A 'First Nations Experience'

A 'First Nations Experience'

Terria Smith is an enrolled tribal member of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians who received a graduate degree in journalism from the University of California-Berkeley in the spring of 2012.

Date Posted: 
2012-08-27 00:00

Blog Series:


I spent 10 weeks as a Vision Maker Media Multimedia Intern at KVCR/First Nations Experience (FNX) public television station in San Bernardino, Calif.

I learned about the internship opportunity through Vision Maker Media's email newsletter, while I was finishing my graduate program at the University of California Berkeley. I was very interested in the possibility of being placed at KVCR/FNX, so when I submitted my application the channel was one of my top requests.

FNX is a channel that was developed out of a partnership between KVCR and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The channel is housed in the KCVR public television station, which is on the San Bernardino Valley College campus. The channel has only been on air for a year.

Being that FNX is a brand new venture and features all Native American and indigenous programming I was very enthusiastic about the internship. The channel has a very small staff of less than ten people. The staff met at least twice a week to discuss strategies for programming, social media, networking, and program acquisitions. My perspective was always welcome during the meetings. I learned that a lot of decision making goes into what is broadcast to the public.

One of the primary assignments I was given when I started with KVCR/FNX was building the channel's YouTube site. I worked along with a small team of staff members who were developing a social media strategy for the channel. My job was to research the YouTube sites of other television network channels with similar niche appeal and see how they utilized their sites. I worked with the channel's graphic designer on getting a background template and an avatar photo for the YouTube site. For video content, I was able to get eight promotional videos from the channel's production manager. I posted a video every few days.

About two weeks into the internship, I was also assigned to contribute a weekly blog focusing on Native American youth for FNX Beat. During the course of the internship I posted eight entries. This task took me to Morongo, Soboba, Torres Martinez and La Jolla reservations. I also reported stories from events that took place in Los Angeles. I appreciated this assignment because it gave me the opportunity to interact directly with tribal communities. I was able to get a great deal of feedback about what people thought about the channel. Tribal people I spoke with were excited that someone was there to recognize the accomplishments of their young people.

As part of my deliverables for Vision Maker Media, I shot, edited, and produced a 3-minute video that focused on the 2012 Native Summer Pipeline to College. The program is hosted annually by Pitzer College along with Western University of Health Science. This year, 22 Native American high school students stayed in residence halls on the Pitzer campus for two weeks. During the course of the program the students attended workshops, visited reservations, and participated in cultural activities.

I could not imagine a better summer internship placement than at KVCR/FNX. Being that the channel is a start up, so much is needed. I was able to directly apply a lot of the technical media skills I had learned in graduate school. It also gave me the opportunity to learn about the day-to-day operation of a public television station and how monumental something like a 24/7 Native American program channel is.

I am pleased to report that I have been asked to stay and work under contract at KVCR/FNX for another six months as the channel's social media coordinator. Naturally, I am very honored. I am also grateful to NAPT for selecting me as an intern and placing me at KVCR/FNX.

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