Have you ever attended a City Council meeting? If not, you can catch a replay on the City of Orange’s government cable channel, thanks to the efforts of students in Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Chapman has helped operate the city’s PEG (Public, Educational and Government) services channels since 2011, when the city’s contract with Time Warner expired.
“It’s our little part of helping out,” says Peter Weitzner, adjunct professor and station manager of Orange Channel 6. Weitzner has overseen the partnership since the beginning, including the building of the channel’s physical facility located in Marion Knott Studios. The partnership helps address an important problem for the city — how to keep local government “in the sunshine,” as Weitzner puts it.
Student employees regularly record and broadcast City Council and Planning Commision meetings, as well as produce broadcasts of special events throughout the year, such as the annual State of the City address put on by the Orange Chamber of Commerce, the International Street Fair or the Third of July Celebration.
Along with providing a valuable service to the City, students involved in the program are able to better connect with their community. “Before I started working for the Chapman PEG channel I had no idea what our local city council really did for the city,” says Sabrina Burkholder, who will graduate in 2021 with a degree in biology. “Sometimes as a Chapman student I tend to forget we live amongst families and individuals that aren’t Chapman students, so it really is a great way to get involved with the community.”
Michael Khuraibet, a first-year screenwriting student, agrees. “What I love about being the PEG Channel crew is that we really get to take ownership of each segment we produce.
Whenever there’s a city meeting, we’re the ones in the control room broadcasting it live. If there’s a city event where people are gathering and having fun, we get to be there with them and talk about the highlights.”