Public media organizations have earned a unique trust within communities. This trust comes from years of local engagement and conversation with residents. It is built on what CPB’s Pat Harrison has noted is the power of public media: public safety, education, and civic responsibility.
The synthesis of these issues – trust, engagement, education, public safety and civic responsibility – has taken on a new tenor in 2021. Recent times have seen longtime political divisions boil over. Extremism and violence have emerged in ways not seen in generations. Add to this public media’s own appraisement – financial downturns at many stations and mismanagement being exposed publicly – and it’s safe to say that our industry is at a crossroads. The choices we make collectively are critical. We believe that stations can create resonance by leading with values and focus.
NFCB’s 2021 program will spotlight four areas:
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion – building on NFCB’s legacy of commitment to accountability;
- Mis/Disinformation – empowering stations and media organizers to help their audiences identify falsehoods that poison community cohesion;
- Polarization – equipping stations to take on divides in their communities; and
- Wellness and Mental Health – supporting you in making the well-being of staff and volunteers a priority.
Built around these areas, NFCB will host a virtual unconference in July entitled Wish You Were Here. NFCB staff has a plan for helping stations face challenges that are confronting community media organizations nationwide, particularly due to the impacts of COVID-19. Since many stations could be limited in their ability to participate in in-person events, due to financial or health concerns, we’ll convene online this summer with the vision of 2022 allowing us to gather in person once again.
Throughout the month of July, NFCB will host events as part of Wish You Were Here. The first hour of each virtual gathering will be a formal presentation available to anyone who is interested in attending. After a short break, NFCB will then host members-only breakout sessions on the particular topic of interest. Our finale will feature a celebration of our community, featuring photos/videos from stations and more.
Our tentative schedule for Wish You Were Here is:
- July 7: A conversation on diversity, equity and inclusion in communities (register free here), followed by breakout gatherings for NFCB member stations on the topic.
- July 13: A presentation on misinformation (register free here), followed by breakout gatherings for NFCB member stations on the topic.
- July 15: A dialogue on polarization in communities (register free here), followed by breakout gatherings for NFCB member stations on the topic.
- July 21: A session on wellness and mental health (register free here), followed by breakout gatherings for NFCB member stations on the topic.
Further details will be announced soon. NFCB welcomes your feedback on speakers, breakout facilitators and moderators. Please contact us with your ideas and visit NFCB’s website regularly for event updates.