According to NPR’s blog The Two-Way, among terrestrial vertebrates, we humans–at 7 billion plus–are only outnumbered by domestic chickens–about 19 billion, and brown rats–(nobody cares to count). A large percentage of the billions of us appear to occupy a lot of time communicating, and a fair percentage of them all seem to be pouring information into the tiny node known as NCPR. Sort of like picking up the phone and hearing 5,000 people simultaneously talking, singing, whispering and yodeling.
If slamming down the handset and leaving on a zen retreat is not an option, the only hope is filtration. Every day an increasing torrent flows in: phone calls, mail, email, Facebook posts, tweets, photos, video, mp3s, blog entries, books, CDs, comments, inquiries, transcripts, file transfers, satellite feeds–and every now and then–an actual face-to-face conversation. And out the other end must come–every day, every minute–a coherent broadcast, an organized array of new media services, and a sustainable public service organization.
And NCPR faces this flood with the same (roughly) ton-and-a-half of humanity we had when I signed on in 2001. Not complaining, just explaining why we need to constantly transform the way we do our work, to make leaps in efficiency, to rethink processes, to always be doing more with what we have.
Another of those leaps is needed again now. Fortunately we have some help from the Knight Foundation and the Adirondack Community Trust to retool our news operation and to train young producers. And we have the sustaining support of our many generous listeners. So look for big changes as a result in the coming year. I think we’ll manage to keep up, as long as the chickens and the rats don’t discover social networking, too.