Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Been A Long Time

My blogging has slowed down in the past several weeks as work has picked up and there has been disasters all about -- Hurricane Ike and then the markets. And then the big one, the election. This has been an interesting time for One Economy of late, as well as public media in general.

I am not sure that I feel that our response to the times has been quite adequate. Public media has spent a lot of time preparing for the election and the results have been impressive. Everything from the overnight defacto role of You Tube, to the impressive "election centers" of both the commercial stations, as well as the PBS Vote 2008 and NPR's Election 2008. In an upcoming blog post I will pull together my notes comparing how public media's digital coverage of the election compares to their higher profile counterparts.

What has rocked through our collective world has been the series of hurricanes, with the most serious being Ike slamming into the Texas and Louisiana, and then the one-two punch of the economic crisis.

On one hand, I was so very proud of our team, especially the lead, Colin Lovett in pulling together our Ike response to the people displaced or cut off in their homes in Texas. We put up the Hurricane Ike Help Center and continually improved the site over the few days out of the launch. What we did that was great was deploy a team of young interns to explore and identify open resources for people in the community, such as pharmacies, grocery stores, health clinics, etc.

Paired with our work is the work of Andy Carvin and his huge array of volunteers at the Hurricane Information Center. As much as One Economy created a hurricane center based on a controlled workforce, Andy successfully leveraged a huge network of supporters, volunteers and a true "open source" community effort to create something special.

However, One Economy has been slower on the economic crisis. Keep your eyes open for our response. At the same time public media has not done an impressive job either. We have all been describing how big the economic disaster wave is ("My, my, my...that is certainly a big wave."), but not focused on the impact that wave is going to have on the families we ultimately serve.

One exception is what the Washington Post is doing with their Hard Times series. I have been very impressed by the quality of reporting and the presentation online. It is effective, compelling and, most importantly, authentic. It rings true with what we are feeling in the country today.

These are the challenges that we face. These are the challenges that are the most important for us to address everyday.

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