TV in Service to Community:
The TVMN Civic Engagement Initiative
Television Management graduate students have always engaged with the community, but this year, there has been a new development.
Actuality Media: Quito, Ecuador
My name is Kaila Taylor and I am a graduate student at Drexel University pursuing my M.S. in Television Management. This May, I will be traveling to Quito, Ecuador to direct a documentary on change makers in the local community. The organization that made this opportunity a reality is called Actuality Media. AM is a documentary production organization that sends film crews around the world to document positive social change in the local communities. These change makers are making huge impacts on their society. They are generating programs that support poverty, child labor, healthcare, educational deficits, and more.
Under AM, there are three types of outreach: Study Abroad Outreach, Media Impact Internship, and Pro Expedition. The social outreach program is one in which 12 crewmembers are chosen to travel to a foreign country, get trained in the art of documenting, and produce a short documentary. The media internship is for filmmakers who want to be a catalyst for change in Latin America; and the pro expedition is for media professionals who already have the necessary training to create their own individual stories. From May 24th until June 22nd, I will be taking part in the social outreach program. There are 12 crewmembers that are broken up into 3 crews of 4. The positions for each crew are: producer, director, cinematographer, and editor. Each individual crew of four is given a change maker, and it is up to them to decide which story to tell. The first week will consist of researching the art of making a documentary. Week two consists of prepping for the filming process. The actual shooting of the story begins in week three and ends in week four with the editing process.
My crew and I will be working with the Center of the Working Girl or CENIT. This organization supports local families and works to provide new opportunities for young girls. This program helps girls from pre-school to high school, and carries many different sub-programs. These include: medical clinics, social work, group counseling, and much more. The goal of CENIT is to foster a supportive environment for these young girls and their families. This program and all of its services help to increase the quality of life for the community. By reaching out to the community, CENIT is changing lives. It is undecided at the moment the direction my crew and I are taking with our documentary; however, as the director, I have a goal; and that is to capture a breathtaking story, make it come alive, and show it to the world.
We have formalized the TV Management's service relationship with the community by creating a new civic engagement initiative that we call -- Television in Service to Society. The idea is to engage our TVMN graduate students in problem solving for not-for-profit institutions and organizations that need our TV Management expertise.
Last spring we formalized an affiliation agreement with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia through which our students were invited to work as interns in the Ryan Seacrest Foundation Studios at CHOP. Two TVMN students, Amie Dibba and Agnes Varughese interned there last summer and are now volunteers; the facility provides television programming for the children in the hospital and Amie and Agnes have done every job found in a TV station from performing as on-air talent to managing production. Several of our new students have already expressed an interest in continuing our relationship with CHOP.
The second opportunity for civic engagement came from the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute’s Lindsay Shay and Elwyn’s Karen Krivit who had a project that needed our student’s professionalism. The project deals with development of a series of instructional videos to teach Asian immigrant families with autistic children about the medical help available to them. Under Karen Krivit's leadership, we formed a team consisting of Hai Ri, Shanshan Hu, Wan Xinting, and Ruan Die, ably assisted by Sarah Miklejohn. After many weeks of work this summer, that video is ready for distribution. We look forward to continuing our association with the project.
And this is just the beginning, because we believe that good television managers have an responsibility to function in the public interest, wherever possible, and because service to the community is part of the ethos of our industry, we felt it was important to formalize this practice as part of our graduate students’ learning experience at Drexel.
For Information, please contact: Al Tedesco.