ARCHIVE OF LIVE TWEETS FROM PANEL
NAPLES — Today’s public media audiences want to be served their main course of real-time multimedia news with extra helpings of Internet and sides of HD radio, blogging, and digitally formatted video.
“Public Media in Transition” was the topic of the Naples Press Club’s panel discussion Friday, which took place in the community room of the Naples Daily News building on Immokalee Road.
Commercial news stations “know that you’re not going to wait,” said the panel’s moderator, Jim McLaughlin, who hosts WGCU Public Media’s Connect! program. “So this digital platform has changed the entire audience perspective and our collective delivery of the news. The news itself hasn’t necessarily changed. But the delivery system has changed, and it’s become very service oriented.”
The three panelists — who also work for WGCU — included Rick Johnson, general manager, Amy Tardif, FM station manager and news director and Luis Hernandez, reporter and host of Gulf Coast Live.
The panelists discussed their various efforts to tailor their news program’s content and media of delivery to the Southwest Florida audience’s preferences.
“We are in the process of reinventing ourselves,” Johnson said. “Much like what has happened on the local level, nationally, stations are looking at ways that they can work together. Both television and radio stations take advantage of new digital platforms, and recreate themselves as public media service organizations as opposed to public television or public radio stations.”
Johnson said that WGCU, which serves Southwest Florida, was one of the first public media stations in the nation to offer multimedia news services such as radio, TV, print and Web sites, instead of just one singular news medium.
“So we were several steps ahead of the national organizations, and in some ways blazing a trail,” Johnson said.
WGCU offers local and national radio shows, four digital TV programming streams, a full-time High Definition TV channel, a monthly magazine, a Web site with digital archives of locally produced TV and FM radio programs and a High Definition radio station that plays classical music 24 hours a day.
Tardif talked about the challenge of presenting news in a format that appeals to the radio show’s audiences who live in seven different counties. She explained that audience input and feedback are key components in deciding the subject matter of WGCU’s radio shows.
“The audience is no longer just a listener or a viewer,” Tardif said. “We picture and we invite the audience to be one of us and to partake in and make the program.”
Hernandez said he tries to cover topics that no one else covers.
“Those are the two things for me that I enjoy the most about it,” Hernandez said. “Doing something unique that’s not done anywhere else, but also having the show and being able to basically get the audience to be involved with the news. They’re not passive. They’re actually interactive.”
Johnson talked about WGCU’s decision to shift the classical music radio station over to High Definition format to open up time slots for more popular talk shows.
Several Florida Gulf Coast University students, who are currently taking a journalism course, attended the panel discussion.
“I like how they’re starting to update it to get more with the times it seems like,” said Brian Minutoli, an FGCU sophomore. “It makes me want to listen to it more.”
Lyn Millner, assistant professor of journalism at FGCU, said she hopes her students start thinking about all the different forms of media.
“One of the main things that we look at are models for journalism such as the business model and public radio model,” Millner said. “Especially in this climate when everyone is reassessing what is the right model for journalism because newspapers are struggling right now and no one has really figured out a way to make money on the Web.”