Secret universe?


It is Friday afternoon, and I am about to conclude my first *official* week as a CTC*VISTA at Cambridge Community Television. To sum it up: I feel like I have been given the key to a secret door that leads to the land of 21st-century innovation.

I don't mean that in a dorky way...really. (Judging by the listserv emails, I'm quite the airhead compared to all you techies.) I just feel this is giving me a huge leg up over everyone else I graduated with 2 months ago. Ironically enough, I found out about CTC*VISTA through a job/internship opportunity newsletter of BU's College of Communication. It's ironic because I had never heard about CCTV at BU, even though it's located less than a mile away from the BU Bridge, offers full access to equipment, much more freedom to create content (as well as a larger viewership base than BUTV has), and classes that are simple to get into and teach you things like podcasting and HTML (while my multimedia class last semester merely taught me Microsoft FrontPage). I did hear about WGBH quite often, and it was through my internship there that I first heard about CCTV. The reason I am recalling this stuff is to emphasize what a turn of luck it was that brought me here. Ever since Penguin Day I've been realizing more and more what a necessary component this VISTAship is in completing my media education in today's world. (And I'm getting like $11,000 for it!)

I just read Meegan's comment about the Knight Foundation news challenge. I looked through the winners and saw organizations like Harvard and MIT...both involved in groundbreaking digital media projects, and both located around the corner from my host organization. Lisa Williams, founder of and h2otown, resides in the neighboring community of Watertown and my supervisor just told me to set up a meeting with her. Not to be profane but...WTF!? This entire experience is blowing my mind right now. I'm going to have a blog on CCTV's website and I'm currently working on a new program (worthy of being crowned by the Knight foundation, I'd say) to place citizen journalists around the city and use all of CCTV's awesome resources to become the glue that holds these communities together. When the school year begins, I'm also going to be working in a state-of-the-art media studio (which I got to see the other day and it totally blows BU's facilities out of the water) to create new youth media programs for the educational access channels. I didn't even know what PEG access was a month ago...or open-source software, for that matter.

And the icing on the cake would be that the people here are all really great, and I get to interact with some really diverse members of the community.... and on days like yesterday, I even get to experience surprise visits from Sir Ben Sheldon himself!

Comment from Morgan Sully on July 13, 2007 - 11:44pm

Hey Julie,
that's awesome to hear and read. Starting a VISTA year is always exciting. I'm doing it a second time and really loving it. I was just asked to join a virtual community of media policy reformists all working towards democratizing media structures to the best of their ability using the power of networks. Very cool for my first week of work.

In going through their database, NAMAC realized that CCTV is NOT a member. Surely I would have though y'all were!

We're kind of an 'organization of organizations' and throughout the next year I'll be looking out for 'stories from the field' of independent media practitioners and indy media centers. I look very forward to hearing more about your work with CCTV.