Communication

Distancing While Convening … in This Time of COVID-19

 

CEO Message

 

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEO

We’re all still absorbing the many ways that life has changed since COVID-19 broke into our vocabulary as a double-whammy threat to personal health and the economy.

 

Here’s just one way: The fast-changing seating configurations on our live editions of INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I. Week by week, the program morphed – from an in-person gathering place to a mostly virtual meeting.

 

For decades, the program’s centerpiece was a single table around which the host and guests took seats.

 

The evolution of the INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I seating arrangement: The original one-table set-up, from February; the “V” configuration, from March 19; the individual tables, with one guest via computer screen, from April 16

The evolution of the INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I seating arrangement: The original one-table set-up, from February.

Left: The “V” configuration, from March 19. Right: The individual tables, with one guest via computer screen, from April 16.

 

Then, with new guidelines about social distancing, PBS Hawai‘i TV studio crewmembers carried away the familiar table and placed it in storage. Out came two long tables, with a guest seated at each end, and the moderator in between at a smaller table.

 

Also gone were the small microphones, called lavaliers, that our production crew would clip to participants’ lapels or collars. Instead, to avoid physical contact, the crew rounded up desktop microphone stands, which had mostly fallen into disuse.

 

The following week, more tables appeared, all small – and every participant, host and guests, had his or her own table.

 

Meantime, our production team worked hard to keep a safe environment by disinfecting surfaces.

 

By then, COVID-19 had become the program’s ongoing subject, with discussions reviewing and reflecting on how Hawai‘i is dealing with this devastating situation, how we can do better, and what’s next.

 

Our regular volunteers at the phone bank followed government guidelines and sheltered at home. Staffers at this “essential” media operation replaced the volunteers.

 

However, when forum guests were given the option of participating in person or virtually, most still wanted to be physically present. Pictured above: the guests on April 16, with only State Schools Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto appearing by way of a computer screen.

 

The following week (after the printing deadline for this publication), all guests= were scheduled to appear by way of the Internet: the Mayors of four Hawai‘i counties.

 

So, over these fast-moving weeks of community changes tied to COVID-19, our INSIGHTS program went mostly virtual.

 

And no matter where guests are seated, INSIGHTS is still bringing together participants and perspectives. The program continues to live up to its goal, which is:

 

Convening diverse voices in a trusted space for greater community knowledge and understanding.

 

Aloha nui and be well,

Leslie signature

 

 

 

BREAKTHROUGH: THE IDEAS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
The Smartphone

BREAKTHROUGH: THE IDEAS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD - The Smartphone

 

Dial in to the fascinating history of the smartphone, from its roots in Morse Code to 2007, when Apple unveiled the first-ever iPhone. Plus, see how the next generation of smartphones will allow us to communicate through them just by thinking.

 

Preview

 

 

 

NOVA
What Are Animals Saying?

 

With an emphasis on provocative and unanswered questions, this series follows researchers on the winding paths of uncertainty and the unknown — and from the mysteries of astrophysics to the technologies that could rival or surpass the abilities of the human mind. On this first episode, follow the clues that reveal how animals “talk” to each other from spider thumps and mice mating songs to the intricate signals between our closest relatives, the chimps.

 

 

Don’t Just Wait for Your Turn to Speak, Listen!

 

CEO Message

Don’t Just Wait for Your Turn to Speak, Listen!

 

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEOWas it an “Only in Hawai‘i” phenomenon?

 

Talking with me on Long Story Short back in 2008, Hawai‘i Island Mayor Harry Kim singled out a barrier he faced in settling contentious community issues.

 

The problem isn’t getting people to the table, he said. They show up, all right.

 

But too often, they’re interested only in telling their side. Mayor Kim has seen the abyss between hearing and listening.

 

Big Island Mayor Harry Kim: "Will you at least listen?"

 

“Will you at least…listen?” he would ask assembled opponents. “Will you listen to the other side, then talk?”

 

Author Stephen R. Covey put it this way: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

 

Or as John Wayne commented drily to a big talker in one of his cowboy movies, “You’re short on ears and long on mouth.”

 

Hardly a new phenomenon, this practice of not listening has picked up steam. Talking heads on cable television have made it a tradition to shout over each other, and political town halls devolve into parallel rants. Courtesy is a quaint notion.

 

Here at PBS Hawai‘i, we don’t claim to have the answers. We believe that a path to understanding is civil discourse. We’re convinced that listening is as important as speaking.

 

That’s why we’ve become a trusted space for roundtable forums, one-on-one interviews and diverse group discussions.

 

The idea is to rely on active listening and grow a conversation that is far more illuminating than the setting forth of respective opinions.

 

If nothing else, listening guides you in knowing what to say and when, to best effect.

 

As 2017 comes to a close, I think of competing strident voices I’ve heard over the year; of many simmering issues in this country; and of people facing each other to talk, not listen.

 

My wish for the new year is a leavening of respect for others and understanding.

 

I’m not saying this will cure our ills, but I bet we’d have some breakthroughs.

 

We can start by being short on mouth and long on ears.

 

Wishing you peace,

 

Leslie signature

Leslie Wilcox
President and CEO
PBS Hawai‘i