Roundtable to Discuss Public Media Reform

December 6, 2010  • Alexa Wahl

Contact: Erin Silliman
The Aspen Institute
Tel. 202.736.5818
[email protected]

Washington, DC, December 6, 2010 – The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will release the third in a series of white papers following up the recommendations of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. Entitled “Rethinking Public Media: More Local, More Inclusive, More Interactive,” the paper is aimed at implementing the Knight Commission’s recommendation regarding Public Media. Following the presentation of the paper, leaders and critics of public media will engage in a roundtable discussion on the recommendations.  This will offer a timely opportunity for an airing of the now controversial and widely debated topic of federal support for public broadcasting and the reforms necessary or warranted to obtain that support.

In October, 2009 the Knight Commission released its landmark report, Informing Communities, which included 15 recommendations on better serving community information needs. This bipartisan blue ribbon commission of 17 luminaries called for an increased support for public service media but with reforms in the areas of local programming, diversity, and interactivity.

Recognizing the lack of widespread embrace of digital media on the local level of public broadcasting, this new white paper, Rethinking Public Media: More Local, More Inclusive, More Interactive, authored by Barbara Cochran, Curtis B. Hurley Chair of Public Affairs Journalism at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, takes a deeper look at ways to scale up successful models of local public media, increase the diversity of public media staff and program content, and expand application programming interfaces (API) to enable online content sharing.

To mark the release of the paper and discuss its implications, the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation are hosting a high-level roundtable discussion featuring leaders and critics of public media and policy-makers on Wednesday, December 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Cosmos Club (2121 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008).

What:

A roundtable discussion on public media with key policymakers and public media leaders. A copy of Barbara Cochran’s paper, Rethinking Public Media: More Local, More Inclusive, More Interactive, will also be released and available at www.knightcomm.org.

Who:

Featured Speaker, Barbara Cochran, Curtis B. Hurley Chair of Public Service Journalism at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and President Emeritus of the Radio-Television News Directors Association. As vice president for news at NPR, Cochran oversaw the launch of NPR’s highly-successful “Morning Edition” program.

Roundtable participants include:

Pat Aufderheide, Director, Center for Social Media, American University

Patrick Butler, President-designate, Association for Public Television Stations

Charlie Firestone, Executive Director, Communications and Society Program, Aspen Institute

Ellen Goodman, Professor, Rutgers University School of Law

Patricia Harrison, President and CEO, Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Jacquie Jones, Executive Director, National Black Programming Coalition

Michael Jones, Chief Operating Officer, Public Broadcasting Service

Bill Kling, President and CEO, American Public Media

Blair Levin, Communications and Society Fellow, Aspen Institute

Michael Marcotte, MVM Consulting

Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Vivian Schiller, President and CEO, National Public Radio

Tom Thomas, Co-CEO, Station Resource Group

Laura Walker, President and CEO, New York Public Radio

Jerry Wareham, President and CEO, WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN ideastream

Bruce Wolpe, Strategic Communications, Office of Representative Henry Waxman

Corie Wright, Policy Counsel, Free Press

***Please note that space is limited to members of the press who RSVP.
Please RSVP to [email protected] or 202.736.5818.

Where:

Cosmos Club, 2121 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008. For those who cannot attend in person, a video of the roundtable will be available online at www.knightcomm.org later in the week.

When:

Wednesday, December 8th, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Agenda:

The roundtable will begin with a presentation by Barbara Cochran, followed by discussion among the invited roundtable participants about the recommendations and how they may best be implemented.

Interviews can be arranged by contacting Erin Silliman at [email protected] or 202.736.5818.

The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy was a blue ribbon panel of seventeen media, policy and community leaders that met in 2008 and 2009. Its purpose was to assess the information needs of communities, and recommend measures to help Americans better meet those needs. Its Report, Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age, was the first major commission on media since the Hutchins Commission in the 1940’s and the Kerner and Carnegie Commissions of the 1960’s.

The Commission’s aims were to maximize the availability and flow of credible local information; to enhance access and capacity to use the new tools of knowledge and exchange; and to encourage people to engage with information and each other within their geographic communities. Among its 15 recommendations the Commission argues for universal broadband, open networks, transparent government, a media and digitally literate populace, vibrant local journalism, public media reform, and more local public engagement.

The Knight Commission is a project of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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