Public Broadcasting PolicyBase
The Declaration of Interdependence
Facing the first major station struggle of her 16 months as PBS presidentover the perennial public TV issue of common carriagePat Mitchell introduced a "Declaration of Interdependence" at the network's annual meeting June 14, 2001. The document summarizes major public TV objectives, gives a deep bow to stations' local role and refers to a recent refinement: the aim to build "social capital" in American communities.
There comes a time in the history of public television, when the people we serve demand of us something more;
Because, they hold these truths to be self-evident:
Americans are first and foremost citizens, not consumers. Americans have an unalienable right to free access to content that challenges their minds, lifts their spirits, and stirs their souls. Public television can and should offer a unique experienceone that builds trust, creates connections and encourages citizens to take action, become involved, and build the social capital that characterizes healthy communities.
Today, the members of this grand public service enterprisethe 347 stations and their membership organization, PBSdeclare with absolute conviction that we will not succumb to commercialization, nor will we settle for anything less than relevance and distinctive value.
We will be ESSENTIAL.
We resolve we are in this together, and that the success of any one of us depends on the success of us all. We resolve to take the best of what is local and the best of what is national, to serve all the American people in surprising and significant ways. We resolve to capitalize on our great past, not solely lean upon it.
In the years to come, in every single action we take, we resolve not to settle for the lowest common denominator, but aim for the highest common purpose.
We openly declare:
We shall fully capitalize on our ultimate strengthour local stations in every community.
We shall unite all our effortson Capitol Hill, with individuals, foundations, corporations, and partnershipsto maximize financial support and valuable resources.
We shall leave nothing sub-optimized. Operational excellence is mandatory.
We shall brand the public television experience so it gets the full credit it deserves [and the membership and support that comes with that].
The brand shall represent the worthy cause we are. [Our focused and consistent articulation of our worth will capture hearts, minds, and support.]
We shall foster social capital with our programs and every service we undertake.
We shall mobilize our core supportersAmericans involved in their communitiesand we shall recruit new supporters to join the cause.
We shall work passionately with a diverse set of partners to build the reserve of social capital in our communities.
We shall not allow "digital" to be The Great Divider, but instead the Great Unifierand shall be a respected leader and the lasting expert.
We shall not fear the changes of the timesnew innovations of distribution, new technologies, new gatekeepers. We shall make each expand the reach of our mission.
Public Broadcasting PolicyBase
A service of Current Publishing Committee and the National Public Broadcasting Archives
Posted July 3, 2001