When you think of award-winning television producers, creative content and quality programing, thoughts often cut to studios in New York, but wait — plot twist! NNTV, (Newport News Television) COX 48 and Verizon 19 and NNTV2 Cox 46 and Verizon 18 have the scoop on the people and programs that directly affect the Newport News community and bring captivating Newport News-specific information and opportunities to its residents and those interested in following the continual roll-out of good Newport News news.
NNTV is part of the city’s communications department. Says the city’s Director of Communications Cleder Jones, “NNTV connects residents, businesses and guests to all that is taking place in the city, everything from events and business highlights to community services. We also produce our own programs to educate, inform and entertain viewers.”
The NNTV creative force that has set the benchmark for other city channels to reach is comprised of five men who each come to the studio with years of experience and talent that have helped garner various awards for the city departments and community partners they assist. The masterminds running this 24-hr/7-days-a-week operation include Terry Hartsook, senior production specialist; John Corriere, senior production specialist; Wade Harrington, senior production specialist; Edwin “Ed”Acosta, communications and programming coordinator and Ishrat Mohammad, chief television engineer.
Spending time with this team reveals the camaraderie they share, the great respect they have for each other and the genuine appreciation they have for one another’s talents. NNTV features local programs, city government services, community news and stories from around the area.
“All of us do pretty much everything,” says Hartsook. “Everyone here is a creative producer, capable of pretty much doing everything,” adds Harrington. These formats include both traditional and digital platforms that reach audiences through a variety of modes and by a variety of methods. The team views Mohammad as the wizard behind the curtain who makes all the electronics work and is relied upon as the chief drone operator.
Whether the audience views the station’s programs by watching NNTV’s videos on its cable stations or through its YouTube Channel or by using the more immediate and interactive offerings through Facebook Live, this team is committed to the people and the process of producing content that is informative and helpful.
The production team relies heavily on its social media platforms to drive viewers to their material. They have also introduced a new NNTV app to make it even easier for people to remain connected and aware of happenings in their city.
“When it comes to the station and the web presence, they are definitely two totally different beasts. With the station, people are flipping through and will see something and may watch for a while. Whereas on the Internet, if we don’t grab viewers’ attention within the first few seconds, we’ll lose them,” says Acosta.
One of the reoccurring events that regularly receives a great amount of traffic and attention is Newport News City Council and Newport News Planning Commission meetings streamed live to their channel, the city’s web page or on Facebook. Says Acosta, “We also have Instagram, which helps promote the different videos and events we cover.”
Corriere, who has been with NNTV the longest, shares the growth and advancements he’s seen in how the industry has changed and evolved. “It’s easier now for people to find out what’s going on, and our followers increase every day — as they find us, they follow. The city also puts out Newport News Now, a daily newsletter to see what’s happening this week for people who subscribe.”
Says Harrington, “We also feel that we have a responsibility for the city’s archives. We’re the only people who have been pointing a camera at the city for almost 35 years. We have tons of material so in the future, when someone wants to see what the first One-City Marathon looked like, it is available.”
One of the team’s most successful joint ventures was producing a video that helped the city secure a HUD grant for $30 million through the Choice Neighborhood Initiative. HUD wanted a copy of the video because it was impressed by the way the team took everything it was doing and put it into a five-minute video that was captivating and award winning.
Not only is this team making the city of Newport News more visible and ensuring its people and programs are highlighted, the spotlight will continue to fall on them as they continue their role as award-winner producers.
TO THE POINT:
NNTV (Newport News City Channel)
Address: 2 Minton Dr., Newport News, VA 23606
Contact: Terry Hartsook