Yesterday, NPR announced that it will be acquiring Public Interactive (PI), a company that provides Web services to many NPR stations. (You can read the press release for full details.)
Several folks have asked me what the relationship will be between the NPR Digital Media team and the team at PI. As happens frequently in public media, our two groups have have collaborated on a number of projects over the years. For example, NPR and PI are currently partners (along with several other organizations) in a collaboration to improve online election coverage across public media. My hope is that with a closer connection between the two groups we will find many more opportunities where it's beneficial to work together.
However, while there are synergies, each group really has a distinct focus. NPR Digital Media's main mission is to create and distribute NPR content to users, stations and other partners on a variety of digital platforms like NPR.org, NPR Podcasts and NPR Mobile. Public Interactive is really focused on directly serving the digital needs of stations by providing tools and services. PI also distributes content to stations, but they work with multiple content providers including Reuters, BBC, PRI and the New York Times Syndicate (as well as NPR). We believe that it's important for PI to maintain this kind of independence to ensure that they can best meet stations' needs. To reflect these two important but distinct roles, NPR has decided that they will be managed as separate units, though there will likely also be many areas where we can collaborate.
I'm looking forward to getting to know the PI team better over the coming weeks and to see how we can work together to best serve the overall mission of public media.
What do you think about this announcement? Do you have any advice for NPR and Public Interactive as we go forward in working together?