Catalyst House

Will New Google Algorithm Punish ‘Alternative News?’

The new Google Algorithm is live.  Just over a month ago, Google announced that they were changing their algorithm in order to weaken the search engine rankings of sites they deem to be “content farmers. Read Google’s announcement here

Google Algorithm Changes May Hurt Alternative News Sites

“Whereas most of Google’s algorithm changes are barely noticeable,” Eric Blair & Michael Edwards write at Activist Post. “The current change that they have been working on since last January will affect 12% of U.S. searches.”

There has been much debate about what “content farming” is, and Google has done little to offer a clear explanation, simply stating, “low quality” or “shallow” sites would be affected. This is similar to the vague definition of pornography — you’ll know it when you see it.

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Will Entrepreneurial Journalism Change The World?

Rohit Bhargava a Senior Vice President at Ogilvy PR asks: What was the best article you read last year. Was it hard hitting, excellently researched, insightfully written article?  Now think about what it cost you to read it. Was it in a magazine you subscribe to? Or perhaps a website that you accessed and read for free?

For every conversation anyone starts about the future of journalism, the question that seems to follow closely behind is: what does the new business model for journalism needs to be in a world where the average citizen is increasingly expecting journalism to be a service provided for free (or at least, subsidized by someone else).

When it comes to today’s big questions about news and media, Bob Dylan sang it best: “The times they are a changing.”

From RohitBhargava.com

Over the past few years, every time I spoke at a gathering of local newspaper professionals at the American Press Institute (API) or participated in a journalist-centric event from an organization like the South Asian Journalism Association (SAJA), the signs of worry in the industry were clear. A solution has started to emerge that is not only making waves in the field of journalism today – but also has the potential to reinvent the way that we consume and share media with one another.

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Local Community Radio Act Passes!

FCC Low Power Radio BillWith the clock ticking toward the end of this year’s Congress, the Senate on Saturday passed a new law which will enable community groups, churches and schools across the country to establish new non-commercial, low-power FM radio stations in their cities and towns.

The Local Community Radio Act, which will allow the FCC to issue possibly thousands of new noncommercial LPFM radio licenses, earned broad, bipartisan support after some ten years of organizing by grassroots media democracy advocates from coast to coast. Backers of the bill included a stupefying range of civil rights groups, religious organizations, musicians, unions and garage-bound radio dreamers around the country.

Source:  Deepmedia.org

Washington State elected officials played a pivotal role in passing the bill into law; Senator Maria Cantwell championed the bill in the Senate, and House cosponsors included Washington Rep. Jay Inslee.

“This is a huge win for communities across the northwest and across the country who have been pining for more and better local radio, more support for local music and more diversity on the airwaves,” said Jonathan Lawson of Reclaim the Media, a Seattle-based media justice organization which has worked alongside many other advocacy groups since 2002 to expand community access to media, including LPFM. “Senator Cantwell deserves our thanks for seeing this through to the end.”

The FCC initially created the Low power FM service radio in 2002, as a way to counter the dramatic consolidation of radio ownership which followed the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and the resulting drop in diverse programming and local voices. However, pressure from commercial broadcasters quickly led Congress to impose substantial barriers to LPFM, so that only a relatively small number of stations were able to launch, and mostly in rural areas.

The new law removes most of those barriers, creating the opportunity for many more stations to occupy unused space on the FM dial. LPFM stations are noncommercial, must be operated by a local nonprofit, religious organization or public institution, and are limited to 100 watts.

Northwest groups who have been able to build and launch LPFM stations have demonstrated the tremendous utility and power of low-power radio. In Woodburn, Oregon, KPCN allows immigrant farmworkers to share news, information and music in Spanish and several other Latin American languages. Spokane’s Thin Air Radio and Idaho’s Radio Free Moscow provide those communities with local public affairs and homegrown music programs—while providing new broadcasters with a place to learn the tools of the trade.

The new law is a landmark achievement for public interest media advocates who have been working on this bill for years. Galvanized by the trailblazing work of the Prometheus Radio Project and the Media Access Project, a host of other groups deserve credit for helping wage the struggle for LPFM: theFuture of Music Coalition, Media Alliance, Reclaim the Media, the Chicago Independent Radio Project, Free Press, United Church of Christ Office of Communication, Inc, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Media and Democracy Coalition, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Benton Foundation and many others.

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lynnea2 The BoardLynnea Bylund is a Director ofGandhi Worldwide Education Institute, founder of Catalyst House and has nearly three decades of experience in administration, marketing and business development. She was a nationally recognized spokeswoman for the emerging alternative video and information delivery industries. She has a degree in holistic health-nutrition from the legendary and controversial health educator and activist Dr. Kurt Donsbach, she is the founder of two not-for-profit small business-based wireless trade associations and has lobbied on Capitol Hill and at the FCC where she has spoken out strongly against the cable TV monopoly, illegal spectrum warehousing and ill-conceived congressional schemes to auction our nation’s precious airwaves to the highest bidder.

Ms. Bylund is a founder and former CEO of a Washington DC telecommunications consulting and management company with holdings in several operating and developmental wireless communications systems and companies. In 1995 Lynnea became the first female in the world to be awarded a Broadband PCS operating permit – she was one of only 17 winners, along with Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon in the biggest cash auction in world history, raising a whopping $8 billion. Lynnea also spear-headed the successful effort to launch the first cable TV network in the South Pacific islands.
… > Follow Lynnea on:  +LynneaBylund – Twitter – LinkedIn – FaceBook – Pinterest & YouTube

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