Open Media Foundation
February News from the Open Media Foundation

February 2010
In this Issue
Upcoming Classes/Events
DOM Producer Updates
Hands-On Studio Certification
Executive Director Report
DOM Producer Updates
Member Spotlight: Youth Production Group
Youth Production Group
Quick Links
Upcoming Classes/Events
DOM Help Desk Hours
Thursdays 4:30-6pm

First Friday at DOM
February 5, Friday 7-9pm

Final Cut Pro Workshop
February 13, Saturday, 11am-5:30pm

Your Voice.  Your Media
February 17, Wednesday, 5:30-6:30pm

Intro to Studio Workshop
February 17 & 18, Wednesday & Thursday, 6-9pm

Wireside Chat with Lawrence Lessig
February 25, Thursday, 4-7:30pm

Field Production Workshop
February 27, Saturday, 11am-5:30pm

Your Voice.  Your Media
March 3, Wednesday, 5:30-6:30pm

Final Cut Pro Workshop
March 3 & 4, Wednesday & Thursday, 6-9pm
First Friday and Valentine's-Themed Silent Auction

Come celebrate the 11th Anniversary of Cafe Nuba on Friday, February 5th from 7-9pm.  Performers to include: Ietef "Moetavation" Vita; Molina Soleil & Aju; Isisspkz & Souldaddy with the Blackfyre Band plus Special Guests.

In conjunction with this very special event, Open Media Foundation will be holding its 2nd annual Valentine's-themed silent auction.

The silent auction runs from now until Friday, February 5th at 9:30pm.  We have 45 items including museum memberships, theater and film tickets, spa packages, an I-Pod and ... the Buddy 50cc International Scooter donated by Sportique Scooters!  Join us online and at 700 Kalamath Street on Friday, February 5th to enjoy the party, music and auction excitement.  There are many great items and gift ideas for you, a friend or that special someone! 
                         DOM logo
Bidders will be required to create a basic profile at in order to place bids.  Contact with any questions.  Start the bidding at
Wireside Chat with Lawrence Lessig: Fair Use, Politics, and Online Video

On February 25, 2010, Lawrence Lessig will deliver a talk on fair use and politics in online video from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, MA. In conjunction with the Cambridge event, the Open Video Alliance is also supporting screenings in other cities around the world.

The Open Media Foundation will be hosting a similar event at the Denver Open Media studios, which will include Lessig's presentation followed by a panel discussion.  Panelists to include: Chris Coleman, Laleh Mehran, Jonny 5 and Derigan Silver.  Panelists' bios.

Lessig's talk will explore copyright in the digital age and the importance of the fair use doctrine for free expression on the Internet.

This event is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served.  Thursday, February 25th, 4:30-7:30pm. Open Media Foundation and the Denver Open Media studios are located at 700 Kalamath Street.
Hands-On Studio Certification Option Now Available

Denver Open Media is now offering a new way to receive your studio certification.  In addition to volunteering on an existing studio shoot, you may take our new 3-hour hands-on session where participants do multiple studio rotations and produce a short video.  This option was created to provide additional experience to individuals seeking studio certification and confidence to work in the studio on their own.  Please note: This does not replace the Intro to Studio Workshop.  This is an additional workshop that can be taken in place of volunteering on a member's shoot.  For more information please contact Deb Lastowka at
Executive Director Report
Monthly Update from Tony Shawcross

Life after the Knight News Challenge:

In 2008, we received a $380,000 Knight News Challenge award for The Open Media Project, and it was a major turning-point for our organization. We added staff, formed new partnerships, and maintained a level of growth that had us approximately double in size each year for our first 5 years after forming in 2004.

The Open Media Project grant is a 4-part effort that began with a re-building of the software we developed to automate Denver Open Media as an unprecedented approach to user-generated and community-powered TV. The second phase had our team implementing this re-built Drupal software and business model in 6 additional Public Access stations across the country.  Thirdly, we took the lessons learned from the beta-test implementations and released an installation profile that incorporates the contributions and lessons learned in the 7 beta-test sites. The fourth and final phase has our team focused on content-sharing among these stations, enabling us to cooperate as a true network, sharing the top-vote-getting content from each station and building a collection of truly engaging content unlike anything else you can find on TV.  As we tackle this fourth phase, we are also facing the challenge of sustaining this project (and our team) without ongoing support from the Knight Foundation

Earned Income:
From the beginning, we anticipated that the long-term sustainability of our team at the Open Media Foundation would be based primarily on Earned income.  We hoped the success of the Open Media Project would generate a strong demand from Public Access TV stations and other organizations looking for support in implementing a similar model to the approach that has enabled Denver Open Media to thrive even without the general operating support most Public Access TV stations enjoy from their local government or cable operators.  Our first such client arose in San Francisco, as the city drastically cut operating support for Public Access, and selected the Bay Area Video Coalition to launch their new Public Access TV stations, SF Commons. We have found a great partner in BAVC.  Able to use capital equipment funds to contract with our development team, they are poised to set a new standard for the future of participatory, community media, and they are committed to be a part of an open-source movement that has each of us benefiting from the investments of the others. The earned income from this project (and others to follow) will hopefully help our team sustain their success and continue to build-upon the expertise we've gained over the past 5 years.

Cooperation and Partnerships:
No successful open-source project can be carried by a single organization. The Drupal modules we've developed have been downloaded by over 100 organizations, ranging from Public Access TV to community colleges. Several of these partners have contributed back to the software in ways that are benefiting the entire community, but this hasn't come about easily. In the past decade, many Public Access TV stations have developed open-source software, but few projects are built in a way that enables the software to be truly useful in other environments. Our initial foray into the Open Media Project tools included myopic code and assumptions that made the software more difficult to leverage in other stations than starting from scratch. Developing the code in a manner that makes it useful in diverse environments involves a sacrifice that few organizations have been willing or able to make.  It requires investing resources in development that we only hope will pay-off in the future as partners use and contribute back to the code. 

Early partners made the same mistake as us, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into code that is practically useless in any setting other than their own. The Knight News Challenge award has enabled us to take the time to better collaborate with the Drupal community, host code sprints, attend conferences, and ultimately back-track and re-design a more extensible code base.  With our grant period coming to an end, we have a number of partners poised to take the reigns and collectively help ensure the continued growth of the project.  Davis Media Access in California has devoted significant time to improving the code and is a clear success-story from the initial Beta Test. Their work has, among other things, extended the OMP code to integrate with a new broadcast server. Our growing relationship with Tightrope Media Systems, and their recent commitment to open source software can largely be credited to the efforts of Darrick Servis and Davis Media Access. Other successes and failures of the beta test process are equally valuable. Ongoing cooperation with Boston Neighborhood Network, Channel Austin and others will continue to yield benefits to the project.

We're most excited about our newest partners: the Bay Area Video Coalition. They brings a commitment (and a budget) to open source collaboration that we've not yet seen in previous partners. Everything about their SF Commons effort gives us confidence that they will set a new example for the next generation of networked, user-driven Public Access TV. Though their operating support is meager, they have strong, visionary leadership in Ken Ikeda and Jen Gilomen, and ample capital equipment funding through San Francisco's PEG funds. They also stand to benefit from their close proximity to organizations like, Creative Commons, and the Wikimedia Foundation, all of whom inspired our software and business model from the beginning.

Even if the Open Media Foundation were to shut our doors, I'm confident that organizations like BAVC would keep the project alive and growing.
...of course, we're working on making sure that isn't the case.

Expanding the Open Media Project:
While earned income has the potential to maintain the level of activity we've enjoyed here for the past two years, our true vision of building an entirely new kind of participatory media network that can change the global media conversation is going to require a significant ramp-up of the project.  The BTOP funding available through the stimulus plan represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do just that.  Partnering with Free Speech TV, the Alliance for Community Media, and 20 more Public Access TV stations across the country, we've applied for $2.2 million to expand the Open Media Project. The proposal addresses the many lessons learned through the Knight-funded Beta Test, and proposes a more self-contained and supported solution that can transform a wide range of Public Access TV stations into gateways for broadband adoption for disconnected communities. Statistics show that by far, the primary factor preventing individuals from using broadband is not a lack of infrastructure, but the perception that the internet is not relevant to their life. Our partner stations will encourage and support these communities in conveying the relevance of broadband access from the perspective of those communities. Together with Free Speech TV, we will collect the best of this content, providing national exposure to perspectives on broadband relevance that simply haven't been seen before.

In case our first round application doesn't receive funding, we've invested heavily in planning an application in response to the second BTOP NOFA.  I encourage the other Knight News Challenge grant recipients (and rejects) to read the Notice of Funds Availability and investigate if their Knight News Challenge project would be a strong candidate for BTOP funding, as there aren't many opportunities for this level of support.

Regardless of future grants and funding, we are optimistic about the future of the project. We've had our share of pitfalls, but that's to be expected when pioneering new territory.  The Knight News Challenge experience has opened doors and helped our organization grow in a way that will forever alter our work. If we can sustain the project beyond our KNC award, we'll be part of an entirely new kind of noncommercial media system, serving interests and engaging communities left-out of the commercial media conversation.  Every change begins with a new conversation.
A Few Recent Projects From Our Design Team
Denver Kids, Inc. Every student counts. Every student graduates.  | Every student counts. Every student graduates.

Over the past year, Denver Kids, Inc. has worked hard with Monigle Associates to develop a new look and feel for their organization that represents their focus on our children's future. Open Media Foundation created a website that reflects their new brand where users can explore the site to learn about Denver Kids' history, programs, and volunteer opportunities. The new site also utilizes a dynamic Community Calendar to increase engagement from the community and Login area for parent and mentor specific resources.

2040 Partners for Health
Building connections to improve local neighborhood health through the year  |  Building connections to improve local neighborhood health through the year 2040.

2040 Partners for Health offers a great contribution to the Denver community by pioneering the initiative for community-based participatory research.  In order to use this research as a tool, 2040's new website shares research results and educational information for organizations both locally and nationally.  The website also offers a gateway for community members to become involved with monthly polls and posted public events through their calendar.

Breast and Women's Reproductive Cancers (BWRC) FundCheck-off line 38 and help more people survive.  |  Check-off line 38 and help more people survive.

In order to continue BWRC's commitment to address the significant screening, treatment, and survivorship needs for Coloradans, their organization depends on the donations they receive from residents who check-off a gift on their state taxes.  BWRC now promotes their mission to help those fighting cancer through the individual stories and educational information presented on their website.
Member Spotlight: Open Media Generation
Special thanks to Wolfgang Wanless who answered on behalf of the Open Media Generation

DOM logoPlease tell us a little bit about your group:
Open Media Generation is a place for youth to come together and learn about video production, while making new friends and getting the word out about the issues that affect us the most. We primarily do this through our monthly show Spotlight On Students, but we are also branching out and doing other projects as well.

What are the issues that you are trying to bring to a larger audience?  
The issues we mainly care about are the ones affecting youth today.  Some of the issues we've already talked about are: homelessness, pregnancy and most notably our award-winning show on environmental awareness.

Tell us a little bit about one of your most recent projects:
Our most recent projects was Second Saturday, a youth-oriented music event.  It was pretty hectic putting it all together but the final product was a lot of fun. We've also been working on some public service announcements and other little projects like that.

What is the most challenging aspect of producing your own videos?
I think the most difficult aspect of creating videos is the editing.  While we are quite competent with computers, we lack the abundance of patience needed for the tedious task (hey, we are teenagers ;-)

What is the most exciting aspect of producing your own videos?
My favorite part of making videos would probably be actually filming the scenes. There's just something awesome about working with people and collaborating and the organic way everyone moves together.  It's just a great feeling.

Why is public access television important? Why do you enjoy producing public access content?
Public access is one of the few historic ways to publicly share a message with a large audience that has managed to stay at a competing level with the Internet and everything that entails. It's a very wise and experienced medium that has a powerful aura around it in a time when nostalgia is rare.  It's almost the last of it's kind.  Public access has a bad reputation from the 80s and 90s but a lot has changed since then.  Now it's a great place for aspiring artists, managers and producers of all fields to get the word out about their work.

Click here to view clips of the Open Media Generation in action.
Denver Open Media's Youth Production Group OPEN MEDIA GENERATION

Spotlight On StudentsAbout the group:  Do you know a student who dreams of being on TV?  How about working behind the scenes?  If so, they should join OMF's FREE Youth Production Group!

Finally, the Youth Group is meeting weekly!  Now, anyone between the ages of 12-19 can plan to stop by any Wednesday from 3:30-6pm to join the fun.

Participants will alternate between learning field, studio and editing techniques.  Students will learn how to produce youth-related content and will help solicit new youth-related programs.  Please check out our website for more information or email

We are always looking for food donations to help keep our youth fed and alert during trainings/productions, please let us know if you have suggestions or information about youth groups sponsorships.