Weekly Feature



2018-07-12 / Editorial

Town’s livestreaming leaves something to be seen

Bee Editorial

We asked, and not many answered — did you watch the first YouTube livestreamed West Seneca Town Board meeting and how did it go?

The endeavor started off the way nearly every Town Board meeting does, with an excessive struggle to fight the sound system into compliance. After many minutes of painful audio squealing, it appeared that things were ready to go. Or so it would seem.

The end result was two segments of video, the first inaudible and with no visual information, and the second, moderately improved but still lacking information gained from witnessing a meeting firsthand.

This was only the first attempt, so future meetings are bound to be better, but there are some areas that the town could improve to ensure that residents who elect to skip the visit to Town Hall and watch from the comfort of their homes receive an equal experience to those who sit through the actual meeting.

First and foremost, for those in attendance or not, the sound system issues must be resolved. Telling the audience that the problem is the number of cellphones in the courtroom can be an excuse for only so long. If this is truly the problem, a solution must be found.

The next piece of feedback pertains to members of the audience who address the board. Since the board no longer requires members of the public to state their names and addresses prior to speaking, it would be nice if the video at least showed those who come forward. The video does not pan to the podium to show who is speaking; there is simply a bodiless voice heard off camera. Lastly, and perhaps most important, those who are shown on the video feed would do well to remember that they are supposed to be professionals of the town.

Much as young children are told to keep their knees together and fingers out of their noses during the class play, the council should be cognizant of hand gestures and finger placement while the camera is pointed at them. And, please, refrain from snickering or cursing under your breath when comments are made. Video preserves proof.

Again, not many residents responded to our request for feedback on whether they believe this system will help or hinder access to government actions. Most of these remarks are from our own observations.

Nevertheless, it is something to keep in mind for the next episode.

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