Featured Member: Paul LeValley
Why are you an ACM Member?
I’m a member of the Alliance for Community Media because I believe in providing media training, tools, and opportunities to our communities and the Alliance is an important ally. I’ve learned a tremendous number of tips, tools, techniques, and insights over the years from the regional and international conferences, from other members, and from the Alliance publications. I can’t imagine trying to do this work without a strong international organization behind us, helping us every step of the way. I also feel that there is safety in numbers and while access centers across America may have limited budgets, we are rich in talent, dedication, and passion. The Alliance provides a way for us to work together and to support each other. Sometimes it’s just nice to know how many other people there are across the country (and the world) involved in the struggle for communications democracy.
What do you enjoy about being an ACM Member?
There’s no question but that the people in the Alliance are what I enjoy the most. What, you thought I was going to say sitting in sessions at conference? C’mon! No, I’ve always learned a lot more in the hallways (and, OK, the bar) at conference than I ever did in a session. I’ve made some lifelong friends through the organization and, even if I don’t see them often, I know that I can pick up the phone or send them a message at any time and get a friendly and inspiring response. There are many of us old-timers that now share more than twenty-five or thirty years worth of memories. That’s the fun part.
Tell ACM about yourself
I’m a lifelong, displaced Iowan. I grew up in a town so small we didn’t have a stoplight – and only two stop signs. I went to the University of Iowa for both my B.A. (broadcast journalism) and my M.A. (communications studies). I also met my wife Diane in Iowa City and lived there for several years while working as the director of programming for Heritage Cablevision (the cable company ran the access center at the time). After leaving Iowa, I established Carroll Community Television in Westminster, MD and then moved to Arlington, Virginia in 1992 to become the executive director of Arlington Community Television (now Arlington Independent Media). I’ve been here in Arlington ever since.
Diane and I have two wonderful daughters, Anna and Nora, who attend the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary respectively. We also have, for some reason, two cats. I’ve taught as an adjunct at both Marymount University and George Mason University since 1995. I’m currently teaching advertising but I’ve also taught video production, media criticism, mass communication theory, and free speech and ethics.
In my spare time I play a little guitar (badly) and read a lot. I’m a science wannabe – meaning I have the interest but not the aptitude or the patience for actual study and experimentation. I settle for reading wistfully about the work of others. I’m a proud member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and am a card carrying member of the National Capital Area Skeptics. If you friend me on Facebook, I apologize in advance for my political rants.