Engaging rural communities and live streaming

Q1: How do you seek authentic ways for communities to connect in rural communities around the world?- Kathryn Langstaff

Q2: How can live streaming be a simple and effective solution for effective civic engagement?- Marpessa Allen

Title: Civic Engagement and Government Transparency in Rural Communities

Participants: Michelle Ferrier, Cornelia Reiliel, Kathryn Langstaff, David Zeman, Lauren Pobst, Jessie Hardman, Fiona Morgan, Mike Green, Tony Shawcross, Marpessa Allen, & Neil Moyer (MetroTV special guest, Open Media Client in Eugene, OR)

We opened with introductions of all the participants. Kathryn originally posed the question about authentic engagement in rural communities. She expressed the unique challenges of meeting the needs of rural communities which included: lack of reliable internet connection, building trust as an “outsider”, smaller population size, budget.

The group acknowledged “rural communities” are not the same. Each rural community has its own set of unique issues, but after the last Presidential election win, it highlighted the lack of understanding we have of rural communities. Tony and Marpessa shared that Open Media Project is a live stream solution that has the potential of leveling the playing field for rural communities. Neil was a special guest from the City of Eugene who has been a client for the last year.

Neil shared that they chose OMP because it was easy for the community to use and consistently rely on finding their government meetings without having to show up for every meeting. Marpessa highlighted the benefits for rural communities included that the use of streaming with a smartphone/ tablet to address budget issues; free to populations less than 5,000 in population, and the upcoming notification feature with Twilio. Tony also share the “She Said, He Said” Project which provides extensive information about what Colorado legislators are saying and the bills they are sponsoring.

Most in the group agreed that there are challenges in any community. As the group concluded, for rural communities it would be beneficial to take more time to understand the “eco-system of rural communities.”

For more information on Open Media Project, you can visit: http://www.ompnetwork.org or more information you can read this article about She said, He Said – https://sunlightfoundation.com/2016/05/26/opengov-voices-she-said-he-said-opens-the-books-in-colorado/.