Having the national Alliance conference take place as close as Boston is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for a lot of us. Because the Northeast Region is not holding its own regional conference, we were able to offer more than one scholarship to Our Town next month. The applicants and winners offered interesting thoughts on their work and their impending attendance.
Heather Reed has been the Community Relations Director and is now Public Access Director at Provincetown Community Television. Provincetown has the seasonal population changes of a tourist destination and a relatively large number of nonprofits competing for volunteers and donors. “I studied under an independent regional filmmaker, so working in Access has been the perfect real world continuation of my studies. I’ve gotten to teach LGBTQ kids how to make music videos and helped nonprofits make videos to spread the word about their organization, and my experiences working in Access have been incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally.”
And how will going to Our Town help her? “As television changes to meet the demands of the modern world, the Access community must adapt and stand together if we are to survive. I think it would be incredibly helpful to make connections with other Access centers to find out how they are dealing with the shifting viewing environment and how they engage their producers to contribute content. I also think that the courses being offered would help me in my new role as Public Access Director.”
Michael Hendricks is a producer at Stoughton Media Access Corporation. “SMAC has truly been a center where the staff has nourished and cultivated my passion for the media arts. Everyone that is a part of SMAC feels the true scent of partnership due to the staff’s dedication to turn a producer’s dream into a reality.”
What are SMAC’s biggest challenges at this time? “The biggest challenge is to convey to the town’s people that they can use the medium of television to express their thoughts and opinions…. Secondly, our community access station needs to reach out to minorities and get them involved in producing their own shows. As a minority member myself, I would like to see more people of color engaging in community access television.”
Lori Belché has been an access user in Somerset since 1981, during its transition to a nonprofit operation (Somerset Access TV) in 2006, and became the station manager in 2011.
In her 34 years in access media, what does she get out of it? “If I can do anything to inform my town by recording it, or foster a student who wants to enter the media field—I know that this is why I am here. It brings me great satisfaction…. When the people are appreciative, that’s just the icing on the cake!” At Our Town, she hopes to learn how to build the access station into a media center that brings together seniors and young students to create and share important information, history and creativity.
Brian Knoblock is the Media Coordinator at the Community Television Network of Portland ME, aka CTN5. Of his work, he says, “I think it’s vital to provide a vehicle for people and organizations to get their message out to the public…. If I shoot an event we show the entire event, not just the 90 seconds that is shown on the commercial news stations. The viewer gets the whole story, not just a headline.
“Our biggest challenge is visibility. Even though our studio has a bright orange sign right on Portland’s main street, people don’t know who we are, what we do or what THEY can do at the station. We have to break through the clutter and show people there is a place for public access television in the Twitter-verse.”
The ACM-NE Board is fortunate to have the help of Brian and CTN5 in our annual Video Festival Awards celebration on October 22, 2016—right in downtown Portland. Watch for the bright orange sign on Congress Street!