COVID-19 Updates


October 1, 2020

Dear Midpen Media Community,

As we navigate the circumstances of the last several months together, from homeschooling our youth to evacuations due to unprecedented wildfires to severe weather, all amid the COVID pandemic, we take this opportunity to acknowledge the incredible creative work being accomplished within our community. During this time, social justice, storytelling, and civic engagement have taken center stage. As we approach election day, we are keenly aware of the necessity to support these critical activities, and proudly continue to serve you.

We are following the California State “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” which outlines a four-tiered system (Purple, Red, Orange, and Yellow) to facilitate a phased approach for what capacity businesses can resume operations. The most restrictive rules apply to Tier One, and the least restrictive rules apply to Tier Four. Santa Clara and San Mateo counties have moved to the “Red” level (Tier Two). While Music, Television, and Film production were allowed to resume in Los Angeles County, Santa Clara County does not have a comparable category. We have inquired about this, but at this time, we must resume operations under the protocols for our designation, which is “office non-essential.” Telework for non-essential staff is required through all phases, so we expect to be working remotely for the next several months and continue to support our local Government and Education agencies’ essential services.

Due to decreased facility usage, revenue-generating projects are a necessity for the organization. Staff is moving forward safely using portable production equipment to complete their work. We will continue to prepare the facility for a time when we can open at some capacity conducive to studio production. Until then, we can – and are excited to – work with you on your projects with editing, consultations, or DIY guidance. Please contact louise@midpenmedia.org to discuss your goals and provide our expertise. Please contact sara@mipdenmedia.org for guidance on continuing community productions remotely.

Engaging in the election process is key to our democracy. We have teamed up with the League of Women Voters and community members on several exciting projects around election education and activities. There are ballot measures, candidate statements and forums, and additional resources for you to make informed decisions. Visit our Election Resources 2020 page for details.

Throughout October, there are several online events and instructional get-togethers planned. Visit our events page for more information.

Continue to stay safe and healthy. And please, VOTE!

Kind Regards,
Keri Stokstad, Executive Director/CEO

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September 4, 2020

Dear Community Friends:

Midpen Media Center, your non-profit community access TV station, needs you. You’ve been chosen to fill out this 2-3 minute survey because you know us, and we value your opinion. 

Midpen Media offers state-of-the-art video production equipment, classes, a beautiful studio, a platform for distributing video content, and an experienced staff and production crew. We are currently working remotely to deliver online classes, coverage of government meetings, a wide range of cultural, educational, and entertainment programs, and consulting to help you make programs from home, which we will air on our stations. We look forward to the day we can work together with you again in the studios and in the field.

We have been in business for 30 years, and we are ready to evolve to meet our community’s needs for the next 30 years. How can we best serve our community in the future? How can we thrive – and help our community thrive – during increasingly challenging times and become an integral part of our community’s non-profit fabric once again?

We seek to strengthen our relevancy and respond to the changing needs of the community. As we hit pause during this pandemic, we ask for your help clarifying our community’s needs. What activities should we be prioritizing? Are there new services we should be adding?

Please help us by filling out this brief, anonymous survey. Your input will help us chart our exciting next chapter.

Thank you in advance for your help,
Midpen Media Ad-Hoc Vision Committee

Tilak Kasturi, Committee Chair
Chuck Allen
Rebecca Sanders

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August 7, 2020

To Our Midpen Media Community, 

We had hoped to be back in our studio working with you by now, but per State of California and Santa Clara County Public Health Department orders, only “essential” business activities can operate at this time. We are as disappointed by this as you are, but protecting everyone’s safety is a top priority. We look forward to the day we can welcome you back into the studio.

In the meantime, while the production staff continues to support our local government informational programming, our team has been keeping busy exploring ways to stay connected to you. We’ve been helping our producers by helping produce, soliciting and airing content during and prior to the pandemic; airing special blocks of informative and engaging programming to keep you educated and entertained; and facilitating powerful new programs such as our two round-tables on Racism and Social Injustice (Part 1 took place on July 1st, and Part 2 on July 29th). If you weren’t able to attend the round-tables, we highly recommend you check them out on Channel 30 or on YouTube. 

Those looking to practice new media skills will be excited to know we’ve adapted some of our education programs to be completely accessible online and have developed some exciting new classes, including:

  • Document It!, a documentary film-making workshop 
  • One-Minute Movie, a youth short narrative production class
  • Podcasting at Home, a 2-hour introductory podcasting class
  • Zoom to be a TV Star, a youth workshop for producing shows with Zoom

We’ve also been running a weekly “water cooler’ meeting on Monday afternoons where community members can connect and catch up (contact Sara or Joanne for details on how to join), and we’re about to kick off our online Midpen Media Mixers, a free series of media-making tips and tricks. Check our calendar for dates.

In addition, we’ve recently created a Facebook group to help our community stay in touch as we continue to socially distance. This group, Midpen Media Students, Volunteers, and Producers, is a forum for Midpen Media’s community to connect, discuss projects in production, share ideas and fun videos, and celebrate the experiences we’ve had in the studio. We also use this group to enjoy classic films together every Friday at 8pm. We hope you will join and let us know what you’ve been up to!

We appreciate your understanding and your help in keeping our community healthy and safe, and we continue to miss your energy and enthusiasm.

Finally, we’re excited to announce that our 2019 Annual Report is now available. Take a look to see all the exciting things that we accomplished last year! 

Keep safe and stay healthy,
Keri Stokstad, Executive Director/CEO

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April 29, 2020 –

Dear Valued Members of the Midpen Media Community,

The Public Health Officers of the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara (as well as the City of Berkeley) have issued revised shelter-in-place orders to extend through the end of May. These orders keep the current restrictions in place and align with the California State officials’ four-stage approach for resuming business operations throughout the state. We are currently in stage one, which emphasizes creating a safe environment for essential workers and laying out plans for easing restrictions going forward. 

While the Midpen Media Center remains closed, our staff is hard at work broadening our offerings to help you while you shelter in place. We continue to schedule special programming blocks for your entertainment, engage you with fun new campaigns, cover even more government meetings, and develop remote classes like our new Document It! remote documentary workshop. This five-session class with optional one-on-one coaching with instructors Pedro Arenas and Emily Parent will begin on May 12th, so be sure to sign up now!

We hope you’ve been enjoying April’s programming lineup. We’ve got a couple of new exclusive lineups for May when we’ll be airing nine concerts in the “African American Composer Initiative Presents” series. A different concert will air each day on Channel 30 from May 6 – 14 at 3:00 pm and 10:00 pm, and again from May 15 – 23. We’ll also be airing “Spotlight on Our Local Housing Crisis,” with shows highlighting the issues and potential solutions surrounding the housing crisis in our community.

We are participating in #GivingTuesdayNow on May 5th, 2020, which is being deployed in response to needs expressed by communities and leaders around the world. Even in times of economic crisis, we each have a deep reserve of generosity which we can deploy in myriad ways to make a difference — your time, your kindness, your skills, and your voice are all things you can give in addition to charitable donations.

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for details on fun activities to stay engaged. A new edition is available on the first Tuesday of the month. And continue to follow us on your favorite social media channels for updates on Midpen Media, the resources our member cities are sharing about the COVID-19 pandemic, and ways for you to stay safe and help your neighbors.

Please stay healthy and well.

Kind regards,
Keri Stokstad, Executive Director/CEO

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March 31, 2020 –

Dear Valued Members of the Midpen Media Community,

Monday, the “shelter in place” order announced by seven Bay Area counties (including Santa Clara County) was extended through May 3, 2020, as a surge of cases is expected in the coming weeks. We continue to follow the directives provided by the counties and will remain closed until the shelter in place order is lifted. As we face this unprecedented situation together, I am grateful to the Midpen Media staff for adapting to a remote work model and adjusting activities and events. Our tech and production staff have refocused on helping our local cities as they implement new tools to support creating a safe way to view and participate in local government programming.

I speak on behalf of all of us when I say, “WE MISS YOU!”

We have been working hard to keep you informed and connected through program blocks on our channels specialized in entertaining and educating viewers, plus opportunities to participate by working remotely with our staff to air your content on our channels. Look for quality shows on exercise and healthy cooking airing Monday through Thursday, as well as a retrospective of creative shows produced by past youth camp attendees. And check out our “Social Distancing Campaign”! Submit your 30-90 second video on how you are handling this (temporary) new normal!

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for details on fun activities to stay engaged. A new edition is available on the first Tuesday of the month. And continue to follow us on your favorite social media channels for updates on Midpen Media and the resources our member cities are sharing about the COVID-19 pandemic and ways for you to stay safe and help your neighbors.

Please be healthy and well.

Kind regards,
Keri Stokstad, Executive Director/CEO

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March 24, 2020 – On Monday, Midpen Media’s staff met online to discuss how we can best continue to support you. We are dedicated to keeping you informed about the coronavirus and COVID-19 and continuing to provide you with the opportunities to share your perspectives. We are exploring online classes and ways you can share your views and your methods of dealing with this current crisis, starting with our “Social Distancing Stories” program.

Please be sure to like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to get the most up-to-date news. And check back here for additional information on programs, classes, and local government coverage.
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March 18, 2020 – Attention Midpen Media community and viewers. Although Midpen Media is closed for all non-essential functions such as classes, events, and equipment reservations, we are continuing to focus on supporting our member cities through meeting coverage and disseminating information to the community.

Continuing this coverage is especially crucial for our cable viewers who depend on their local channels for information from their city representatives. So far, the cities are working to create safe and effective ways to continue to hold meetings and we have staff members that are continuing to document those meetings. The city websites and email lists are the best way to keep informed on cancellations. 

Please contact Executive Director/CEO Keri Stokstad or Marketing and Communications Manager Joanne Sperans, if you have any questions.

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March 16, 2020 – Effective Tuesday, March 17th at 12:01 a.m., Midpen Media will be closed until at least Tuesday, April 7th. This closure is in response to the “shelter in place” order announced this afternoon by the six Bay Area counties (including Santa Clara and San Mateo). The order impacts all non-essential businesses and directs everyone to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible for the next three weeks as public health officials desperately try to curb the rapid spread of coronavirus across the region. Please see the San Francisco Chronicle article for additional details: Bay Area authorities place strictest order in country: ‘Shelter in place,’ only essential businesses open in 6 counties
Click to read the article in the Chronicle of March 16.

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March 12, 2020

To Our Midpen Media Community,

The safety and health of our producers, volunteers, visitors, staff, and board is always our highest priority. Toward that end, we have been following the public health authorities and adopting their guidance concerning the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Staff is actively monitoring the situation and will provide updates about Midpen Media’s status via our website, social media channels, and future emails.

Out of an abundance of caution, beginning Friday, March 13, 2020, the Midpen Media Center will be conducting business on an appointment basis, and the facility will be closed. The staff will be working remotely beginning Monday, March 16, 2020. Please be patient with us as we transition to a remote-based operational model, which will continue at a minimum through the end of March. Existing reservations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

We recommend that you stay informed through the following resources:

You can also send a text with the subject “COVID19” (no quotes) to 888777 to receive up-to-date text information.

We appreciate your understanding and your help in keeping the community healthy.

Sincerely,
Keri Stokstad, Executive Director/CEO