Commentary: With shift in plans, Greater Public hits the brakes on digital

The departure of Jeannie Ericson from Greater Public and the cancellation of the short-lived Digital Day at the Public Media Development and Marketing Conference represent a damaging retreat from public media’s digital future. Over the past 11 years, the Integrated Media Association was one of the only focal points within public media for collaboration on digital strategy and realistic, shareable solutions for public TV and radio stations. Under the leadership of Mark Fuerst and then Jeannie Ericson, with the commitment of lots of smart people at local stations, iMA worked to bring public media into the digital age. When iMA merged with Greater Public last year, it seemed like a positive step toward integrating digital with our marketing strategies and revenue generation. One year later, Greater Public opted not to renew Ericson’s contract and to cancel Digital Day.

Former iMA director leaves Greater Public amid shift in planned services

Greater Public, the organization providing fundraising resources and support to public media stations, has opted not to renew the contract of Jeannie Ericson, executive director of its digital division. Ericson formerly worked directly with stations as executive director of the Integrated Media Association, which merged with Greater Public in August 2013. Under a yearlong contract that expired Aug. 29, she helped Greater Public evaluate how to integrate iMA’s digital services for stations into its existing portfolio of development-focused activities. Ericson had not expected that Greater Public would decline to renew her contract, she said.

Greater Public scholarship to honor founder Shaw

Public radio’s biggest fundraising group is offering an annual scholarship in honor of its recently deceased founder. Greater Public, formerly DEI, announced the Nate Shaw Scholarship during the 2013 Public Media Development and Marketing Conference (PMDMC) in July. The scholarship will be administered by YPpubmedia, the organization for young professionals in public media, and cover the cost for one individual to attend the annual conference. Shaw died May 29 at the age of 76. Throughout a career in public broadcasting, he helped develop new fundraising strategies for stations.

DEI rebrands as Greater Public to reflect new goals for membership, collaborations

ATLANTA — DEI, the membership organization that supports development and fundraising work at public radio stations, has changed its name to Greater Public. President Doug Eichten announced the change during the opening session of the Public Media Development and Marketing Conference, which runs through Saturday at the downtown Omni Hotel. “[T]he nature and pace of change in the media landscape now is so dramatic that we believe our industry is at a true inflection point,” Eichten said. “Greater Public is committed to providing new levels of leadership and resources for public media organizations to move forward.”

The new name signals Greater Public’s intention to broaden its membership to include more public television stations and to develop collaborations among different types of public-service media organizations, including nonprofit news outlets. It also plans to produce special offerings in leadership development and training, including for lay leaders who serve on station boards.