Month 6: Training, Event Planning, and More


I feel pretty bad that keeping up with these field reports has been so difficult - and because I have the flu... but that gives me some time to catch up and explain what kinds of things I've been doing at the IMC, one month at a time:

The IMC is in a college town (Champaign-Urbana), and a lot of our volunteers are students, grad students, and professors. Even though Dec-Jan was quiet, with many out of town, I had plenty to do.

The month started with an interview. To clarify, I was the one being interviewed, by two DJs whom I had trained, and whose semester project - as interns at our community radio station - had just ended. Maggie and Alex, AKA "The Amplified Librarians," asked me about all aspects of CTC VISTA, AmeriCorps service, and the Independent Media Center. It provided a great opportunity to reflect on my work and to share my observations with our listeners.

With a target date of the first IMC Film Festival looming in the near future (early February), this month was largely devoted to the intricacies of event planning. The Film Festival was something that fellow VISTA Nicole and I brainstormed earlier in the winter, and with help from our VISTA Supervisor, we solicited film submissions, arranged scheduling, format, promotion, sponsors, and a web site all in the course of a couple months. This gave me the opportunity to utilize and better acquaint myself with Drupal, as we developed the IMC Production Group and IMC Film Festival web site.

Despite the cold, empty climate, there was considerably demand for training, and I ended up delivering nine sessions to individuals or small groups, on audio editing for radio (in Audacity and Reaper); live radio broadcast; digital photo editing; field audio recording; and mastering. As much as I have wanted to stick to the goals of "training trainers," this is in part dependent on the attitudes and goals of those being trained. In our organization, in which everyone is volunteering whatever free time he or she has, most people just want to quickly be empowered with the knowledge and tools to accomplish some aspect of media or technology. They do not often have the time to train others after I have trained them. I suspect that other VISTAs in training positions have observed this scenario in their workplaces. It's not necessarily bad or good, but just the reality of working with busy and ambitious colleagues.

By the end of this period, we welcomed a new Program Development Intern to the IMC, and oriented him. I also continued to coordinate volunteers who produced IMC Video News for Urbana Public Access Television, and updated radio training materials, including a draft plan to revive IMC Radio News, which had been a successful project several years before I began my service.