Merlyn on Media

What Teens Are Teaching Us About Media

It’s been such a treat to see high school kids at MCM this week. They’re the final of three Backpack Journalism classes we’ve held this summer, teaching students how to turn all those funky iPhone videos they shoot into real new media media content that has an impact. MCM’s Mandi Wyndham has been blogging about this class, so I won’t go into the fun details… check out Mandi’s blog at: http://www.mymcmedia.org/partner/backpacking-with-mcms-backpack-journalism-academy/

Seeing those kids takes me back to my own high school experience, 30 years ago. I grew up in tiny farming community in California called Rio Vista (yeah, it’s featured in the latest AT&T commercial showing the town has nothing but windpower generators and sheep!). Although the whole community had less than 3,000 residents, the high school was blessed with what at the time was a state-of-the-art TV facility. There’s something about television that captures the imagination, and it certainly did mine. Instead of simply watching TV, I could make it… and I eagerly spent every hour I could learning about how to shoot video, edit, light, run audio and what it took to run a TV channel. My experience there put me way ahead of my fellow classmates by the time I got to college in L.A., and I credit that early public access experience for helping me in my early career in Hollywood.

Seeing our Backpacker’s this week reminded me that public access is still relevant. These kids have media tools at the fingertips that we couldn’t even have imagined years ago: High Definition video cameras the size of a deck of cards, and video editing software capable of any Hollywood-worthy special effect. Yet with all that, these students have paid good money (or their parents have!) to come to MCM and get trained on the PROPER way of creating media and telling their stories. Anyone can put out a video on YouTube… but to get noticed and have an impact, you need to learn how to produce content the right way.

So join us at MCM, take a class and have your voice heard.


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Merlyn Reineke

About Merlyn Reineke

Merlyn Reineke is Executive Director of Montgomery Community Media, which provides media training and community-based content by-and-for the residents of Montgomery County.

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