National Marine Sanctuaries Media Library (and other web portals)

February 12, 2009

Another addition to the list of online sites distributing underwater media: NOAA has recently released the National Marine Sanctuaries Media Library.

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In a news release on the site, they write that “The media library is part of a continuing NOAA effort to enhance public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the marine environment. It was created to provide a resource for numerous audiences, including students, educators, publishers, conservation organizations and individuals looking for compelling marine-related images.” As is common in many of these online underwater photo and video distribution hubs (see also, The Ocean Channel, EarthOCEAN, etc.) the spread of images is itself  framed as a potential mobilizer of environmental action. If we can just see the beauty under the surface, we will be compelled to stop the destruction.

These sites are fairly distinct from underwater media fan sites such as ScubaTube and AquaBank. These sites feature user generated content more prominently, forground the adventure of descending beneath the water, and tend to have images of female bikini-clad divers rather than environmentalist rhetoric on the periphery.

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The Ocean Channel

February 29, 2008

Founded in April 2000 by underwater filmmaker Michael Hanrahan, The Ocean Channel is a web portal to a wide range of underwater (and above water) ocean media. The Ocean Channel produces high quality content and serves as a distribution outlet for documentary productions. While it is not broadcast on television, the channel is modeled on this format; you can watch what you want, when you want, and for free. Much of the content is designed to be enjoyable and entertaining. But there is definitely an activist component to the site as well: a large emphasis is on spreading ocean knowledge and education to effect environmental change.

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