Getting to Know…Barry Blitch

1. What do you do at PBS Interactive?
I’m the business development intern this summer for the SPI team. That means I’ll be researching and sharing new opportunities, trends, and digital/online products for our member stations.  

2. How did you get involved with Public Media?
I’m currently in grad school in the interdisciplinary Communication, Culture, and Technology program at Georgetown University. I’m fascinated by the ways culture shapes our media and technology, and in turn, how those two are shaping our culture. What better combination of those subjects than PBS? I have an associated memory with public media programming, be it PBS show or radio, for every life stage so far, from Sesame Street onward. When I found myself in D.C., the SPI team at PBS was the perfect fit. And I think they already filled the role of Big Bird.   

3. How will the interactive landscape change over the next few years?
I think three big trends in are location, personalization, and sensors (or sensation, for the sake of continuing the theme). Location-based services are important to an increasingly mobile device-enabled audience. Let’s face it, there’s an overwhelming amount of content in the digital world. No one has time to wade through all of it (how many baby videos on YouTube can we watch?). People want the content and even the interactive structure to be personalized to their niche interests and communities. They want to digitally document their experience and share their preferences and with others.  The sensors may be further off, but haptic technology (think of the moving Wii controllers) and augmented reality will make digital experiences truly interactive. 

4. If the Internet didn’t exist, what job would you have?
I’d want to take on one of those little known but creative roles, like food stylist or font designer or color specialist. In fact, I once saw a Wishbone episode that explained the work of Foley artists who create the everyday sounds you don’t think about in TV and films. If my job was to be in the PBS World, I’d love to curate and run a PBS Programming Memorabilia Museum, where all the artifacts from the great national and #localPBS shows could live! 

5. What is your favorite gadget and why?
I’d most want to be stranded on a deserted island with an iPhone. It’s elegantly designed and apps make it all things at all times. I do, however, appreciate the ingenuity and craftiness of one-function, never-knew-you-needed-them gadgets. For instance: handheld milk-frother. Sounds silly, but wait till you see how impressed people are when you serve coffee at home with foam! 

6. If you could have dinner with any three people from history, who would they be and why?Sigmund Freud – While I would not want to be a patient on his couch, I would like to get the inside story of where a huge part of our self-knowledge (and pop psychology knowledge) originates. 

Charles Darwin – I love zoology. I’d like to pick his brain about the origins of animal life forms out there and our current evolutionary track.

Elizabeth Taylor – She would have some grand Hollywood stories. We’d need another strong woman presence at the table, too.

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