The SPI Files: Eric Freeland, PBS Interactive

by Rachel Lim, PBS Station Products & Innovation 

Last week on the SPI Files, we got the inside scoop on PBS SoCal from Jasmine Bulin, Senior Manager of Interactive. This week, we're leaving sunny California behind for Arlington as we learn more about Eric Freeland, Director of Online Programming & Promotion for PBS Interactive.

Who are you and what do you do at PBS?
I am the Director of Online Programming and Promotion for PBS Interactive.  My team and I are responsible for programming the PBS homepage, video portal, mobile apps – iPad and iPhone, and writing the PBS Previews Newsletter.

How long have you been at PBS?
Time has gone by fast — wow, it will be three years in September.

Before PBS, what did you do?
Before PBS I was a television and online news producer – working at television stations in Washington, DC and later at The Associated Press.

What are some of the challenges in balancing content across multiple digital platforms?
It takes a lot of juggling… Each platform requires its own attention.  While the content may be generally the same across them, they have different audiences, business rules and backend systems.  It takes a lot coordinating.

What are some basic tips or best practices for stations looking to expand into the mobile space?
Careful planning…  Know your goals and audience… and be realistic. Once you're in the mobile space, the work doesn't stop -- you need users to keep coming back.

And – just for fun – a few quickfire questions:

iPhone or Android? iPhone
Favorite PBSKids show? I've got two — Clifford & Martha Speaks — Martha looks like my dog Shelly.
Favorite viral YouTube video: This video makes me smile after a long day – Dog & Orangutan Friendship.
Elmo or Grover? Grover
Guilty pleasure (that you’re willing to share!): Ice cream & BBQ potato chips (separately, not together)

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