ABC Opening more doors for storytellers in the Hunter

ABC opening more doors for storytellers in the Hunter

This article was written by Anthony Scully. Anthony worked as a print journo and photographer in Newcastle and the Central West before joining the ABC in 2002. As the Hunter’s ABC Open producer, Scully is getting his boots dirty in the paddocks, pastures and patios from Murrurundi to Maitland, Dungog to Denman, Aberdeen to Appletree Flat, dividing his time equally between the Upper and Lower Hunter.Born and raised in the Hunter, Anthony is a proud UoN alumnus.

As you can see from this slideshow of images taken over my first two years in the job as ABC Open producer for the Hunter region, everyone’s got a story to tell in every corner of our region.

What is ABC Open? Well, the short answer is we’re here to help you get the stories you’ve made onto the ABC.

In the Hunter region that means photo slideshows, video stories, blog posts and photo galleries made by people from Mururrundi, Maitland, Muswellbrook and Moonan Flat, as well as Mayfield, Medowie and Marmong Point.

With 45 regional producers for ABC Open based in ABC Local Radio stations around Australia, Open producers can help you get your story onto platforms, such as ABC News 24, and other ABC Local and other ABC Radio networks.

For example, ABC Open has partnered with Grandstand for 110% Sport, Radio National for Off Track. At the moment we are working with ABC TV to provide assistance with video questions for Q & A, and we currently working up an exciting project with Triple J called the Aussie Road Trip relay that I’m dying to tell you about (more on that next month).

There have also been terrific walk-up storytelling initiatives such as Dreambox that have happened around the country during Naidoc Week, and have resulted in online galleries from the Hunter region as well as physical exhibitions at the Huxley Library for UoN50.

In photography projects such as Now and Then, Open has uncovered star contributors from the Hunter region such as Maitland’s Pete Smith, Australia’s most prolific contributor for this project, now featured in an exhibition at the Museum of Sydney.

But ABC Open is not all about national projects, in fact part of the reasons we’re here on the ground in our local communities is so we can respond directly to home-grown ideas for regional projects in the Hunter.

For example, last year we worked alongside the Local Radio series River Stories, to assist people with cameras to tell their own stories about the deep connection they have to the Hunter River through One On One: River Stories.

This month Open has worked with Hunter TAFE youth work students to run a couch surfing activity at Hunter Homeless Connect, where people were invited to tell their stories in a makeshift lounge room.

And in September we will be supporting the involvement of the Hunter Writers Centre in a national project called 500 Words, a project that will assist new and emerging writers to get their work out to an audience for real-life stories based around set themes.

Open runs workshops in schools, libraries, Universities and TAFE colleges, community halls, field days, paddocks and patios, anywhere in fact there are people with Australian stories to tell.

But we also provide everything you need to participate via the website, including tip sheets, how-to advice, video tutorials, and simple methods for upload either directly or via social media.

Other places we provide in-person assistance for people to tell unique Australian stories on the ABC, includes next month’s Vacy Village Country Carnival, where rural people can upload their Working Dogs stories, inspired by the National Year of the Farmer.

The stories don’t simply live within the walled gardens of the ABC website.

We strive whenever we can to publish work using social media such as Vimeo and Flickr, social media platforms with millions of users ‘liking’ and ‘following’ each other’s images and video.

Engaging with the community directly has been something that ABC have been doing for decades, only now we’re engaging with our audiences online as well. And we’re hoping to bring you some of these stories from time to time on the Engage Newcastle website.

Open stories from the Hunter region are also being heard on traditional ABC platforms, such as Local Radio and on TV via ABC News 24, every Monday to Thursday, and a weekly 15-minute Open Quarter program, on Friday nights at 6:45pm.

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