- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 11, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Public media stands alone in its commitment to optimize the potential of media to strengthen our democracy, build stronger communities and improve lives. The editorial “Kill Big Bird” (Jan. 28) challenges the value of federal investment in public media, and yet the Public Broadcasting Service brings more local stories, independent journalism, arts and culture to Americans than any other media enterprise. In addition, PBS is closing the achievement gap in schools and changing the face of classroom learning.

In a media world where ratings and profits drive decisions, public media is unique in its singular focus on the American public, not the bottom line. No other media enterprise is more dedicated to our children, our modern democracy and our culture than public media.

PBS continues to prove its value, as evidenced by the millions of Americans who choose it each day - on-air, online, on mobile devices and in the classroom. Our audiences reflect the diversity of the U.S. population with respect to race and ethnicity, education and income, and half of our online users are younger than 35.

Further, families are flooding the Web site pbskids.org, where they watch more than 87 million video streams in a single month. Our educational content, which is universally accessible through free, over-the-air broadcasting, is curriculum-based and created with the help of subject-area experts so that every child, regardless of his or her circumstances, can learn reading, science, technology, engineering and math.

America’s economic prosperity depends upon an educated work force and an engaged citizenry. As we continue to pioneer and innovate in media and technology, we ask your readers to take the journey with us and decide for themselves.

PAULA KERGER

President and chief executive

Public Broadcasting Service

Arlington, Va.

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