The front door opened to a spacious, well lit room filled with computers, large video displays, sets designed for recording single and group discussions, several tables arranged in classroom row style facing various displays … and people. Lots of people, some staring intently at monitors, others plopped on a overstuffed sofa and chairs, some planning tomorrow’s webcast; activity everywhere.
Taylor: What in the world have we walked into? Grand Central Station?
Casey: This, my friends, is the Media Center. Almost everything that happens at Centresa comes through here in some shape or form. Our flagship media service is a weekly media broadcast on in RVA. Could be covering a colleagues event, public event or forum, protest march, interviews … pretty much like an old-school, hometown news channel using new media, with the focus on our common socially responsibility.
Alex: That sounds incredible! But I mean, all those interviewers, camera people, production …
Lee: Ah, there’s the beauty of it. A lot of the heavy lifting is done by paid interns; working with Centresa staff. We work with journalism schools at several universities. Either as class projects or in a couple of cases, Centresa Colleagues are adjunct teaching the classes. Doing what we can to contribute to a new generation of progressive, next media journalists.
Casey: Each intern — and this is true throughout Centresa — there’s a real mentoring program. Each intern has a mentor; one of our Colleagues. Regular progress reviews. Goal setting workshops. Financial workshops (an “entire life” approach). Letters of Recommendation. Over there are the photos of our intern graduates in the newsrooms where they’re working now. Couldn’t be more proud!
Lee: Whenever something happens — event, workshop, forum, whatever — it’s recorded. (Of course, if people don’t want to be recorded, we work it out.) To no small degree, collecting grassroots, neighborhood challenges, experiments, solutions — information — is the “raw product” in our “manufacturing operation.”
Casey: That “raw product” as you put it, becomes workshops, guidebooks, projects, articles, talking points to our representatives in Richmond and D.C. For example, the Book/Media Store (online & onland) is selling a “parent’s guide to your children’s diet.” It describes how a child’s body is different with unique nutritional needs; vegetarian children; how to be an activist and make changes in your school’s cafeteria; links to our Colleagues that deal with children’s nutrition; ethnic food festivals in RVA; reading labels on kid food; links to Centresa work groups, social groups, &c.
Taylor: Let me guess — classes over there?
Lee: For our individual and business Colleagues. Mostly new media, marketing, branding, communication — getting your message out workshops. Remember, a big part of Centresa is designing Media Channels for our Member Businesses and For Purpose Organizations. Also computer skills, using new technology; on and on. There are more classrooms across the Commons. That’s where we have our non-techie workshops. All for Affiliated Businesses as well as individual Colleagues. More about that later.
Casey: And we rent out workshop and presentation rooms to our Colleagues as well. Many Colleagues attend a workshop to learn something new; create a project that changes some something in our community; then the same person might lead a new workshop on the experience.
Lee: All part of implementing our mission statement:
Learn Something. Create Something. Change Something. Teach Something.
Next: Shared Technology