Geek of the Week
Erin DozierErin Dozier is Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at the National Association of Broadcasters, a trade association that represents over-the-air radio and television broadcasters in the United States. Dozier’s primary areas of focus at the NAB include broadcast ownership rules, indecency and other content-related regulations, and rules and policies governing carriage of television broadcast signals by multichannel video providers. Dozier’s experience prior to joining the NAB includes several positions at the FCC focusing on media regulation and policy. She has also worked in private practice, counseling broadcasters and other communications companies on legal and regulatory issues. Dozier has served on the adjunct faculty of Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, and serves as Co-Chair of MMTC’s mentoring program and as a member of the MMTC Board of Advisors.
People’s Hero of the Week
Comcast’s Rollout of 2 GB Broadband in Atlanta without RedliningComcast announced last week that it is rolling out super high-speed broadband to the entire Atlanta metropolitan area starting next month. The 2 gigabit-per-second speeds will be the fastest in the nation, and offered to over 1.5 million people. This announcement is great news for thousands of communities that have been locked out of super high-speed broadband access in other cities across the nation, where Internet service providers have engaged in the practice of “digital redlining,” the practice of selectively serving what companies perceive to be the “best” or most lucrative neighborhoods. When ISPs engage in digital redlining, schools and homes are denied access to the technology needed for 21st century success in the communities that need it most. In addition, lucrative new businesses will choose to go to areas that have the capacity to accommodate their high-bandwidth needs, and redlined communities will miss out on opportunities for economic growth and advancement. Thankfully, Comcast has bucked the industry’s redlining trend and rightfully decided on a path of inclusion. Hopefully, Comcast’s model will serve as an example to other ISPs as they continue to innovate and expand broadband services across the nation.
Multicultural Entrepreneur of the Week
Eric BroylesEric Broyles is an entrepreneur, attorney, and author who recently published “Encounters with Police: A Black Man’s Guide to Survival” with co-author and police officer Adrian Jackson. The book comes at a critical time in our nation, tackling the controversy surrounding the slayings of unarmed African American men by law enforcement officers and providing guidance to African American boys and men on how to survive encounters with police. Specifically, the book offers advice on how to think about interaction with police to lower the chances of escalation, provides information on legal and administrative rights citizens have to redress police misconduct so no hostilities occur at the time of encounter, and includes practical step-by-step guidelines on how to respond to police when pulled over for traffic stops or when stopped for questioning outside of traffic encounters. In a recent interview on Washington DC’s Fox 5 Morning News, Broyles stated that while the book is titled “A Black Man’s Guide to Survival,” the tips are race and gender neutral. He points out that by and large, police officers are not bad actors, but in cases where minorities “face targeting, hostility, and bias,” they should go through the complaint process where “you actually start to build a paper trail which will help the police department ferret out who the bad actors are. Can you imagine if Darren Wilson in Ferguson had five written complaints on him prior to the Michael Brown incident?” he asked. In addition to his role as an author and attorney, Broyles is also the Founder and CEO of megree, Inc., a provider of proprietary social business software designed to show how everyone in the world is connected. Broyles began his career as corporate lawyer with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in the firm’s Washington, DC office where he advised telecom and technology companies on corporate transactions and regulatory matters. He also served as Senior Counsel at AOL where he brokered numerous technology deals and online advertising transactions, and as a business development executive at Gerson Lehrman Group where he was instrumental in helping to drive revenue which helped GLG grow into a $1 billion enterprise. Broyles’ book is available on Amazon, and his full interview is available here.
Digital Divider of the Week
Article Questioning Ethnic Castings in MediaMMTC has both decried the negative portrayals of minorities in news and entertainment media, and lauded the new rise of increased positive portrayals thanks to television shows like “Black-Ish,” “Fresh off the Boat,” and “Jane the Virgin” that present minorities in increasingly diverse positions. Unfortunately, a recent article in Deadline questioned the new injection of color in mainstream media in the article “Pilots 2015: The Year of Ethnic Castings–About Time or Too Much of Good Thing?” The article, by Nellie Andreeva, suggested that white actors have less opportunities for good roles because casting agents are calling for more minorities. “Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal,” she wrote. This ‘us versus them’ mentality has long been a dangerous pervasion in American thinking, leading to controversy and causing many to question the success of minorities due to the assumption that they were given unfair opportunities just to fill quotas. Andreeva makes such a remark in her article: “In one instance, after a number of actors of different ethnicities tested for two roles in a pilot this year, two Caucasian actors ended up being the top choices for the two remaining regular parts. However, because of a mandate from the studio and network, one of the roles had to diverse, so the pilot could only cast one of the top choices and pass on the other to fulfill the ethnic quota.” The article was roundly decried on Twitter by thousands, including Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes, and Deadline responded by amending the title of the article, adding the note, “The original headline on the story has been changed as it did not correctly reflect the context of the article.” Unfortunately, the context does remain the same, implying that minorities are getting too many opportunities and explicitly stating that growth in minority portrayals should be at a peak since “African-Americans still represent only 13% of the U.S. population.” Arguments like this ignore the fact that most television shows are set in cities like New York and Los Angeles, where minorities represent a much higher proportion of the population, and this line of thinking leads to resentment from people who feel minorities are taking something away from them. We can only hope that new media representing minorities in a positive light change this perception.