SAC Member Profiles: Libby Peterek

By Brionne Griffin, PBS Interactive Intern

The PBS Interactive Station Advisory Council (SAC) is made up of a group of leaders within the public television system. As PBS Interactive unveils and distributes new products and services to the system, these members collaborate with PBS Interactive and advocate for stations every step of the way.

In an effort to give stations a better idea of the talented and varied leaders who comprise the SAC, we are doing a series of member profiles, asking them to share their expertise, experiences and ideas for the future.

Last week's post featured David Dickinson of WPT. Check it out to learn more about his expertise.

Libby Peterek is SAC chair and Director of Web Services at KLRU in Austin, Texas. Libby joined the SAC a year and a half ago and has served as chair of the council for five months.

1. In your words, what is the SAC?
The SAC is a group of leaders from PBS member stations around the country—diverse in station type, geography, and size. A more long-winded description might be…through leadership, collaboration and thoughtful innovation, the Interactive SAC is the source for new media knowledge for the PBS system. In short, we help PBS serve stations the best they can.

2. What role does the SAC play in the world of public media?

I think we play several roles, though I think our most important ones are as counselor, collaborator, and promoter. I believe we help make PBS better, strategically and with the type and quality of the tech tools they provide the system; we collaborate with stations around the nation, almost like an open source network; and we also help let other stations know what is available to them through PBS.

3. As chair, what are your goals for the SAC in the upcoming months/year?

One of our goals is to help PBS in the development, promotion and training of their initiatives. Right now, Bento, COVE 2.0 and mobile COVE come to mind. Additionally, we are hoping to raise our visibility in the system to aid in collaboration among stations and to serve as a communication point for stations.

4. What, specifically, do you do to help stations—both as an individual and collectively with the SAC?
We (I'm part of the Libby/Jesse team at KLRU) will share anything we’ve created. If you want something you see on our website(s), we’ll package it up and send it over. I just finished a phone call with another Texas station that is in the beginning stages of a redevelopment. I empathized, explained some of what we are currently doing—as well as projects we have mapped out in the future—and discussed Merlin, COVE and Bento options and uses. I know what it feels like to start as a one-woman web team in a large and unexplored PBS system, so if there is anything I can do to help people save time and find connections, I am more than happy to help. As part of the SAC, we’re trying to figure out our national collaboration strategy. I think we get bogged down in the planning phase. How do you pull together the PBS system when we already have so many methods to communicate? It’s not a new Facebook group, it could be a database, or it might be as simple as making the SPI Blog more visible so stations know where to find us. I welcome any and all advice in the comments.

6. What unique perspective and skill set do you bring to the SAC?
That is a question better answered by my colleagues on the SAC…but I will give it a whirl. I love a challenge, I love our content and I love helping people. I went to the School of Information (formerly the School of Library and Information Science) at the University of Texas at Austin, and I studied Human Factors, Information Architecture and User-Centered Design. I think these skills make me especially suited for my job, but also for the communication and project management that make the SAC so exciting.

7. Describe your experience in public media.

It was slightly overwhelming stepping into my position as the solo Web person at a small non-profit. Everything changed when I realized I had hundreds of Web colleagues within the PBS system who were dealing with many of the same issues. I relied on my supervisor’s input as to which stations would be the best contacts; it was difficult to wade through the various PBS portals to find others who were asking the same questions as me. Since then, I have talked to several PBS stations about our online fundraising strategy and success; our innovative use of free tools to make our website fresh and engaging; and helped them find tools and decide on timelines for redesign. I know there are challenges. We’re asked to turn hay into gold, and that can be frustrating at times. But I believe in our content and I believe in our mission. I have met so many bright and driven people across the system that make me think that we, as public media professionals, are the exact ones to lead during these times of great change. Future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.

8. In what ways do you think the SAC could improve?

It’s very hard because the SAC is a volunteer position for people who are already incredibly busy in their full-time jobs creating, innovating and engaging their constituencies. This being said, I hate excuses. I wish the SAC could be more visible. It would allow for greater collaboration and hopefully prevent different stations from developing the same things. I think the SAC could improve by helping the PBS system work more efficiently with each other.

9. If you could cure one ailment of digital public media, what would it be and why?
I want us to move faster and be more nimble. I don’t think it’s an ailment specific to public media and I think our station numbers and diversity add complexity to it.

10. What PBS show do you never miss?
The PBS show that I will always miss is Egg the arts show. But there are so many PBS shows that I never miss…Independent Lens, Nature, Masterpiece, and Austin City Limits to name a few.

11. Fill in the Blank. Public Media is    essential   .
Want to know more about Libby? Check out her Mobile Station Story!

1 comment:

  1. Great idea. It's like putting up a free business directory with free marketing of individual talents and skills. Nice. very nice.