Six real, practical and proven lessons
on engaging from WGVU

October 26, 2012 by kksparks under Community Cinema, Engagement Trends, Public Media System

Cristina at WGVUThis week on Sesame Street, or rather, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our deputy director Cristina Hanson gave a much-deserved speech of appreciation to WGVU Public Media. Its engagement initiative, WGVU Engage, has had phenomenal success in addressing local issues effectively.

There’s much to learn from WGVU about building an engagement initiative. In this article, Tim Eernisse, WGVU’s Development and Marketing Manager, walks through how they created WGVU Engage. Below, we bring you the highlights with five takeaways for putting your community first.

Brand it
WGVU Engage launched in 2011. More than just a brand, it formed the structure for how the station would address and solve issues that mattered to its community, from veterans’ health to education. Click here to read more.. »

Rob St. Mary: Thinking Beyond “Transactional Journalism”

October 15, 2012 by kksparks under Engagement Trends, Journalism

By Rob St. Mary – Reporter/Public Insight Analyst/Community Engagement Specialist at 101.9FM WDET

For the first seven years of my career I worked in commercial radio newsrooms. One thing I learned was speed. It was in that pressurized atmosphere that I learned all about “transactional journalism” – although I didn’t call it that at the time. It was just called “getting it on the air.”

The calculus of “transactional journalism” usually looks like this:

1 reporter + 1 source = 1 story

Of course, if the story is more involved, you might have several sources. But, by and large, that was the main method of my work within the breaking news environment.

This method is good if you are under pressure to meet the constant deadline. We called it “feeding the beast.” But, looking back, I can see how it was very deficient for pushing forward future stories and building engagement with the community around coverage. Click here to read more.. »

3 Tips for Conjuring “Free Magic” from WBEZ’s Localore Project Curious City

September 18, 2012 by kksparks under Creative Practices, Engagement Trends, Journalism, Public Radio

 by Jessica Clark, AIR media strategist

While idling bumper-to-bumper on Chicago’s highways, WBEZ listener Mike Cunningham wondered: “What are the rules around the reversible lanes on the Kennedy Expressway? Has the idea worked?”

For an answer, he turned to Curious City, one of the ten Localore projects across the country designed to help stations invent ways to involve a broader swath of the public. Led by producer Jennifer Brandel, the project encourages Chicagoland community members to submit questions to WBEZ through an interactive site built by tech partner Zeega, to vote for their favorite questions, and then to follow along with WBEZ reporters as they head out seeking answers. Curious City gives a voice to what listeners like Cunningham are wondering about Chicago, and gives the station a better way to take the community’s pulse. Click here to read more.. »

Four ways to support your community during a drought

July 31, 2012 by kksparks under Engagement Trends, Public Media System, Public Radio, Television

StateImpact Texas, a collaboration between KUT in Austin and KUHF in Houston, created an interactive drought map.

by Ann Alquist, NCME’s Director of Radio Engagement

Public media can be the resource for communities in a crisis, especially in instances where severe weather is causing the crisis. Some years ago, KUYI on the Hopi reservation in northeast Arizona provided ongoing news and reports as the region was buffeted by blizzards, tornadoes, and floods.

These days, issues such as the current drought conditions affecting communities across the United States, are an opportunity for public media to be an essential resource that helps communities understand the long-term context around an event and get resources to stay safe. Many stations in communities affected by the drought are playing this role right now. Click here to read more.. »

Audio can engage, too

July 26, 2012 by kksparks under Public Media System, Public Radio

On our recent Digital Tools of Engagement webinar, Mike Caputo with APM’s Public Insight Network spoke to the crowd about the value of using audio for engagement. He talked about how audio is most often used as a one-way tool: Someone broadcasts, others listen. But, audio platform SoundCloud is helping bring interaction into the mix. Click here to read more.. »

Five Public Media Uses for Pinterest

July 25, 2012 by kksparks under American Graduate, Online Engagement


by Kelly Chen, Social Media Production Assistant
PBS NewsHour


Pinterest is a social network. A retail platform. A modern-day scrapbook of inspirational quotes, recipes and dream destinations. Within public media, however, it serves as a visually aesthetic and easy way to showcase a brand and engage a community.

But, you have to think strategy and ask the right questions. Click here to read more.. »

Engaging communities: The Sky’s
the Limit

July 16, 2012 by kksparks under Online Engagement, Producers, Public Media System, Television

Every once in a while, content comes along that’s truly transformative. And often, it seems to come from public media. The upcoming mini-series Half the Sky is no different. The excitement around it was palpable on last week’s webinar as over 100 people gathered to learn how to engage their communities with Half the Sky.

What’s Half the Sky? Debuting October 1 & 2 on Independent Lens, this mini-series will cover issues from sex trafficking to gender-based violence to women’s health. Producer Joshua Bennett described it like this: “Half the Sky came from the idea that abuse of women and girls worldwide is a defining human rights issue of our time…. Nick [Kristof] and Sheryl [WuDunn] were focused on using individual stories to highlight worldwide issues. We wanted to give voice to women living through these issues… And we wanted this to be a transmedia project that could reach people on multiple levels – web, games, film.” Click here to read more.. »

Ian Hill: A new perspective from the community


A KQED banner hanges in the window at a laundromat where an open newsroom was held in Richmond, Ca. (Courtesy of KQED)

KQED’s Ian Hill writes about the station’s experimentation with “open newsrooms.” Take a look at his tips below on how your station could launch its own open newsrooms to connect with the community.  Click here to read more.. »

Your community engagement to-do list

June 20, 2012 by kksparks under Engagement Trends, Public Media System, Public Radio

At last week’s NFCB conference, NCME Executive Director Charles Meyer talked about shifting your station’s mindset – from a community radio station to a community media organization.

Check out his presentation here: