Next week, Davis Media Access will launch its annual fundraising campaign. I’d like to share my take on why community-based, participatory media matters and what donations to DMA support.
Our goal is to raise $20,000 in direct donations before June 1. This money supports a variety of services we provide to our community, including volunteer-driven KDRT 95.7 FM, support for youth media, and local election coverage. While it’s true that we can make $20,000 go a long way, it’s also true that if we don’t raise this money every year, we can’t continue to provide services at current levels.
The promise of public access television 25 years ago was equal access to media tools for all, and development of cable set-aside channels as free-speech platforms. Since that time, DMA has grown into a full-service community media center. Through our key projects — Davis Community Television, DJUSD.TV and KDRT 95.7 FM, four websites and associated community archives — we support hands-on digital skills building, local content creation, and distribution in digital and broadcast media. We’ve kept the focus local for nearly 25 years, using media to build and support our community.
Like many nonprofits, DMA has contracts and MOUs, pursues grants, and provides other services on-a-fee-for service basis. In return, our community has an open, accessible, bustling and vibrant community media center. At our core, we exist to provide access to access to digital media and technology equipment and training, available to those who live, work, study or volunteer in Davis — free of charge.
The additional capacity we’ve built includes:
* High-school internships,
* Coverage and distribution of 60 high-school events per year,
* Streaming and archiving of school board meetings,
* Comprehensive local election coverage,
* Support for youth media initiatives,
* Youth camps for broadcast production and animation,
* Media literacy and job readiness training,
* Training and distribution for nonprofits,
* Support and capacity building for local musicians and the downtown music scene,
* Partnerships, media support and event coverage for the city, DJUSD and a wide range of nonprofits and community-based groups, and
* Thousands of hours of locally created radio and television programming created each year and archived for future generations.
Many people have played a role in DMA’s growth. If you’ve appeared on a program, watched or listened to something locally created, streamed a meeting, had an event covered or promoted, attended a workshop or mixer, had a family member benefit from our training or internships, then you’ve been part of community media here in Davis.
So, in a town full of good causes, why support local community media? In part, it’s because media that documents our community’s shared life is an antidote to an overall media system that’s notoriously skewed, broken, biased, out of reach, elitist, focused on tragedy and violence and driven by corporate interests. Localism is all but lost, and with it the voice of the people and their ability to access the airwaves.
If you believe that DMA’s programs and services are part of what makes Davis such a unique community, please give as generously as you can. A gift to Davis Media Access is much bigger than just a donation — it’s a statement that independent outlets for community voices matter. You can donate online at http://davismedia.org or mail a contribution to 1623 Fifth St., Ste A, Davis, CA 95616.
Community media doesn’t work without community heroes. Helps us keep the doors to local media wide open, and thank you for being a part of this work.
— Autumn Labbé-Renault is executive director for Davis Media Access, an organization providing access to, and advocacy for, local media. She writes this column monthly. Find out more about DMA at http://davismedia.org, like the organization on Facebook, or follow her tweets @davismediaccess.