Public Access and Citizen Media Producers Working Together


A recurring theme I’ve noticed over the past year, has been the growing relationship between public access producers (those who produce for public access television) and citizen media folks (bloggers, podcasters, videobloggers, etc.) who are using media to tell stories about stuff happening in their communities.

At the ACM conference there were many great ideas for connecting access centers to web tools (particularly open source resources) for online production and distribution. The workshops were very successful.

Citizen journalism is on the rise with sites like and many others. There are also some great efforts taking place here in Boston (more on this soon).

How can producers telling stories using public access centers connect with citizen journalism folks? This is beginning to happen independently of one another, but not in a comprehensive way with one another–that could be found, say on a single website that promotes this vision and recognition of the two working together. Perhaps a website like this this already exists?

For example:

  • (1) Community newspaper, (2) public access center offshoot website, or (3) online only website, forms online participatory website, encouraging submissions from residents in the community
  • Website reaches out to public access producers asking for short digital video submissions to increase user experience
  • Website is located on a blog where feedback is encouraged and stories–from both citizen journalists and public access producers–could be rated/voted on.

This is just one idea.

This seems to me to be key. These two worlds are naturally colliding. How can folks share resources and work together in collaborative media making processes to fill the void where traditional media is failing to tell the stories of local communities here in Boston and in other cities?

I’d like to see a website where these two camps–public access producers and citizen journalists–reach out to, and begin to work with, one another, to create a more robust online picture of events happening in local communities to increase civic engagement and participation.

This would also be an excellent opportunity to share resources, skills, and knowledge between the two groups, while hopefully benefiting offline communities at the same time.

Colin Rhinesmith
President, ACMEBoston

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