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Behind the Screens: Leslie Datsis
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Image - lbetsis.jpgWho are you and what do you do? 

I am the Social Media & Audience Development Specialist for PBS Digital Studios. I manage all of the PBSDS social media accounts, advise producers and hosts in the PBSDS Network on their digital strategy, and run the blog outreach for individual episodes. I also have an extensive background as a YouTube creator, so I act as the “Unofficial YouTuber Liaison Person Thing”.

What’s the hardest lesson you've learned working in public media? 

What a neat time to be working in public media right now! As the prime audience of public media now includes a digital audience and even the definition of “public media” widens, new challenges arise. Things like user experience and discoverability are major factors of success for digital public media that one may not have to worry about as much in traditional or broadcast formats. What makes it so exciting is that so many schools of thought and answers to these challenges are here because the Internet is awesome. What I've learned is that not every answer will work for us, but experimentation is still pivotal to understanding that. 

Based on what you know now, if you could go back to your first day at PBS and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Speak more! 

What’s the one website you can’t live without?

While I love both YouTube and Tumblr for its centralized community and it allowing me to discover so many niche worlds and corners of the Internet, Twitter is still my go-to place for fostering discussion in real time. 

What’s one newsletter you think everyone should subscribe to?

Melody Kramer, a former NPR digital analyst who currently works for 18F, runs this wonderful newsletter that focuses on the state of public media and frequently asks her audience about their experiences in their career and the digital space. She’s a lovely curator of their discussions.

What’s your favorite YouTube channel?

The Art Assignment is phenomenal. It has the coolest community of professional artists and artistic novices smashed together through the assignments on the channel. I also love their “Art Trip” series, where they explore a city’s offerings of art. 

What’s your favorite podcast? 

My Brother, My Brother, and Me is so funny. It’s an advice show hosted by 3 brothers that have a natural, down to earth sense of humor with each other. A close second is The Story Collider, where all of the stories told live are science related. 

What is your favorite mobile app? 

Pocket. It’s an app that saves articles, videos, and essays from any source (online, social, email) into one place so you can “read it later”. And it works offline, so it’s perfect for my commutes. Pocket’s interface is a lot prettier than my Google Doc I was using beforehand. 

What do you think are the upcoming trends in the digital world?

As more and more people grow Internet-based careers, I’m seeing their audiences from all over the world want to directly support them. I have a feeling we’ll see many more methods to make that happen. 

Describe the Internet in a word. 


Welcome Leslie! Happy to have you on the PBS Digital Studios team!