Lessons for Science from NPR/PBS' Outreach Campaign

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has launched an ambitious new public outreach campaign that echoes many of the strategies I think science organizations and institutions can use to strengthen their public ties. The campaign recognizes that while public broadcasting has a mission to inform, the institution's perceived image and value often turns on social connections. Moreover, any national campaign needs an equally strong local component.

As the online mag Current reports, the various print, broadcast and online components of the new campaign will revolve around a flexible concept, My Source, designed to unify and showcase the many different forms and formats for public broadcasting. For example, in one print ad, a smiling woman sharing her iPod with a smiling man illustrates how public radio podcasting was her "source for connecting with my neighbors on my block and beyond."

The campaign is also developing social networking elements and viral newsletters, among other Web 2.0 features. The efforts are designed to be customizable into each stations' local promotional efforts. Drawing on the opinion leader concept, the campaign will seek "ambassadors" in communities, as well as celebrities with public broadcasting connections or appeal. An example includes singer Norah Jones, who contributed music to Ken Burns' The War. Each of the new campaign initiatives is under going extensive evaluation, including focus groups and audience surveys.

The campaign is led by Patricia Harrison, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's President. Harrison is a long time public relations professional and executive, and arrived at the CPB after serving as the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. She is also a former co-chair of the Republican National Committee.

You might disagree with her politics, but Harrison knows communication. Current features this quote from a recent speech that captures her outlook for the new campaign:

As you are connecting on a local level, we must tell this story on a national level, in a way that resonates with decision-makers and purse-string holders, influencers and average Americans. We're already connecting in communities--now we have to brag about it. If you're really doing it, it's not bragging.

Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.

To boost your self-esteem, write about chapters of your life

If you're lacking confidence and feel like you could benefit from an ego boost, try writing your life story.

Personal Growth

In truth, so much of what happens to us in life is random – we are pawns at the mercy of Lady Luck. To take ownership of our experiences and exert a feeling of control over our future, we tell stories about ourselves that weave meaning and continuity into our personal identity.

Keep reading Show less

MIT study: 24-hour fasting regenerates stem cells, doubles metabolism

This gives credence to the 5–2 diet, which has recently gained in popularity thanks to a large celebrity following.

Pexels, user @Deena

Chances are you're probably thinking about food right now in some capacity. Maybe it's close to dinner and you're wondering what you are going to eat. Maybe you had a really good lunch and are fondly reminiscing about your BLT, or whatnot. Or maybe, just maybe, you're thinking about not eating food for a while.

Keep reading Show less

Ashes of cat named Pikachu to be launched into space

A space memorial company plans to launch the ashes of "Pikachu," a well-loved Tabby, into space.

GoFundMe/Steve Munt
Culture & Religion
  • Steve Munt, Pikachu's owner, created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the mission.
  • If all goes according to plan, Pikachu will be the second cat to enter space, the first being a French feline named Felicette.
  • It might seem frivolous, but the cat-lovers commenting on Munt's GoFundMe page would likely disagree.
Keep reading Show less