Group Interview 1: Hye-Jung Park
Robert Bethencourt, Jeff Martin & Irene Taylor
October 7, 2003
The focus of this interview was on the Youth Channel at the Manhattan
Neighborhood Network (MNN), a public access station in New York City. Specifically,
we interviewed Hye-Jung Park, the Program Director of Youth Channel.
Established in March 2000 by MNN, the Youth Channel strives, in their own
words to “offer free alternatives to mass media by providing disadvantaged, low-income and minority youth with access to an essential networking space for sharing and
iexpressing their views through production, programming, workshops and trainings.” Open to youths up to age 25, the Youth Channel encourages not only submissions from
local, national and international levels, but also has an in-house production team. In
addition to production, the Youth Channel is also committed to providing peer training
in both media literacy and video production.
Hye-Jung Park is imminently suited for the title of Program Director, having
both knowledge and experience of being an independent producer, as well as being
passionate about alternative media. Before coming to the Youth Channel, Hye-Jung was
the program director of the Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV) for eight
years. An award-winning producer in her own right, some of her credits include The Women Outisde, Homes Apart: Korea and The #7 Train: An Immigrants Journey, the two former premiered on PBS.
The are two blocks of time set aside specifically for Youth Channel programming:
Mondays from 3:00-7:00pm, and Saturdays from 2:00-5:00pm. With this set time frame,
the youth producers devote at least three afternoons a week in various committees and meetings.
Furthermore, it is not just local programming that is considered. Hye-Jung Park, and indeed, the Youth Channel pride themselves on being one of the few public access youth centers that has partnerships with several other centers across the United States, such as: Grand Rapids, Atlanta, Seattle and Denver. Quite obviously then, as they mention in their mission statement: their intended audience is other youths, whether they be in Manhattan or any place else.
As there are two separate strands of material being produced, there are two separate steps to production. The first, when those under 25 submit something, generally either on VHS or mini-VHS, it is reviewed by a programming committee that decides first if it is appropriate to be shown during a block of Youth Channel programming. If it is not, then it is sent to MNN for review and exhibition. This committee, comprised of youths, but overseen by Hye-Jung, also makes decisions on matters of editing material. It was stressed that these edits done by them was in order to facilitate a more cohesive and fluid programming schedule (i.e. editing a 38 minute video down to 30 minutes). After any necessary edits have been made and/or it has been transferred to a VHS copy, and been shown on Channel 34 during one of the time slots, the tape is then
The second avenue of production, where programs are more of an in-house nature has been evolving lately. Since January, most productions are done using iMac software. Hye-Jung mentioned a recent news piece where some youth producers went to Washington D.C., covered a story, using iMac, brought it back to New York, edited it and ran it within the week. In fact the entire MNN station has changed over to using
Macs. However, it must also be transferred onto VHS in order to air on television.
Therefore, while the incredible convenience of using iMacs in the field, it also means that
more media is produced. And while the many segments are shown through the website
(www.youthchannel.org), the fact that the station is unable to change to an all-digital
format, VHS is still the most accepted format. These in turn means that there are
additional material produced that must be dealt with.
MNN has a Tape Library that does not have any coherent catalog or way of
keeping track of the items. Hye-Jung did not have a specific figure for the number of
tapes held in the library, but certainly over 100 tapes. In addition to this Tape Library,
the Youth Channel also has their own holdings that are kept in two large boxes. In these,
there are several videotapes, and while they are not cataloged in any true sense, there is
a list attached to each box that lists what is in the box, as well as a corresponding
number on the video case. However, not everything that is produced is kept by the
Youth Channel. Many rough edits or source tapes tend to be recycled—either to be used
in another program, or taped over completely for a new project. As for the work
produced on iMac, ??
i “Media Made by Youth, for Youth.” Brochure.