The Midpen Media Center is an invaluable media production studio and outlet for local-level and statewide election voter information. This year, staff member Cathy Keys served as the Elections Program Producer and put her skills as a global project manager to good use. Karen Adams, Midpen Media Co-Director of Production Services supported Keys with her professional shoot and production expertise. Together they envisioned how to translate in-studio candidate interviews and forums into at-home, Zoom-based recordings and live streams.
Midpen Media worked with the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Palo Alto and the LWV of South San Mateo County to move candidate forums usually held at community centers to a Zoom webinar format. Midpen Media and the league also created individual recordings of the twelve California state propositions and Measure RR. The LWV works to provide fair and unbiased nonpartisan voter information about elections, ballot issues, candidate opinions, the voting process, and public policy issues to inform voters before they fill out their ballots.
Keys worked closely with LWV contacts and volunteers to ensure a smooth and successful transition to a virtual environment. Recording candidate forums from home over Zoom was new this year, so Midpen Media conducted individual Zoom coaching with LWV volunteers covering backgrounds, lighting, audio, clothing and makeup tips.
For “Election 2020: League of Women Voters Nonpartisan Propositions Pros and Cons,” LWV volunteers presented unbiased overviews of each proposition. They explained where each issue stands currently, how the prop would change the issue, and what a “yes” or “no” vote would mean. Stan Ng, Midpen Media studio tech, recorded the informational presentations on Zoom. Afterward, he edited the recordings to present each prop on its own and then as part of a compilation which the League and Midpen Media presented to community groups on Zoom and made available on LWV websites and YouTube channels.
Other voter resources produced by the LWV and Midpen Media include candidate forums like “Congressional District 18: Eshoo v. Kumar,” which was broadcast live on Zoom. Midpen Media streamed four of the LWV’s forums live to cable TV and streamed six live to YouTube. During the forums, a LWV moderator posed questions, some of which came from the audience to the candidates and in the interest of fairness, all answers were carefully timed to two minutes each by LWV volunteers. Behind the scenes, Midpen Media techs controlled the panelist camera spotlight, gallery view, and other production features.
“This was a real team effort. We worked exceedingly well together and did a quality job,” says Keys. “Everyone was committed to making this work for the election process” The LWV chapters were very happy with the results they received working with Midpen Media on their voter resources.
If you haven’t voted yet, go to the Midpen Media Voter Resources webpage to find these and other LWV materials to help you understand what’s on the ballot.