Thursday, July 8, 2010

Message from city administrator to members of boards and commissions and committees and members of the public who speak at those meetings

TO:                 Members of City Boards, Commissions and Committees

FROM:           Don Marr, City of Fayetteville Chief of Staff

DATE:           June 8, 2010

SUBJECT:    Coverage of meetings by The Fayetteville Government Channel

            As a member of a City of Fayetteville Board, Commission or Committee, we appreciate tremendously the time, effort, and commitment you provide for the City of Fayetteville. It is citizens like you that help make our City as great as it is, and we thank you for your service. It is also service like yours that has helped make Fayetteville a state-recognized Volunteer Community of the Year.  Thank you!

            As you are probably aware, The City of Fayetteville operates The Fayetteville Government Channel, which provides television coverage of the meetings of City of Fayetteville Boards, Commissions and Committees for the citizens of Fayetteville.

            While not every meeting receives coverage, most likely there will be a time when you will be in a meeting that is being covered by The Fayetteville Government Channel. I wanted to provide you with a few pointers and some information that can make your participation in these filmed meetings better for both those attending the meetings in person and those viewing at home.  The ability for audiences in the meeting room, watching on TV, or viewing the meeting on the City’s website to hear and see all that is taking place in the meeting is of prime importance to The City of Fayetteville and a major part of the initiatives of assuring open government and an informed citizenry.  Also, your ideas are important, and we want to do everything possible to assure that your ideas are effectively heard by the audiences.  Below are a few broad recommendations that will assist in these goals:

  1. Be aware of your audience. Remember there are people there in the room, and there are people watching on television. When you talk, speak loudly enough that the people in the room can hear you clearly.
  2. Some rooms have microphones on the tables. If there are microphones on the tables, please use one. If you do not see microphones on the tables, they are mounted somewhere else. Just speak in a way that everyone in the room can hear you clearly and the television audience can hear your comments as well.

  3. When using a microphone, place it about a foot away and pointed at you, and talk in a normal tone of voice. If it is too close to your mouth, your voice will sound overly loud and distorted. If it is too far away, your voice may not be heard at all.

  4. You may be on camera, whether you are speaking or not. It is not our intention to make you uncomfortable, but to make you aware. The audience in the room may be paying attention to the person speaking, but the camera may be on a wider shot and see you as well.

  5. If a meeting is not called to order by the Chair within 15 minutes of its scheduled start time, the Fayetteville Government Channel staff may leave and not provide coverage for the meeting.  This is to help minimize costs associated with having city staff waiting to film a meeting that will not take place for reasons such as lack of a quorum.

  6. The Fayetteville Government Channel may not cover meetings in which no business is conducted.

  1. The camera is in the meeting room in the role of an observer, so please avoid addressing the camera directly when speaking in a meeting.  You are encouraged to engage in your meeting in the same way you would if the camera was not present.  Fayetteville Government Channel coverage of meetings is direct, non-editorial programming regarding the operations and deliberations of the City government, not a mechanism for building support for a particular policy, program, or issue.  If you would like to present government-related information to the television audience directly, the Fayetteville Government Channel can assist you in producing an informational program that can be telecast on the Channel.

We appreciate your involvement in helping make our City great. If you have any questions about the television coverage The Fayetteville Government Channel provides for your meetings or ways you think that the Fayetteville Government Channel can improve the viewing experience of government meetings, please call Fritz Gisler, the Manager of the City of Fayetteville Television Center, at 479-444-3434.  

Again, thank you for your service!

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