What are your goals for Public Media Company?
If I had a dollar for every time that I’ve been asked that question, I would donate it all back to Public Media Company.
In my first two months in this role, I have been truly inspired by what I’ve learned about this organization, the team, our board and supporters, and the invaluable work that PMC has done with public and independent media organizations for the past 22 years. I use the word “with” intentionally because ultimately, we are working with these organizations to strengthen communities around the country through essential services like news, education, local programming, engagement, and music. In this time of intentional focus by so many on the crisis in local news, which is impacting our ability to engage and relate to one another at both the community and national levels, I can think of no greater service opportunity than the one entrusted to me by our board.
Eighteen years ago this month, I joined the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and was given the opportunity to lead their government relations and communications teams. Year after year I would make the case for the federal appropriation for public media, which is stewarded annually by CPB and distributed to public media stations in every corner of our country. While my pitch evolved over time, one message was consistent: Public media contributes to the informed and engaged citizenry that is vital for a functioning democracy. I believed it then, and I believe it even more today.
It is a privilege to return to the public media family after a decade in philanthropy, first at Humanity United, and over the last year as a consultant to foundations and nonprofit newsrooms who are working together to revitalize local news ecosystems, particularly in underserved and under resourced communities. It was this work – helping to produce the Roadmap for Local News and the Summit on Local News at the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands – that drew me to Public Media Company, where I saw and continue to see many opportunities to address the local news crises in this country.
Specifically, I see local public media organizations as a solution to this crisis, one that needs to be elevated and strengthened. While the public media system is far from perfect, our nation’s noncommercial public media organizations have a unique mandate to serve the informational, educational, and cultural needs of their communities. They have decades of dedicated service and have earned the trust of their communities in ways that are not afforded to national media outlets. The system, with a nationwide network of independent local organizations that serve 98% of the country, is uniquely positioned to build upon its service mandate at this time of need in both local news and community connection.
We are all living together through a shared era where we are faced with multiple global crises and immense change: change in how we access and process information, changes in how we interact and relate with one another, and rapid changes in technology and media. We are living with forces that are shaping the very direction of our lives. Yet, just as every generation is called upon to meet the moment they are living through, I see this as a time of immense opportunity as well. The opportunity to strengthen communities, to build civic engagement, and serve the informed and engaged citizenry that is vital to our democracy is one of the most important callings of our time.
This is the call that Public Media Company is answering. With an unwavering belief that public media is essential to the health of our country and our communities, our team works every day with public and independent media organizations, helping them expand their services and impact, strengthen their communities, and secure their futures. We are a mission-driven nonprofit organization, comprised of team members with expertise in nonprofit business, finance, strategy, and leadership. We all have choices about the future we want for ourselves and our children, and I am proud to work with a team that is dedicated to meeting this moment of challenge and opportunity.
So, my goals – both as the newest member of the team and as the new CEO – are quite simple: First, I want to strengthen and advance the services we are providing so that all public and independent media organizations can benefit, regardless of their size, location, or financial situation. This takes resources beyond our client fees, which we intentionally keep low, and I am grateful for our supporters who are investing in this mission. Second, I want to cultivate the ability to evolve, to be nimble, and to grow in ways that continue to best serve local stations and communities in this era of rapid change. Third, I want Public Media Company to continue to lean into this moment of opportunity and support the role of public media organizations as key community connectors and the foundation on which efforts to revitalize local news are built. We are ready to bring our experience and capabilities to this cause.
Lastly, I want to collaborate. Collaboration is at the core of Public Media Company. I believe we are all united by the challenges and opportunities we face, and the most effective solutions to our challenges are often the ones that we create together. If you would like to share your thoughts or learn more about Public Media Company, I want to hear from you. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org