Mission, Vision, and History
The stories we see in mass media impact the beliefs, ideas, and values that shape the way our world operates. Our mission is to empower people to use media and communications to make better lives, use authentic voice, and build common understanding.
George Floyd’s murder was a stark reminder of the power of video in the hands of everyday people. Too often, the dominant narrative is controlled by those with money and access because they have the tools and resources to disseminate a story. Since 1984 SPNN has created intentional media programming for the Twin Cities with a focus on BIPOC & LGBTQ+ communities. We host teen media arts and leadership programs and a production team that works on community programming. We have run the Community Technology Empowerment Project to help close the digital divide in the Twin Cities since 2005, and in 2010 SPNN launched a documentary track with our groundbreaking Doc U program and later built on it with our New Angle Doc U Fellows in 2018.
With training, support, and mentorship, SPNN works with adults and youth to teach crucial tech skills and the craft of creating media so they can tell their own stories. We offer traditional classes, which include basic and advanced technical workshops; in-depth documentary training programs for both beginners and early career artists, and job skills programs for youth. We offer sliding-scale fees for accessibility and our program participants receive free one year memberships to SPNN. We support community-run shows like BiCities, Generations, and Disability Viewpoints - shows produced by and for their respective communities. To foster networking and relationship building, we bring in media makers with artist panels.
We also partner with organizations to create unique workshops and classes. We partner with HECUA (the Higher Education Consortium of Urban Affairs) to offer an eight credit college class, the River Valley Girl Scouts to offer day long PSA workshops, among others.
Our production team works with community partners to create programming to benefit the Saint Paul and wider Twin Cities community. We have partnered with the League of Women Voters to create election related forums, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, La Clinica, and CLUES on the Hope Against Opioids Conference, and Minnesota Elder Nonviolence Coalition.
The Community Technology Empowerment Project (CTEP) bridges the "digital divide" for new immigrants and low-income communities in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. CTEP AmeriCorps member help youth and adults use technology to better access social, civic, educational, and economic opportunities by teaching technology literacy at non profits, community centers, and libraries.