I received a voicemail a few weeks ago that I have now listened to at least a dozen times. It was simple, really: the caller was sharing a short message of gratitude for the news on PBS. I get many calls and messages from viewers – it’s one of the best parts of the job – but this one really stuck with me. The words were very kind, but it was the emotion in the caller’s voice that resonated. I found it touching, but – even more so – I found it relatable.
The world feels awfully divided right now. That can be pretty overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like our desire to be informed citizens and our desire to avoid the divisive discourse that makes up so much of the news are irreparably at odds. When I start to feel discouraged by this dilemma, I – just like this caller – feel enormous gratitude for public media.
I’ve heard our news and information programming described in a lot of different ways over the years – “calm”, “quiet”, “slow”, “old school”, and sometimes even “boring”. And you know what? I love all those descriptions. I love that we all – every household in the country – have a place to go for news and information we can trust, without the spectacle.
Getting a message like this one is a little bittersweet. It absolutely makes my day, to be sure. But, I’m always a little sad that you – the members responsible for this programming – don’t get to hear it as well. Please know that your support is making my phone ring – and the gratitude expressed is for you. Thank you, truly, for all you do.