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Paula Kerger: Room for PBS and NPR to Partner for News

Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS, said she sees the possibility of PBS and National Public Radio (NPR) sharing resources to produce news programming for PBS. Leonard Witt, who conducted the video interview, tells Kerger of his Representative Journalism idea, which he thinks could turn PBS into a news powerhouse.

Hello Romenesko readers, to learn more about Representative Journalism go here and to see our Rep J experimental project in Northfield, MN go here.

Welcome readers too. You might want to read the attached comment about the possibility of PBS and NPR forming a partnership.

4 Responses to “Paula Kerger: Room for PBS and NPR to Partner for News”

  1. Leonard Witt Says:

    A commenter emailed me the following information, with the request of anonymity. It is worth reading:

    I listened to your interview with Paula Kerger, and her remarks on doing more with NPR, with an overwhelming sense of deja vu. While PBS may need NPR, NPR has no need for PBS.

    Both have talked up working together before, and with the exception of a handful of one-offs that were modest successes, nothing ever came of all this chatter. It’s one of those ideas that sounds great, but has no substance.

    NPR built a functional news organization dedicated to public service and PBS, for some of the reasons Kerger legitimately cites (it’s other missions like children’s programming), and for other reasons (its missed opportunities and dysfunction as an organization) did not. Nor do I think it is a matter of not playing nicely together because of territoriality or lack of vision. In a partnership, PBS would be just a burden on NPR.

    I also think Kerger is wrong in the emphasis she put on the Kroc gift as a reason that NPR was able to do what PBS could not. NPR had marshaled the resources and built up its investment in News years before the Kroc gift, although the bequest indeed did give NPR the confidence to continue its expansion.

  2. Jenny Says:

    Don’t know if representative Journalism will work if the videography is as bad as this one is.

  3. Leonard Witt Says:

    Jenny writes:
    Don’t know if representative Journalism will work if the videography is as bad as this one is.

    You are right, but, Jenny, you have to think bigger.

    I am an amateur. Nonetheless, look what I was able to accomplish with a $119 Flip camera and edited with MovieMaker on my PC.

    A little better equipment, someone with more talent and a better editing program and, presto, instant high quality web content produced by individuals working out of their homes.

    Maybe that person would be you Jenny.

  4. Jeffrey Dvorkin Says:

    I agree with Leonard Witt. NPR’s deep relations with the public radio stations are what give it a level of credibility that PBS doesn’t have. Although there are similarities between audiences, public radio’s appeal to its listeners remains unique. In Canada, efforts by CBC TV to find a way to connect to its viewers as CBC Radio does with its listeners has also been unsuccessful. This is partly because the market-driven values of tv tend to be antithetical to radio audiences. Rather than drain resources away from radio in tv programs, a more useful partnership might be for public radio and television to create non-program communities of interest. Town halls, blogs and local versions of Craig’s List come to mind. These communities, might over time, become a value that both media might share and eventually profit from. But the short term benefits are not financial. But they allow pubcasting to be curators and conveners of community. Oregon Public Broadcasting might be on to something here that others might emulate.