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Public Engagement ? (The American model, reviewed)


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https://www.knightfoundation.org/public-media-white-paper-2017-kramer-o-donovan

 

A somewhat interesting perspective on how American Public Media drifted towards "a" public from "the" public.  The relationship between "the" public and "a" public is as such: "a" public is a subgroup of "the" public.

Human groupings align according to natural in-born perceptions of "us" vs "them" and our natural processes of reconciliation and separation from others.  What makes the square dance even more dynamic is that this happens upon media that are forever changing.  What makes the barn burn down is that the original media for politics in America were the printing press juxtaposed with the public town hall.  ( See Neil Postman "Amusing Ourselves to Death")

So National "Public" Media drifted to those publics that donated to them, and poorer communities were left behind.  The craftier private networks found cheap ways to engage with poor people, sometimes as a loss leader to convincing them to support their pet projects (payday loans, quack cures, conspiracies, right-wing radio, etc.)

 

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What I don't understand is how the conclusions seem to abandon the idea of 'Public' broadcasting even as they talk about the flaws in the current model:

Quote

 They share a public-service mission DNA. But their focus repeats the sins of NPR in the 1980s and 1990s, which pursued a donor base based largely on David Giovannoni’s research. (i.e. a demographic that was most appealing to advertisers: white, educated households with plenty of disposable income.)
The drive toward high-wealth, highly segmented audiences has demonstrated its sustainability. Let’s direct our tax dollars and foundation support to build better citizens from birth.


 

Is 'Public' broadcasting charity ?  Is it civic responsibility ?  As such, it just can't be doomed.  These aspects of human living still exist today, even if the morality has changed.  

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