By Neal Shapiro
Like so many New York City residents, I came here to find my inspiration in the big city.
Born and bred in Albany, I knew the city was the place for me to pursue my passion for television and the news business. After a great career in network TV, I was lucky enough to take the helm of WNET – home to public television stations THIRTEEN, WLIW21 and now NJTV – nearly four years ago. Truly among the marquee public television operations in the country, its reputation for quality, commercial-free, agenda-free programming was well established.
WNET produces some of the most popular and most enduring series on public television – NATURE, Great Performances, Great Performances at the Met, American Masters. These programs have loyal fans and are seen by millions across the country.
But we’ve also played an important role in the greater New York City community, something we’ve reflected on a great deal as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary on air. And our archives demonstrate our long-time commitment to New York and New Yorkers. Shows like New York Television Theater, Black Journal and New York Walking Tours, cemented our place in the community, and the community embraced us with unprecedented support.
No other city in the country has the depth and breadth of great stories to tell. We are a city with arguably the best arts institutions anywhere, universities with global reputations, politicians with strong and vocal opinions, a financial industry that is unmatched anywhere in the world, and a growing technology industry that is giving California a run for its money.
So over the last four years, I’ve looked to find ways to put more of New York in New York Public Media. We launched SundayArts (now NYC-Arts) to showcase the arts offerings around the region each week; it is also the online home of an incredibly rich resource for New York arts lovers looking for information and events at hundreds of cultural institutions around the city.
We created Reel13, which shows the great New York movie-loving public classic films, hard to find independent films and showcases short films, mostly submitted by local film makers.
We created MetroFocus – a website that offers continually updated content news, culture and life around New York and is evolving an on-air presence with monthly specials.
Our new series, Treasures of New York has highlighted many iconic New York landmarks, from the New York Armory to the City Parks, creating an archive of resources and information about many of the places we love in New York.
We also do extensive outreach around the city to engage families and individuals in our programming and support them in their search for knowledge and inspiration.
Could there be any other place that would be as an exciting a place to live and work than this one…any job more challenging and rewarding than mine? •