Q&A with NCME Executive Director Charles Meyer

Posted on February 10, 2010

The National Center for Media Engagement (NCME) is a recognized leader and catalyst for community engagement by public broadcasting –– encouraging engagement across all platforms. NCME helps public radio and television stations deepen their community engagement efforts through content, programming, evaluation, and new media initiatives. We recently interviewed NCME’s Executive Director Charles Meyer about his strategy in developing an extensive set of resources for the Haiti relief effort as well as other upcoming initiatives. Learn more about how NCME is supporting public media in our exclusive interview below:

What is the National Center for Media Engagement’s involvement within the Haiti relief effort?  How did you go about developing the tools available on your website? NCME created a Haitian Relief Resources page that aggregates public media links and resources into one-stop shopping for stations that wanted to collaborate with their communities during the crisis. The page serves as an online hub with resources, tools, and tips for stations to use when working with their communities on the issue. And it was important for us to include a widget for stations to share what they are doing with others in the system. In our experience, sharing models of what works -- and what doesn’t work – is one of the quickest ways to improve engagement across the system. This effort –– like our effort to aggregate H1N1 resources –– supports our mission to help public media discover, understand and address the needs of their local communities.

Have you received any feedback from public television stations?  How are they using the tools to communicate with each other? Stations usually appreciate anything that makes it easier for them to locate resources and think about how to effectively serve their communities. And stations have shared information about their local activities in the online widget. That not only helps other stations spark ideas and identify smart practices –– it also helps us aggregate information and stories about the amazing impact public stations have at the local level. Telling our compelling collective story is good for everyone.

I noticed there are downloadable PSAs to donate money. How did you go about making these available for public television? The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) worked with the American Red Cross and the Ad Council to make the public service announcements available to stations. At NCME, we were happy to include the link to download the PSAs on our Haitian Relief Resources page. We also worked with the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) to arrange a satellite feed for stations that preferred to record the spots. Watch these public service announcements available on NCME's Haiti relief effort resource page:


Social media tools are becoming an increasingly important way of communicating for stations and their local communities. How are you working with stations to reach a digitally connected audience? Many stations already do a great job of reaching audiences in the digital space. We’re interested in how you help people move from online to in the community. There’s a growing body of research that suggests people who engage online are more likely to get involved in their communities than those who don’t engage online. That presents an incredible opportunity for public stations to become a kind of conduit –– a pathway of sorts –– to help people move from online participation to getting out and making a difference in their communities. But nobody knows for sure yet what works and why. We’re very, very interested in learning more about that so we can identify potential models for stations. We’re plugged into and learning a lot about social media tools (join us on Facebook and Twitter) and we’re interested in infusing engagement thinking into other initiatives in the digital space. I’m very excited about the potential. 

Do you have plans to offer resources for other significant world events? In general, yes.  We think part of our role is to help stations think about how to collaborate with and support their communities during a crisis. We’re also engaging with other organizations in the system to ensure that our efforts complement theirs and that, to the extent possible, we’re collaborating with each other rather than each trying to do it alone. 

Learn more about NCME and the resources offered >>


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