Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rocket Science: The Future of the Newspaper of the Future

Rocket Science: The Future of the Newspaper of the Future

Extra! Extra! Read all about It!

There is a wave overtaking newspapers all over the country. Some might even say a Tsunami, as newspapers all across the nation are being consolidated, cut back, shut down, and or transitioned into Internet only "publications." A lot of the turnover that has been occuring in the newspaper business has been attributed to a sagging economy, and the slumping sales of commercial advertising in local and national publications alike. Some people like to blame "the Internet," for making it impossible for old fashioned print publications like newspapers and magazines to compete for readership, or as the kids like to say these days, viewership. Others like to blame television for ushering in the era of the end of the Free Press as we knew it. Some like to blame private corporate interests for trying to shutdown critical free speech by shutting down critical local papers.

The reality is that local publications are most vulnerable to the vagaries of local economics, and most harshly feel the bite when local business cuts back their spending on local newspaper advertising. The irony of "The Free Press," is that it is, as it always has been completely reliant on the sale of commercial advertising within its pages as its sole means of support. The irony for local business, is that marketshare in large part is driven by presence in the local press, and when local presence goes down, so goes business. And, unfortunately this unsustainable down-spiraling is representative of the current state of the newspaper industry far and near, too often leaving consolidation as the only viable alternative to shutting down, for local businesses and local papers alike, if they are lucky.

It is interesting to see the management of newspapers all across the country attempt to deal with either the perceived opportunities, or in some cases challenges presented by the nearly ubiquitous adoption of Internet Access throughout our society. In many ways, it can be seen as an historial repeat of the collision of newspapers with the advent of television broadcasting more than fifty years ago, and it is likely that the result will similarly be a place for Internet News as there has been for Television News and always has been and always will be a place for Printed News, well into the future. Upcountry Maui is fortunate that a decision that could have just easily have been made to close this very publication for sound economic reasons based on the lack of local businesses purchasing advertsing in this local paper was not made, by a management team that instead is creativly attempting to incorporate the Internet as a cost-effective (to them,) if ephemeral, supplement to the more expensive (to them,) and now quartly, print edition, as current local advertising revenue supports.

Newspapers have always been subject to a certain elitism that television broadcast news never suffered, namely the ability to read -- well. With the introduction of television broadcast news, the smart newspaper money realized the opportunity to expand their advertising marketshare through the acquisition of local broadcast stations, often in the name of their consumer product manufacturing owners. Chicago's Wrigley family figured out this formula famously, selling chewing gum advertised in their local publication, The Chicago Tribune, and on their television station, (WGN stands for the Worlds Greatest Newspaper,) often while the public enjoyed broadcasts of Baseball Games featuring the Chicago Cubs, at Wrigley field (not a coincidence.) That is a lot of chewing gum. It is likely that todays smart money is starting to figure this out, readying to envelope the Internet within its all encompassing fold.

The challenge faced by today's print publications will be surmounted by management teams that learn how to leverage the value of the Internet along side the value of traditional print media, without being subsumed by the very characteristics that make the potential opportunities presented by the Internet to newspaper publishers compelling. "How much of Page One should be devoted to Internet Advertisements?" "Should Letters to the Editor require attribution?" "How about a forum for anonymous personal attacks on Letter Writers, or maybe even government sponsored, fascist propoganda?" "Anyone else have any creative ideas how to raise on-line advertising revenue?" Ultimately what separates the News from the News Paper is the paper. For the paper brings with it a credibility of persistince that the ephemeral Internet -- with malleable "facts," a handy delete key, and anonymous send button -- never can. Now that is something to chew over.

Go Cubs!

Samuel Latt Epstein is the Executive Director of the Maui Media Lab Foundation School of Media, Arts and Science, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity. Send your email or comments to

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rocket Science: Hawaii's New Digital Public Access Community Television Service, PULELEHUA.TV

13 August, 2009

Rocket Science: Hawaii's New Digital Public Access Community Television Service, PULELEHUA.TV

The unique nature of Hawaii's multi island geography has always provided unique challenges that have had to be met by those that have chosen to live here. One of the biggest challenges has been to provide accurate, up to date and locally relevant news, information and educational opportunities not only to the residents of our big cities on O'ahu and Maui, but throughout our Island chain, especially on the outer islands and communities typically labeled as traditionally underserved. It should be unsurprising that given the geographical challenges of a community living on islands spread over a few hundred miles of ocean that Hawaii has come to lead the nation in terms of remote tele-education technology including the provision of educational closed circuit television, public access television and public internet access.

Hawaii' boasts the nations most involved Public Access Television community, by far. Again this is not surprising because public access television, till the recent introduction of public access internet, has been the only way for people within their communities and between their islands to share commentary, questions, ideas and solutions to the issues of governance everyone is faced with every day. And, while the citizens of Oahu have every right to be proud of how they have sheparded the public funding they were entrusted with to construct one of the Nations leading public access stations Olelo, provisioning public access television services to communities throughout Oahu, it has been indeed unfortunate to witness public access dollars being stolen, misappropriated, embezzeled, redirected into political campaigns and just downright wasted by the "executives" and "lawyers" of the PEG Access organizations on Hawaii's other islands where accountability of the public funds has been lax, and a perceived lack of enforcement has been adopted as a license to both steal, and enforce the denial of access to others. Additionally, the upcoming February 2009 transition of broadcast television to digital is causing additional concerns about the future of Public Access Community Television in the Islands of Hawaii.

Fortunately, Hawaii's new Digital Public Access Community Television Service, PULELEHUA.TV, now serving approximately 30,000 viewers each month, is now providing the quality of service to Hawaii's outer islands, including Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kauai, and the Big Island, that all of Oahu's residents have come to expect as exemplified by Olelo Community Television under the leadership of Keali`i Lopez as well as Olelo's previous directors.

PULELEHUA.TV, allows anyone in the community to provide community television programming, just by uploading it on the internet, just like Youtube.

PULELEHUA.TV, also allows anyone in the community to create their own channel, mixing and matching community television programs for others to watch. (Disclaimer: Maui Media Lab offers encoding and uploading classes as well as a paid service, matching students with community television producers that would rather not do encoding and uploading themselves.)

And the best part, is that it can be watched, free of charge, on any digital television, computer or handheld device with a wired or wireless Internet connection, anywhere in the Islands and anywhere in the world.

Many of the issues that used to be a problem with Hawaii's old analog public access television system have been solved by PULELEHUA.TV. Since channels are created by people in the community, and their is no limit on either the number of channels, or the content of any individual channel, there is no "corrupt executive" for with which to lay blame of favoritism or censorship with regard to community television programming. Further, PULELEHUA.TV works for broadband, direct satellite and IPTV customers as well as for customers of Hawaii's exclusive cable television franchise. PULELEHUA.TV is truly community television made by the community for the community and is not subject to arbitrary "certification fees," "literacy tests," or capricious censorchip by corrupt CEO's.

You can find many of your favorite programs on PULELEHUA.TV including Maui Weather Today with Glenn James and other programming from the University of Hawaii, State of Hawaii Department of Education, and of course all of Hawaii's Community Television Producers, whom the Maui Media Lab Foundation would like to thank for the time and efforts to shine their light and focus their lens on our Island communities.

Free Digital Public Access Hawaii Community Television, PULELEHUA.TV, Watch It!

Sam Epstein is Executive Director of the Maui Media Lab Foundation School of Media Arts & Science, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Maui Media Lab Foundation Provides Digital Screening for Maui County Sister Cities Culture and Arts Day

The Maui County Commission on Culture and the Arts proudly announces Culture and Arts Day at the Maui Mall on, Saturday, April 1, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Celebratingthe diverse cultures and the arts in Maui County, the event will feature music, dance and drama performances as well as information booths from our community's multiple ethnic groups.

Winners of the Maui County Sister Cities 2006 Young Artist Competition will also be announced. Working under the theme What Does Global Citizenship Look Like? entries will be on display at Maui Mall from March 29 to April 11, and video entries will be screened at 10 a.m. at the Wallace Theaters as part of the Culture and Arts Day event on April 1. Winners will receive cash prizes and the winning entry will represent Maui County in the Sister Cities International Young Artist Competition in Washington, D.C.

Organizers have also announced that the annual Maui Arts and Culture Award will be presented to an individual who has significantly contributed to promoting arts and culture on Maui.

This event is sponsored by the County of Maui Commission on Culture and the Arts and Office of Economic Development, Pan-American MOA Foundation, Inc., Ano`Ano Gallery and Gifts, Maui County Business Resource Center, Maui County Film Office, Wallace Theaters and Maui Media Lab.

The mission of the Maui County Commission on Culture and the Arts is to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Maui County by increasing public awareness and promoting public support, education and participation in art and cultural activities and the public is cordially invited to attend any or all of the Culture and Arts Day activities.
Contact Information:
Norman Oshiro

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Online media outlet for residents

By TRAVIS KAYA, Staff Writer
The Maui News
July 22, 2007

PAIA – With years of experience helping Hollywood studios film on location in the islands, the founder of Maui Media Lab has focused his lens on a more local production, creating an online broadcasting outlet for Maui residents with programming by Maui residents.

“This is an exciting opportunity,” said Sam Epstein, executive director of Maui Media Lab LLC. “It’s a great time to be on Maui if you care about TV.”
Founded more than seven years ago, the online broadcasting venture provides a new medium for community organizations, local businesses and citizens to address local issues and express views not seen on traditional television stations.

The online network provides viewer-created video content available through the Internet at, where it is accessible from anywhere in the world at any time.

“This is television that comes through your Internet,” Epstein said.

The digital network is based on Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) technology developed by SenseMedia Netcasting, a tech-development company founded by Epstein in Chicago in 1985.

After moving the business to Maui in 1997, Epstein shifted his focus from the World Wide Web to what he calls the “local Web.” Maui Media Lab LLC, a company Epstein has established in Paia, handles the local aspects of SenseMedia Netcasting’s international operations.

Using the digital broadcasting format that SenseMedia pioneered on the Mainland, Epstein and Maui Media Lab LLC have been able to stream up-to-the-minute programming specific to Maui County through its Web site. Available anywhere there’s an Internet connection, the digital network eliminates geographic constraints that made it difficult for some Maui residents to get access to community television outlets like Akaku, Epstein said.

“Most of the community access television is centered in Kahului,” he said. “But we started having kids all over wanting to learn about production.” currently hosts programming on four separate channels that are similar to those commonly found on a standard television dial. The digital channels, however, are interactive, allowing residents the chance to create their own programming, setting the online network apart from broadcast or cable television outlets. The four IPTV channels that are currently available reflect a wide array of interests, and include Willie Nelson’s Radio Free TV, Da Molokai Channel, the Kingdom of Hawaii channel, and Pulelehua Maui Community Television.

Most of the programming is supported by businesses who pay for commercial airtime and organizations that provide content to fill their dedicated IPTV channels. But Pulelehua Maui Community Television is entirely free and accessible to everyone who wants to see their content broadcast.

“The more we can find ways to find spontaneity and truth, the better off we’re going to be,” said state Rep. Joe Bertram III, who represents Kihei, Wailea and Makena, and was a featured guest on a recent Pulelehua program. “They’re people doing it basically from the heart.”

The Maui Media Lab not only provides the platform for community programming, but also the skills needed to produce and broadcast video content. Started as a community service venture to “empower the community to serve itself,” the Maui Media Lab Foundation, a nonprofit organization run by Maui Media Lab LLC, offers students the chance to learn the skills needed to create professional-grade IPTV programming.

For a monthly membership fee of just $20 for students under 18 years of age and $100 for adults, the foundation provides classes on subjects ranging from digital media technology to audio engineering. Using professional software and top-of-the-line equipment, teachers work with students following a hands-on curriculum that covers the basic skills needed at all levels of film and music production.

“It’s a good place if you want to know a little bit more about technology,” said Dwight Baldwin, a 16-year-old Seabury Hall student and Maui Media Lab member. “You just learn from being around here.”

Using a hands-on curriculum that Epstein describes as “the full vertical market,” students are also able to learn how to play an instrument, record music, produce an album, and create a music video all in the same studio.

“It’s nice to have high-end equipment at your disposal,” said Cody Quintana, a 16-year-old Baldwin High School student. “We need more kids. This needs to be utilized.”

Aside from offering students a chance to contribute to community programming, Epstein says, the lessons that the foundation offers are a smart investment in the future of the IPTV network and Hawaii’s burgeoning media industry.

“All of our engineering resources are local young men and women,” he said. “The skills that are being taught to our students in the community are the same skills that are needed for producing movies.”

Production companies from the Mainland that fly in crews for movie shoots and other studio productions may one day hire engineers, camera crews and editors from Hawaii, Epstein said.

For some of the foundation’s students, the lessons taught at the media lab have already paid off. Many students who have gone through the audio engineering program have worked the sound boards at concerts around the island, becoming paid employees of Maui Media Lab LLC. Students have also gone on to become filmmakers and editors on Maui.

“Community television provides the environment for people in the community to gain these skills,” Epstein said. “We try to help foster that talent.”

Travis Kaya can be reached at


Real American Democracy, alive and well on Molokai

December 04, 2007
The Haleakala Times
by Sam Epstein

This last week, a Maui Media Lab Foundation staff and student delegation to the Island of Molokai had the opportunity, as observers, to witness first-hand, the Land Use Commission Hearings of November 15 and 16 regarding the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), for the Plan to Develop La‘au Pt. that was submitted by Molokai Properties Limited, in the name of Molokai Ranch.

The Maui Media Lab Foundation would like to thank all of the residents of Molokai for the kokua, and hospitality that was extended to ourselves during our stay. We would also like to thank all of the residents of Molokai for demonstrating what real community governance is all about, to our students as well as the students of Molokai High School and Kualapuu Elementary that attended the hearings throughout the day.

What was striking, was the manner in which how all the interested parties came together in a large town hall, with hundreds of individuals present, some to testify, some to be there in support, some for and some against, from 9 am till 8 pm, with a single common theme: respect.

Every person that testified, received minimally a smattering of applause, a few people received a standing ovation, and not a single person was booed or disrespected for their opinion. It seemed that applause was related to the quality of the testimony, and not the opinion of the testifier, and was received from parties representing both sides of what has become such a contentious issue within the Molokai community.

The only murmuring of disapproval from the crowd came near the end of the hearings on the second day, right before the Land Use Commission was about to vote on a Motion to Reject the FEIS submitted by Molokai Properties Limited. Immediately before the vote began, Counsel for MPL, Isaac Hall requested a short recess to discuss the possibility of withdrawing the FEIS with his client. Indeed, when the hearing resumed, and MPL did withdraw their FEIS, the murmur of the stunned crowd transformed into applause as the large group realized that the hearing was about to conclude.

I would like to thank both Walter Ritte, of the Hawaiian Learning Center and John Sabas, Representing Molokai Ranch, for providing this opportunity for our students to learn the importance and significance of community involvement, especially in matters of local governance.

So what have we learned this last week? That a community of individuals, in fact, one of the smallest and most isolated in the country, with many residents classified at or below poverty level by the government, CAN work together, and research together, and represent together in a dignified, respectful and civil manner, and stand up to a group of individuals representing themselves as a local subsidiary of a multinational corporation, in this case GUOCO Group, with potentially billions of dollars of resources at their disposal, and WIN!!!

The similarities between the Environmental Impact of the Superferry Project and the La‘au Pt. development project and the fact that the La‘au project has been withdrawn, and that the Superferry is about to sail deserve an objective analysis.

The different strategies taken by the much larger communities of Maui and Kauai, including cat calls and disturbances at public meetings, public demonstrations intended to tie up traffic, and potentially life threatening civil disobedience such as jumping into a harbor in front of a large vessel, and prolonged video-litigation are now proving far more effective at stoking the egos of the protesters, and far less effective at securing their cause.

Mahalo to everyone on Molokai for presenting a shining example of the power of community and civil governance (not to mention cost savings), and the resulting benefits for all, and for all to see. Mahalo Nui Loa! A Hui Hou!

Sam Epstein is executive director of the Maui Media Lab.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Advocating a collective consciousness

Advocating a collective consciousness

The Haleakala Times
November 04, 2005

Maui Media Lab teachers focus on music, media, alternative energy for students young and old
Their motto is “empowering the community to serve itself,” and Maui Media Lab is actively working with children, citizens and a variety of supporters in the community. They offer research and development and advocate expanding knowledge for a better tomorrow. Maui Media Lab Foundation is a grass roots operation supported by Maui Media Lab, The Children’s Science Center, The School of Music, Science Media Netcasting (, and many more collaborations.
Maui Media Lab, located at 71 Baldwin Avenue in the Paia Plaza, offers a wide range of classes and services in digital, audio, video, sound, and lighting production. One of the goals of Maui Media Lab is to provide a place where the community has an outlet for creative and innovative ideas and an opportunity to work with the technology towards a brighter future, economically and environmentally.
Currently in a consulting partnership with The Goodfellow Brothers, Inc., Maui Media Lab is creating an ecological lighting system, which will greatly reduce the amount of energy put into our atmosphere while reducing energy costs. LEDs (light-emitting diode) have an extremely long life span, twice as long as the best fluorescent bulbs and twenty times longer than the best incandescent bulbs. New homes built here on Maui will furnish the consciously creative cost-effective and energy efficient system.
Maui Media Lab is the research and development behind Science Media Netcasting ( and works with The Willie Nelson Biodiesel Co., “Bio-Willie,” to promote biodiesel to end users at various locations in the states of S. Carolina, Georgia, Texas and California. To learn more about the distribution locations, visit:
The Children’s Science Center, located at Maui Media Lab, is currently exploring two projects, which will educate the younger generation of the benefits of biodiesel.
The Maui Cup Challenge Race, now in its third week of progress, is putting together teams of students by participating schools and each team is going to raise their own fuel crop. The students will plant, grow, harvest and convert sunflowers into biodiesel fuel and learn the benefits of its environmental and economical impact first hand.
Each team will then be provided, through the success of their own crops, or through Pacific Biodiesel, one cup of biodiesel, and their objective is to build a vehicle, which will run the longest with most efficiency, by graduation next June. If interested in participating, contact Maui Media Lab at (808) 579-9887.
Hard at investigative work, The Children’s Science Center, is also “demonstrating a single cylinder engine modified with a diesel head which is then hooked up to a DC motor/generator and battery, to create a prototype micro-biodiesel engine,” says Sam Epstein, Executive Director of Maui Media Lab. Students are learning skills that will help make a greener tomorrow.
Maui Media Lab is excited about the opening of the new “Studio A,” which is slated for early November. It will host a full stage, sponsored by Rizzo Pacific Staging, a gallery, dance floor, movie projection venue and much more.
Their current studios, consisting of two audio and digital recording and two post-production facilities are top of the line. With musical instruments sponsored by Bounty Music and the technology of programs such as Final Cut, ProTools, ProHD and others, Maui Media Lab studios are being used by Maui students, artists and musicians.
They have a resident percussions instructor, Michael Buono, and two resident vocal instructors, Karyn Sarring and Anastasia Gilliam. Maui Media Lab is looking for instructors in strings, horns, wind and motion: yoga and drama. They will be restarting the Maui Youth Symphony soon and invite those interested in participating to call or email for more information.
Maui Media Lab can be called upon for their lighting, home audio, theatre, wireless connection, voice-over IP, and video observation experience. The studios and their location would not be made possible without the partnership with Premiere Mortgage and supporters such as, Jim Sanders Realty, The Shops at Paia Bay, Pacific Information Exchange, and many, many, MANY more. Maui Media Lab is grateful to all those who have shown an interest in their vision and would like to encourage anybody interested in working together to positively impact the future to contact them at (808) 579-9887 phone, or email: The website address is:

By Emily Forster

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Maui Media Lab PAILOLO Environmental VOG Monitoring Station

Maui Media Lab PAILOLO Environmental VOG Monitoring Station

Maui Media Lab Foundation's Particulate and Atmospheric Interaction Light Obfuscation Level Observer, more easily pronounced as the PAILOLO Sensor recently made its debut at Maui Media Lab Foundation's Environmental Monitoring Station at the Keawanui Fishpond on Molokai.

Maui Media Lab's PAILOLO Sensor is used to measure atmospheric particulate levels by observing and recording light scattering and obfuscation and interaction caused by, well, atmospheric particulates, also known locally here in Hawaii as VOG.

VOG is the organic natural version of SMOG. Unlike SMOG which envelopes large cities that produce pollution from vehicles and manufacturing, VOG is good old fashioned natural sulfur dioxide, caused by the large volcanoe, known by tourists as "Hawaii", which has been and continues to erupt lava into the ocean at a, fairly remarkable, not to mention, geological rate.

And Just like SMOG, VOG combines with precipitation and moisture to make, Acid Rain.

Visiting Hawaii recently has been like visiting the planet Venus. In August. Without a Spacesuit.

On the plus side, the Sulfuric Acid does a remarkable job scrubbing out your lungs and exfoliating your complexion.

Watch It! Kaanapali, Maui 10 May 2008

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