Why Should Your City Leverage the Local Community Media Center?

Posted on April 8, 2021

Why Should Your City Leverage the Local Community Media Center_

This article was written by Dana Healy, Executive Director of NineNorth. Connect with Dana by email or LinkedIn

Long ago, community media centers were synonymous with sci-fi talk shows, grainy green screen, and cheesy special effects. These communication hubs have come a long way since the 1980’s. Equipped with professional-grade cameras, editing suites, and fully-lit studios, these audio-visual power houses can help your city with communications. Here are 5 reasons why your city should leverage your local community media center.

Economies of Scale

Community media centers have resources available for the community to use. Instead of the city purchasing its own camera equipment and lighting equipment, consider using the media centers. If multiple cities are utilizing a media center’s equipment, for free or for a small fee, everyone benefits. Consider making content like this interview with the police deputy. 

Plugged into the Community

Community Media Centers are deeply entrenched into the community. They know the hot button topics and the people that make things happen. If you need to kick up community engagement, these media professionals would know how to do that. One example that CTV North Suburbs executed was a Town Hall Forum for a local School District to connect and engage with the community. Check it out here

Legacy Knowledge

Many media centers have been around since the ’80s. They have engineers that know about your i-net infrastructure, how your city cable lines were laid, and who wired your city. On the political side, they know generations of politicians and often have ongoing relationships with them. Tap into that knowledge as your city navigates planning and cable franchise negotiations.  


Media production professionals are natural storytellers. We see a problem and ask “why should people care about this, and how can I tell that story in an interesting way?” Imagine having this kind of help when approaching a contentious city issue. Developing a video with a story to inform the public about a new ordinance or a tax levy could secure some additional buy-in. Here is an excellent example that the City of Maplewood, Minnesota produced to educate the public about the Xcel Energy construction project. 


Media centers are the community hub of activity, especially with civic-minded residents that are inclined to volunteer. The media center staff can connect city staff with new volunteers for city events and projects. Media center staff also connect with legislatures regularly. They can help identify champions for your city causes. 

Partnerships are always a good idea. Reach out to your local community media center to start relationship building. If you have questions about community media, follow me on LinkedIn for more content.

Dana Healy is the Executive Director of NineNorth and the CEO of the North Suburban Communications Commission. She leads a team of Emmy-award winning professionals that serves cities, nonprofits and government agencies looking to connect and engage with their communities through digital media. Her guiding principle is, “Don’t make videos, make an impact.” She holds two master’s degrees she earned while working full-time. Her passion is discovering and planning effective communication strategies to help municipalities reach their target audience. She also holds a third degree black belt in Karate, which she only occasionally uses in business meetings.  

Read more from Dana at the Amplify your City’s Voice: How Community Media Centers Can Help homepage.

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