North to the Future

The news is getting out, slowly, via Twitter. I’m returning to Alaska after a failed experiment in St. Louis.

I’ll be back in Anchorage, working as an IT Project Manager for a small firm that works primarily with healthcare and human services organizations — typically nonprofits — as of July 6, 2010. And I couldn’t be happier.

I’m returning to Stephanie, friends, a city and state I know well and work at which I excel for companies I intuitively understand.

I’m also leaving the public media world behind.

I’ve thought deeply about public needs for news and information and how organizations can migrate from broadcasting to participating, but after more than 5 years, I can’t see a way forward for those existing organizations. What’s needed is a massive die-off, a huge extinction event that can reset the clock and force absolute rethinking. Without a rejection of the past, there cannot be an embrace of the future.

That said, I lament leaving behind deeply dedicated and intelligent people working hard to bring about meaningful change in the old public broadcasting system. I wish them success and I hope they prove me profoundly wrong in my conclusions. I won’t discuss my thinking too much here, as I’ll leave that for my Gravity Medium blog. But suffice it to say I’m done toiling to envision a new future for public service media. There is one, but I don’t see it coming from inside the system. Not without CPB rewriting the rulebook from scratch — with congressional approval. That’s a long shot on the best possible day.

In place of working on public media issues, I’m turning my focus to local action and participation in my community in any number of ways. Naturally, I’ll continue to foster development of the Alaska Tweets community. But I’m also exploring the idea of firing up a local version of the Awesome Foundation — either a chapter or a variation-on-the-theme. And I think there’s a need to promote good IT application practices throughout the nonprofit world in Alaska. I can help with that.

In any case, it’s “North to the Future” for me, effective immediately. And let’s hope the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t destroy the Alaskan economy in the process. I need it to stay afloat for at least a few years. 😉