May 15, 2009

"Healthy Minds" from WLIW going national

In September pubTV stations will have access to Healthy Minds, an award-winning show on mental health from WLIW in New York. The American Psychiatric Foundation has announced it will contribute $50,000 to fund national distribution of the 13-episode 2008-09 season, and three episodes from the show's first season. "My hope for the show is to encourage people who may have a psychiatric condition to seek help and not to suffer in silence," host and psychiatrist Jeffrey Borenstein told Psychiatric News. "I end each show by saying, 'With help, there is hope.'" The show has won several Tellys and a Folio Award.

WBEZ asks listeners to "Give 20"

Chicago's WBEZ is asking its listeners to make donations of $20 in an innovative fundraising campaign running on The website combines goofy videos, half-serious quizzes, and donor testimonials--along with a great big orange button soliciting contributions. Videos starring Carl Kasell, Peter Sagal, and Kai Ryssdal predict dire outcomes if individuals who don't pony up, with titles such as, "Without your $20 . . . Carl Kasell's voice is wasted on youth." The campaign, created to help the station meet its fiscal-year-end fundraising goals, is designed to keep pledge drives and program interruptions to a minimum, says WBEZ's Cindy Hansen. Even bloggers at Chicagoist think it's pretty clever.

Fundraising online up, size of donations down

Online fundraising among 32 nonprofits is up 26 percent over 2008. That's the good news. The not-so-good news is the average donation decreased by 21 percent. So says the 2009 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, co-authored by M+R Strategic Services, a nonprofit advocacy group, and the Nonprofit Technology Network. Other findings: Email response rates held steady this year, compared with previous declines. The average online gift was $71, down $15. And email lists continue to grow, but more slowly.

Weiss reassigns senior news managers

NPR News chief Ellen Weiss has reassigned members of her senior management team to adjust for recent job losses in the newsroom, according to a memo leaked to Mediabistro.

"The painful cuts and sacrifices by everyone at NPR have sharpened our focus on how best to secure NPR's and public radio's future in terms of journalism, audience and revenue," Weiss says in the memo. "And News plays a central role: our ability to create and present the highest quality journalism and storytelling on all platforms is what defines NPR's distinctive value. To support these priorities I am restructuring the senior leadership of News."

Moving up in the realignment are Dick Meyer, who joined NPR last year as editorial director of digital operations. He becomes executive editor overseeing newsgathering and journalism across all platforms. Also: Ellen McDonnell, director of morning programming, is now executive director of news programming, supervising the top producers of Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation and the weekend newsmagazines.

In other changes, Weiss reassigned Brian Duffy from managing editor to director of enterprise and planning. He will lead enterprise and investigative reporting across all NPR divisions. David Sweeney succeeds him as managing editor; his deputy is Stu Seidel, who will run a new 24-hour news desk that coordinates news gathering and decision-making "with one phone number and email address."