The logistics of transplanting a daily public radio show a thousand miles away can’t be anything but formidable—and a tip of the hat to the staff at On Point who pulled it off, producing a fresh, lively, first-rate radio series on China.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge the work that went into producing the series’ equally first-rate website. Radio and New Media folks trudged a long and at times rocky path to completion, enduring occasional false starts, miscues, and eleventh-hour changes, but despite all the road bumps and raw fingernails, the result is something we are all very proud of (and did I mention it was all done in WordPress to boot?).
If you haven’t yet, make some time to explore the site. It is chock-full of material: show notes, supporting links, many, many stunning photographs, and the personal musings of once (and hopefully future) blogger Tom Ashbrook, whose visit to China represented a return to a part of the world where he first cut his journalistic teeth.
I was pleased to read the passionate, intense, insightful, and sometimes very heated comments provoked by the topics—see the debate about the Olympics and media freedoms (or lack thereof) in China, for instance. And while I have no way of confirming it, I think our site pulled in users not familiar with the show, hopefully converting them into steadfast listeners/users. We intend to have more opportunities for users to join the conversation, as a site-redesign now in the planning stage will be very much informed by our China experience.
Personally, I would wish some of these online voices were somehow included in the radio conversation. Not sure how you could do this—Christopher Lydon may have suggested the way by deploying a “blogger-in-chief” who culled comments to read on-air. Maybe one day.
As always, your comments are welcome. Let me know what you thought went right/wrong with On Point’s China site. And please stay tuned in the coming months for a ramped-up On Point online.