Grand Jury Perspective: Joan Carten-Hansen

New York Festivals 2018 TV & Film Awards Grand Jury represents 32 countries on 6 continents. Known for its powerhouse jury comprised of prominent international broadcast and film industry executives, NYF’s jurors are award-winners themselves and are passionate about excellence and innovation. Their reputation in diverse areas across all platforms provide each entry with the utmost of attention and make them qualified to select the World’s Best TV & Films.

Joan Carter-Hansen Producer/Reporter/Writer/ Host for Idaho Public Television

This week’s Grand Jury Perspective features 2018 Grand Jury member, Joan Cartan-Hansen has been a producer/reporter/writer/host for Idaho Public Television since 1988. Joan is the lead producer/host for “Science Trek and a producer/reporter/writer for “Outdoor Idaho.” In addition, she writes and produces a number of documentaries and has contributed pieces to “The PBS NewsHour.” Joan has won numerous awards including several regional Emmy® Awards, gold medals at the New York Festivals, Tellys, CINE Golden Eagles, Platinum prizes at Worldfest. In 2013, Joan was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences-NW’s Silver Circle for her contributions to the industry.

Joan is active in several professional organizations: The Idaho Press Club and NATAS-NW. She also sits on the Idaho Supreme Courts Media/Courts Committee and is member of the Idaho Supreme Court’s “Fire Brigade.”

In the interview below Joan shares her opinion on what makes great content, her path on the road to success, what projects are on the horizon and more.

New York Festivals: Talk about what qualities makes great content?

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart

Joan Cartan-Hansen: In 1964, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart tried to describe his threshold test of obscenity by explaining, “I know it when I see it.” I think we can describe great film and video content the same way. When the writing, the videography, the direction, the story and all the many things that it takes to create a piece come together and make it seem effortless, that makes it a great piece. Conversely, I think if the viewer recognizes that some extraordinary effort went into creating a piece, that too can make great content. If I, as a judge or as a viewer, can see passion in someone’s work, be it in the writing, the videography, the direction or all the other things involved, I know that piece can have greatness.

New York Festivals: What was your mantra for career success? Was your path to success linear or a winding road…how so?

Joan Cartan-Hansen: I don’t know if I have a mantra for career success. I’d like to think I still have more “successes” to achieve. I have been blessed to be in the right place at the right time for much of my career, though not every break was due to chance. I volunteered to work for no pay at my first station and the news director eventually hired me. The advice I give students is be willing to work hard, be very curious and stand by your principles. While my career journey has had its ups and downs, I would say mine is the more usual linear path. I am lucky to have worked at Idaho Public Television for almost 30 years. My colleagues are gifted professionals and my management team is supportive and appreciates how hard we work. I know my situation is not the norm, that having the creative freedom to develop video projects (within budget constraints) is a gift not many receive. I don’t know if the opportunities I enjoy will continue to be around for future journalists/producers. I hope so. Producing good quality local content, especially local journalism, is so very important.

New York Festivals: Share your thoughts on freedom of the press?

Joan Cartan-Hansen: Our republic works best with an informed electorate, but how can the public be informed if government officials can hide documents, close meetings and keep us in the dark? We obviously have major challenges on a national level to protect the freedom of the press. All citizens, not just journalists, should stand up and demand an open and accountable government. It is in our own interests to do so and it isn’t just a national issue. I have worked all of my career to improve Idaho’s public records and open meeting laws. I sit on the Idaho Supreme Court’s Media/Courts Committee and its “Fire Brigade” to improve the media’s relationship with the courts and to improve public access. Standing up for the public’s right to know isn’t always easy. The Idaho Press Club, of which I am a past president and am currently a board member, works tirelessly to fight off challenges to the protections we as Idahoans have in place and to improve access issues where we can. Many journalists in Idaho are just starting their first job, so the Idaho Press Club is there to help them stand up and challenge authority when they are denied a document, not allowed in a meeting. I encourage every journalist to work with their local press associations to support freedom of the press issues in their state and to make it a story when government officials don’t follow the law.

New York Festivals: What projects are on the horizon for you?

Joan Cartan-Hansen: I work on several projects. I write and produce for “Outdoor Idaho,” do science reporting and the very occasional piece for the PBS NewsHour, but my main job is producing/hosting “Science Trek,” our effort to engage K-6th graders in science and provide science support material for educators and parents. We have a worldwide audience for our videos and educational materials, but technology is changing the way kids get information and the way teachers use those resources in the classroom. Besides all the usual stuff, I am producing 360-degree immersive videos and this new way at looking at the world is very exciting and challenging. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

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