(*Oringally written for my Human Values course)

9/13/07

Human Values, Personal Freedom and the Arts

Reading Response #1

Although the goal of efficiency in operation is to arrive at the optimum conclusion by way of the quickest, easiest of actions, within our bureaucratic society, administrative protocol is often preferred over unique, individual interpretation or interaction. Although there may be a particular formula that happens to work best at a certain time, it is important not to allow that system to become so ridged in our minds that it begins to control us and ultimately cease new and innovative thought.

Within my job setting – a community television station – I have seen how this school of thought can begin. What initially seems like an organizational necessity only has spread like crippling bacteria. It is important to note that in the community television, or “cable access” environment, beyond a few on-air channel protocols, there is little imposed “McDonaldization,” as generally each town and city is allowed to oversee their own station how they see fit, and technically is not held to FCC regulations. With this flexibility, in the best of scenarios, the station maintains a non-corporate feel, while offering opportunities for education in all venues of video production, and emphasizing all parties’ rights to free speech regarding the content they decide to create. However, what I have witnessed at this particular location, is that such freedom is overturned for structure; volunteers are offered less opportunity to work on all aspects of their production, as staff members are assigned to assist them, essentially to justify their paid position, thus preventing the volunteer producer from gaining as much hands on knowledge and training as is possible. Also, more content has been censored, not due to official FCC standard, but simply by what the staff deems could be not to the taste of the community. All this coupled with the over implementation of paper work is contradicting the true freedom and nature of public access television. Although these procedures were initially implemented in effect to provide efficiency of operation, it in essence has created an environment where public access television production becomes less “accessible,” losing its “human quality.”