The Grand Rapids Community Media Center (CMC) is founded on the
principle that access to the tools of information creation and dissemination is a
fundamental human right and that governance of the content of that information is not
within our purview ethically or legally due to the First Amendment to the Constitution of
the United States of America.
We honor the original meaning of the words
"community" and "communication" meaning "to share." We will
share information through instruction. We will share creation through acquiring
information tools and providing them at a low cost to citizens. We will share access to
information distribution channels via any and all means appropriate including bells and
Our mission is "To Build Community Through
Community Education -- Over the next 25 years we
anticipate the ongoing need to share knowledge with the public regarding media creation,
media tools and media dissemination. We will continue to provide face-to-face as well as
on-line training opportunities. We will continue to share information about the
"why" of media as well as the "how to." Media Literacy will become
increasingly important over the next 25 years as corporate consolidation will create
companies far larger than governments with no implied or stated desire to operate of, for,
or by the people.
Tools -- Over the next 25 years we anticipate the
ongoing need to share media equipment, hardware, and software with the public. Our hope is
that costs will continue to decline and quality improve so that we can consolidate
expensive information tools in easily accessible locations for public access. From
megaphones to optical data lines, we will be the medium between the public's need to share
information and the need to gather information. Additionally we anticipate a need for open
bandwidth access and community routing centers to accommodate versatile switching systems.
Transmission -- Over the next 25 years we
anticipate the ongoing need to share modes of information transmission with the public.
Every possible option of transmission should be exploited for citizen use. We recommend
the 5% rule. In order for commercial communication companies to use our valuable public
rights of way, we the people require access to 5% of available bandwidth and 5% of gross
revenues to accommodate citizen access to that bandwidth. In addition we must preserve the
public access gains acquired through bandwidth set asides for public radio, television,
ham radio, cable access television, and the Internet. Here, too, the First Amendment must
apply. The CMC must remain content neutral in information transmission. Where possible, we
must just route bits, bytes, pixels and words with no implied editorial control.
Archives -- Over the next 25 years we anticipate
the ongoing need to store local media for public access and retrieval. Any culture that
doesn't respect and honor its past is likely to decline. Any culture that doesn't pay
attention to the mistakes of history is likely to repeat them. The CMC will attempt to
catalog and store significant local voice, video, and data media in a fashion to allow
easy access and retrieval by the community we serve. Ideally we can convert information
into a digital realm and then store it in a permanent limited access fashion and a
permanent public access fashion. This duplication of storage will allow for redundant long
term survival of local media materials.
Public Policy -- Over the next 25 years we
anticipate the ongoing need to communicate with local, state and federal officials
regarding the importance of community communication in a capitalist society. Our task is
to be ever vigilant in light of a national approach to treat information as a commodity
similar to ice cream. We feel the laissez faire approach to managing the country's
information systems is not in the best interest of society at large. Market forces, when
applied to information technology, favor size over substance and power over public
service. If, as Jefferson states, "Information is the currency of democracy," we
want to create public access mints where citizens can generate currency at will regardless
of cost or content.
International Relations -- Over the next 25 years
we anticipate the ongoing need to reach out to global citizens to share information
training, tools, and transmission options. Many governments on Earth despise the notion of
citizen access to media for the simple reason that it may erode their control and power.
"The only justifiable purpose for political institutions is to assure the unhindered
development of the individual," Albert Einstein said. We intend to work with local
and global citizens to insure their unhindered development via community communication.
Additionally we intend to profile the media works of global citizens in all venues to
build an appreciation for other cultures.
Organizational Structure -- Over the next 25 years
we anticipate the ongoing need to insure a governance model that blends form and function
to accomplish our mission. We need to be as flexible as required to adapt to the
environmental changes around us while preserving our principles in action. Where possible
we will provide autonomy to insure the unhindered development of those involved while they
provide for the development of the CMC as a whole. Where possible checks and balances will
be created to insure the perpetuation of immediate actions and long term developments.
Under all circumstances the CMC will be operated of, for, and by the People.