CCTV introduction

CCTV Partners: Susan Fleischmann, Clodagh Drummey


CCTV is a nationally recognized community media center that is the voice and vision of all Cambridge residents, businesses and organizations. CCTV provides tools and training to foster free speech and creative expression, and empowers producers and viewers to engage in local issues through media that is informative, engaging and as diverse as the community it serves.

History and Major Programs
Since opening our doors in 1988, CCTV has been named number one in the country an unprecedented 10 times by the national Alliance for Community Media. CCTV is home to:
• Three local cable channels featuring programming produced by Cambridge residents, arts and cultural organizations and City agencies
• A dynamic, media-rich website, including the Cambridge Media Map
( and the Cambridge Calendar (
• Hands-on media production and technology workshops, providing access to emerging technologies and state-of-the-art media equipment
NeighborMedia: an innovative citizen journalism program offering coverage of local issues and events (
•the Cambridge Savings Bank and Google Computer Labs: hosting classes and public drop in hours for those without access to computers and the internet
• Special outreach programs for seniors, immigrants low-income communities and non-profits
The Youth Media Program: a vibrant media arts and work experience program for underserved teens (

What are your assets — within the organization, what are your best skills, who are your partners in the community?

In the shadow of the Boston media market, Cambridge, a city of over 100,000 residents, is not served by a daily newspaper, or by any commercial TV or radio stations. As a result, CCTV’s channels and website serve a critical role as a primary source of local information, a showcase for arts and culture and a forum for civic engagement. CCTV’s community channels reach over 35,000 homes in Cambridge that subscribe to cable television. Our website has a worldwide audience.

More than just a TV station, CCTV is a community media center where Cambridge residents and organizations create and share media about themselves and their community. After completing an extensive curriculum of media art and technology workshops, CCTV members produce thousands of hours of programming each year. Reflective of the city’s diversity, our members are predominantly lower income and vary in age and ethnicity.

CCTV also provides services to local non-profit organizations, documenting community events, hosting in studio discussions about social service programs, and producing Public Service Announcements.  CCTV’s efforts provided these organizations their only electronic link into the homes of their constituents.

Share some success stories: What do you do, what have you done and what are some current stories.
This year CCTV turns 25.  Something that was just an idea in 1988 has grown into a thriving media center that is recognized as the best of its kind in the country.   Over the years, CCTV has become a national model for utilizing new technologies to build community.

In 2011, to further expand our programs and services and better respond to the needs of the Cambridge community, CCTV relocated to a larger facility in Central Square.  CCTV’s new home is the place in our city where the best of community meets the latest in technology; an incubator where residents and organizations are at the controls, utilizing cutting edge media and technology to strengthen the fabric of our city.

In 2012, more than 650 individuals, organizations and businesses utilized CCTV’s services in our new facility.

We launched a collaboration with Google called Age Engage which engaged 65 seniors in one-to-one Internet training. Mary, a participant, explained,  “I like the one-to-one approach of the program for meeting me at my skill level and dealing with specific issues. It is the most useful adult education I’ve ever had.”

The Youth Media Program served more teens than ever– a diverse group of 45 young people.  One teen spoke of the program:  “The Youth Media Program is a good program because it teaches youth in Cambridge how to use media to express your feelings, and to get a point across that you want people to know about.”

We also provided more than 75 non-profit organizations technology training and production services. In 2013, we launched the Non-Profit Resource Center, which will offer more, specialized training and production serves geared to meet the needs of community organizations.

What is a critical issue or problem that you have that we’ll explore in this class?

Citizen Journalism: CCTV has a robust citizen journalism program – The goal is to make this resource THE go-to place for Cambridge news and information. Issues: scaling the program up, promotion! We are planning a high profile half day or day long workshop on issues in citizen journalism: citizen journalism as social justice, legal, resources & tools, etc. We hope to collaborate with the Berkman Center and the Digital Media Law Project at Harvard, and the Center for Civic Media and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT.

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