Live Free and Make Media! Mike Wassenaar’s NE Region Conference Recap
I am happy to report that PEG community media is doing good things in New Hampshire and other parts of the Alliance’s Northeast Region. I was able to see a little bit at the ACM NE Regional Conference in Nashua this past week.
The Region invited me to speak at the Conference, and it was great to see so many friends in Nashua, and to meet new people just getting involved in PEG community television work in New England and the Northeast.
I had a chance to sit in on an informative session on community news operations in Somerville MA, Central Vermont and Syracuse NY. The potential for creating news that communities can use at a time when the news industry is backing away from local reporting seems promising to me – as it was to the people presenting the session.
Another highlight was the ACM NE Awards Luncheon on Friday. It was great to hear the stories of the award winners, volunteers creating important programming and contributing to the health of their communities, and RETN Executive Director Scott Campitelli who reminded everyone of the value of technology serving people’s needs – instead of the other way around! I also had the pleasure to hear Joe Torres from Free Press deliver the keynote address at Friday’s Awards Luncheon. Joe’s background as a journalist, historian and organizer gave an important perspective on our struggles in community media today. It was truly inspiring!
At the end of the luncheon I gave a few words to attendees about the work we are doing at ACM in the next six months – continued work on media mergers with the FCC, work with both a lame duck and then a new Congress, our work to promote best practices and the importance that ACM members play in strengthening that work. Nashua was a reminder to me the work that media centers are doing around the country is too important for us to ignore – or neglect – by not giving PEG channels technical parity, or by starving them slowly with antiquated funding laws. And too important for us to not strengthen the Alliance!