Above: Paula Kerger President and CEO, PBS
This post is part of the Digital Revolution and Democracy series, which offers idea-inspiring interviews with thought leaders who are shaping the future of media and democracy. More at knightfoundation.org/focas.
This year has been a complicated one for PBS, as federal funding was nearly cut off entirely for the 41-year-old nonprofit broadcasting institution, says President and CEO Paula Kerger (@paulakerger on Twitter).
"Government funding is very important if you care about access, and making sure that all Americans have the ability to see public broadcasting content," Kerger said. She credited an outreach campaign on behalf of PBS for successfully preserving its funding.
"It was individuals saying, wait a minute, this organization is not left or right, this organization is one that is trying to give us information -- information that we need, information that our children rely upon and information that our community relies upon, to help make informed decisions."
Kerger discussed the role of public media in informing citizens and PBS’ own adoption of new infrastructure for digital delivery at the 2011 Aspen Institute Forum on Communications and Society (FOCAS) sesson on Citizenship in the Public Sphere. Knight Foundation's Dennis Scholl interviewed her there.
She says the need for public media is vital. "The accuracy of information, and just the whole idea of media literacy is going to be an extraordinarily important topic. Certainly for kids as they are educated, but also for all of us, to really understand what are the sources of information, and how that could be manipulated, and what we need to do to pay attention to that."