This is not a sit down group, while we might have general orientation meetings at the Franklin Library on weekends, the primary "meetups" will be news worthy events. Hearings, requests for interviews from state and federal departments, testimony from individuals related to a news worthy event. If you know of a news worthy event YOU want to attend/document, please let me know and with in reason I will post it, if you don't show up to your own suggested news event, you lose the right to suggest items. Please note, news worthy events will not necessarily be local to Somerset county! I find there are too many state and federal agencies that want the public to just go away and not ask questions. News media is not about entering a subject with a story to tell. It is about taking the chaos of a subject you might not be familiar with and making a story out of it. It is the foundation of film making, but it is not, it is reporting what you find and making a coherent story of it. Local news papers have been cut to the bare bone, and rarely do investigative reporting. This is an opportunity.
RULES OF REPORTING FOR MEETUP:
RULE #1: You are not a participant, you are a reporter of the news, you do not place your self in danger, you do not place others in danger, you do not personally comment on situations or editorialize, you cover others at the event talking. They are the subject, not any of us in the meetup.
RULE #2: If you want to make sure what you want get's published, either publish it your self on social media, or, convince someone in the group or outside of the group to publish. Just because you are part of the group, does not mean anyone has any obligation to contribute to your work. This is a loosely based meetup.
RULE #3: Bring your skills. If you like being a reporter, if you want to do audio engineering, if you want to write music with true current social meaning, then this is an opportunity.
RULE #4: Try to share your skills with others, there will always be video to produce, if you want to do video production, audio production, anything in the stream to create a news worthy news piece, this is your opportunity.
RULE #5: Do this because you enjoy it, try to have fun, help others, try make meaning of the chaos.
RULE #6: We attend public meeting using Open Meeting Law, in New Jersey this means you can only video speakers or officials, due to NJ draconian laws the public in a meeting has a 'right to privacy' at a meeting. In New York all present at meeting may be recorded. Recording can not interfere with an orderly meeting. NOTE: Every meeting will generate media to produce, I will generate it and provide it under Creative Commons, so if you are downstream of Video and Audio capture, don't worry, you will always have at least my work to work with. This is the second group I have founded, the first being "(All Volunteer) Independent News Media".
The idea is to, for example, if there is a hearing in Somerset, to have it announced on both groups, so if you are the only member in Somerset wanting to attend, you would not be alone, you with luck would have some video and audio people from the Middlesex group helping out and vice-versa.
I have been doing this for over two years now, and at times, major news papers will pick up the story and publish video made by freelancers like us. Equipment is not required, but $100 will get you some good equipment. My last video "Feb 19th 2015: Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka wants Cami Anderson to remove herself from office." was done on under $500 of equipment all bought used off of Ebay and Amazon.
I started this group when I found out that out of a city of 6+ million, there was no planned coverage of THE Post Ambrose LNG public hearing in Queens. It does not matter if you are a Conservative, Liberal, Progressive or any other affiliation. If you want to get involved with video production, this is an opportunity. For my personal work, I always publish creative commons, unless I included copy write material granted to me specifically for my production. Musicians and Sound engineers are badly needed.
Federal and State hearings for unpopular infrastructure projects happen many times in the dead of winter, on the coldest evening with virtually no public transit access. When I was at the Queens meeting it was dark and in the teens, I could not imagine any elderly person or sane person taking a multi-link trip to that location, and saw none waiting at bus stop.
If you want to be on the short list of people to be notified of short notice events, contact me. I always announce on the website, but sometimes less than 24 hours are given in advance notice.