As part of a Knight News Challenge invitation to write occasionally for the terrific MediaShift IdeaLab I’ve got a new blog post up: “Public Media Should Mind the Developer Gap“. This has been a frequent topic in conversations we have here at PRX and with our partners across public media, particularly as we’ve been building mobile apps and testing the limits of tech capacity at stations big and small.
Here are a few quotes, and you can find the full post here.
As public broadcasting goes through its own turbulent transition to a new Internet and mobile world, the technology talent gap is a risk that looms large. Yes, there are many other challenges: political and policy battles, business model pressures, cultural and structural obstacles, the need for strategic vision and leadership. And there are other recruitment needs across general management, content, fundraising. But the twin coins of the new digital realm are code and design, and with a few notable exceptions, public media is seriously lacking in both.
These days the competition for talent in media technology is fierce, from new ventures to mature enterprises. Public media should be the go-to place for aspiring and experienced technologists who believe in a public service mission, want to collaborate to build products, services and content for millions of people, and seek an alternative from the rapidly commercializing web. There should be natural alliances with open-source software communities, with leading nonprofit web giants Mozilla and Wikipedia, the growing number of web-based local news organizations, and the open/civic data movement.
To keep up with the latest from the PRX tech team make sure to check out the PRX Labs blog.
The Public Radio Tuner iPhone App Project is a collaborative effort lead by the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) in partnership with National Public Radio (NPR), Public Interactive (PI), American Public Media (APM), and Public Radio International (PRI), with participation from Doc Searls and Project VRM at Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, additional stations and producers, and in coordination with Apple’s U.S. Education division. The goal is to create the Public Radio Tuner – an application for the iPhone platform using Apple’s recently released software development kit (SDK) and iTunes App Store distribution service. The application will serve end users by initially offering access to local stations’ internet radio streams. Additional versions will offer program/content guides along with a catalog of on-demand audio content from local, independent, and national content providers. Future functionality will enable direct listener contributions to stations and content providers. The project will establish a coordinated approach to the iPhone as a powerful platform for public media, setting standards and shared resources for further application development.