Local control of pubcasting stations “profoundly important,” Kerger says

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“Public Media in a Digital Age” was the topic of the panel discussion Tuesday (Oct. 5) organized by Free Press at the New America Foundation in D.C. The conversation ranged from localism to relevance and funding of pubmedia. “It is profoundly important that local public broadcasting stations are controlled by people in their communities . . . That’s where the funding comes from,” PBS President Paula Kerger said. Also appearing was Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC. He noted that measuring share of audience isn’t what ultimately matters in public broadcasting. “One program can change someone’s life,” he said. “You don’t need a fortune to do one intimate radio program that matters. There’s something to say about impact rather than scale.” Also on the panel were Geneva Overholser, director of the Annenberg School of Journalism; and Nicholas Lemann, dean of Columbia University’s graduate school of journalism. Moderating was Steve Coll, journalist and president of the New America Foundation.