The Summer Media Institute 2010

The Summer Media Institute (SMI) is a six week, media education program that takes place at Cambridge Community Television (CCTV). It is designed to give youth participants  comprehensive training and experience of the video production process.  It is made possible through a partnership with the city of Cambridge Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP).

Participants are 14-18 year old residents of Cambridge and are paid, through MSYEP, to work at CCTV.  They are expected to participate in all of the workshops and trainings that we offer them.  During the SMI, they produce about three video productions, although the program changes every year.  This year, we have 16 participants ranging in video experience, three staff members and two youth trainers.

It’s a summer job, but it has a summer camp feeling, with exceptional opportunities for learning and growth.  Students learn all about producing and sharing video, are exposed to media literacy concepts, practice creative expression, work in groups, give and receive critical feedback, write scripts and personal narratives and plan the final screening.  Student work is presented at the screening, is shown on CCTV channels and is viewable on the CCTV website.

There are several elements of this program that set it apart from other youth media programs.  Our emphasis is on story creation and presentation so we tend to focus on the creative aspect of media creation.  We do also talk about and explore non-fiction work but it doesn’t get as much attention in this program.  Our instructors come from media production backgrounds and the core of the program focuses on the technical and creative aspects of media production.  We do offer a series of special workshops that differ from year to year that give opportunities to develop other skills.  We have offered workshops in acting, social media, media literacy and studio production.

Also, our participants are paid as employees.  Many youth, media production programs our quite the opposite; Participants pay to have access to the equipment and training that is offered.  Thanks to the City of Cambridge and their commitment to youth development, we are able to provide employment opportunities to residents of Cambridge.