Jan 20, 2011

Pubcasters selected as Peter Jennings Project fellows

Four public broadcasters are among the 2011 fellows for the Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution March 4-6 in Philadelphia. The announcement of the 36 professional and six student fellows coincides with today’s (Jan. 20) posthumous induction of the longtime ABC News anchor into the Academy of Television Arts and Science Hall of Fame.

Fellows include Carrie Johnson, Justice Department correspondent for NPR; Angela McKenzie, Initiative Radio; Amy Radil, KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio; and Paula Wissel, KPLU-FM.

The annual conference allows journalists to explore constitutional issues.

Ebert keeps his chin up, with a new one

Legendary movie critic Roger Ebert will wear a prosthetic chin on his new show, he revealed in his blog Wednesday (Jan. 19). "That's not to fool anyone, because my appearance is widely known," Ebert wrote, referencing his facial disfigurement from several surgeries following thyroid cancer. "It will be used in a medium shot of me working in my office, and will be a pleasant reminder of the person I was for 64 years." The fitting and creation of the new chin took two years. "Two original models were too stiff, so that my head held upright reminded me of Erich von Stroheim in 'Grand Illusion,' " he quipped. His Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies is set to debut Friday on nearly 200 stations nationwide.

Governor proposes zeroing out South Carolina Educational Television support

South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley wants to cut $20 million out of the state's budget, and $9.5 million of that would be funding to South Carolina Educational Television, according to The State newspaper. Haley announced the proposed reductions in her state of the state address Wednesday (Jan. 19). State money is about half of SCETV's $19.8 million budget. South Carolina faces a budget gap of more than $800 million.

Public broadcasting backer elected to House Communications Subcommittee post

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), a longtime pubcasting supporter, is the new ranking member of the House Communications Subcommittee, the first woman to hold the title. The vote was 14 to nine among committee Democrats. She's a co-chair of the Public Broadcasting Caucus.

GOP group's "Spending Reduction Act" would end CPB, NEH, NEA support

Conservative House Republicans today (Jan. 20) presented a proposal to cut $2.5 trillion in federal funding over the next 10 years. The "Spending Reduction Act of 2011" would slash money to 55 agencies and programs, including zeroing out CPB, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. "House leaders are unlikely to adopt such radical cuts," according to the Washington Post.

Blumenauer: Pubcasting is "very cost effective"

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) has come to public broadcasting's defense in a piece on the Hill's Congress Blog today (Jan. 20). "National public broadcasting is very cost effective and an excellent example of a public-private partnership maximizing value for the taxpayer," he writes. "The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) annually receives around .0001% of the federal budget. Cutting CPB's funding would save Americans less than half a cent a day," and would result in the loss of of PBS, "considered by the public to be the second-best use of taxpayer dollars, outranked only by defense spending."