What is Youth Video Exchange? Youth Video Exchange is a project of NYMAP and MNN Youth Channel. We are creating the technical and organizational infrastructure to support the continued and sustainable exchange of youth-produced broadcast-quality video among public access centers across the country and world.

What is the National Youth Media Access Project (NYMAP)? NYMAP is a partnership among public access centers from across the country committed to expanding services to young people. Initiated by the MNN Youth Channel, NYMAP seeks to nurture the right of free speech, to strengthen the much-needed presence of alternative and youth voices, and to connect young mediamakers from diverse backgrounds. The launching of this project marks a reinvigoration of the NYMAP network and a renewed vision of youth media distribution.

How Does an Organization Join the Network? We are still figuring out the details. You can begin by contacting andrew_atyouthchannel.org for more information. Eventually, application for membership will be through an online form, like this one.

Some background: At a 2004 youth media conference hosted by The Open Society, 70% of the attendees said that distribution is the top priority for the future development of youth media – surpassed all other concerns such as training, outreach, or recruitment. Recent years have seen the emergence of excellent youth media projects and the production of high quality youth-made programming. However this has yet to be matched by the development of an effective network for youth media distribution.

The rest of this page refers specifically to the grant-funded aspects of the Video Exchange Network and is directed more toward the core partners. Overview: During the grant period we will implement and begin operation of an Internet based Digital Distribution Network. Implementation will first focus on placing equipment packages at five primary partner locations around the U.S., and training staff to supervise operation of this equipment. With this technology in place regional partner sites will no longer have to mail physical videotapes between sites. Instead they simply move their finished media project – as a digital media file – onto their computer server, and from there it will automatically be transfer to other partner sites where it can be easily transferred to DVD, tape or other formats. The network will bring an end to the creation of multiple videotape dubs and mailing expenses while also reducing staff distribution hours and expenditures. Additional partner-sites (secondary partners) will be able to participate in this project but will not receive the ‘primary partners’ equipment package.

How it works: The network will be designed for simplicity of use; local users (partner sites) will simply copy their finished digital movie file (in a compressed format) to their local server and the file will automatically be shared to all the network partners. At this stage of the planning and development process there are two levels of participation; primary and secondary partners. The primary and secondary partners will be decided by September 1, 2006. Primary partners will agree to provide content to the network on a consistent basis and air the videos that are being provided by other partner’s sites. These sites will be supplied with equipment and will be able to share their media via the website. Their content will be made immediately available to all partners. Secondary partners are those who cannot consistently provide content to the distribution network. These partners will not supplied with hardware but they will have access to the content on the distribution network and will have the ability to contribute content via their own hardware.

Setting up the Network: Initial setup of the provided servers will be performed by a Youth Channel trained technician. This person will travel with a Youth Channel coordinator to train and work with the partner sites on initial setup and use of these tools. This training will also include media literacy materials, curricula, and community engagement activities. Since the servers will be maintained remotely, ongoing maintenance will be relatively minor. At each site, a technical coordinator will be selected to work with a technical working group to accomplish updates and changes that can’t be done remotely.