StoryCentral, the Baptist New Mexican’s mobile newsroom, will be active during BCNM’s Annual State Convention at Mesilla Park Community Church, Las Cruces, Oct. 22-24, 2018.
Kevin Parker, Editor of the Baptist New Mexican, has expansive plans for the mobile newsroom, hoping to attract at least 30 volunteer journalists from Baptist churches across the state, to help cover the three-day event.
According to Parker, StoryCentral can be thought of in two ways; technically and conceptually, “Technically, it’s a room that we set up. We basically take our office to convention and we recreate it there. We’ll have seven workstations for volunteers, plus we’ll take our [staff] computers. We’ll have ten workstations set up in the room.”
Conceptually, StoryCentral is dual-faceted. First, it allows for BNM to “fully report on the event at the event” said Parker. The mobility of the newsroom allows for volunteers to report on and write stories in near real time. Second, as Parker pointed out, it allows for the Baptist New Mexican to “master reporting the event, to where we report about the people at the event. Not the personalities who are on the platform, but the people who come to the event and their stories of God at work in their churches and their lives.”
BNM staff and volunteers utilized StoryCentral earlier in 2018 during the State Evangelism Conference, collecting 22 stories and more than 2500 images in what Parker called “the most complete coverage of an event” the team had ever published.
For StoryCentral to work, it must be fully staffed with volunteers throughout the convention. Parker anticipates a need for at least 20 writers, 10 photographers, a social media manager and an audio technician. All meals during the event will be provided by BCNM and there is a limited amount of funds to reimburse a select number of volunteers with travel and lodging expenses.
According to Parker, volunteers should meet four criteria: a desire to write, a willingness to learn and be adaptable, availability during the convention, and a genuine interest in the BCNM and its partner churches. Photographers should have access to a DSLR camera.
While volunteering is inevitably centered on helping the Baptist New Mexican achieve its goals, volunteers can expect to gain valuable experience and exposure during and after the convention. “When you write stories you influence people. We’ve got a lot of people that don’t get to come to the meeting, and so they read this coverage in the Baptist New Mexican and online and get to be there … our volunteers are the ones that make that happen. That’s a feeling of significance. Their name goes on the byline and some of these stories have gotten picked up by Baptist Press and published nationally.” Parker said.