Twelve years ago, with CPB funding and a vision for a transformed media landscape, the National Center for Media Engagement (NCME), then known as the National Center for Outreach, set out to lead public media’s evolution toward community engagement as a strategic imperative for better serving communities and increasing station relevance and financial sustainability.
Today, with great appreciation for how public media has embraced change, and pride in our collective success, we recognize that stations have transformed their work. With that work complete, and as NCME’s CPB funding draws to a close on June 30, we celebrate that the public media community has developed a shared understanding of engagement and a commitment to engaging communities as a critical component of their local service and financial success.
Nearly every public media station and national organization has collaborated with NCME to infuse engagement thinking into public media’s work. More than 350 organizations and thousands of public media professionals have reoriented toward their communities and embraced their role as community conveners and collaborators.
Through it all, we engaged you in the same ways you engaged with your communities. You got outside the office and listened carefully to community needs. You built relationships, understood where you could add value and deepened your ties to your community. You shifted your thinking about the role of a station in a changing world, and collaborated with others to take on local challenges. You led the evolution of public media and our relationship with the communities we serve.
Now, the work of community engagement enters a new phase – one defined by the ongoing need to demonstrate relevance and impact arising from a station’s engagement with community leaders, organizations and various demographic groups to address local concerns. Most recently, this work has begun with stations involved in the American Graduate initiative.
In the coming months, CPB will be working to advance community engagement further by examining best practices of community impact and how the system can replicate and scale those efforts further. We are incredibly grateful to CPB for their commitment and support in helping stations embrace transformational change. We are equally grateful to you for your enthusiasm, creativity and energy in embracing community engagement as a cornerstone of how you serve your communities. To support your efforts, the NCME website will remain available as your repository of the best thinking, tools and tips for cultivating the culture and behaviors for engaging your community. Though we will no longer update the site, we hope you’ll continue to use its wealth of resources.
Thank you for engaging with us over the last twelve years. Thank you for inviting us into your organizations and into your work to help transform and strengthen your public service. Thank you for sharing your stories of success with your colleagues at stations across the country. And thank you for your extraordinary service to your communities and our nation. Together, we’ve reimagined the role of a public station and embraced new ways for stations to work in communities. That is a great start toward strengthening stations and the communities they serve for generations to come.
The NCME Team