A Swing State Update


This story takes place in Ohio. I know some of you coastal VISTAs are longing for more Ohio news and charming Midwestern commentary, like you were getting before the election. Perfect timing for me to wake from my procrastination hibernation and write my very first field report!

I am serving as Youth Channel Facilitator at Media Bridges www.mediabridges.org, a community media center that operates Cincinnati’s four public access television stations. My job is to develop a youth media program that will allow Cincinnati youth (ages 12-25) to run Media Bridges’ youth channel. The youth channel, called the Youth Block, airs youth-created programming on Media Bridges’ education channel. Part of my job is to acquire 10 hours each week of programming to be played on our Youth Block (currently we have about four hours), and to develop a plan for volunteer youth to run the Youth Block.

Our goal is that youth who participate in the program will learn the tools to understand how media represents youth and constructs messages which affect them. We hope that students will gain the confidence and ability to use video and radio production skills to represent themselves and get their voices out to the community.

My first month here I worked with the kids in our summer video and radio camp. Each class finishes with the production of a video or radio show by the kids. Right now, the summer media camp is the only established youth program at Media Bridges, and a primary source of our Youth Block programming, so I am hoping to expand on that. I’ve also been taking crash courses in all the cool technology toys we have here: I’ve learned to use a video camera, operate studio cameras, lighting and sound equipment, run a live studio show, and edit digital video. Yay!

The past few months have been spent researching existing youth media programs in other cities and meeting with local organizations that work with youth in order to build partnerships and get the word out about the Youth Block. In September I organized an event for One Web Day at Media Bridges (http://mediabridges.org/onewebday/). In October, I attended the Alliance for Community Media Central States Region conference and I also supervised a high school student who interned with me for a week as part of a senior project. In November I have been helping to revamp Media Bridges’ volunteer program to help recruit younger volunteers, and I am taking a proposal writing course online and working on writing grant proposals.

That’s just the basics, but stay tuned for more lively and detailed reports from the heartland as I get caught up on my field report quota. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!