When Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Oregon Field Guide aired a segment in April 2013 on South Prairie, a “disappearing lake” in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, viewers set about trying to find it before the water vanished in the summer. But despite its name, Oregon Field Guide billed itself as a weekly TV series on outdoor recreation and the environment, not as a how-to guide. Maps were nowhere to be found.
That changed this summer, when Jared Kennedy, co-founder of the start-up website Outdoor Project, approached Oregon Field Guide producer Ed Jahn with an idea. Kennedy wanted to merge Oregon Field Guide’s reporting with the content—photos, maps, driving directions, and firsthand accounts of trips—that drives Outdoor Project’s website.
“What’s been missing is a well done website that says, ‘Here’s how to get to a place,’” Jahn said. “Outdoor Project has the guide, we have the stories.”
Now, when viewers scroll through the 25 years of stories posted on the Oregon Field Guide site, they’ll find links to maps and photos furnished by Outdoor Project. Next to some Oregon Field Guide stories will appear nearby outdoor adventures researched by Outdoor Project contributors. Viewers can learn about an environmental issue, then visit the place OPB reporters were talking about. Beginning next season, all new Oregon Field Guide shows will link to Outdoor Project guides and adventures.
In turn, Outdoor Project will embed Oregon Field Guide reports on its website. “Anybody can embed our videos,” Jahn said. “But they can do it in a way that looks clean.”
For Kennedy, linking his year-old website with Oregon Field Guide’s vast archives is a way to attract more viewers and give his content depth. “We’ve always wanted to combine inspiration with the comprehensiveness in guidebooks,” he said. “Oregon Field Guide has the resources, and they have a well-connected audience.”