Academic journal article Journalism History

Hand-Held Visions: The Impossibilities of Community Media

Academic journal article Journalism History

Hand-Held Visions: The Impossibilities of Community Media

Article excerpt

Halleck, DeeDee. Hand-Held Visions: The Impossible Possibilities of Community Media. New York: Fordham University Press, 2002. 432 pp. $25.

In Hand-Held Visions: The Impossible Possibilities of Community Media, DeeDee Halleck advocates for a simple mission-putting inexpensive video technology in the hands of everyday people to tell their own stories. The obstacles to such a prosaic goal are vast, but when they happen, the successes are sweet. A collection of her essays, lectures, presentations, and publications, the book documents the historical and global development of alternative, community-based media over the past forty years. The work incorporates her story of advocacy, creativity, and scholarship about making media more democratic.

Halleck, a professor of communications at the University of California at San Diego, is a filmmaker, video activist, media critic, and the co-founder of Paper Tiger Television and Deep Dish Television. Indeed, she has originated, collaborated, or documented a vast array of nonprofessional media projects, ranging from media created in the 1960s by children incarcerated in reform school to a telenovela about old age produced by women in Cuba in the late 1980s. This book recounts these experiences from an insider's point of view and succeeds in providing the reader with both the flavor of the times and the significance of the events.

Halleck's account of the birth of Paper Tiger Television in 1981, for example, is fascinating. The first program of this public access series featured Herbert Schiller doing an alternative reading of the New York Times, looking comfy on an old kitchen chair replete with a low-tech set made to look homey, colorful, and fun. …

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