Barbara Cochran, the author of “Rethinking Public Media: More Local, More Inclusive, More Interactive,” has a featured blog post on the Huffington Post front page today making the case for the continuation of modest federal funding for public media. The op-ed, “Why Federal Funds for Public Broadcasting is the Right Decision,” is especially timely as today marks the start of new leadership at NPR with Gary Knell taking the helm of the national news organization after a successful tenure at Sesame Workshop.
By any objective measure, under Knell’s leadership Sesame Workshop was remarkable successful in becoming more local, more inclusive and more interactive. Sesame Workshop and its signature program, Sesame Street, expanded to deliver locally, culturally relevant educational programming to children in over 20 countries around the world. Sesame Street’s diverse characters and storylines have been praised for a strong ethic of inclusion, with ethnic, gender, disability and economic diversity and equity dealt with in straightforward, sensitive and nonthreatening ways. In digital media, Sesame Workshop is a leader in developing games and educational content that take advantage of the array of digital technologies and mobile platforms that are available.
More local, more inclusive, more mobile — now it’s time to see if Gary Knell can do for Main Street what he did on Sesame Street. I wish him well.
Note: NPR’s new CEO Gary Knell is hosting a Twitter chat today, December 1, at 3:00 p.m. ET to respond to listener questions. You may tweet your questions to @NPRgaryknell with #nprCEO.