Jul 26, 2007

"I think PBS has enormous potential to become an engine of change in the new world of democratized video," writes TV producer Michael Rosenblum, who spoke at last weekend's National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) board planning conference in New York [Via Technology360]. In his blog post following the speech, Rosenblum says, "Perhaps [PBS] is better positioned than anyone else to effect this change - this need for publishing instead of producing." Rosenblum's advice to pubcasters? "Become a node for video literacy. A place where people could come for training, have their work reviewed, edited and if good enough, published. A true voice for the community and a place where the community could learn to speak and resonate. It's a noble goal, and one that commercial broadcasters will not pick up."

NPR joins battle over satellite radio merger

The Washington Post reports on why the proposed merger of two "bit players in the media world"--satellite radio companies XM and Sirius--has stoked such a huge lobbying battle in Washington. The National Association of Broadcasters has mounted an aggressive public relations and lobbying campaign, while NPR quietly petitioned the FCC on July 9 to block the merger. Granting one company a monopoly on digital satellite radio would "substantially harm the diversity of voices" heard on the media platform, NPR lawyers wrote in the petition, because the merged companies would pare their channel line-ups and very likely drop some public radio programming. "A monopoly . . . would certainly be able to demand less favorable licensing terms, thereby forcing NPR and others to decide between program quality and carriage," NPR said. Sirius distributes many NPR talk shows and weekly series; XM offers the Bob Edwards Show and programs from Public Radio International and American Public Media.

Moyers letter to Ombudsman

Bill Moyers responded to PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler's July 20th column, which criticized Moyer's program about impeachment for lacking balance, by writing "The journalist’s job is not to achieve some mythical state of equilibrium between two opposing opinions out of some misshapen respect -- sometimes, alas, reverence -- for the prevailing consensus among the powers-that-be. The journalist’s job is to seek out and offer the public the best thinking on an issue, event, or story. That’s what I did regarding the argument for impeachment." The statement was part of a letter distributed to media who covered Getler's critique, including Romenesko and the right-wing NewsBusters. Getler had written that "there was almost a complete absence of balance, as I watched it, in the way this program presented the case for impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Cheney." Moyers' letter also notes that Getler, in a previous column (January 5) , called for more aggressive reporting on issues surrounding the Iraq war -- including impeachment.

Getler has responded to Moyers' letter in a new column entry. He writes: "while conventional, equal-time balance is frequently a false measure, the absence of any balance can undermine any program."