Opinion

C-NET celebrates 30 years of service to the community

C-NET, the Government and Educational Access Network for Centre County, was pleased to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Articles of Incorporation on Dec. 2. The C-NET organization began with a character generator in a spare closet in Schlow Memorial Library in early 1988, and has grown to become an established local media organization producing nearly 500 original programs each year. The growth and stability of the C-NET organization is the result of tremendous community support.

The C-NET staff and board of directors would like to take this opportunity to thank the 13 member organizations that provide the financial support necessary for C-NET to fulfill its mission. Those organizations include State College borough, Bellefonte borough, College Township, Ferguson Township, Halfmoon Township, Harris Township, Patton Township, Centre County Government, the Centre Region Council of Governments, the Bellefonte Area School District, the State College Area School District, Schlow Centre Region Library and Penn State.

The end of 2017 also marks the end of the first year of C-NET’s new strategic plan, approved by the board of directors in October 2016. The strategic plan calls for increased marketing, particularly through online programming and social media; opening up membership to regional and County authorities; and continuing to seek out and create additional programming options.

At the core of C-NET’s mission is an invitation to the public to participate in local democracy, be informed on local issues, and engage with their community. C-NET’s work, particularly the coverage of local and county government and school board meetings, fosters government transparency and the benefits that come from public engagement in the decision making process. Gavel-to-gavel coverage of government and educational meetings ensures that the public has access to all sides of an issue, allowing residents to form their own judgments based on complete information.

C-NET’s candidate interviews for each primary and general election serve to educate the local electorate, encouraging voters to be informed before they cast their ballot. In addition to the interviews, C-NET also provides coverage of the Centre County League of Women Voters Candidates’ Night each year, sponsored by the Centre County Board of Commissioners.

In addition to meeting and election coverage, C-NET is pleased to record, televise and web stream a wide variety of community events and educational programs. Penn State lectures, Civil War Roundtable and Military History presentations, Research Unplugged lectures, Straight Talk for Parents series, the annual Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, Bellefonte Veteran’s Day ceremony, and many other programs hosted by county nonprofit organizations are covered each year by the C-NET staff, interns and volunteers. We appreciate the opportunity to share these events with the community and we thank our member organizations for their willingness to generously provide financial support for C-NET coverage.

C-NET’s programming may be viewed on channels 7 and 98 on the Comcast and Windstream cable systems, online at cnet1.org, and on the Roku set-top box or streaming stick. Meetings online are “bookmarked” by agenda item, so that viewers may easily access agenda items of interest. Online programs may also be “searched” for individual agenda items, making it possible for viewers to follow a topic of interest over many months. C-NET programs remain online for a minimum of one year.

The C-NET staff and board of directors are pleased to mark this 30th anniversary milestone, and we look forward to many more years of serving County residents. Centre County is a wonderful place to live, work and play, and C-NET is honored to be a part of this great community.

Thomas Giles is the C-NET board president.

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