radio producer

Digital Expansion Initiative Program Developer

People's Production House
VISTA Name: 
Alexis Walker
Program Start: 
Project Description: 

The Digital Expansion Initiative uses participant-led media production, education, and organizing to expand meaningful access to all New Yorkers. The VISTA will support the project by producing and helping others produce radio and by conducting research.

- Develop a comprehensive understanding of the barrier to technology access in poor communities in New York City by training members of 5 - 10 non-profit organizations to research and report on the state of Internet access in their organizations and among their constituencies
- Produce and distribute community-produced content documenting the state of Internet access in New York City as a way to engage new constituents in the development of broadband infrastructure of programs to bridge the digital divide
- Based on community-produced content, produce and distribute comprehensive report on barrier to Internet access in New York City
- Build a new constituency of engaged and conversant experts on community access technology, based in communities with no or limited access to technology, and the capacity to continue expanding that constituency

Project Outcome: 

During her year of service, Alexis served as the program associate for a new program: the Digital Expansion Initiative. In this capacity, she served as support for the program - maintaing contact records and contacting organizations for partnerships, consolidating data, researching articles and resources, updating website content, conducting audio interviews, administering a written survey, writing articles on public policy of telecommunications, and presenting the initiative’s finding and methods in workshops around NYC and the country.

Outreach Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Tom Schwallie
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

In building the capacity of the Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy, Tom took on the following responsibilities:

Media Monitoring – this includes daily logging of local news coverage for the studies that GRIID produces yearly on election coverage, race & gender representation, and any other issue that we may be monitoring. This may also include occasional monitoring of entertainment media; commercials, movies, ads, etc.

Grant Funded Projects – this includes assisting GRIID on grant funded projects that involve working with students and community groups on issues such as tobacco, gender issues and the West Michigan Progressive Directory. This work gives us an opportunity to apply the resources developed in the media monitoring process.

Web Site Maintenance and Design – Tom has learned some of the basics of web design and has helped update and create new content for the GRIID website ( In particular, he updated the GRIID media directory and the GRIID lending library pages. Tom also designed and created his AmeriCorps VISTA web page (

Community Outreach Projects – working on various community-based projects that GRIID is involved in through the Progressive Directory. This involves attending meetings, conducting media trainings, producing media with community groups, and promoting the coalition building through the Progressive Directory. In many ways this is the main outcome goal of GRIID – getting community groups to develop their own media strategies.

Project Outcome: 

Tom played an essential role in completing the Youth Anti-Tobacco Advocacy Project ( He collected and correlated all the data for this study and created the online report. He also worked with the student volunteers in creating the study and accompanied them when they presented the study to the Grand Rapids City commission. Tom also helped in the creation of several grant-funded video productions that GRIID produced, assisting in both the editing and the filming process.

Tom does about half of the actual news watching that GRIID undertakes, and is responsible for documenting and tabulating all of the news watching data collected. He also has taken an active part in writing GRIID studies examining local media coverage on various issues. Over the last six months, Tom played a significant role in creating the content in GRIID’s Election Watch 2004 feature.

Tom worked on the grant funded Video Voter Project. This project tied into GRIID’s election monitoring and education efforts. Tom’s work monitoring and documenting news coverage were important components of the Video Voter Project.

Tom has been involved in several projects designed to reach out and empower community groups. Tom has been one of the producers of Catalyst Radio, a weekly radio program on the CMC’s radio station WYCE FM. Catalyst Radio provides news analysis and interviews featuring local community groups and organizations. Tom writes half of the news analysis pieces as well as being one of the shows on-air voices. He also is responsible for setting up and conducting the interviews on occasion as well as updating the Catalyst Radio website every week.

Another community outreach effort that Tom has been involved with is GRIID’s work on FCC license renewals procedure education. This is an effort to build an awareness in the community on the FCC license renewal process which was designed to hold the local TV media accountable to community needs. As part of this project, Tom has given presentations, created mailing literature, and helped create online resources.

GRIID maintains a large collection of documentaries pertaining to issues of media literacy and media and democracy. Tom has helped organize and promote public showings of these documentary films. Tom also helped facilitate public discussions following the films.

Transmission Project