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June 15, 2010
Public Media Envision a Blockbuster 'App'
Public radio and television are cooking up something that sounds marvelous for sharing content with the public -- a media app of apps, you might say.

The concept behind the pending Public Media Platform sounds sort of like a soda fountain for information generated in the public media world. Robert Paterson, president of The Renewal Consulting Group Inc., which has National Public Radio (NPR) as a client, describes the developing initiative on his blog.

Paterson refers to an announcement at Wired's Disruptive by Design conference this week by Vivian Schiller, NPR's CEO. Said Schiller: "The Public Media Platform is a series of platforms that will allow all of the content from all of those entities — whether news or cultural products — to flow freely among the partners and member stations, and ultimately, also to other publishers, other not-for-profits and software developers who will invent wonderful new products that we can’t even imagine.”

The seven public media streams (networks) are Public Radio & TV Websites, Independent Producers, Content Partner Websites, Educational Portals, Third-Party Mobile Apps, Audio and Video Aggregators, and Not-For-Profit Interest Groups. 

"We're going to spend the next six months figuring out exactly (the) rights (and metadata) issues, but the ultimate goal of this is to make this content available," Schiller said. "Say there's a blogger who is particularly focused on the BP crisis in the Gulf – they will be able to pull out still photographs, national and international reporting, reporting from local stations, video from PBS, data, and mash that all up together."

It's all aimed at changing the public media culture from "Broadcast to Participation," is how Schiller summed up the content-sharing aim. 

Sounds like a way of assembling public media-based content by roaming through electronic library "stacks". However and whenever this initiative firms up, it's worth keeping an eye on. (Yes, we realize that between soda fountains and library stacks, we're mixing metaphors, but this is an exciting concept that's hard at this point to pin down.) 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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