“The power of mass culture rests on the trust of the public. This legitimacy is a paper tiger.”
Borne of the residual political optimism from the sixties and a flush of infatuation with small-format video, Paper Tiger Television (PTTV) began as a series on Communications Update on public access. Featuring Herb Schiller tearing apart the New York Times’ “all the news that is fit to print,” Paper Tiger’s penetrating and playful critiques of Time, Rolling Stone, National Geographicand Cosmopolitan soon followed.
The public access movement took root at a moment of disillusionment with network television, generating hope that cable would offer a genuine alternative to TV wasteland. Over the last thirty years, the accessibility of public access TV centers has significantly declined, while for-profit corporate media consolidated from fifty into five companies that control 90% of the public’s media consumption.
Yet, with the growth of the internet and the proliferation of consumer grade production equipment, social media, crowd sourcing, online video, live streaming, and wireless technology, today’s media environment is rife with opportunities for innovation and collaboration. Still, from the digital divide, to online filter bubbles, to the echo chamber of social distribution of mass media, to SOPA and Net Neutrality, an analysis of how these developments are used coupled with the threats coming from the policy level reveals that even these seemingly promising trends are nuanced.
Given these developments, what does a vibrant, radical media look like, how could it function? What lessons can we apply from Paper Tiger’s innovative media activism? How can we use media strategically and creatively in the pursuit of social justice?
Moderated by Daniela Capistrano, Multi-Platform Producer of DCAP Media, the festive event features a keynote address, a screening of Paper Tiger Television’s Greatest Hits, selected by current Tigers, followed by a panel discussion on the future of rrradical media.
Malkia Cyril, Executive Director, Center for Media Justice
Andy Bichlbaum, The Yes Lab
Jamilah King, News Editor, Colorlines
Jennifer Pozner, Founder, Women in Media & News
* Presented by Paper Tiger Television, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, and the School of Media Studies at The New School for Public Engagement , on occasion of the Vera List Center’s 2011-2013 focus theme “Thingness.”