‘The Pub’ #40: Chris Satullo, WHYY’s former v.p. for news

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Satullo poses outside of the hotel linen closet where The Pub host Adam Ragusea interviewed him at the 2015 Pennsylvania Press Conference in June. (Photo; Adam Ragusea, Current)

Satullo poses outside of the hotel linen closet where The Pub host Adam Ragusea interviewed him at the 2015 Pennsylvania Press Conference in June. (Photo; Adam Ragusea, Current)

Chris Satullo had big, somewhat unorthodox plans for news at WHYY, Philadelphia’s dominant public radio and television station.

“I would hope it would become the hub of a — sort of — virtual collaborative network of like-minded journalists,” Satullo told me on The Pub in June. Rather than viewing WHYY solely as a source of community journalism, he thought it could function as a benefactor of community journalism — a supporter of great work already being done beyond the station’s walls.

Then in September, Satullo abruptly resigned his position as v.p. for news and civic dialogue. Subsequent reporting by the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests he was forced out over conflicts with fellow senior managers.

On this week’s episode of The Pub, we listen back to my conversation with Satullo. Also:

  • We reprise my February interview with former NPR host Jacki Lyden about her new venture The Seams, an independent news organization and podcast dedicated to covering fashion intelligently.
  • In a commentary we first ran in April, I explain my catchphrase: Authenticity is the new authority.

Please subscribe to The Pub in iTunes or your favorite podcast app, and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and allow people to find the show more easily.

We welcome your feedback on the show: You can reach me at adam@current.org or @aragusea on Twitter; my supervising producer at Current, Mike Janssen, is at mike@current.org; and you can contact Current generally at news@current.org or @currentpubmedia on Twitter.

If you’d like to offer a comment to be used in the program, please send on-mic tape (recorded in a studio, with a kit, a smartphone, anything) to adam@current.org either as an attachment or through Google Drive. Please keep it short!

Adam Ragusea hosts Current’s weekly podcast The Pub and is a journalist in residence and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.

Correction: The headline of this post has been revised to accurately reflect Satullo’s departure from WHYY.

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  • Mark Pugner

    I’m not quite sure how I feel about a podcast running reruns. The great thing about new media is you can really make up the rules as you go. You should be able to take a week off if you need to, and you can always cover any missed information during the next show. That is one of the best things about being subscribed, I will always catch a new episode no matter when they post.

    • Adam Ragusea

      Yeah, I’m on the fence about it myself. If you just go dark for a week, your monthly download numbers will sink, which affects iTunes ratings and advertising sales. I’m not terribly concerned with either of those factors with respect to this show (yet). There’s an argument that if you go dark, you give people the opportunity to fall out of the habit of listening to your show, which would be bad. On the other hand, nobody likes a rerun of something they’ve already heard, and you run the risk of irritating people. But for this show — at this moment — I like doing reruns, because our download numbers are orders of magnitude higher than they were in our first months, so the segments I’m rerunning are great pieces that most subscribers haven’t heard yet.

      • Mark Pugner

        I suppose tracking downloads is the only way you have to knowing how many listeners. A better stat might be the number of subscribers? That is my favorite feature of podcasting. I don’t have to worry about missing a new show as long as I am subscribed I will never miss a show. Some of my favorite podcasts don’t update on a regular schedule and it is always a nice surprise to see a newly downloaded episode on my particular podcasting app.