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Running notes from Bill Densmore on Saturday morning's panel at the Public Media Conference, 2009, in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009:

Kinsey Wilson, of National Public Radio, formerly from USAToday, is talking about what it's been like moving over to radio. He is building on some of the points that Vivian Schiller made yesterday.

NPR's Wilson makes four points

Four points:

  • He was struct by optimistism and the sense of vision at NPR, in stark contrast to what is experienced at many commercial newsrooms, including newspapers.
  • Now its all about creating networks of passionate users. NPR's isn't fully realized yet. Quality of comments are extraordinary on the NPR site. Lot's of comments between people.
  • They have diversified revenue sources, and that is a source of envy as the ad market shrinks. But they are largely dependent on corporate underwriting in digital media and that is a cause for concern.
  • He thinks there is an extraordinary opportunity to become a significant if not dominate source of news in local markets.

The seven or eight advantages over newspapers

The seven or eight advantages over newspapers:

  • Barriers to entry have fallen
  • Big newspapers are saddled with legacy web systems
  • NPR affiliates produce the best audio content at a point where mobile is becoming dominant
  • As newspapers collapse "and they will" in certain markets, there will be a window.
  • Reporters will be cast off and looking for work. There will be a moment to capture them.
  • They can promote what they do on air
  • Already news organizations devoted to public service "and have that in our blood."

Witt talks about opportunity for public radio to become news powerhouse

Leonard Witt, of Kennesaw State University, says there's a void for presentation of video news that the PUblic Broadcasting Service affiliates could come in and fill. He suggests that each state have two reporters assigned to a new PBS news initiative. EAch produces a story every other day, that's 50 stories a day cominging.

"THat means on your web site, every 20 minutes you would have another story coming in," said Witt. "You'd constantly be replenishing the stories. . . . You can run a newsroom now for 100 people for about $10 million. That is not cost prohibitive."

"yoU all have the problem that you don't play very well." He suggests one of the local stations would have to set up a national facility.

Anna Shoup, PBS Newshour

Anna Shoup says The Newshour is now focusing on the economy and she's talking about a project not yet launched for which she invited feedback. Newshour is partnering with Morning Edition and Marketplace and local stations and the Patchwork Nation Project of the Christian Science Monitor.

Patchwork will be expanded to 22 communities, all the new ones with strong local public TV and radio stations. There will be citizen journalists in those communities and will ask the local affiliates to do on the group reporting they already do but do it in a coordinated fashion with the Patchwork Nation Project.

The goal is to leverage the national network of stations. "We're trying to get really involved at the local level."


Jessica Clark on two ways to thrive

Jessica Clark at the Center for Social Media at American Unversity runs the Future of PUblic Media Project and just released a study earlier this week. HEr question: How do you define public media in an open news environment.

The answer: "PUblic media should be defined as creating publics." Now citizens can convene with the media to arrange a "public" about a given issue.

So for stations, the two ways to thrive:

  • Create/curate original, relevant reporting and analysis.
  • Directly engage publics around current issues -- both online and off."

Robert Rosenthal -- key is collaboration

Robert Rosenthal, a former top editor at the Philadelphia and San Francisco papers, says media philanthropy funding sources are finally realizing things have changed and are funding specific projects. He says the future is all about collaboration and knocking down the old barriers. It wasn't important when he presided over a newsroom with an $80 million annual budget. That's changed.

He's working on a real model for state coverage in California via the Center for Investigative Reporting, which he now heads and which is based in Oakland.

They are completely forgetting about an old distribution model that implies different products -- print, radio, web, etc. Now you put together a core team with expertise in all those areas, including video. "So when the story is finished you have maximum impact by reaching people at all levels." He sees this as perhaps costly but critical for having maximum impact.

There is a problem of morale in newsrooms. "When you think you are a failure, it is very hard to be innovative... the new organizations that come together out of this are going to be have to be really creative." Central to the new model, he says, is news people who are on the same page with financial people.

Susanna Capelouto of George Public Broadcasting

They did a three-part series in the fall called, "Bad News In News," about the financial failure of newspapers. They refer to the overall story when doing updates. Their website for this function is called, "Georgia Gazette."

She talks about a show that has a Facebook page. "It's not measurable what it does. We just do it because we can." She is training all of her reporters to do everything -- HTML, podcasting, write and design a blog, cameras for all reporters. "We are basically going to try to turn them all into mojos ... but they all have a solid base in radio reporting."

YOU can friend us at GeorgiaGazette in Facebook.

Mike Bauhof, KCET, St. Louis: Rising to the story

Bauhof is web coordinator for Channel 9, KCET in St. Louis. They don't have a newsroom. But they realized that with the foreclosure crisis affecting St. Louis they had to do something about it. They met and tried to tell the story and let the public know that there was assistance. They handled it through their local magazine show. They asked their producers to produce news stories for the magazine show on the topic.

One resources they have is an affiliation with the St. Louis Beacon, a local online news community website started by ex-Post Dispatch reporters and editors which is housed in the KCET building.


"What we found at the end of this is that we had a significant impact on our community ... people were more aware of what the crisis meant for our community ... and they were aware there were resources to help . . . and we found people felt more connected to their community."

CPB has asked KCET to replication what they did on a national level -- a way to figure out how to report on an issue in your community and figure out how you can make your community a little better at the same time.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q: What happens when a local newspaper goes away?

ROSENTHAL: A lot of things aren't covered, watchdog reporting. A key segment of American's understand a key function of our democracy is the press. If newspapers go away, they have been the key source of information for every other medium. Thousands of journalists have been laid off in the last year -- school boards aren't being covered.

"I think it is potentially quite dangerous in terms of how we function as a democracy." He sees the professional journalism as of tremendousvalue.

"I think there is a tipping point is there is a greater understanding of this crisis ... there needs to be a political campaign to inform the public of this risk."

WITT: He asks -- what will journalism be like when only the journalism is left? The Christian Science Monitor can cut their newsroom cost from $80 million to $7 million by going to online and one day of public instead of five.

Why do people get the Atlanta Journal Constitution? For the news. YOu are paying for the news. "We all talk about people won't pay for the news. But they are paying for the news. We just have to package it and think about it differently."

ROSENTHAL: Profit margins will have to be much lower, or non-profit. The business model completely failed.

CAPELOUTO: You can't sell news anymore -- the who, where how. "The one thing people can't get online is the why. What does it mean. Why and why does it matter." People have paid for that for years through public media.

JULIE DRIZIN: She's not sure it all about the business model failing. Citizens are becoming more engaged in reporting the news themselves because of the failures of their traditional media organizations. Her question: What is the role for citizen media?

JESSICA CLARK: Lots of roles for citizen journalists.

KINSEY WILSON: There's a role for interaction between the citizen and the professional reporter -- facilitating a larger conversation. One will not replace the other. They are collaborative. Role of convenor . . . "Increasingly the role of the journalist is to help people find what's most useful, most truthful in a mass of information out there."

ANNA SHOUP: At Newshour, they will focus on reducing barriers for citizen journalists to do their work and connect it with MSM.

KINSEY WILSON: He thinks NPR is going to be in a position to do some "proof of concept" experimental partnerships with the local online news communities popping up around the country. He thinks new and existing news organizations that are able to act in this crisis will emerge.

DOC SEARLS: Likes the idea advanced by Len Witt -- the idea that NPR stations could move to become the video providers of the mobile-device world. If thinks move the way Witt suggests, if there is a hole for streaming video, isn't there a wide-open space there?

SUSANNA CAPELOUTO: They do see the opportunity.

One questioner, Bob HOughton of Georgia Public Broadcasting, notes that it costs tons more to produce video than radio.

WITT: He is convinced it is going to gravitate to peoples' pocket device and that is where media organizations have to point. YOu may have all your bricks and mortar in television facilties, but videographers are going to be operating out of their house. It might be $65,000 to get a reporter up and running. "This is very doable, people are doing it, and the cost is down. I don't know anything about it but I can produce stuff for the Internet that people watch . . . and I'm a rank amateur."

A questioner from Santa Cruz affiliate asks Capelouto what's going into the web now.

SUSAN CAPELOUTO -- At least seven people. But they don't all work just for Georgia Gazette (the website), the do some repurposing for other things that go to the radio side. "We really do this with incredible team effort. ... there is no dedication (to one medium). The entire newsroom works on it." It was important to them to have good editing, so they have really invested in experienced editors. "It's been not easy but it's been a lot of fun." The entire news budget is just under $1 million a year, according to Bob Hougton, GPB's general manager.

A questionerasks if others adopt the public TV/radio model, does that become a competitor for fund-raising.

JESSICA CLARK: The trick is to incorporate it to the national level so that it opens up a new market of sources.

ANNA SHOUP: I hope these projects put us in a better position to not think of these people as competitors. "I hope that we bring everyone in on the national scale -- that's what we're trying to do."

A question from Judith Vecchione, from WGBH, Boston: "I hear this working beautifully on a local level, even a regional level. I wonder about how we are thinking on the national level." Does this make vulnerable the national level programs that exist? She's worried not just about news but about history and other topics.

KINSEY WILSON: NPR is committed to maintaining the existing national news gathering capability.

Q: How do you definite traditional PBS and NPR today as opposed to what it's always been? What needs to be done diffferently right now?

MIKE BAUHOF: The key is to be local and connected with your community. KCET is now the only locally owned major media organizations in St. LOuis -- they and the public radio affiliate. They now call themselves "public media" not "public television."

ANNA SHOUP: "What we're trying to do with the Newshour is not just be on TV." Their online operation is now 18 people, they are own Twitter, they have a great podcast player. They don't just think on TV. The executive producer thinks about Twitter. "I don't think we would define ourselves as just PBS on TV anymore." Foundations now want to see a strong web presence, and that brings in money. "That's what's finalizing those deals."

MIKE BAUHOF: We are trying to get our producers to think in terms of content, not just TV.

SUSANNA CAPELOUTO: The stations that are going to survive are those with very strong listener engagement. We always have to have them in mind. It comes down in public broadcasting to the listener.

JESSICA CLARK: Station needs to take their public service mission more serious. Lawrence Welk and Coupling are not public service. It's a tragedy that so much public-service journalism isn't on the air (it's on the web).

LEN WITT: "This news idea will bring you a younger, smarter audience who is willing to invest in you. And it is not goign to talk you that much. And if you don't put up the $10 million to get that done, it is going to be done by the commercial places ... this is a golden opportunity, you have the gravitas, the name . .. the question is do you have the will to do it?"

ROBERT ROSENTHAL: They way we have to think is not so much now but about where it is going. He is thinking of solution-oriented investigative reporting. It is not necessarily the day to day news. MOre in-depth, high quality, long-form stories but broken frequently into smaller, accessible stories. He's thinking of his two teen-age sons. If it is broken into 15, minute-and-a-half pieces that they can find, they will.

Then you create a forum around a public issue. To think holistically. To inform the public and hopefully influence policy.

Raised over $900,000 in eight days at Oregon Public Broadcasting. He observes that problem with the cost of producing video is the mindset at the station. The need is to either find people who are willing to adapt or find other people.













Running notes from Bill Densmore on Saturday morning's panel at the Public Media Conference, 2009, in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009:

Kinsey Wilson, of National Public Radio, formerly from USAToday, is talking about what it's been like moving over to radio. He is building on some of the points that Vivian Schiller made yesterday.

NPR's Wilson makes four points

Four points:

  • He was struct by optimistism and the sense of vision at NPR, in stark contrast to what is experienced at many commercial newsrooms, including newspapers.
  • Now its all about creating networks of passionate users. NPR's isn't fully realized yet. Quality of comments are extraordinary on the NPR site. Lot's of comments between people.
  • They have diversified revenue sources, and that is a source of envy as the ad market shrinks. But they are largely dependent on corporate underwriting in digital media and that is a cause for concern.
  • He thinks there is an extraordinary opportunity to become a significant if not dominate source of news in local markets.

The seven or eight advantages over newspapers

The seven or eight advantages over newspapers:

  • Barriers to entry have fallen
  • Big newspapers are saddled with legacy web systems
  • NPR affiliates produce the best audio content at a point where mobile is becoming dominant
  • As newspapers collapse "and they will" in certain markets, there will be a window.
  • Reporters will be cast off and looking for work. There will be a moment to capture them.
  • They can promote what they do on air
  • Already news organizations devoted to public service "and have that in our blood."

Witt talks about opportunity for public radio to become news powerhouse

Leonard Witt, of Kennesaw State University, says there's a void for presentation of video news that the PUblic Broadcasting Service affiliates could come in and fill. He suggests that each state have two reporters assigned to a new PBS news initiative. EAch produces a story every other day, that's 50 stories a day cominging.

"THat means on your web site, every 20 minutes you would have another story coming in," said Witt. "You'd constantly be replenishing the stories. . . . You can run a newsroom now for 100 people for about $10 million. That is not cost prohibitive."

"yoU all have the problem that you don't play very well." He suggests one of the local stations would have to set up a national facility.

Anna Shoup, PBS Newshour

Anna Shoup says The Newshour is now focusing on the economy and she's talking about a project not yet launched for which she invited feedback. Newshour is partnering with Morning Edition and Marketplace and local stations and the Patchwork Nation Project of the Christian Science Monitor.

Patchwork will be expanded to 22 communities, all the new ones with strong local public TV and radio stations. There will be citizen journalists in those communities and will ask the local affiliates to do on the group reporting they already do but do it in a coordinated fashion with the Patchwork Nation Project.

The goal is to leverage the national network of stations. "We're trying to get really involved at the local level."


Jessica Clark on two ways to thrive

Jessica Clark at the Center for Social Media at American Unversity runs the Future of PUblic Media Project and just released a study earlier this week. HEr question: How do you define public media in an open news environment.

The answer: "PUblic media should be defined as creating publics." Now citizens can convene with the media to arrange a "public" about a given issue.

So for stations, the two ways to thrive:

  • Create/curate original, relevant reporting and analysis.
  • Directly engage publics around current issues -- both online and off."

Robert Rosenthal -- key is collaboration

Robert Rosenthal, a former top editor at the Philadelphia and San Francisco papers, says media philanthropy funding sources are finally realizing things have changed and are funding specific projects. He says the future is all about collaboration and knocking down the old barriers. It wasn't important when he presided over a newsroom with an $80 million annual budget. That's changed.

He's working on a real model for state coverage in California via the Center for Investigative Reporting, which he now heads and which is based in Oakland.

They are completely forgetting about an old distribution model that implies different products -- print, radio, web, etc. Now you put together a core team with expertise in all those areas, including video. "So when the story is finished you have maximum impact by reaching people at all levels." He sees this as perhaps costly but critical for having maximum impact.

There is a problem of morale in newsrooms. "When you think you are a failure, it is very hard to be innovative... the new organizations that come together out of this are going to be have to be really creative." Central to the new model, he says, is news people who are on the same page with financial people.

Susanna Capelouto of George Public Broadcasting

They did a three-part series in the fall called, "Bad News In News," about the financial failure of newspapers. They refer to the overall story when doing updates. Their website for this function is called, "Georgia Gazette."

She talks about a show that has a Facebook page. "It's not measurable what it does. We just do it because we can." She is training all of her reporters to do everything -- HTML, podcasting, write and design a blog, cameras for all reporters. "We are basically going to try to turn them all into mojos ... but they all have a solid base in radio reporting."

YOU can friend us at GeorgiaGazette in Facebook.

Mike Bauhof, KCET, St. Louis: Rising to the story

Bauhof is web coordinator for Channel 9, KCET in St. Louis. They don't have a newsroom. But they realized that with the foreclosure crisis affecting St. Louis they had to do something about it. They met and tried to tell the story and let the public know that there was assistance. They handled it through their local magazine show. They asked their producers to produce news stories for the magazine show on the topic.

One resources they have is an affiliation with the St. Louis Beacon, a local online news community website started by ex-Post Dispatch reporters and editors which is housed in the KCET building.


"What we found at the end of this is that we had a significant impact on our community ... people were more aware of what the crisis meant for our community ... and they were aware there were resources to help . . . and we found people felt more connected to their community."

CPB has asked KCET to replication what they did on a national level -- a way to figure out how to report on an issue in your community and figure out how you can make your community a little better at the same time.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q: What happens when a local newspaper goes away?

ROSENTHAL: A lot of things aren't covered, watchdog reporting. A key segment of American's understand a key function of our democracy is the press. If newspapers go away, they have been the key source of information for every other medium. Thousands of journalists have been laid off in the last year -- school boards aren't being covered.

"I think it is potentially quite dangerous in terms of how we function as a democracy." He sees the professional journalism as of tremendousvalue.

"I think there is a tipping point is there is a greater understanding of this crisis ... there needs to be a political campaign to inform the public of this risk."

WITT: He asks -- what will journalism be like when only the journalism is left? The Christian Science Monitor can cut their newsroom cost from $80 million to $7 million by going to online and one day of public instead of five.

Why do people get the Atlanta Journal Constitution? For the news. YOu are paying for the news. "We all talk about people won't pay for the news. But they are paying for the news. We just have to package it and think about it differently."

ROSENTHAL: Profit margins will have to be much lower, or non-profit. The business model completely failed.

CAPELOUTO: You can't sell news anymore -- the who, where how. "The one thing people can't get online is the why. What does it mean. Why and why does it matter." People have paid for that for years through public media.

JULIE DRIZIN: She's not sure it all about the business model failing. Citizens are becoming more engaged in reporting the news themselves because of the failures of their traditional media organizations. Her question: What is the role for citizen media?

JESSICA CLARK: Lots of roles for citizen journalists.

KINSEY WILSON: There's a role for interaction between the citizen and the professional reporter -- facilitating a larger conversation. One will not replace the other. They are collaborative. Role of convenor . . . "Increasingly the role of the journalist is to help people find what's most useful, most truthful in a mass of information out there."

ANNA SHOUP: At Newshour, they will focus on reducing barriers for citizen journalists to do their work and connect it with MSM.

KINSEY WILSON: He thinks NPR is going to be in a position to do some "proof of concept" experimental partnerships with the local online news communities popping up around the country. He thinks new and existing news organizations that are able to act in this crisis will emerge.

DOC SEARLS: Likes the idea advanced by Len Witt -- the idea that NPR stations could move to become the video providers of the mobile-device world. If thinks move the way Witt suggests, if there is a hole for streaming video, isn't there a wide-open space there?

SUSANNA CAPELOUTO: They do see the opportunity.

One questioner, Bob HOughton of Georgia Public Broadcasting, notes that it costs tons more to produce video than radio.

WITT: He is convinced it is going to gravitate to peoples' pocket device and that is where media organizations have to point. YOu may have all your bricks and mortar in television facilties, but videographers are going to be operating out of their house. It might be $65,000 to get a reporter up and running. "This is very doable, people are doing it, and the cost is down. I don't know anything about it but I can produce stuff for the Internet that people watch . . . and I'm a rank amateur."

A questioner from Santa Cruz affiliate asks Capelouto what's going into the web now.

SUSAN CAPELOUTO -- At least seven people. But they don't all work just for Georgia Gazette (the website), the do some repurposing for other things that go to the radio side. "We really do this with incredible team effort. ... there is no dedication (to one medium). The entire newsroom works on it." It was important to them to have good editing, so they have really invested in experienced editors. "It's been not easy but it's been a lot of fun." The entire news budget is just under $1 million a year, according to Bob Hougton, GPB's general manager.

A questionerasks if others adopt the public TV/radio model, does that become a competitor for fund-raising.

JESSICA CLARK: The trick is to incorporate it to the national level so that it opens up a new market of sources.

ANNA SHOUP: I hope these projects put us in a better position to not think of these people as competitors. "I hope that we bring everyone in on the national scale -- that's what we're trying to do."

A question from Judith Vecchione, from WGBH, Boston: "I hear this working beautifully on a local level, even a regional level. I wonder about how we are thinking on the national level." Does this make vulnerable the national level programs that exist? She's worried not just about news but about history and other topics.

KINSEY WILSON: NPR is committed to maintaining the existing national news gathering capability.

Q: How do you definite traditional PBS and NPR today as opposed to what it's always been? What needs to be done diffferently right now?

MIKE BAUHOF: The key is to be local and connected with your community. KCET is now the only locally owned major media organizations in St. LOuis -- they and the public radio affiliate. They now call themselves "public media" not "public television."

ANNA SHOUP: "What we're trying to do with the Newshour is not just be on TV." Their online operation is now 18 people, they are own Twitter, they have a great podcast player. They don't just think on TV. The executive producer thinks about Twitter. "I don't think we would define ourselves as just PBS on TV anymore." Foundations now want to see a strong web presence, and that brings in money. "That's what's finalizing those deals."

MIKE BAUHOF: We are trying to get our producers to think in terms of content, not just TV.

SUSANNA CAPELOUTO: The stations that are going to survive are those with very strong listener engagement. We always have to have them in mind. It comes down in public broadcasting to the listener.

JESSICA CLARK: Station needs to take their public service mission more serious. Lawrence Welk and Coupling are not public service. It's a tragedy that so much public-service journalism isn't on the air (it's on the web).

LEN WITT: "This news idea will bring you a younger, smarter audience who is willing to invest in you. And it is not goign to talk you that much. And if you don't put up the $10 million to get that done, it is going to be done by the commercial places ... this is a golden opportunity, you have the gravitas, the name . .. the question is do you have the will to do it?"

ROBERT ROSENTHAL: They way we have to think is not so much now but about where it is going. He is thinking of solution-oriented investigative reporting. It is not necessarily the day to day news. MOre in-depth, high quality, long-form stories but broken frequently into smaller, accessible stories. He's thinking of his two teen-age sons. If it is broken into 15, minute-and-a-half pieces that they can find, they will.

Then you create a forum around a public issue. To think holistically. To inform the public and hopefully influence policy.

Raised over $900,000 in eight days at Oregon Public Broadcasting. He observes that problem with the cost of producing video is the mindset at the station. The need is to either find people who are willing to adapt or find other people.