Sanctuary for Independent Media/New York Media Alliance

Troy, NY

Media Alliance was founded in 1977 to address common needs of nonprofit organizations providing electronic media programs and services to artists, organizations and the general public in areas including, but not limited to, production, distribution, exhibition, research, preservation, appreciation, and to further development of this field. Media Alliance also has a mandate to sponsor and encourage cultural, and educational activities among media organizations, artists, and the general public, by conducting research, by gathering information, by organizing and disseminating information among the membership, by effectively communicating and cooperating with film organizations and other groups, independent producers, funding sources, and the general public, by responding to issues of concern to the field, by public information programs, and by administering property.

The Sanctuary has developed rapidly as an engaged member of our economically disadvantaged neighborhood, supporting desperately needed independent local voices through workshops, peer training, & internships. We’ve offered media arts, education, production and literacy programs to local groups directly engaged in poverty-related activities, including: Missing Link Street Ministry, North Central Communities That Care, AME Zion, NAACP, Troy Public Schools, the ARK, Troy Bike Rescue, 518 Positive Reinforcement, Nutrition Consortium of NY, NY Civil Liberties Union, TAP, W.D.I. and Independent Living Center. This season our Youth Media Sanctuary project includes:
– “Children Having Children,” directed by a 22 year old mother of an 8 year old
–“Gangs and My Family,” directed by a young man sharing first person perspective of fantasies and realities of gang culture.
–“Bike Rodeo” with safety education, arts and crafts projects
–Youth Media Showcase
–Animation workshop
–Summer camp

Supported Projects

Development Coordinator

Carolyn Braunius

The VISTA will work on building The Sanctuary’s grassroots fundraising capacity while organizing and expanding our grant writing efforts. Other priorities include continuing to build The Sanctuary’s capacity for handling volunteers and in-kind donations. The goal is to put into place a solid foundation for attracting and retaining a full spectrum of support, ranging from financial and material to human resources.

Community Development and Outreach Coordinator

Nicole Belanger

The VISTA member’s specific responsibilities will be to expand our outreach efforts and develop sustainable relationships and advocates for media reform, media justice, and independent community media, so that we can better fulfill our mission.

Our Community Development and Outreach Coordinator would significantly enhance our capacity to fulfill our mission of advancing media reform and media justice in the NY Capital Region and the economically disadvantaged communities directly surrounding our office at The Sanctuary for Independent Media. The VISTA member will have significant involvement in the community, collaborating with staff to develop and implement a volunteer program to support Media Alliance initiatives and strengthen our capacity to identify, attract, train and monitor dedicated volunteers who can help support our locally produced community media production and distribution, and expand our outreach efforts.

Goal 1: Expand our outreach efforts, coordinate volunteers, and develop sustainable relationships to further our mission.

Our VISTA member Nicole Belanger definitely had significant involvement in the community, collaborating with staff to develop and implement a volunteer program to support Media Alliance initiatives and strengthen our capacity to identify, attract, train and monitor dedicated volunteers who can help support our locally produced community media production and distribution. She expanded our outreach efforts, achieving our goals.

Nicole Belanger outreached to other organizations and institutions, increased awareness of our community media projects, and assisted with coordination of our community programs—with the result of a greater community network with substantive relationships to our organization. As part of her VISTA work, Nicole compiled a community volunteer and outreach binder, with tasks and activities broken down into clear and efficient descriptions. The goal was to sustain her accomplishments. Although we could always use more support, this work does go a significant way to ensuring the longevity of the accomplishments achieved through our VISTA member Nicole Belanger’s accomplishments.

One interesting accomplishment beyond our proposed project is that Nicole organized a pot-luck and cooking crew. The wholesome meals and hospitality helped to build community—here, with a focus on “home sweet home” values! This is another accomplishment which will have longevity, and has helped in our community outreach. Our VISTA member also helped to frame our community arts and education projects as a valuable component of our community outreach, and we appreciate it!

Technology Coordinator

Chris Gang

We are seeking to recruit a Technology Coordinator who will help organize our audio, video and computer infrastructure and create a strong technology platform on which we can build for the future.

The Technology Coordinator would work with staff, college interns and volunteers to develop and maintain the facility. Most of our equipment was donated; we consciously avoid cutting edge applications to the extent possible to avoid the problems commonly experienced by early adopters that we do not have the staff to troubleshoot. A major benefit of this strategy is that we can take advantage of cast-off equipment with plenty of life remaining. Our plan for technology upgrades is to constant solicit donations in good working order to replace dated and aging inventory. We use earned income and grants to selectively purchase modern technology when absolutely necessary.

We’re now at the point at which we need to inventory our gear, eliminating anything of questionable usefulness. The remaining technology needs to be properly installed and documented, with a training plan developed and implemented. Finally, a technology plan needs to be developed to guide future strategy.

This project will increase community engagement because media technology is at the forefront of our outreach and training efforts. Virtually everything we do revolves around the technology infrastructure we have put into place.

Goal 1: Assess our technology infrastructure, inventory and organize it, install and troubleshoot gear, dispose of surplus items, develop user manuals and training procedures, and work on development of short and long term technology plans

Chris Gang achieved the goals of assessing, inventorying and organizing our technology infrastructure. He also achieved the goal of developing user manuals and training procedures, and helped us move forward with our short and long term technology plans.

Chris vastly improved our internet infrastructure, particularly in the area of social media and open source software. In order to ensure that it can be sustained, he trained staff and volunteers and maintains a consulting relationship with us.

Chris also helped to develop our live video web-streaming capability. After going to several conferences and workshops, he noted the importance of web-streaming in the digital age, and strategized with our Executive Director to create an action plan to bring this capability to fruition. Although beyond the scope of our proposed project, this accomplishment in fact helps sustain our infrastructure, mission and outreach. Also, Chris Gang helped to develop our media archive infrastructure, after observing the need and creating a system, both in the physical space and with a computer interface.

Transmission Project