Media gallery

Politics and Media

Women in Public Media

February 9 – 10, 2015
Trone Student Center, Furman University

To listen to Highlights from “Women in Public Media,” click here.

Women in Public Media was presented by the Riley Institute at Furman, the Furman Department of Political Science, and South Carolina ETV.

The two-day symposium and campus activities featured the honorable Patricia S. Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB); Paula Kerger, president and CEO of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS); Jennifer Lawson, senior vice president for Television and Digital Video Content, CPB; and Linda O’Bryon, president and CEO of South Carolina ETV. To view all participant biographies, click here.

To view Day Two of the symposium, click on the video below.

Highlights of their visit to Furman

All participants enjoyed:

  • Lunch hosted by the ETV Endowment
  • Dinner with Secretary Riley and the Hollingsworth and Townes scholars, where they shared experiences and ideas with the scholars.
  • Hollingsworth and Townes Scholars’ perspective of the dinner shared with speakers:

I had the honor of sitting with Secretary Riley, so I was pretty much star struck the entire time.
He is so kind and so humble, especially considering everything he has accomplished.

Nicole Hyman

I had a great time at the dinner! As a young women interested in the cross sector of media and politics,
it was an honor to spend time speaking with such accomplished women. I was so impressed at how interested they were in hearing about us and asking us questions… you would think that at a dinner like
it, it would be completely centered on them. I left feeling inspired and confident about my future!

Amanda Gonzalez

  • Enjoyed “Pizza and Media” lunch and conversation with Furman students

Individually, participants enjoyed additional interactions with students and faculty:

  • Paula Kerger spoke to business majors about careers in the non-profit business world
  • Linda O’Bryon, Jennifer Lawson, and Paula Kerger spoke to communications classes
  • Patricia Harrison, Paula Kerger, and Jennifer Lawson spoke to political science students

The symposium hosted by Dr. Brent Nelsen, Furman professor of political science, board member, CPB, and chair, SCETV Commission, focused on how these women are responding to the challenges and opportunities of the digital era and how their leadership is shaping the future of public media.

To read about this event through Storify, click here.
To view the program, click here.

Monday, February 9th

7 p.m.  Public Media in a Post-Television Era


Patricia S. Harrison, President and CEO, Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)
Paula Kerger, President and CEO, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

A Conversation with Patricia S. Harrison and Paula Kerger

Hosted by Linda O’Bryon, President and CEO of South Carolina ETV; Board Member, PBS

Tuesday, February 10th

7 p.m.  Women at the Top: Shaping the Future of Public Media

Panel Discussion

Moderated by Mark Quinn, Director of Member and Public Relations, Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, and former host of SCETV’s Big Picture

Patricia S. Harrison, President and CEO, Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)
Paula Kerger, President and CEO, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
Jennifer Lawson, Senior Vice President for Television and Digital Video Content, CPB
Linda O’Bryon. President and CEO of South Carolina ETV; Board Member PBS

Press Coverage

To read a Greenville Journal article penned by a Riley Advance Team member Donny Santacaterina, click here.

The Honorable Patricia de Stacy Harrison is the president and chief executive officer of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the leading funder of American public radio and television programming. Under her leadership, Ms. Harrison has strengthened public service media through the strategic focus and investment of CPB in three important areas:  digital innovation and technology; diversity of content, talent and service; and local community engagement, partnerships and service. To formalize this commitment, Ms. Harrison established the first Diversity and Innovation Fund for public media — radio, television, online and mobile.

In 2011, Ms. Harrison created American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a nationwide public media initiative to help communities across the country identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. To date, over 80 stations in more than 30 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, are working with more than 1,000 local partners and schools to encourage students to stay on track to graduation. She is also chair of the leadership council of Women and Girls Lead, an innovative public media initiative designed to focus, educate and connect women, girls, and their allies across the globe to address the challenges of the 21st century.  In 2012, Ms. Harrison was included on the Forbes list of “Women Changing the World in Media” for establishing and leading Women and Girls Lead.

Prior to joining CPB in 2005, Ms. Harrison served as the U. S. assistant secretary of state for education and cultural affairs and acting under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs. She is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the 2008 Leadership Award from the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and the U.S. secretary of state’s Distinguished Service Award.

A former entrepreneur, Ms. Harrison speaks frequently on leadership, communication strategy and constituency building.  She is the author of two books: A Seat at the Table: An Insider’s Guide for America’s New Women Leaders and America’s New Women Entrepreneurs.

Ms. Harrison received her bachelor’s degree from American University and an honorary doctorate from the American University of Rome in 2002.

Paula A. Kerger is president and chief executive officer of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization with more than 350 member stations throughout the country. Since her arrival in 2006, Ms. Kerger has made particularly strong commitments to the arts, news and public affairs, high-quality content for education, diversity, and the use of new technology to bring public media into the lives of all Americans.

Under Ms. Kerger’s leadership, audiences for PBS have grown across genres and platforms. Over the course of a year, nearly 90 percent of all television households in America watch PBS. Six of the top ten children’s television shows for mothers of young children are on PBS, and online viewers stream 244 million videos per month on PBS platforms.

Among Ms. Kerger’s accomplishments are the pop-culture phenomenon Downton Abbey, and Ken Burns’ 2014 documentary “The Roosevelts,” as well as many new primetime science and arts series and acclaimed children’s programs, such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That, Dinosaur Train, Sid the Science Kid, and Curious George. PBS has also developed new tools such as PBS LearningMedia, PBS ARTS website, and PBS ARTS festival .

For the 2011-2012 season, PBS programs were honored with 12 Primetime Emmy Awards, 11 Daytime Emmy Awards, and nine News & Documentary Emmy Awards. PBS was also honored with seven George Foster Peabody Awards; four Golden Globe nominations; one Television Critics Association Award; seven IDA Documentary Award nominations; 15 Writers Guild of America nominations; three Webby Awards; and eight Parents’ Choice awards.

During her tenure, PBS has developed critically praised online video portals for general audiences and children as well as innovative digital partnerships with companies such as iTunes, YouTube, Xbox, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. In addition to leading PBS, Ms. Kerger is president of the PBS Foundation, an independent organization that raises private sector funding for new projects at PBS.

A recipient of numerous awards, Ms. Kerger is regularly included in the Hollywood Reporter’s “Women in Entertainment Power 100,” and in 2005, she was named to the Women’s Forum, an organization of 300 leading women in New York’s arts and business scenes.

Ms. Kerger received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Baltimore, where she serves on the Merrick School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council.

Jennifer Lawson is senior vice president for television and digital video content at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). She recently ended her six-year term as PBS professional director of the PBS Board of Directors and served as professional vice chair of that board from 2009-2010.

Ms. Lawson has over 30 years’ experience in public broadcasting, including co-producing Security versus Liberty: The Other War for America at a Crossroads in 2007 and AFRICA, a nine-hour award-winning television series in association with WNET and National Geographic Television. From 2004 – 2011 was general manager and CEO of Howard University Television (WHUT). In addition, she has been an executive consultant for WETA, CPB, CBS, Maryland Public Television, PBS, the Minority Consortia and KERA.

As executive vice president for programming and promotion services at PBS from 1989 to 1995, Ms. Lawson and her staff were responsible for the scheduling and promotional strategies that resulted in two of PBS’s most successful series: Ken Burns’ The Civil War and Baseball. She also developed a number of highly regarded children’s series including Barney & Friends and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

A recipient of numerous awards and honors for her work in public media, Ms. Lawson has also served on a number of PBS boards and committees.  In addition, she is chair emerita of the Board of American Public Television, a member of the Senior Advisory Board of Washington Women in Film and Video, and a charter member of the Community Advisory Board of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Ms. Lawson studied at Tuskegee University, received a master of fine arts degree from Columbia University, an honorary doctorate from Post University, Waterbury, CT,  and attended the Executive Management Program at Harvard University.

Linda O’Bryon. As president and CEO of South Carolina ETV since 2010, Linda O’Bryon oversees a statewide network of 19 TV and radio stations and a statewide education service. Under Ms. O’Bryon’s leadership, the network has opened a new state-of-the art radio production facility and completed a major renovation of the ETV Telecommunications Center. The network has also launched a number of national program series/specials including Song Travels with Michael Feinstein on NPR, The Education of Harvey Gantt on American Public Television (APT), and the SCETV Presents series,  A Chef’s Life on PBS, winner of a 2013 Peabody Award.

Ms. O’Bryon spearheaded the creation of the Nightly Business Report (NBR), a mainstay on national public television for over 30 years. As general manager of NBR Enterprises in Miami, she orchestrated international co-production partnerships, managed editorial and business operations, and developed digital and educational initiatives associated with the series. She was principal co-anchor for the program for 12 years and frequently appeared on the program throughout her tenure with NBR.

Before joining SCETV, Ms. O’Bryon was chief content officer for KQED/San Francisco, where she oversaw Radio, TV, Interactive, Education Network, Technology and Engineering.

In 2009, Ms. O’Bryon received a national Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award in Business and Financial Reporting from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She has received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and was named as one of the most influential women in the Bay Area by San Francisco Business Times. Currently she serves on the boards of PBS, the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) and the Central Carolina Community Foundation. She is a Riley Fellow of the Midlands Diversity Leaders Initiative, a program of the Riley Institute at Furman.

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., O’Bryon graduated cum laude from the University of Miami with a major in communications and a minor in economics.

Mark Quinn became the director of public and member relations for The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina (ECSC) in 2011. ECSC is the trade association which assists all 20 of the state’s member-owned electric cooperatives. Quinn is responsible for strategic communications, advertising, branding initiatives and media relations.

Prior to his work at ECSC, he was host of “The Big Picture”, a weekly radio and television public affairs program produced by South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV). In his four years at SCETV, “The Big Picture” was nominated for 4 Emmy awards and named Best Public Affairs program by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association in 2009.

From 1996 to 2007, he worked as an on-air anchor and reporter at WIS-TV in Columbia, and was named South Carolina “Sportscaster of the Year” by the Associated Press in 2000.

Mark is a senior associate of the Riley Institute at Furman University and a member of the board of visitors of Converse College. He holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Houston and the University of Texas.

Mark resides in Columbia with his wife, Margaret, and two children: son Tyler, age 7, and daughter Presley, age 5.