Paula Kerger, President of PBS
December 2, 2008
On December 2, 2008 Cornerstone members and their guests gathered to hear PBS President Paula Kerger speak over lunch in the PBA studio. Ms. Kerger discussed the role of PBS in the coming era, specifically with regards to localism and community service.
Ms. Kerger talked about the history of PBS and reminded us all of the many wonderful programs that PBS has brought us, from Sesame Street, to The NewsHour, to Julia Child.
Education is a big piece of PBS’s roots. PBS programs are the most used video material in classrooms today, with the science program Nova topping the list.
For the fifth year in a row PBS and its member stations were ranked as the most trusted institution by the Roper poll, above courts of law and the federal government, or any of the major newspapers. PBS was also ranked the second best use of our nation’s tax dollar, after number one national defense.
Ms. Kerger highlighted three areas of focus for PBS going forward. The first was news and public affairs. Ms. Kerger said it will be tremendously important for PBS and NPR to stay focused on the principles of good journalism. Second was continuing PBS’s historic commitment to the arts and third was children’s programming. Over the years, PBS has tried to stay in touch with the pioneering spirit that originally created Sesame Street 40 years ago and continue to create programs today.
Technology has had a huge impact on the media, including PBS. PBS’s goal is to be where viewers are — whether it’s on TV, phones, computers, or elsewhere.
Finally, Ms. Kerger gave a little teaser for Ken Burns next big project, which is a 12-hour series on the national parks coming in the fall of 2009!