Local Media Matters with the Niagara Podcasters’ Network

The Practical Feminist with Laura Ip and Ruth Unrau live on stage at Mahtay Café / Rounaq Chabra

Local Media Matters is the name of the fundraiser and live podcasting event held by Niagara Podcasters’ Network, a local cooperative of dedicated podcasters and media professionals working to “produce, preserve and promote local storytelling in Niagara” according to Trevor Twining, the Executive Producer of the network.

Twining said that the network is cooperatively owned, with every host owning a piece of the company so that they can avoid potentially getting taken over by any larger media company because they want to ensure some local ownership of media.

“I think that helps us stay focused specifically on local storytelling in the region because there are so many amazing things happening here and I don’t feel that we currently have the resources to be able to tell those stories in earnest” said Twining.

The Network is bringing podcasting to Niagara and Niagara to podcasting which ended up being the perfect medium to start this project.

While Twining acknowledges that they could have accomplished some of the same goals through blogging or videography, there are already a lot of bloggers, and video is an expensive and time consuming endeavour, for a project still mostly in its developing stages.

“Audio sits at this really interesting nexus of, it’s accessible in that people can listen to it in a variety of different situations, it’s a great medium for storytelling because as human beings we are sort of hardwired for listening to stories. I think it’s a medium that allows us to get really creative with the storytelling in ways that we couldn’t with text, but are too expensive in broadcast or in video. It sits in the middle of ease of production but also effective storytelling” he explained.

The network does have trans-media aspirations and blogs are currently being written but podcasting is where they will start and build a foundation. The fundraiser was held in part to help with the building of this foundation.

Twining said that the network plans to use the funds to improve production quality of their content but also to host workshops and classes for people in Niagara to learn how to make a podcast. Another goal is to introduce people into the world of podcast listening with local stories.

The event included short live versions of nine of the networks shows including the very first episodes of new shows: A Social Conversation and The Empowered Millennials.

Before the new shows, The Practical Feminist hosted by Laura Ip and Ruth Unrau, took to the stage and answered frequently asked questions for the attentive and engaged audience.

The Practical Feminist seeks to contribute to feminism as a discourse but also to explore it as a label. Ip noted that feminism is not a set and specific ideology but instead is a flowing discussion and its definition is ever evolving.

“If you believe that women are equal to men, and should have equal opportunity and equal rights, then congratulations: you are a feminist,” said Ip.

Ip added that although society has come a long, commendable way, the work of feminism is far from over.

“Feminism is not scary” she concluded.

One of the shows that will likely resonate with Brock students is the aforementioned Empowered Millennials hosted by Valerie Chalmers and Arienne Good, who both chronicle the good and the bad of day-to-day millennial life.

Similarly to how The Practical Feminist seeks to host a discussion about feminism and stereotypes of the label, The Empowered Millennials seek to dispel misconceptions about this generation and to unite the demographic to work for respect and to see the change they need to see.

The Empowered Millennials also seeks to create a Philip DeFranco Show-like contemporary platform where discussion is encouraged and all opinions are well-informed and participated in critical engagement.

 

The Network is looking to double their current show line up by the end of 2017 and are looking for volunteers to host and do some behind-the-scenes work. This opportunity is open to Brock Students and if they are interested they can reach out on social media or go to niagarapodcasters.org to learn more.

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