The news is old now, we won a grant, eh? Over the course of the last six months we have embarked upon a journey traveling down the road of journalism, technology and community building. We were awarded this grant as technologists to build a tool for public radio. We are fulfilling this grant as social media-infused journalistic technologists. The road has been bumpy.
Our first task was to comprehend the universe of a Knight grantee. We began with a visit to MIT Media Lab in June where we were exposed to a wealth of innovation in the civic media space. A meeting of Knight grantees from around the country in Chicago provided an opening to a community of journalistic thought leaders.
In September, I attended a Knight panel exploring public information needs in the Silicon Valley. RadioEngage continues to be represented at other events along the way, including Blogher, CopyCamp and a Public Press fundraiser. Each event brings more perspective and exploration to our project.
In the midst of this we have explored the world of public radio past, present and future. Many individuals along the way have helped to educate us on the intrinsic values of public radio and the political challenges that have plagued its history. Terry Green at KUSP knows more about public radio than God (ok, maybe not) and he has been invaluable in navigating the space that is public media. Another invaluable voice in radio, Doc Searls, provides great insight into how public radio of the future could be experienced and even funded through work happening with ProjectVRM.
A long conversation and interview with Steve Behrens at Current magazine was thought provoking and informative as we explored the intersection of public radio and technology. My often-sporadic membership with the PubForge group has resulted in extraordinary findings from a public radio station survey that provided great affirmation for the need for an easy to use CMS for radio stations. Steve Laufer, KUSP’s web/new media director and our station liaison has given great consult about the current status of public radio websites and has been instrumental in helping us plan the specifics of RadioEngage.
We have been like sponges as we gain understanding and insight into the inner workings of public radio stations. We’ve interviewed radio show hosts, producers, staff, and listeners at both KUSP and KALW as we determine the best Drupal toolset for RadioEngage. The conversations have been a process in understanding the world from inside the public radio station and how the listeners intersect with that world.
In November we hosted an open space event, Public Media Camp which was designed to explore the public media landscape. The event was attended by over 80 participants representing local Santa Cruz residents, technologists and public radio enthusiasts. The outcome of the camp will be the launch of a conversation platform for Radio Engage. This site will provide the many communities we serve with a place to explore as we build the future toolset for public media. Watch this space for new developments.