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Future of Public Media

How to Make Membership in Public Broadcasting More Meaningful

POV Web JunkieLast year, I donated to my local public broadcaster, which had decided to carry my favorite shows, Independent Lens and POV—the two public TV series that carry award-winning, diverse documentaries—at a time I could actually watch them. (That is, at the nationally scheduled time, on Monday nights at 10pm.) And I told them why I was donating.

And so now I’m a member of my local station. Read more...

Three Questions about Interactive Storytelling at Tribeca

TribecaTFI Interactive, Games for Change and Storyscapes this year were, as in the past, wildly stimulating and provocative experiences at the Tribeca Film Festival. But I found myself wondering if in the interactive space we’re ready to get a little definition on what we’re talking about. Read more...

PBS and WNET Keep Independent Documentary in Primetime

After months of public and private discussion that raised fundamental questions about the purpose of public TV, PBS and WNET have struck an agreement to support the public TV series that showcase diverse, independent voices: Independent Lens and POV. Read more...

Diverse Voices Matter for Public Television

Indie Caucus SpeakeasyIndependent filmmakers are preparing to hear whether WNET and PBS officials will make any changes to programming decisions after engaging in a National Listening Tour.  In a recent The Pub podcast, WNET Vice President for Programming Stephen Segaller referred to feedback from the Listening Tour as “predictable,” “unanimous,” and filmmaker backlash to change, despite the many testimonials that came from constituents beyond the documentary community. Look no further than the New York Times Op-Ed by legendary American television writer and producer Norman Lear, “Is PBS Neglecting Its Mission?”

What was the “predictable” message delivered from community members and filmmakers alike? Read more...

Roundup: PBS and Indies at SXSW

Photo by PBS via FacebookAt SXSW, PBS made a bigger splash than usual at the media/tech mecca, with seven (!) panels and three fest films. At the new-this-year PBS Lounge (swag, free beer, comfy couches, selfies posted direct to Net), you could meet filmmakers of the three PBS premieres. PBS also announced investment in theatricals. And more than two dozen PBSers were on hand to court indies. 

But it joined a throng of distributors—not just broadcasters but also online platforms—doing the same thing. At the same time, it couldn’t say what indies wanted to hear, and it demonstrated its own version of a digital divide. Read more...