In mid-April, the Center for Social Media organized the first meeting of its Public Media Working Group (PMWG), comprised of innovative leaders from across the sector with a demonstrated commitment to increasing users' access to and engagement with public media. Building on the recommendations in our 2009 white paper, Public Media 2.0: Dynamic, Engaged Publics, the PMWG will work with CSM staff to identify emerging research priorities, incubate public media 2.0 projects, and develop cross-platform and cross-sector collaborations.
WGBH hosted the group's first day-long meeting, which revealed a continued need for shared definitions, policies and pipelines to support the creation of a networked, inclusive public media system. While energized by the promise of new experiments—such as the CPB's recent announcement of Local Journalism Centers—the group noted that there's still significant work to be done in order to make current public broadcasting efforts more strategic, inclusive and relevant. Innovators within the system are currently isolated, lacking spaces for sharing best practices and identifying joint strategies. A number of promising collaborations involve outlets and innovators outside of the legacy broadcasting system, including public access stations, youth media projects, nonprofit journalism startups and more—bridges to these organizations need to be defined, built and resourced.
PMWG members discussed two signature collaborative opportunities for 2010. The first is the Public Media Corps (PMC). Led by the National Black Programming Consortium, the PMC will " promote and extend broadband adoption in underserved communities by placing Fellows skilled in technology, media production, and outreach in residencies at underperforming high schools, public broadcast stations, and non-profit community anchor institutions. Working in regionally managed teams, the Fellows will develop interactive web-based and mobile applications driven by compelling local public interest content." Entering into its beta period in June, the project will provide concrete ways for the PMWG to experiment with and document strategies for collaboration, evaluation and resource-sharing. The second opportunity will involve developing the online presence for WGBH's World channel, which is currently in an R&D phase.
Watch this space for more details about these projects and the PMWG in the coming weeks.