The Transmission Project, an End to a Public Initiative
Over the last decade, the federally funded Transmission Project has helped develop and strengthen America’s public media infrastructure, supporting “low-power radio stations, media arts and technology centers, rural broadband initiatives, media reform policy advocates, and anyone building a strong and diverse public media infrastructure.” Through its main initiative, the Digital Arts Service Corps (DASC), the Transmission Project has paired AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members with a wide variety of public media organizations, which they served in everything from capacity-building to training and program development, with the ultimate aim of “strengthen[ing] communities through the use of media and technology.” The Project not only played a valuable role in spurring the growth of America’s public media sector through helping develop small businesses and nonprofit organizations, but also coordinated with public school systems to provide hands-on digital and media arts education to students of nearly all age groups––supplementing underfunded school systems unable to provide such programs. Through these cooperative learning experiences, young students learned how to make instructional videos, documentaries, and other education-based media as a means of cultivating student interest in the digital and media arts with the hope of inspiring tomorrow’s media professionals.
In order to grow public media in America, DASC aspired to be the “custodians of [the digital arts] movement,” actively seeking out and aiding small businesses and organizations who wished to strengthen themselves through the acquisition and utilization of advanced technologies. Through this effort, DASC “span[s] the gap between government and grassroots movements [by giving] more organizations greater access to people who want help.” In pursuing their mission, DASC endeavored to “bring [struggling] individuals and communities out of poverty” by establishing strong communal connections, providing greater technological access, and fostering “big-picture national digital literacy.”
Recently, the Transmission Project was informed it had lost its federal funding and will be forced to cease operation in August—becoming the latest of a growing list of programs falling victim to America’s lingering economic recession. Nevertheless, despite the discontinuation of the Transmission Project and DASC, the results of their efforts will continue to have a positive effect on the digital and public media sector through the legacy they leave behind. The Transmission Project website (transmissionproject.org/legacy) has posted an article titled “Our Last Harvest” that condenses the essence of the initiative into an organized message—providing the public with access to the wealth of their experience and wisdom despite their discontinuation. In addition, all of the organization’s resources will remain available through the website. To learn more about the Transmission Project and DASC and to read firsthand accounts of the positive effect they have had on individuals, organizations, and communities around the United States, visit the Transmission Project website at http://transmissionproject.org/. By doing so, you will help prevent their legacy from fading away.
Timothy Baker is an intern at Afterimage and holds a Masters of English from The College at Brockport, New York.