I’m sure many readers are aware of our adjoining program, the Akron Digital Media Center, which was founded to help equip residents with the digital tools necessary to be multimedia storytellers and better understand the media they consume. Our training resources are available to everyone in the community, regardless of demographic, income, age — basically, anyone eager to learn how to make better use of the digital media at our fingertips.
Even in 2010, when we founded the program thanks to generous support from Akron Community Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, we had our sights set on mobile media, but Akron wasn’t quite there yet. Now as we find that more than half of our own web traffic comes from mobile devices, our Media Center is pleased to announce our renewed focus on training residents to become storytellers using their mobile devices, like smart phones and tablets.
We’re hitting the streets and offering our unique journalism training program for residents in their own neighborhoods, at meeting places, like library branches, community centers and churches. Now is your chance to publish the stories that are important to you and you don’t even have to leave your neighborhood to do it. You can share stories with the community (and beyond) as they’re happening. And we’ve created a class that’s simple and effective.
This street training, which focuses on short videos, articles and photos that can be uploaded and shared immediately, is part of a larger push for live broadcasting of news and events, removing the time involved in post-production, and catering to the immediacy with which we consume our media.
Teaching residents these shorter and easier methods is what we refer to as “micro storytelling,” as our focus will help accommodate our culture’s online trends and behavior, which points to immediacy and gathering information in smaller bites.
The one-hour training session includes ethics, interviewing and basic formulas of storytelling, and will include hands-on training using apps on your mobile device.
Also in the class, we ask residents to sign a “Community Contract,” wherein you commit to training at least five neighbors, family members and friends, along with asking these same people to commit to training others.
The goal of the program is to create a self-sustaining network of local storytellers to keep our community informed and engaged in the happenings, along with sharing stories of the unique people, places and issues in our neighborhoods and our city.
As our website bears out, we still focus on quality stories in their longer forms, whether it’s well produced video, thoughtful written profiles or audio podcasts. But this street-level engagement will allow you, the reader, to become more a part of the media that’s all around us, so that your voice will definitely be heard.
All you need to do is show up and bring your smart phone, tablet or other mobile device. Once you attend, you can start uploading stories at the training session and become equipped to be a neighborhood journalist and storyteller.
We ask that you practice with your device’s video camera download a free social media sharing app like YouTube, Facebook or Twitter.
Below are upcoming sessions and some recent examples of our mobile storytelling efforts:
Main Library in Downtown Akron
60 S. High St.
Tuesday, July 29, 3-4 p.m.
Firestone Park Branch Library
1486 Aster Ave.
Akron, Ohio 44301
July 23, 2014 4-5 p.m.
August 7, 2014 3-4 p.m.
Green Branch Library
4046 Massillon Road
Uniontown, Ohio 44685
July 22, 2014 6-7 p.m.
August 26, 2014 6-7 p.m.