Saturday, October 13, 2012

Public Access as a Community Gathering Place: Diversity coming together in the “ Digital Commons”

Posted By on Sat, Oct 13, 2012 at 11:15 AM

We read a lot about the digital world, and diversity, and how the two have come together. It has been my great good fortune over the past two decades to see this in action - even before the age of Facebook and Twitter - and to witness people of all races and beliefs coming together and learning to work in the world electronic media.

It has been a busy, bustling world, with men and women, boys and girls, coming and going, working together and tossing ideas back and forth as they brainstorm, and help each other on each other’s programs. The break rooms in the various access centers I have been around have been vibrant with passion, as folks have worked on their programs together, prepped guests before shows, or simply relaxed after the lights in the studio have been turned off and taping is done.

Often, folks who aren’t strictly part of the “access community” - but may well be one day - join in these discussions.

And the magic (and it is magic - I’ll never be so cynical that I won’t see the magic in community involvement) doesn’t stop there. Over the years, folks have stopped by to simply watch how a show is made, or to watch as their friends (or their political candidate) are being interviewed.

As they see how easy it truly is, often they come down themselves to take classes, and bring their friends.

I think that anyone who has been involved with public access for any length of time can easily attest to the fact that the enthusiasm folks feel at these times translates into more productions for the station.

Lack of public enthusiasm? Well, you do the math.

I would hate to see a time when the community-at-large might be barred from the studio or control room, simply because they have no direct link to the production. I fear the result would be an atmosphere of antiseptic sterility.

Because even though Fayetteville Public Access Television is a TV station, after all, and goes out over the Internet as well, the true power of the station lies with the creativity of the producers, of the community.

Oh, you can learn all you need to know all by yourself, and never come in contact with another human being, but I liken it to the Socratic method of teaching versus online universities. We need the push me/pull you of intellectual stimulation that so often comes from face-to-face gatherings, which public access has always excelled at.

To mangle John Donne, no one is an intellectual island.

And public access television has thrived in Fayetteille precisely because members of the community have always known that it is their station, whether they are producing programs or not.

From the folks operating cameras to the guests in the studio to the folks in the control room gaining a new appreciation for what their community has to offer (and just how easy it can be to learn for themselves) folks in Northwest Arkansas have always known that, no matter what the name, “community” is the name of the game at The Gathering Place at 101 W. Rock in Fayetteville.

Their phone number is 444-3433.


Quote of the Day

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.” — Anaïs Nin



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