We decided to enter the national Hometown Video Festival in the "Overall Excellence" category. The award, from the Alliance for Community Media, goes to the media center that exemplified the best practices in the previous year and served their community best. We have to answer three questions in 250 words (each) or less, which is a major challenge!
We think you'll be proud when you read the summary of ways we responded to community needs and concerns in 2010, so we're including it here. Unfortunately, even this skimpy overview is 100 words too long. If you want to try your hand at editing, send us a leaner version.
"In response to five youths taking their own lives within six months, the Media Center collaborated on numerous community initiatives to prioritize teen well-being. We partnered with the PTA Council and the Adolescent Counseling Services to create six programs. We covered all school board meetings and a city-sponsored forum for youth. Every program was heavily promoted and discussed on our blog site and Facebook page. The Media Center initiated the “Sound Lounge” where kids can hang out on the weekend and perform live music, the only such venue in Palo Alto, and we conducted our “Digiquest” Summer Camps.
We partner with the East Palo Alto police department to produce a TV series and web site featuring the families of murder victims that solicits help from the public to solve cases including the murder of a civic leader that shocked the community in 2010.
We launched the Zoom-In Collaborative in 2010, that trained 66 people to produce short-form videos including citizen journalism pieces. Zoom-In grads covered important local stories such as a tragic plane crash and the community response to a “God Hates Fags” rally by a Kansas-based church.
Three grants received in 2010 enabled us to create high-impact media projects. “Alive and Free Stories” was a project with at-risk youth who created video profiles of former gang members and their transformations. The project included a web site featuring the videos and several community presentations. “Day Workers Journal” got underway with video training (in Spanish) and the beginnings of a documentary about the lives of day workers, as well as a worker-written blog site. “Girls TV” was part of an after-school program we launched for at-risk youth that mentored girls in communications technologies.
Two teams from Palo Alto High School won state championships and collaborating with a nearby media center, we “fielded” a production truck and crews to cover key games.
The Media Center produced candidate forums and ballot measure debates for 18 election races in 2010 in partnership with two civic organizations. We also produced 368 government meetings for four municipalities.
All of the aforementioned programs are available on demand."