and Dana E. Salter

Within community-based digital literacies work, a fundamental question remains unanswered: Where are the stories and reflections of the researchers, scholars, and community workers themselves? We have learned much about contexts, discourses, and the multimodal nature of meaning making in literacy and digital media experiences. However, we have learned very little about those who initiate, facilitate, and direct these community-based multiliteracies and digital media projects. In Community-Based Multiliteracies & Digital Media Projects: Questioning Assumptions and Exploring Realities, contributors discuss exemplary work in the field of community-based digital literacies, while providing an insightful and critical perspective on how we begin to write ourselves into the stories of our work. In doing so, the book makes a powerful contribution to digital literacies praxis and pedagogy – within and outside of community-based contexts.
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Chapter 7: Adventures in Community Media: Experiments, Findings, and Strategies for Change


← 136 | 137 → Chapter 7

Adventures in Community Media: Experiments, Findings, and Strategies for Change

jesikah maria ross


I picked up my first video camera in 1986 during my junior year of college. It was a portapak, a clunky configuration of equipment comprised of a huge video camera connected by a cable to a separate recording deck, all of which seemed to weigh just short of a ton. The weight didn’t bother me though; I was too excited by the training workshop I was in at the local public access television station. I could hardly believe that a television channel was offering the equipment and technical assistance I needed to learn how to document and broadcast issues that were important to me.

As a college student, I was heavily involved in a number of social action groups working on issues ranging from solidarity with the Sandinistas in Nicaragua to alleviating hunger in the United States, from divestment in South Africa to environmental protection in Northern California. Young and idealistic (not to mention quite strident), I jumped at any opportunity to “tell our story” and get as much press as possible. Consequently, I ended up on various commercial radio and television programs as well as in many newspaper articles. But each encounter with mainstream media left me puzzled, shocked, and even mortified at how my ideas were framed, my comments quoted out of context, and my efforts downplayed or lightly ridiculed....

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