Special to The Enterprise
I first came to Davis Media Access — then Davis Community Television — in late 1995. I was in charge of our college interns and with them produced hours of community-centered programming every week.
I believe 1996 was my first taste of local election programming. I watched in fascination as more seasoned staff planned and directed more than 150 hours of voter education programming, culminating in a live Election Night show that lasted till the wee hours of the next day.
Little did I know, then, that in a few more years I’d take up that mantle of election coordination and that I’d still be carrying it more than a dozen years later.
But, here I am, and DMA’s commitment to coverage of local elections has never wavered. The intervening years have seen political blogs ascend, commercial community websites emerge, and many and varied commercial platforms for video sharing arise. Davis is a well-covered town and I consider each of these options pieces of a rather remarkable whole.
DMA’s piece? As the only nonprofit community media center in Yolo County, DMA produces “Meet the Candidates” segments for contested races countywide. We consider coverage of local elections core to our mission of creating community through media, and a partnership benefit we offer to our city, school district and community.
“Meet the Candidates” is the one place each season where candidates have a chance to address the voters without a gatekeeper, and without questions being put to them. This cycle, we’ve produced “Meet the Candidates” segments for Davis City Council, Assembly 4th District, the contested Superior Court judicial race, and Yolo County Supervisor 5th District.
We air these segments numerous times on DCTV Channel 15 on Comcast; on AT&T’s U-verse service at Menu 99; on KDRT 95.7 FM (City Council candidates only); and host the videos on demand at dctv.davismedia.org. Candidates also are given an embed code and are free to use the segment on their websites.
This season, we also recorded the transportation forum with City Council candidates, and with the League of Women Voters of Davis, produced an in-studio debate on the renewal of Measure D, the city’s park maintenance tax.
Additionally, DMA has a long-standing partnership with the city of Davis’ Media Services, which records a variety of community forums and debates held in Community Chambers. We obtain the recorded programs and air each multiple times on all the media outlets described above.
Forums to date include the league’s forums on the Assembly 4th District and Davis City Council races, as well as the Davis Chamber of Commerce PAC’s City Council candidates debate. At this writing, I understand a copy of the May 9 “Community Values” forum is en route to us.
Finally, DMA will produce a live, Election Night program on June 5, beginning at 8 p.m. and wrapping at 11 p.m. Community movers and shakers Andrea Jones and Lea Rosenberg return to share the evening with a host of candidates, campaign managers, columnists, bloggers and more. Mayor Pro Tem Rochelle Swanson kicks off the show at 8 p.m.
Our emphasis isn’t so much on results — which are available online — but on the very personal experiences and insights gained from running campaigns in Davis.
I hope you’ll tune in! The show will be simulcast on KDRT 95.7 FM in Davis and available online everywhere at http://kdrt.org.
— Autumn Labbé-Renault is executive director of Davis Media Access, an organization providing access to, and advocacy for, local media. She writes this column monthly. Find out more about DMA at http://davismedia.org.