Let Go & Lead
Patricia Harrison President & CEO
Corporation for Public Broadcasting

On Using New Technology to Build Communities Beyond Borders (2:47)

MARIL MACDONALD:
So let’s talk about social media for a moment.  How is that changing the landscape of how leaders actually engage communities?

PATRICIA HARRISON:
Well, in a, such a dramatic way and public media we like to say because it’s true we’re, uh, on air, online, and in the community; and if you’re trying to connect to a younger, uh, population  you want to know what they’re thinking and what they’re saying, and they’re saying a lot.  And some of it can look superficial except when it’s not except when, all of a sudden, you have people, as I mentioned earlier before, young people gathering together in Egypt or in other places to affect profound change.

People want to express themselves and now they have the tools of technology to do it.  So initially a lot of it may be on the surface but then when you dig deeper the connection that they’re making on a global level, beyond neighborhoods to give that word community, uh, beyond borders.  That’s what’s so exciting, that you can have a conversation now with somebody in 14 different time zones and we have to be there with our content because we are important to the conversation.

MARIL MACDONALD:
And what are some of the ways that you’re there?

PATRICIA HARRISON:
Well, we have, in terms of — we are online, we’re on the go, we’re in people’s pockets, we are everywhere, we have apps, NPR, is really been so successful — in terms of, uh, moving beyond and I want to be careful here, of the — it’s not an old idea of broadcast.  Broadcast is very important to us.  But because of social media, because of technology it’s not all one way now so — because we have these tools of technology we can get input and that input shapes what the output is.  So it’s just revolutionized every single thing that we do and we can have input immediately in real time on what’s important so people don’t have to go to a physical town hall meeting.  They can respond to the general manager.  They can say what they want.  And these are the things that we’re connected to.  So, as I said, the technology will change.  I mean rapidly.  But our mission remains the same.