Independent Voices: Third Sector Media Development and Local Governance in Saskatchewan
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This dissertation examines nonprofit, co-operative, and volunteer media enterprises operating outside Saskatchewan’s state and commercial media sectors. Drawing on historical research and contemporary case studies, I take the position that this third sector of media activity has played, and continues to play, a much-needed role in engaging marginalized voices in social discourse, encouraging participation in community-building and local governance, fostering local-global connectedness, and holding power to account when the rights and interests of citizens are jeopardized. The cases studied reveal a surprising level of resiliency among third sector media enterprises; however, the research also finds that the challenges facing third sector media practitioners have deepened considerably in recent decades, testing this resiliency. A rapid withdrawal of media development support from the public sphere has left Saskatchewan’s third sector media at a crossroads. The degree of the problem is largely unknown outside media practitioner circles, even among civil society allies. I argue this relates to the lack of recognition of nonprofit, co-operative, and volunteer media as a distinct third sector, thus obscuring the global impact when hundreds of small undertakings shed staff and reduce operations in multiple locations across Canada. At the same time, there is increasing recognition that such media have the potential to fill a void left by commercial and state media organizations that have retreated from local communities. Accordingly, this dissertation makes the case for a coordinated media development strategy as a component of the social economy. The challenge is to build useful mechanisms of support among civil society allies that do not replicate oppressive donor-client relationships that are all too common in the arena of governmental and private sector support. While never simple, the opportunities and social benefits are considerable when citizens devise the means to participate in the creation of a robust, diverse media ecology.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeFindlay, Isobel M.; Hammond-Ketilson, Lou; Hanson, Cindy; Gertler, Michael; McMullen, Linda M.
Copyright DateMarch 2015
third sector media
Canada Periodical Fund
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