Mar 3, 2009

Corporate giving down, Conference Board reports

The Conference Board reports 45 percent of businesses have reduced donations to nonprofits this year, and another 16 percent were considering doing so. Thirty-five percent of companies said they would make fewer grants this year, and 21 percent said those grants would be smaller. The figures are based on a February 2009 survey of 158 companies.

Economics seminar for reporters seeks applicants by next week

The Knight Center for Specialized Journalism has extended its application deadline to March 12 for its seminar on economic reporting. The seminar on "The Economy: Bringing the Big Picture Home," the recession's effects and possible remedies, will be held April 14-17 at the University of Maryland, College Park. The center covers costs of the seminar, meals and lodging. Details online. goes "local" with new community blogs

Pubcasting leaders have been talking up the opportunity to fill the void left by ailing newspapers by stepping up online coverage of local news, and the has already unveiled an experimental website aimed in that direction. The Local, which launched yesterday with coverage of three New Jersey communities, is exploring "how to serve and engage audiences in new ways," writes Times' veteran Tina Kelley, who runs the site with three journalism students. "This is not a we-talk-at-you-and-you-listen kind of site," Kelly writes. "The Local will be built and maintained with your help, contributions, advice, admonitions, creations, words and pictures. And, yes, I suspect with your heckling, too." In addition to stories on train delays, snow day school closings and deer population control, the site showcases artwork of local students on "The Fridge" and sponsors a New Yorker-style cartoon caption contest.

UPDATE: Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, two neighborhoods in Brooklyn, also get "The Local" treatment. Andy Newman, a veteran Times staffer who's managing the site, describes it "as a glorious if cacophonous chorus of your voices singing the song of life itself in these astoundingly varied and vibrant neighborhoods."

Vermont pubradio reduces salaries

Vermont Public Radio is cutting executive pay 7.5 percent and the other 43 full-time employees' salaries will be cut 2 percent, due to a sharp decline in business underwriting, according to the Times Argus in Barre, Vt. The station was originally expecting $2.1 million in revenue for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, but has revised that projection to $1.5 million. So far this fiscal year the station has received $544,245 in underwriting revenue. VPR has nine full-power stations around Vermont. Underwriting support is also down at nearby New Hampshire Public Radio, although no cuts are planned.