Remembering Marion Orton | Street Jazz

Remembering Marion Orton

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For a time, in the early 1990s, I was part of a small group of people who didn’t care much for Marion Orton, who died this week. This doesn’t speak well for me, and my feeble excuse that it was at the height of the Great Access War is really no excuse at all.

Since that time, I came to know and respect the real Marion Orton, as opposed the demon we had made her out to be in those dreadful days.

I saw first-hand how she fought for public access in Fayetteville, even opposing one of her friends in the city administration, putting that friendship in jeopardy. I saw how Marion treated all access producers - especially young ones - with respect and encouragement.

Every election year she would bring members of the League of Women Voters down to public access so that they could be trained on the equipment and produce their own debates, rather than depend upon someone else to do it for them.

Someone who loved to travel, she shared her love of the world with the viewers of public access, showing the world the images she had caught on video.

And yes, Marion was there in the very beginning, helping to put Fayetteville Open Channel on the air in 1980.

20 years ago I didn’t care much for Marion Orton, but I soon realized what an idiot I was for feeling that way.

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The Marion Orton Television Center?

Without Marion Orton we wouldn’t have any of the channels we now enjoy in the PEG (Public, Government, Education) system in Fayetteville. Maybe it’s time to finally give the building where two of the entities are housed a proper name?

The Marion Orton Television Center sounds pretty good to me.

*****

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