In August 2018, Twin Cities PBS (TPT) launched TPToriginals.org, a new hub for the local storytelling that we’ve produced over many decades as a trusted public media station and, at the same time, a learning laboratory for producers to craft digital-first stories and series. Whether a producer dusts off a segment pulled from the TPT archive or dreams up an idea for a new series about, say, the connective power of sharing a meal with your neighbors, the site is a catalyst for TPT staff members to work together differently and to flex creative muscles in new ways. But while the site has had â€“ and will continue to have â€“ a significant impact on the organization, the seed of the idea is rooted in TPT’s most recent Strategic Plan, which emphasizes our aim to “be obsessive about the needs of our audience.”
Like many stations across the country, both public media and commercial, broadcast viewership on TPT channels is on a slight downward trajectory as more people stream on-demand content. That trend presents a question: How does TPT continue to provide a relevant, engaging service as the media landscape becomes increasingly fractured? And how do we reach audiences who may have fallen away from TPT and PBS as go-to resources for relevant, thoughtful storytelling that isn’t tied to a breaking news cycle?
In addition to helping to answer those questions, TPToriginals.org is also aimed at a larger objective of reaching and engaging people who have shared the insight that â€œTPT creates content about me. It’s just not for me.â€ In other words, our ambition is to break out of the closed circuit of audiences we currently reach and to actively create content – and an experience – that invites people outside of our traditional network.
Minnesotans feel a tremendous pride in calling this state home – we put the outline of our state on everything from dish towels to baby onesies – and we saw an opportunity to build a local community and to invite them to dive deeper into what is means to live in this land of 10,000 lakes, stories and perspectives.