Clearly, the global acceleration of communication is changing newsgathering, news delivery and audience behavior. Certainly, it is drawing us away from our singular dedication to radio (the medium of sound) and encouraging us to consider multimedia news work. And although we’ve always attended to our communities, we now have community-building power like never before. Community too is a medium for public service.
This chapter acknowledges that rapid technological change will render some aspects of the PRNDG obsolete. For a look at how digital media is rapidly changing NPR News — and raising new questions for public radio journalists — see Outside Help → Sound Reporting: Beyond Radio
The thing for News Directors to remember is that despite the technological evolution, our role and relevance comes back to the trusted message and the trusted messenger. Our public radio newsrooms should continue to offer fundamental building blocks of worthwhile communication: facts in context.
We’ll change but we’ll still scrutinize and investigate. We’ll do some things differently but we’ll still do them for the public good.
Our primary medium is sound. That’s what got us here.
In face of massive change, our public radio industry is in the process of reinventing itself to stay relevant to audiences. Many broadcast stations have stopped referring to themselves as “public radio” and now say “public media.”
Public radio with its community service values has traditionally pressed for close connections with listeners — encouraging them as volunteers, inviting their participation in events, and turning to them for membership support. Now this contact can go deeper using social networking and other interactive opportunities. And it should continue to emphasize “offline” contact.