Student television club sees turnover, redefines its goals

by sophia archibald | 11/15/09 11:00pm

Adding a new chapter to Dartmouth Television's tumultuous history, the student-run organization was temporarily disbanded earlier this month, and then resurrected with new leadership and a redefined mission three days later.

The shake-up arose when four seniors who had worked to revive the defunct station in spring 2009 announced their sudden resignation in an e-mail circulated to the organization's members on Nov. 3.

Former DTV President Sam Peck '10 said he was unable to "commit the necessary effort to continue running DTV." He also wrote that the organization's "executives failed to pursue with dedication the goals" outlined in the spring.

"We're unorganized with our ideas, short of manpower for pursuing these ideas and ready-to-broadcast content is at a minimum," Peck wrote in the e-mail.

Although admitting that DTV "cannot continue to exist" under the current circumstances, Peck urged members to "salvage the station."

On Nov. 6, Peck and new President David Becker '13 sent a second e-mail to DTV members with the subject line, "DTV: Welcome Back!" The e-mail outlined a desire to redefine DTV's infrastructure, along with its short- and long-term goals.

The former leadership of DTV, comprised of Peck, Ethan Lubka '10, Mike DiBenedetto '10 and Jared Zelski '10, had outlined a four-phase organizational blueprint in the spring, The Dartmouth previously reported. The leadership set out to obtain a body of pre-taped content from student organizations on campus to enable broadcasting on Channel 13, which has displayed "No Program Scheduled" since 2007, when prior efforts to reestablish the station fell through.

The revived DTV is founded largely on these same goals, Becker said in an interview with The Dartmouth. Becker said that the organization will continue the efforts of the last several months, emphasizing that there is no "old DTV" and "new DTV."

"The founders had a lot of really good ideas about the functioning of DTV They certainly gave us their vision," Becker said. "I think they did a great job and their effort has to be rewarded."

Becker said that the new leadership has outlined a new three-phrase plan that refocuses on the form of the station's content.

Phase one, "Upstart with Art," will involve reaching out to arts groups on campus, including the film and media studies department, comedy groups, the Arts Ambassdors of the Hopkins Center and student organizations and individuals that make or are interested in making films.

According to an e-mail Becker provided to The Dartmouth, the goal of this phase is to establish "a base level of finished, ready-to-air content from the artsy organizations."

"They want to promote the student talent as it arrives at them at the Hop, and we want to promote student talent as it arrives at us at DTV," Becker said. "We want to work on combining this goal and this vision."

Phase two focuses on the possibility of collecting content from Student Assembly and Class Councils.

"The Diversity and Communications Committee [of the Assembly] in particular can use DTV not just as a medium, but as an organization, because they do a lot of inter-club things," Becker said. "That's what we want to do, Help us help you.' That kind of mentality."

Together with phase one, phase two will help DTV gain "relevance in the creative and student leader circles," which will "keep the pressure on these organizations to use DTV as an effective medium," according to the e-mail.

For the third phase, DTV will conduct "extended club outreach."

Orli Kleiner '12 will head up the effort to collect sports programming, a major initiative of the third phase.

Eventually, Becker said, DTV will have a committee charged with soliciting original programming student-produced, scripted shows and news reports, for example.

In shaping DTV's new direction, Becker has looked to Brown Television as a model and a partner.

"They've been very helpful. They sought us out about recreating DTV," Becker said. "They gave us essentially everything they've ever used, including documents, help getting started, and a sense of their infrastructure."

According to Becker, DTV and BTV are also working together on possible collaborative projects such as an Ivy Film Festival.

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