Reading Frederick Douglass

Print

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us all to change the way we live, work and play. At New Hampshire PBS, we have adapted to the new reality by doing what we do best – listening, partnering, collaborating and innovating.

In late February, we started planning for life in Covid times. We deployed Google Remote Desktop and within days, our staff was up and running and working from home – even the video editors.

For the content creators at the station, it became clear that we could not do business as usual. That’s when our small but mighty production team found new ways to capture and distribute video. We applied for and received a small Facebook grant that allowed us to invest in a new virtual control room called vMix.

At about that time, a volunteer from New Hampshire’s Black Heritage Trail reached out to us and asked if we could collaborate on a project to bring to television their annual in-person reading of the historic Frederick Douglass speech – “ What to the slave is your fourth of July?” We knew this content was critically important given the Black Lives Matter movement. Within a few weeks we remotely produced the program – recording dozens of readers from across the Granite State. Reading Frederick Douglass was broadcast on July 4th and streamed online. The irony is not lost on us that if we had used traditional production tools; we could not have turned this program around as quickly as we did. And because we are in an era of social distancing, we were able to bring communities together in a new and meaningful way.

We have since used the vMix remote production unit to launch a new digital series (The State We’re In), produced a series of PSAs with NH notables explaining how to access absentee ballots( NH Votes SAFE 2020) and have made them available to every radio, tv and public access media outlet in the state.