participates as information
provider in a series of forums


With this issue, Current begins publishing a series of articles on Public Media Futures, appearing in conjunction with a two-year series of quarterly forums starting next month.

The forums are co-sponsored by USC Annenberg’s Center on Communication Leadership and Policy and American University’s School of Communication, which publishes Current.

Both the articles and the accompanying forums are planned to amplify and contribute to conversations already underway in the field about serious issues facing public service media companies in the 21st-century. 

The recession and trends in media technology are shaking the structural and financial foundations of public media, suggesting that some of the system’s major operating assumptions will have to change. 

These articles include commentaries from thinkers in the field as well as reports by Current writers. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Current, the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism or AU’s School of Communication.

The j-school cosponsors aim to spur conversation among small groups of invited public media leaders and policymakers and, between forums, among Current readers and others on our website, in the publication and elsewhere.

The first forum, next month in Washington, will take a deep look at public broadcasting’s financial situation and discuss some of the options that stations and networks are considering to reduce costs, expand revenue and raise productivity.

Three forums have been scheduled so far:

  • Feb. 16 in the Washington office of USC Annenberg’s center;
  • Late April in Los Angeles, coinciding with the Council on Foundations annual conference; and
  • Mid-July in Seattle, alongside the DEI Public Media Development and Marketing Conference.

To develop plans and material for the forums, Mark Fuerst, Current’s director of strategic initiatives and founding director of public radio’s Integrated Media Association, is working with Current editors and heads of the co-sponsoring groups, Adam Powell of USC Annenberg’s center, and Larry Kirkman, dean of AU’s School of Communication.

“As the series unfolds, we will encourage our colleagues to look beyond the system we have known to consider new models for service delivery and self-support,” Fuerst says.

The forum organizers will invite not only senior and middle-level execs, fundraisers and program makers, but they will also reach out to some of the younger executives who can bring  fresh eyes and some digital-native sensibilities to a discussion that will, we hope, contribute to the process of transformation that lies ahead.

Patrick Butler, David Brugger and other participants in 2010 forum at USC Annenberg's center in D.C. 

USC Annenberg's D.C. center hosted a forum, in association with Current, about local news reporting in July 2011. (Photo: USC Annenberg.)

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