The Akron Digital Media Center has partnered with the Knight Foundation and the Akron-Summit County Public Library to bring digital tools and training to the people of Akron, Ohio.
Founder Chris Miller talked about what the Akron Digital Media Center is, how it works with the community, and how it became clear that the ADMC was working.
What is the Akron Digital Media Center?
The idea was to “merge the old Town Hall style of journalism with digital media,” Miller says. “We offer all the tools that someone needs to be a multimedia producer.”
This includes renting out equipment to members of the community, as well as offering training in the use of the tools and how to tell stories with media. Anyone who has an interest in what they offer is invited to come learn and produce at the ADMC.
Finished stories are featured online at www.Akronist.com, so the community can see the work of its newly-minted media journalists on display.
What are some of the benefits of partnering with the Akron-Summit County Public Library?
Being located on the first floor of a public library helps the ADMC in both obvious and surprising ways.
Miller notes that they literally have “ground-level access to residents and community members who may not otherwise have access to this equipment.”
But their location offers more than just serendipitous discovery.
ADMC’s partnership with the library also helps them fulfill their storytelling and archival goals. Not only can they cover some of the interesting new stories that pop up around town, they can also help residents chronicle and preserve their own family histories. By giving people the tools to go out and talk with other members of the community, both the old and the young are able to contribute to the flavor of their local journalism.
When did you know that the ADMC had become a success?
In May of 2012, the Akron Digital Media Center held an open house at their home base in the library. The various community groups that came out in support of the center showed Miller and his team that they were successful in their efforts to engage and educate.
“We brought in over one hundred people from the community,” Miller boasts. “That really brought everyone together to celebrate what we’ve accomplished over the last two years.”
And by Miller’s account, that achievement is only the beginning. “We have a pretty busy media center at the moment. So it’s good that it’s being used.”