Mainstream TV Challenge Fund-raiser

coverage of the Media Challenge Fund- raiser in the Willamette Week (8/15/07)

3439 NE Sandy Bv PMB #248 web:
Portland, OR 97232 (503) 321-5051
*using video as a tool for social change* (503) 239-7456

August 10, 2007

Video Collective Challenges Mainstream TV Networks:
Show Real News or Pay Up

Members of Portland's Flying Focus Video Collective, increasingly disturbed by the irresponsible way mainstream TV--particularly local stations-- squander their use of the public airwaves to report their idea of "news," are challenging local stations to show real news or pay up. Flying Focus is demanding that any time they open a newscast with a full 10 minutes of information citizens can't do anything about (the weather), that doesn't impact people's lives in a significant way (sports) or is relatively trivial (live broadcasts from festivals), the stations must donate $10 to Flying Focus. For good measure, Flying Focus is also asking for $1 every time they put entertainment news (Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, etc) in the first 10 minutes.

"We figure that it's not a lot of money for stations spending thousands of dollars a minute to produce TV," said Dan Handelman, one of the group's founding members. "But unless our efforts to expose the waste of those resources cause a change in the way TV news works in Portland, we should be able to raise our entire $4500 a year operating budget easily through this challenge."

Flying Focus recognizes that not all channels will voluntarily submit to the challenge and has called upon other residents of Portland to monitor the news, reminding the management to support the non-profit each time they violate the "empty news" guidelines. Portlanders are also free to donate the money directly if the stations don't agree to the challenge.

Flying Focus is a 501(c)3 educational nonprofit which has been covering issues of peace and social justice since 1991. The group's volunteer producers have created over 600 programs played back on cable access television, on topics such as animal rights, labor, economic and environmental justice, feminist issues, sexual orientation, alternative health care, and war and peace. For more information, get in touch with Flying Focus at 503-239-7456 or

Page added 8/12/07, updated 8/15/07

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