Brookline Interactive Group (BIG) is making a name for itself on the national stage.
The public access media arts center, recently received several national awards including Overall Excellence in Public Access from the Alliance for Community Media (ACM).
“For us here in Brookline it’s meaningful because it means we’re building our field,” said BIG Executive Director Kathy Bisbee.
Three projects by BIG members also received national awards.
The winners include “The Grandstanders” sports television show led by Brookliners Scott and Adrienne Kerman for Best of Sports Coverage by an Independent Producer; “Get out the Vote,” by Charlie Walsh for BIG’s first annual 11 Day Film Sprint in October 2016, which won for Best of Voter Education by an Independent Producer, and an award for Best of Community Impact by an Independent Producer went to resident Marcia Hulley for her community journalism piece on the Goddard House’s gardening program.
According to Bisbee, this is the third time that BIG has received national awards from ACM. The prior two times were in the ’90s and 2000s.
“It’s a huge honor to be recognized again,” Bisbee said.
In the past few years BIG has doubled down on efforts not just to promote community media projects but to educate and provide resources for those interested in all types of media projects from sports talk shows to virtual reality. The media center offers 28 after-school programs – a number higher than the industry norm, according to Bisbee.
“It’s very unusual for a public access television station to have such a focus on education,” Bisbee said.
Though she had an interest in community journalism, Hulley said she would not have joined BIG’s Hulley community journalism team if it weren’t for the supportive environment and access to resources and technology like HD cameras.
“I’m just really grateful to BIG,” said Hulley. “If they hadn’t been such great, approachable people and warm and supportive I don’t think I would have stayed.”
Though Hulley knew that BIG was considering submitting her piece to ACM, news that she won a national award came as a big surprise.
“We just felt like it was a very worthy piece and like it ought to be recognized,” Bisbee said of submitting Hulley’s piece for consideration.
Though BIG is looking to bring more attention to community media and take up new initiatives like its Public VR Lab, the media center still stays close to the heart of its original mission.
“BIG has been a part of a long legacy of community media and public expression,” said Bisbee.
She hopes that award sweep will help BIG to continue growing.
“I hope that it will get even more people involved,” Bisbee said.