Council on video

It might not be the best idea to write this Hello World post while I have the Monday, December 17th, 2018 Windsor City Council Meeting live-streaming in another tab.  But as I was planning to write a little bit about the fact that we can now clip and share videos of City Council Meetings, perhaps it is apt (while also being distracting).

Even though City Council meetings have been recorded and made available online since June of this year, I have yet to see any media or city resident make use of the clipping or bookmarking service that the platforms provides. So I thought I would try it out and share what the technology is capable of.

So let’s pretend I’m writing a blog post that I want to add a clip from Windsor City Council for information and context.

On December 8th, my neighbours and I walked to Chapter Two Brewing Company to watch the Detroit and Windsor episode of TVO’s The Life-Sized City.  If you haven’t seen the episode, I recommend a watching. In it, you will learn how activists in Detroit and Windsor have coordinated residents to help improve residential buildings in neighbourhoods where there was a high degree of blight and a pointed need for re-investment.

Those stories reminded me of the debate that happened at the November 19th Windsor City Council Meeting [pdf] about the Ford City Community Improvement Plan. During discussions, I recalled Ward 1 City Councillor Fred Francis stating that he didn’t think that money going to home renovations to only certain parts of the city was fair

At this point, I’m going to drop this pretense of writing and now bring your attention to the act of trying to include the video from Windsor City Council into a blog post.

 First, we have to flip through the calendar view (or hack the datestamp of the URL) of the archived videos to find November 19th. The video is marked up with time stamps that match up the agenda but unfortunately the discussion of the Ford City CIP falls under the blanket category of REGULAR BUSINESS ITEMS (Non-consent items)

If you notice in the bottom right of the screen, there is a option to Share.

The resulting shared item is a link. In the example above, the link goes to:

I have some options to share the video clip in a variety of social media platforms…

But unfortunately, I’m unable to embed the video in WordPress.

Now I know why I’ve haven’t seen video clips from Council from local newspapers and news outlets. There is no way to embed the video into a web page that provides context for that video. I can share the link but the only way I can add any context to the video is to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit or Google+.

It looks like the product that the City of Windsor uses for their video service is Montreal-based Sliq Media Technologies. It is unfortunate that a company that builds and maintains video streaming services for specifically for governments has made it difficult for journalists and residents to make use of the resulting work. I’ve asked the company if there is any known workaround for this problem:

As we wait for an answer, let us consider the notion of fairness and equity. One of my favourite definitions of politics is from political scientist Harold Lasswell who defined it as “who gets what, when, and how.”

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