2008 Knight News Challenge Winner Launches Open Media Foundation

    by Tony Shawcross
    December 1, 2009

    Deproduction, a Denver-based nonprofit media and technology organization and Knight News Challenge winner, has reorganized as the Open Media Foundation. The nonprofit media and technology organization was founded in 2003, offering media and technology training and services to nonprofits and individuals in the Denver area.

    In recent years, the organization spawned Denver Open Media, the Open Media Project, and a number of web-based initiatives through the Civic Pixel web & design department launched in 2008. The new name and website were officially announced November 19 at a fundraising breakfast hosted by Ashara Ekundayo and featuring presentations from Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, and Leslie Matthews, president of the OMF board of directors.

    “Its not just a name-change,” stated Leslie Matthews at the event, “the organization has grown significantly over the years, launching Denver Open Media in 2006, and merging with Civic Pixel to offer high end web & design services in 2008. While these efforts have been aligned with our strategic vision, the multiple brands and independent websites made it difficult to understand the cohesive design of the organization.”


    The new OpenMediaFoundation.org website aims to convey the concerted strategy behind the various business activities of the organization, from high-end media and technology services, to training and education, and ultimately, access to the media and technology tools.

    “The end goal is a community where every organization and individual, not only the privileged and wealthy, have the ability to engage in mass communications and reflect their own perspective in the larger social conversations that happen through media and technology,” said Brian Hiatt, director of IT for the Open Media Foundation. Today, over 200 local nonprofit organizations have a website or video produced by the Open Media Foundation. “We train hundreds of individuals each year, and we operate three public access television channels in Denver” adds Hiatt. In addition, the Open Media Foundation manages the Colorado Channel, a statewide version of C-Span, for the Colorado State Legislature. This year, the Colorado Channel and OMF add daily Senate coverage to the mix, after two years of broadcasting the State House of Representatives.

    “Everything we do is aimed at putting the power of media in the hands of our community” Hiatt said.


    Nationwide Impact

    In 2008, together with Civic Pixel, the OMF team re-built the software that transformed Denver’s public access TV station into a constituent-led, Net 2.0 media hub, and made it available to anyone through Drupal.org. Dubbed the Open Media Project, this year the OMF has helped to install the software and unique community media model in seven beta test stations. New partners continue to join every month, including Free Speech TV and the Bay Area Video Coalition, all looking to contribute to the open-source software that could help unite noncommercial media institutions as a new kind of user-driven media network.

    Early next year, the OMF plans to release the Open Media Project software as a new kind of free software package, a Packaged Drupal Installation Profile being designed with support from the Drupal Association and fellow Knight News Challenge winner, Quiddities. At the same time, the Open Media Foundation will receive word on the $2.2million stimulus grant requested through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, aimed at extending the Open Media Project with 20 new community media partners. The final stage of the Knight News Challenge grant concludes in 2010, with a focus on content sharing among the Open Media Project beta test stations.

    Denver Open Media Turns three

    In Denver, one of the three public access cable TV channels is automatically scheduled based on votes from the website and SMS/Text, featuring the best of over 5,000 shows submitted in just the past 3 years. In 2010, the same software that makes this possible will also enable Denver Open Media and its partner stations to share top-rated content from across the nation, allowing each station to feature the best of their combined content. The Open Media Foundation will celebrate these and other accomplishments this Friday, Dec 4th at the 3-year anniversary of Denver Open Media. The festivities will be shared live on Denver Open Media, Comcast Channel 56, online at denveropenmedia.org, and on the radio via KGNU 88.5FM-Denver and 1390AM-Boulder. The event will feature musical performances from Sole and Itchy-O and interviews with a number of Open Media Foundation partners and members.

    Tagged: denver open media deproduction knight challenge open media foundation open media project tony shawcross

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