GNAT staff recently did their part by helping to stream six area Town Meetings. 

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

SUNDERLAND — From her office in Sunderland on Thursday, Greater Northshire Access Television Executive Director Tammie Reilly notes that it’s Sunshine Week — a news industry event promoting openness and transparency in government.

It’s good timing, since her organization’s paid part-time employees just did their part by helping to stream six area Town Meetings — not only on GNAT-TV’s cable channels but its website, its YouTube channel, on social media platforms and streaming services. There were plans to stream a seventh Town Meeting, but technical problems consigned footage from Londonderry to tape delay rather than a livestream.

“Our goal is more community engagement,” Reilly said. “The more places we can make available and the more we can promote our making it available and in real time, the hope is that will increase civic engagement.”

“We covered 189 government meetings last fiscal year and 185 the year before — just short of 200 meetings a year,” Reilly said. “Most of them Select Boards and School Boards. We’re finding an increased interest in planning boards. As we try to meet that need, we're looking for volunteers to help.

“The bigger picture is the bulk of that work is done throughout the year,” she added.

That said, Reilly is pleased that GNAT was able to make investments in people and technology that allowed it to stream Town Meeting live to multiple platforms.

“We streamed meetings to our cable channel and our website to Facebook and social platforms, as well as over-the-top services like Apple, Roku and Fire," Reilly said. Thanks to that investment — made possible through donors, as well as fees from Comcast — “we can make meetings available to more people and more places in real time.”

Support our journalism. Subscribe today. →

“We streamed six out of seven meetings live for the first time,” Reilly said. “We’re super excited, and citizens are super excited. We plan to continue building out that capacity throughout this year.”

GNAT’s enhanced technical capacity served the Manchester Journal well. Last Saturday, when a snowstorm made travel difficult, the livestream from Manchester’s floor meeting allowed a reporter to take notes in real time. On Town Meeting Day, when in-person attendance at the Winhall Town Meeting wasn’t possible, footage from the meeting was available online for review.

The nonprofit media station is working on overcoming the limitations in Londonderry, too, Reilly said.

“Livestreaming is always an adventure,” she said

According to Reilly, about 245 people were watching on GNAT’s YouTube channel and another 312 on its Facebook page, for a total of 567. “That’s not bad for not having a lot of promotion,” she said.

GNAT moved to paid employees instead of volunteers 10 years ago, Reilly says, to make sure that government meetings were being attended and filmed. That said, the demand for meeting coverage is only growing, and she’s hoping that volunteers and additional employees — particularly in the mountain towns — will help the public access outlet meet the demands of its mission.

The network plans to take part in a career fair planned for Burr and Burton Academy next month, in the hopes of attracting more part-time camera operators. Two current BBA students already are working for the station, Reilly said.

Reach Greg Sukiennik at or at 802-447-7567, ext. 119. 


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us.
We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.