SMOT 2014 Year End Report

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On October 18, 2014 students and professionals gathered together for the long anticipated Fall Retreat at Media Action House and Retreat Space. Enthusiasm grew as attendees explored the grounds nestled on a secluded twenty-acre parcel of land and the audio/video production and editing studio.

The morning got off to a great start with fun conversations and a delicious Continental Breakfast provided by Cecil and Shari Weefur of Weefur Family Media.

Later in the day, after the Workshops and filming the pilot for the teen talk show, Lynn Rhodes Executive Director of Authoring Action provided us a with a tasty Mexican themed lunch.

This retreat was the Spring Board for developing a formal structure that allows and supports the kind of networking that gives rise to media programs and partnerships led by young leaders across the country.

We demonstrated the power of media and collective action. The retreat agenda highlighted the impact of Collective Action and youth participatory media. The agenda was as follows:

  • Welcome and Introductions

  • Orientation

  • Understanding the Civil Rights Act of 1964 & the role youth played

  • History & Power of media

  • How to unite resources through youth lead   national and international networking (How to produce and market online media

  • The future of work

  • Authoring Action Youth’s thoughts on “Access” and “Future”.

  • Planning a Talk Show Pilot and Trailer (Preview)

  • Value Shield exercise

  • Closing Remarks & Evaluation

During the orientation and overview of the day, Alyson Baker, Educator touched on today’s educational crises and the fact that the “Waiting on Superman” strategy has been futile. She challenged the youth to look at online media as a possible solution for dealing with these issues by starting global networks of “Collective Action”.

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Richard Gibson, Community Affairs Officer of HitsWorks participated in an interview reflecting on the past struggles from Emmet Till, Brown vs. Board of education, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the role youth played. He challenged the youth to take a look at our current struggles from Rodney King, Travon Martin, Oscar Grant and Mike Brown and use these brutalities and senseless deaths to fuel the fire within themselves to join the campaign for long-term solutions.

Cecil shared his life experiences in the United States in addition to his experiences growing up in Liberia and how the two experiences relate. Cecil also provided audio and video technical support.

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We conducted an open dialogue of how online media can play a role in our collaborations (Authoring Action, Team SMOT, Weefur Media, United Roots & Hack the Hood) working together.

The Value Shield exercise (workshop) offered participants the opportunity to identify personal strengths they did not know they possessed. The exercise brought awareness of the difficulty some people have even accepting compliments. Participants recognized the many and varied strengths of the group and the resources they possess. The participants recognized how much better things are when working in a positive environment. Last but not least Participants developed more trust in one another.

Shari facilitated a workshop entitled the Future of work as a remote professional. She talked about her job and how important it is to have good work ethics, which lead to success as a Solo Professional or Independent Contractor.

She also addressed the poverty issue and demonstrated how cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit of being self-employed and having a commitment to giving back to the community can be a possible solution.

The retreat participants came prepared to discuss what “Access” and “Future” meant to them. Lead by Nathan Freeman creative Director of Authoring Action they shared their thoughts via songs and spoken word.

An outline for a sixty minute monthly show combining elements of a Radio Show (podcast), television style talk show and a video blog website was created. In addition to a recommendation that we collaborate with United Roots, Black Network TV and the Greensboro Men’s Club Foundation on a Knight Foundation Grant to develop and staff and ONTV Access Stations & Mobile Labs.

The participants expressed an interest in eventually producing the show as a live broadcast over the Internet. In order to bring this idea to fruition, an expansion and update to the facility, in addition to equipment up grades will be required.

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Dennis Pinckney, Media Specialist at Black Network Television (BNT) attended the Retreat. He made a presentation regarding his position at Black Network TV and talked about career opportunities behind the scenes of television and the future of online digital media.

Pinckney demonstrated the correct way to set up lighting in the SMOT studio for the teen YouTube video production. He also evaluated the potential of the ON TV production space. Pinckney identified basic studio priorities, i.e. set space, cameras, lighting and improved production capabilities.

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One of the desired outcomes is that the participants will start to focus on strategic leadership in global media production and distribution through the responsible use of online media.

Youth walked away knowing that with Collective Action they can help contribute more effectively to the fight against injustices, poverty and poor education.

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