At 64 years old, Norris Burkes says he’s living proof that old dogs can learn new tricks. 

As an intern he’s learning the “tricks” of TV & film production at Nevada County Media, (NCM) in Grass Valley. Burkes, also a syndicated columnist, took on the internship to fulfill his degree requirements for a Master’s in Journalism from University Nevada, Reno.

Andy Rolland, production manager at Nevada County Media works with intern Norris Burkes to edit video for local broadcast.
Andy Rolland, production manager at Nevada County Media works with intern Norris Burkes to edit video for local broadcast.

Burkes says he’s excited to find a place that would require no experience. “NCM staff are patient folks who teach most of what I need to know, from the ground up.” 

With only an eight hour a week requirement, Burkes sees the nine-month internship requirement as “…an investment in learning and helping Nevada County at the same time.”

The retired USAF chaplain says he enjoys the change of doing something different after his military career. “NCM gives me the opportunity to work with a wide variety of people who come from various backgrounds and experiences.”

Burkes joins two other interns, Xavier Barnhart and Cathy Koenig from Nevada Union High School. Together the interns attend classes on filmmaking, video production, scriptwriting, podcasting, music recording, photography, digital image editing, video recording, editing. 

The military retiree says he was attracted to NCM because “They welcomed interns of all ages and experiences. I learn tech stuff from them, and I hope they are reassured by seeing a calm maturity in me.”

Burkes, also a monthly contributor for The Union, serves on the board of director for the Chispa Project, a nonprofit that starts libraries in Honduran elementary schools. He intends to parlay his new knowledge into helping the charity promote the library project.

NCM director Ramona Howard sees the facility as a place that serves the public interest by fostering collaboration around creative expression.” She describes the 10,000 square feet Crown Point facility “a learning Academy where folks can go to collaborate and create content.”

The facility depends largely on volunteers and interns to help operate three cable channels and several on-demand channels. The state-of-the-art production facility is widely used by the Nevada County community to produce content for local access channels. 

Howard encourages Nevada County residents to utilize the NCM facility either by becoming an intern or through membership. Both interns and members are given full access to of the facility and gear, classrooms, meeting spaces, inexpensive production services, pre-designed projects and more. 

For more info visit the website at