May 22, 2008

Gross advises: Listen even during the boring parts

Speaking at Columbia j-school's commencement yesterday, Fresh Air host Terry Gross tells why she gets better answers in interviews if (a) she urges subjects to draw the line when questions get too personal, (b) she lets them start over with their answers, and (c) she listens to what they say, even the boring parts. (Exception: People in politics aren't eligible for the leeway of "a" and "b.") Gross received the school's highest honor, the Columbia Journalism Award.

WaPo on NPR's 'throwback' quake coverage

The Washington Post approvingly surveys NPR's earthquake coverage from China, which it describes as "a kind of throwback to an era when radio carried the first audio accounts of major events, before television crews could move bulky equipment to the scene." All Things Considered hosts Melissa Block and Robert Siegel and seven staffers were stationed 50 miles from the earthquake's epicenter in the Sichuan province when it happened. "Oddly, without anticipating a crisis, [the disaster] did what we were trying to do here -- to put a human face on another place and its issues," Siegel said.

WXEL: back in play on Treasure Coast

The licensee of WXEL-FM/TV in Palm Beach, Fla., and New York's WNET have dropped their 2005 agreement for WNET's purchase of the Florida station, the Palm Beach Post reported today. Richard Zaretsky, head of a local nonprofit that was to be a part of the purchase, said the group has been raising money and can make the deal on its own. Former suitor Miami's WPBT said it's still interested in some arrangement with WXEL. The licensee, Barry University, put the station in play in 2004 and later agreed to sell it to WNET, but the FCC held up the license transfer. Zaretsky said the commission feared the sale would violate its policy favoring local station ownership.