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Friday, 23 February 2007


John Proffitt

Rob's comments certainly are welcome. The "do this or die" message has been working just fine on me -- but that's because my identity is not wrapped up in being a broadcaster. Indeed, my professional life has been aligned with new and disruptive/transformative technologies and, in fact, with jettisoning old technologies and methods on a regular schedule. I've made a life out of learning and changing out the old for the new (perhaps it's become too easy?).

When I've telegraphed (no pun intended) the need for change to my long-time broadcasting colleagues, it has, so far, fallen on deaf ears. I think Rob has the reason pinpointed. I've heard this "fear doesn't motivate" message before, but I hadn't considered it would (naturally) apply in my situation, in public media, in a small/medium market.

Lately I've been toying with the idea of running off to start a parallel public media service that meets the objectives Rob and you, Dennis, point out -- hyper-local service, infused with all the citizen participation powers I can muster on a nonexistent budget. I'm thinking of inviting the help of a few public media veterans, especially as editorial guides.

I'm excited by the potential challenge (if I'm willing to take it on virtually alone), though I wonder about funding and finding the right people to participate and, well, hurting the old public media service I still enjoy to a great degree.

But I have to admit, I came to public media because I wanted to be in a mission-driven organization, I wanted to do something that mattered, that had impact. Instead, my job is, presently, to defend the old fort while opposing armies dig (or digg!) in for a siege. I'm told we're Thinking about the future -- planning our next moves, surveying the landscape, waiting for the right time to execute a new strategy. But I'm not sure I believe that anymore.

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