As the landscape for delivering news changes in Arlington, town residents moved toward having their own television news program. ACMi, the town's media studio, was the host for two introductory sessions for volunteers interested in becoming television journalists.
Responding to a postcard invitation mailed to residents earlier in the week, headlined "Arlington Public News,” about two dozen individuals attended the sessions Wednesday, Jan. 16.
Volunteers were briefed on ACMi's plan to develop a team of television news gatherers over the next few months. Eventually, the station hopes to produce a regular news program, complete with news anchors in front of studio cameras to present the reports.
News coordinator Sara Alfaro-Franco ran through the essentials of the plan, followed by Executive Director Norm McLeod, who surveyed volunteers for their varied interests in town affairs.
Outreach coordinator Walter Locke followed up with a tour of ACMI's facilities for the participants. Studio Manager Jeff Munro was also on hand to answer questions.
Volunteers who complete the training and agree to participate in the program are expected to work together in small teams to come up with one story per month as the program is implemented. In exchange for their contribution, individuals are offered free membership in ACMi, and open access to ACMi's extensive array of production equipment, facilities and training sessions.
"We were able to gain valuable knowledge and learn how volunteers are the driving force behind local programming," said Michelle Spaleta, one of those who attended. "I've driven by the building many times, so it was nice to walk in and see how I can contribute," she said.
She said she was excited, both personally and professionally, to be involved.
Alfara-Franco apologized for the short notice, as many residents didn't receive the invitational postcard until one or two days before the event.
Plans for the news program were first published last August.
Those who did not attend who are interested may contact ACMi and get involved. News segments produced by volunteers and interns in the past may be viewed at the ACMi website, acmi.tv.
ACMi is Arlington's Community Media Center, now with two locations, at 85 Park Ave., in Arlington Heights, and Studio B, at 892 Mass. Ave., diagonally across from Arlington High School. Its opening was announced in November.
This story was published Friday, Jan. 18, 2013.