Colleen Wilson, who recently joined Twin Cities PBS (TPT) in the new role of vice president of digital publishing, is leading digital strategies and new product development for the St. Paul-based organization.
Wilson, also part of TPT’s executive team, has more than 15 years of digital media experience. She most recently was executive director of digital products at KQED, the PBS and NPR affiliate in San Francisco.
TPT’s national digital brands, Next Avenue and Rewire, are a key focus for Wilson. Next Avenue is public media’s only national journalism service for the rapidly growing older population. Rewire offers original content to young adults. Both reach audiences of millions each month.
“TPT has been investing in building new services that are distinctive, that are on mission and they’ve grown those quite successfully,” Wilson said. “The creation of this job is simply an acknowledgment of the incredible work that they’ve done and that they are looking to continue the digital transformation and take it to the next level.”
At TPT, Wilson oversees a recently created digital publishing unit that is “building services that are indispensable and fit into people’s lives in a way that is very meaningful.”
Wilson in 2015 co-founded KQED’s innovation lab, using design thinking to incubate new products and revenue opportunities.
Wilson chaired the PBS Digital Media Advisory Council from 2015-2017, putting into effect its first yearly strategic planning and goal-setting process.
Q: What appealed to you about this opportunity?
A: I’ve always been an admirer of TPT’s work in the digital realm. TPT has such an entrepreneurial spirit. They have recognized for well over six years that digital is a brand-new opportunity for serving audiences in new ways, in ways that have impact that’s measurable in people’s lives.
Q: What has motivated you to work in public media?
A: I love the mission of speaking to people not as consumers but as people with needs. I believe that we need high-quality and unbiased news and information for a functioning democracy. It’s absolutely foundational. That’s what gets me up and into work every day because I believe so much in that.
Q: What does the creation of your role at TPT say about the need to reach audiences in different ways?
A: The public television mission is to educate, inform, inspire and entertain people and to help them to be more. With today’s changing audience behaviors — they’re watching TV, watching video on their phones, they’re on social media, reading blogs, using smart speakers — how might we help our audiences be more by capitalizing on these new devices and new platforms, which are more interactive and offer one-to-one experiences in a way that linear television has not been able to do? The digital publishing unit is exploring that.