Nebraska Public Media Labs: Our Vision
As Nebraska Public Media looks toward the next generation of public media, it’s important that we continue to intentionally create space for experimentation and exploration in new mediums of content creation and storytelling. To explore the nexus of art, science, and technology.
Nebraska Public Media has long held that, across the organization, innovation should be every employee’s opportunity. We acknowledge that the innovation process is helped by having a space for incubation that is independent of the rigors of deadline-driven line production; a space where the sting of "failure" can occur without stigma when learning occurs that can benefit the entire organization.
Projects that incubate in such a space should result in three successes: first, the testing of ideas that lead to a better understanding of the opportunities in emerging media for Nebraska Public Media; second, the expansion of the content creation technology tool kit available to all storytellers at Nebraska Public Media; and finally, the creation of content and products that, when published, create measurable impact while reflecting the values of Nebraska Public Media and Nebraska Public Media Labs.
For the past five years Nebraska Public Media has focused on the redefinition of “digital media” as a type of media which any storyteller at Nebraska Public Media can create. In 2020, we expanded that definition to include “emerging media” and launched what is now called Nebraska Public Media Labs.
The value of the Labs to Nebraska Public Media can be measured in the sum total of the problems posed and solved on behalf of the organization. The Labs (plural to reflect the diversity of arenas we explore) will stress experimentation that leads to an expansion of how we define public media in Nebraska. The mission of the Labs is research and development in storytelling, production workflows, technology adoption, collaborations, and new audience development. Nebraska Public Media Labs will cultivate a distinct identity within the University of Nebraska community for pioneering applications of emerging media (with collaborators like Emerging Media Arts, Digital Humanities and the College of Journalism and Mass Communication, where appropriate). The Labs will also include examination of new types of departmental collaboration that place an emphasis on developing new skill sets within the organization and support the organization’s core competencies through the diversification of employees’ skills. Nebraska Public Media staff will have the opportunity to engage in professional development by embedding within the Labs for specific projects. Similarly, Labs staff will have the opportunity to embed in other relevant parts of the organization on a project basis as well.
Nebraska Public Media Labs has identified a focus on the following arenas of experimentation:
Develop immersive and first-person explorer experiences based on virtual simulations
- Focus on animation of objects in 3D space
- Focus on motion capture of the human form
- Focus on real-time VR experiences with real time social interactions
- Focus on experimentation of game mechanics and theory
- Focus on branched narrative content
- Focus on virtual tours with a connection to topics/places of educational significance
Develop tools that take advantage of spatial computing to add context to an end user’s specific or daily experience
- Focus on location-based interactive experiences utilizing mobile or wearable computing
- Focus on AR app development and/or enhancing existing apps with AR features
- Focus on photogrammetry, LiDAR and other scanned asset creation
Advocate for and create networks of best practice around spatial media, both in Nebraska and within the national public media community
Facilitate content created by (and often for) the classic public media youth audience gap
Work with organizations like PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs, Rabble Mill, and school districts throughout the state
Champion and advise the production of content driven by youth voices
Developing tools to take advantage of platforms like Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomePod
- Develop content rich experiences
Developing, test, and refine podcast workflows
- Focus on engaging storytelling, talent cultivation, higher-order audio production, and integration with other types of emerging media (like 360-video)
- Focus on both higher level/order and simpler models of podcast production
- Build partnerships with Nebraska podcasters to develop and/or strengthen their podcasts and/or create new podcasts.
Develop, test, and refine content creation and distribution strategies for YouTube, Facebook Watch, and Instagram TV and emerging video platforms
Continue to ensure that Nebraska Public Media’s web presence is state-of-the-art through the application of new web and mobile application technologies
- Focus on accessibility for all audiences and on protection of user data and privacy
Taking inspiration from education partners and collaborators, develop content with an eye toward curriculum-based classroom (and remote classroom) resources.
Investigate compelling ways to illustrate STEM concepts
Nebraska Public Media Labs - Values & Personality
Our departmental core values are the foundation for our identity and strategy. All of our messages, actions, and communications must be rooted in these values and reflect our personality.
Content in Context - We create quality content that provides a context relevant to the subject matter.
Audience Focus - With clearly defined audiences in mind, we design and deliver media products that support communities.
Effective Process - We seek agility and efficiency in all that we do, so that we may afford creativity. Craftsmanship - We respect skills earned through experience, celebrate curiosity, and value mastery of craft. Perseverance - We apply discipline and confidence to work through challenges.
Humility - We strive to be humble, trustworthy, and respectful as we work through the creative process with our team, colleagues and collaborators outside the organization.
Versatility - We respect and celebrate the individuality of our team’s members and believe that diverse skill sets and different points of view result in the greatest creations.
Diversity & Inclusion - We are committed to diversity and inclusion in the staff we seek to hire, in the stories we tell, and in the communities we represent.
We support the Nebraska Public Media mission of enriching lives and engaging minds by connecting communities and celebrating Nebraska with services that educate and enlighten. We tell a wide range of stories in the arts, sciences, and humanities; capture dynamic performances of art, sport and intellect; document the majesty of both the natural and manmade worlds; and develop educational media that respect and elevate the learner.
Using traditional and emerging digital and multimedia storytelling tools, we create, curate, and deliver compelling content designed to reflect, engage, and inspire the communities we serve.
Create - We use emerging and traditional electronic media—video, audio, text, photography, xR, and data visualization—to tell stories. We create engaging, trustworthy content and products. We take our time, embracing a laboratory model that allows our content and products to incubate toward success.
Curate - We create with clearly defined audiences in mind and always with the goal of appealing to a wide range of users. We archive and organize materials in consistent and intuitive ways that allow users to either follow prescribed narratives or explore on their own.
Deliver - We seek to reach audiences through Nebraska Public Media content and websites, and through partnerships with collaborators outside the organization. We design reliable platforms and build user interfaces that provide an engaging and immersive user experience.