Vlogs, iPods and Beyond: Public Media’s Terrifying Opportunities (2006)

For people who believe that a democratic society needs media for public knowledge and action, this is an intoxicating moment. Never has the public had so many opportunities to meet up online, vlog their issues and watchdog the news. For commercial broadcasters, who are watching old business models melt away and are watching their viewers morph into co-creators, this is a terrifying moment.

For public broadcasters, this is a time of terrifying opportunity. The challenge is figuring out how to tap into participatory media practices for public life.

Public broadcasting began as the best possible way to use modern media to facilitate public knowledge and action. Then, the alternatives were painfully apparent: U.S.-style commercial broadcasting, Soviet-style state broadcasting, or the Canadian and British model of state-run public broadcasting. Now, cutting-edge media hold the potential for the public to serve and find itself. Does that mean the public no longer needs public broadcasting? Or does it mean that tomorrow’s public media will have more and different capabilities than ever before?

In this lecture, Dr Patricia Aufderheide explores the latest thinking about collaborative, participatory media for public life, and showcases the latest examples of ways public broadcasters and other actors are taking up the challenge to facilitate and make participatory media for public life.