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Promoting Media Literacy

Public Media Network

We live in a time where media is constantly at our fingertips. Regardless of our age or background, media has become an indelible aspect of our everyday lives, which is why it is important that we are literate in its uses. This is where Public Media Network (PMN) comes in.

For 35 years, PMN has served as a civic media hub for Kalamazoo and the communities that surround it. Their services include training in media production, loaning of equipment, providing facilities for media production, programming distribution, and occupational media production training for high school students. PMN also provides coverage of government meetings for municipal partners and operates WKDS 89.9 FM.

PMN serves an important role in the Kalamazoo community. As PMN’s Executive Director, Matt Schuster sees it, these resources are necessary.

“The youth of today will be key players in the future,” said Schuster. “They are constantly exposed to media.”

He recognizes that as a critical creator of media, PMN has a responsibility to show the next generation how to effectively share their voice.

“There’s a perception that there is a lot of media out there, but really there are still only six large companies that control the media,” Schuster explained. “At PMN, we want to help the youth understand how to use media as a tool to share their thoughts and opinions, as well as show them how it creates hyper perceptions and influences our beliefs and identities.”

Schuster views PMN as an intersection of art, community organization, and technology that will allow for the citizens of Kalamazoo to engage in public discourse.

“Our goal is to support everyone in telling their story. We will help you if you don’t have the experience,” Schuster asserted.

PMN is accomplishing this by partnering with 4H , Merze Tate Explorers, Young Kings and Queens, and the Eastside Voices Project. Together, these organizations are teaching Kalamazoo’s youth how to capture the stories and oral history of their neighborhoods.

Through public funding that cable companies offer to local governments, PMN is able to provide these services. Additionally, a new model for providing production resources to nonprofits is being funded by viewer donations. Schuster admits that finding support can be a challenge when traditional methods of media consumption are becoming less popular.

“Cable TV subscribers are decreasing yet people are consuming more and more media,” Schuster said. “We actively look for ways leverage tools to get the message out whether it is through Apple TV, Roku , or via our website.”

Regardless of how media changes over time, it is comforting to know that Kalamazoo has PMN as a trusted resource to assist in our expression as a community.

Registration is now open for PMN’s summer youth programs on media production! For more information, visit their website .

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