The Alliance for Community Media (ACM) chose Boston this year to host their National Conference: “Our Town” this week in the Seaport District.  The conference runs from Thursday, August 18 through Saturday, August 20 at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel, and provides an opportunity for community media professionals from across the country to celebrate and explore the meaning of making hyper-local, neighborhood and community-based media.  

The Brookline Interactive Group (BIG) serves on the national conference committee, helping to organize the conference, among other local groups. From 1993-2000, BIG, formerly Brookline Access Television (BATV), received the Overall Excellence in Public Access Television Award five times at the “Our Town” National Conference, as well as several individual program awards produced by Brookline residents, during then Executive Director Karen Chase’s tenure at the station.

“We are excited to be in Boston this year because of the innovation and example that Massachusetts provides for the rest of the nation,” said ACM President & CEO Mike Wassenaar.  “We want other states to follow your lead and support local communities with community media the way you do here.”

The event will feature sessions on trend-setting topics like citizen journalism, youth media, non-profit management, documentary film making, design thinking, and community engagement. Attendees from around the country will find a variety of networking opportunities, and an exhibit hall filled with state of the art equipment in digital media, live-streaming video, TV/film production and virtual reality. including demos by the Public VR Lab, a collaborative effort to educate the public on new technologies for storytelling in VR, created by Northampton Community Television (NCTV) and the Brookline Interactive Group.

Attendees will have an opportunity to hear from the next generation of community media centers, complete with drones, 4K camera equipment, DSLRs, citizen journalism, film competitions and youth media projects. In addition, tours of Boston Neighborhood Network and Brookline Interactive Group are planned, along with a private kickoff event.

The keynote speaker Thursday afternoon will be John Nichols, national affairs correspondent with The Nation, who will talk about the need to revitalize and grow local journalism across the country.

Friday night features the Hometown Media Awards Ceremony, which recognizes community media voices from around the country –  co-hosted by two Boston entertainment icons, comedian/activist Jimmy Tingle and singer/cultural ambassador Veronica Robles.

While most of the conference attendees work in community media, the conference is open to all, and offers sessions that are relevant to those who work in education, journalism, youth development, and technology. On-site registration is still available. Learn more here.

For questions about the Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference, please contact the ACM by calling (952) 928-4643 or emailing [email protected]