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WMHT looking for Bethlehemites to tell town's stories

'Our Town' program coming to town at end of the month

What does Bethlehem mean to you?

Odds are if you ask 10 different people that question, you'll get just as many answers. But that's just what public television station WMHT wants from town residents as it brings its Your Town series to Bethlehem and invites citizens to become videographers.

The station last did a "Your Town" series 10 years ago, covering Glens Falls, Pittsfield, Poughkeepsie and Saratoga Springs. The initial goal is to also do four installments this year to resurrect the program, said WMHT Senior Vice President Scott Sauer, but he thinks that could just be the beginning. The station in wrapping up production on its first installment focusing on the City of Amsterdam.

"The response has been so positive so far that I'm optimistic that we'll just keep going from there," he said.

The call for participants in Amsterdam yielded over 30 stories on a wide range of topics, said Producer Joanne Durfee, from students showing off their favorite park, to athletes telling all about area teams to profiles of the city's various neighborhoods.

"Because it's a community-based project, we've really involved the community," Durfee said. "It allows the people in the communities to tell the stories from their point of view, as opposed to WMHT filming a documentary about Bethlehem from our point of view."

The producers will be looking for a similarly diverse group for the show on Bethlehem. The requirements are pretty simple. You must have an idea, filming equipment and time at your disposal. Enthusiasm for the town you live in doesn't hurt, either.

"Really what we want people to do is tell why its special to live in Bethlehem," Sauer said. "We want the residents to define that themselves."

The first "Our Town" series was filmed and aired in the days before the phrase "user generated content" was a staple in our daily media diet. Today, millions of people share their lives, thoughts and hilarious pet antics through Internet services like YouTube.

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