Station Ovation: KQED's Pop Blog is a Must Read

Compiled by Brionne Griffin, PBS Digital

When you have a general search query, where do you go? That's right, the internet's biggest fish: Google. But wherever does one turn for the answer to questions such as, "What Kind of Morning Person Are You?" or "What are Good Beach Reads for Braniacs?" Well, now thanks to KQED, you can stop haphazardly searching through digital haze, and find all this info and more in one place: the KQED Pop blog.

In this post, we talked to the blog editors, Lizzy Acker and Emmanuel Hapsis, about their vision for the blog and how other stations could start their own one-of-a-kind blog.

1. Can you tell us where the idea for the Pop blog came from?
We both used to write about pop culture topics for the KQED Arts blog. Our posts were successful, and, during a station-wide brainstorming session, we pitched the idea of a pop culture blog that critically engages with Millennial audiences. People loved the idea and it was green lit. It took about a year after the pitch to determine a budget, secure the funds, get approval from supervisors to work on the blog, make a plan, and launch KQED Pop.
2. What is the main goal of the blog? (i.e. who do you hope to reach, what do you want to tell them, etc.)
Our main goal is to be a trusted friend who critically examines the social and cultural impact of music, movies, television, advertisements, fashion, the internet and all the other collective experiences that make us laugh, cringe and cry. We focus on local, national and international experiences with a Bay Area lens. Our target audience is Millennials and anyone else who has a deep love of pop culture. The idea is that public media can, and should, be a part of all the conversations people are having and pop culture is a big part of what people are talking about. We cover these stories in a way that is smart and in keeping with public media values.

8. What advice do you have for other stations considering starting their own blog? 
KQED has prioritized reaching Millennial audiences, and they recognized that we not only represented this new audience, but we also understood them. So if a station’s goal is to reach new audiences, make sure your plan and the staff reflect those audiences. And don’t make the mistake of “”!

6. What is the KQED Blog Authors Collaborative? 
The KQED Blog Authors Collaborative is an initiative that brings the unique talents and insights of the Bay Area’s creative community to larger audiences through partnerships with our various blogs. Each blogger in the collaborative is paid for their posts and several are regular (sometimes weekly) contributors.

4. Lizzy Acker, can you tell us about your role at KQED and on the blog?
I am the Digital Marketing Specialist, meaning I manage KQED’s social media presence, develop social media related campaigns, create and send member emails, and advise other people in the building on social media best practices. For KQED Pop, I manage our writers, go over and respond to pitches, edit stories, manage the look and feel of our blog, and promote our content (all with Emmanuel).

5. Emmanuel Hapsis, can you tell us about your role at KQED and on the blog?
I am an Arts Producer in the Interactive department, meaning I produce online content for The Do List, a weekly radio show about upcoming local events, and This Week in Northern California, a weekly television news program. For KQED Pop, I edit stories, manage our writers and the look of our blog, and write pieces about everything from how Instagram feeds our insecurity to whether Taylor Swift is a feminist or the worst person ever born.