Sep 9, 2010

Did your pubTV site make Beer's list?

Take a gander at a few of the best web sites in pubTV, as per pubmedia blogger Chris Beer, who's also a developer with WGBH Interactive. Sites Beer liked the most had "a mix of good design aesthetic, highlighted local content, and some element of current-ness."

Writers Guild members approve four-year pubTV contract

Made-for-Internet programming is covered for the first time under a new collective bargaining agreement unanimously approved by the Writers Guild of America for public TV writers. A guild statement Wednesday (Sept. 8) also said the contract preserves payments for digital reuse. WGA employees working at WGBH, WNET and KCET will receive rate increases of 2 percent in the second year and 2.75 percent in the third and fourth years of the four-year agreement. Writers at "numerous other, smaller production companies that produce content for PBS" are also covered, according to the statement.

Political junkies, rejoice: NewsHour now has a web page for you

PBS NewsHour has posted a new web page, PBS NewsHour Politics, with stories, video and analysis on daily political developments. There's a morning blog, top 25 political Twitter feeds and interactive calendar of political events. The program's David Chalian, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will also be there in a web-only Monday daybook previewing news of the week.

CPB's Curren among international broadcasting heads speaking at IBC

CPB Chief Operating Officer Vinnie Curren joined BBC Trust Chairman Michael Lyons, European Broadcasting Union Director General Ingrid Deltenre and NHK Japan Vice President Yoshinori Imai for a keynote session Wednesday (Sept. 8) to open the huge annual IBC media confab in Amsterdam. Indian Television reports that Curren spoke on the importance of localism to public service broadcasters, and cited Wisconsin Public Television's LZ Lambeau (Current, June 7, 2010) as one good example. The IBC calls itself "the premier annual event for professionals engaged in the creation, management and delivery of entertainment and news content worldwide." More than 45,000 participants from 140 countries attended last year's meeting. It runs through Sept. 14.

Mississippi pubTV head departs in wake of Fresh Air controversy

Judith Lewis has resigned as executive director of the Mississippi Authority for Educational Television, nine weeks after Mississippi Public Broadcasting abruptly dropped Fresh Air from its radio schedule July 8, citing “recurring inappropriate content” in the show. In the announcement of her departure, the Authority Board of Directors said it is in the process of filling the position. "Business as usual continues at MPB," it added.

The July 8 move was the the second time in nine months that MPB had yanked Gross’s cultural talk show from the air (Current, July 26, 2010).

Also, an MPB reporter's leak to a local alternative paper of the internal memo discussing the Fresh Air situation cost him his job. Carl Gibson sent the memo from his newsroom computer. The memo revealed that the network canceled the show within 24 hours of the broadcast of the interview in question.

WAMU news decisions not influenced by p.d.'s relationships, Mathes says

In a statement issued yesterday, WAMU General Manager Caryn Mathes responded to the perceived conflicts of interested cited as examples of questionable journalistic ethics in Tuesday's Washington Post.

The Post pointed to personal and business relationships of Program Director Mark McDonald, who is married to Melinda Wittstock of Capitol News Connection, a D.C.-based news bureau that produces news segments airing on WAMU. He also operates Pundit Media Consulting, a media training service. McDonald disclosed the conflicts of interest in accordance with WAMU policy and is recused from all editorial and business decisions regarding Capitol News Connection, and his consulting practice is separate business from Pundit Productions, the parent company of CNC that Wittstock owns, Mathes said in the statement.

Post media reporter Paul Farhi also pointed to WAMU commentaries by Brooks Rainwater, director of local relations for the American Institute of Architects, who received media training from McDonald's consultancy. Rainwater "independently" pitched his commentaries to WAMU News Director Asendio, Mathes said. "The audition was successful, and three commentaries from Mr. Brooks Rainwater were used. WAMU 88.5 editorial decisions are made independently."

"WAMU 88.5 management states unequivocally that neither Mr. McDonald’s marital relationship nor his personal business have influenced or impacted station coverage," Mathes said.