U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Upcoming Foreign Press Center Tours

WHAT: New York Foreign Press Center Reporting Tour

TOPIC: Bridging the Digital Divide: The Transformation of Rural America Through Broadband Expansion

WHEN: Tuesday, July 21 through Thursday, July 23 (Return to New York on Friday, July 24)

WHERE: Central and Western Massachusetts

RSVP: Please RSVP to nyfpc@state.gov by Wednesday, July 15, 2015.

Date: 07/21/2015 Location: New York Description: New York Foreign Press Center reporting tour on Bridging the Digital Divide: The Transformation of Rural America Through Broadband Expansion. - State Dept Image

BACKGROUND: Throughout America, broadband access has become as essential to economic development, healthcare, agriculture, and the arts as basic utilities including electricity and water. This NYFPC reporting tour will explore how a number of federal, local, and corporate initiatives and public-private partnerships in Central and Western Massachusetts are upgrading the region’s high-tech infrastructure and helping to bridge the digital gap between large U.S. cities and rural areas. Journalists will visit the communities of Amherst, Springfield, Leverett, Holyoke, and Pittsfield to observe how broadband access and high technology are transforming how residents in Central and Western Massachusetts work, learn, farm, and obtain medical treatment.

PROGRAM: The schedule includes visits to organizations inventively using broadband to grow their businesses and stimulate the local economy such as HitPoint Studios, home to a number of digital gaming and media companies; Brookfield Farm, which uses wireless crop monitoring tools to enhance sustainable agriculture; The Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative, a film and media production hub; and the Massachusetts Green High-Performance Computing Center, which utilizes renewable hydropower resources to provide high-capacity computing power to major research universities. Journalists will also meet with local community leaders and representatives from the town of Leverett, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, Berkshire Health Systems, and the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp, all of which bring modern technology to communities and businesses otherwise unable to afford it. The program will conclude with a visit to Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for a guided tour and classical music performance.

LOGISTICS: Journalists are responsible for meals, hotels, and any other costs associated with filing their stories. The NYFPC will provide roundtrip bus transportation from midtown Manhattan to Massachusetts and local transportation to all meetings in Massachusetts. The bus will depart Manhattan at 9:00 am on Tuesday, July 21 and return by approximately 1:00 pm on Friday, July 24. Hotel information will be provided once participation is confirmed.

Foreign Media Only, Please