Windward students get immersed in media

WCC faculty and journalism students with Hawai'i State Film Commisioner Donne Dawson at the Hawaiian Mediamakers Conference – Lucas Bonetti
WCC faculty and journalism students with Hawai’i State Film Commisioner Donne Dawson at the Hawaiian Mediamakers Conference – Lucas Bonetti

Windward Community College students had the opportunity to join local and nationally-renowned filmmakers, writers, communication professionals and more at the 2016 Hawaiian Mediamakers Conference earlier this month.

“The whole entire conference was very well organized, from the food to the sessions,” said Cynthia Lee Sinclair, a WCC student. “The focus on Hawaiian culture was evident in almost every thing from the decorations to the choice of food items.”

Students participated in discussions on culture, media, education and business. Each topic was split into multiple breakout sessions throughout the day in which panelists discussed issues in-depth.

“I was impressed with Hoku Subiono’s admission that he feels conflicted by his curiosity to know more about the universe, and therefore supports building the Thirty Meter Telescope, and by his loyalty to his cultural roots,” said Desi Poteet, a WCC instructor who attended the lunch session about mentorship. “Most of us feel conflicted about various issues in our lives and have to navigate the grey spaces in between our ideal world and the real one.”

Poteet said she wasn’t sure what to expect from the Hawaii Mediamakers Conference but assumed a “sponge like persona.”

In an afternoon media breakout session on online trends, panelist Nicole Eley-Carr, senior manager of digital content strategy and partnerships at PBS, said mediamakers today can use social media to encourage two-way, dynamic discussions with viewers and create meaningful conversations. A new trend for journalist and storytellers.

WCC students in JOUR 270: Introduction to Multimedia Storytelling also gained hands-on experience by filming the various sessions. They interviewed multiple communication professionals, including PBS Hawai‘i president and CEO Leslie Wilcox and Hawai’i State Film Commissioner Donne Dawson.

“She was actually really easy to talk to after the first nerve-wracking minute,” said Rebecca Miyashiro, a WCC student who scored the opportunity to interview Leslie Wilcox. “I was surprised to learn about the Hiki No program at PBS Hawaii, I wish I had known about it sooner because I think it would’ve been a really good opportunity for me if I was eligible.”

The Hawaiian Mediamakers Conference focused on bringing together Native Hawaiian mediamakers and those who do business in Hawaiʻi to collaborate and support common goals and opportunities.

“Hawaii-based media can contribute to a global audience because we have our own language, culture, and spirit,” Miyashiro said. “We are different from the rest of America and I believe other cultures appreciate our similarities.”

Executive director of Pacific Islanders in Communications and the conference coordinator Leanne Kaʻiulani Ferrer, said it was important to her that students attend the conference so they could see and meet people who’ve already made careers in the media.

She told to students “if media is something you wanna get into, I hope it (the conference) helped energize and excite you.”

One student was seen talking with 808viral’s Konakaipo Leopoldino, an actor and social media specialist.

“It was cool, he’s super funny,” WCC student Tayor Kipapa said. “He knows how to get his messages to people like me.”

Ferrer said she hopes students made connections and were inspired by seeing what people are doing or have done.

“Overall this was an amazing experience,” Sinclair said. “I am so grateful that I had the chance to meet so many amazing people and learn so much about film-making.”


by Ka’ainoa Fernandez, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter