Apr 7, 2010

Annenberg selects pubcasters for arts journalism institute

Three public broadcasters will head to USC Annenberg’s School of Journalism in Los Angeles next month as part of the annual National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater, the school announced this week. Attending will be: Ian Buckwalter, a theater critic on; Elizabeth Kramer, arts and humanities reporter, Louisville Public Media in Kentucky; and Emiko Tamagawa, associate producer, WBUR’s “Here and Now,” Boston. Participants will engage in writing workshops and individual master classes May 17-27.

Newspaper cites "Saddle Up" in tax-credit misappropriation case

Pubcasting show Saddle Up With Dennis Brouse is caught up in a tax-credit controversy, reports the DesMoines Register. The director of the state film office, which lures film and TV productions companies to Iowa to generate revenue, was fired last September. He's charged with official misconduct and goes on trial Friday. The state wants to hold him responsible for approving what the attorney general's office calls "blatantly false, fraudulent and exaggerated" claims for state tax breaks. The newspaper obtained documents detailing the projects involved, which include Saddle Up. The paper reports that Brouse's show was awarded the most tax credits of any production in the past two years, some $9.3 million. Filmmakers do not typically pay cash or taxes on sponsorships, and prosecutors say sponsorships should not qualify for subsidies under Iowa law. The newspaper had Ross Johnson, an industry rep for producers and financiers, look over Brouse's records. "I've seen hundreds of budgets, but this takes the cake. I've never seen anyone trying to claim these (sponsorships) as a cash transaction." The paper said Brouse did not return its calls; Current also left a message for his publicist. The show, produced by Changing Horses Productions, is distributed by Executive Program Services and carried on more than 100 stations. UPDATE: EPS told Current in an email: "Our agreement with Changing Horses Productions was for distribution of Saddle Up With Dennis Brouse. We had no involvement with the production or financing of the series and no involvement with, or knowledge of, any dealings with the State of Iowa."

Launch of Apple's iPad is buzzworthy for NPR

Amid all the buzz over the launch of Apple's iPad last weekend, the free app and specialized website that NPR created for the device are getting lots of attention--and generating lots of downloads. Some 30,000 proud new iPad owners downloaded the NPR app on Saturday, according to the Wall Street Journal. "Apple says it sold more than 300,000 iPads as of Saturday, which means about one of every 10 iPad buyers on day one downloaded the NPR app," the Journal reports. "We're excited about this latest innovation because we think it brings us closer to capturing NPR's unique identity on a digital platform," blogs Kinsey Wilson, senior v.p. of NPR digital media, on "The iPad's casual touch-screen navigation seems more conducive to immersive reading than even the lightest laptops." The Society for News Design interviewed the senior designers on NPR's iPad prototyping project, Paulo Lopez and David Wright Jr. "It was important for us to have a good experience on launch day because our research indicated that a large number of NPR listeners would also be heavy iPad users," they said. "As an organization, we’ve made significant investments in our visual storytelling, design and technical infrastructure. Launching quickly on this platform was a perfect opportunity to put to use some of what we learned."