Feb 11, 2011

Virginia Senate, House disagree on $2.7 million for public broadcasting

Virginia legislators have lots to talk about before agreeing on a budget, and that includes public broadcasting. The Senate restored $2.7 million that Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) proposed cutting from public broadcasting, while the House defeated a proposal to restore even a portion of the funding, according to the Roanoke Times.

Word World declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy

In 2005, WTTW's proposed preschool literacy show Word World was a surprise recipient of more than $7 million in Ready to Learn funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The perky program premiered on PBS in 2007, and went on to win three Emmy Awards.

On Thursday (Feb. 10), Word World LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Reuters is reporting the company has liabilities of more than $10 million, including a $3.3 million convertible note and unpaid debts to animation and production studios. It has secured lines of credit allowing it to continue operations while it restructures.

"It's the classic story of a great company with a bad balance sheet that ran out of time," said Don Moody, c.e.o. of Word World LLC.

Word World revenue comes from merchandising and licensing deals from more than 100 foreign countries where the show is aired, Moody said.

House members ask colleagues to preserve CPB funding

Twenty members of the House of Representatives on Thursday (Feb. 10) urged their colleagues to sign a letter of support for public broadcasting funding (PDF). The letter reads in part: "We can all agree that we should right-size government spending, but we must do it in a way that doesn’t deprive citizens across the country of a fundamental way to be educated, informed and inspired. We cannot turn our backs on one of America’s most successful public-private partnerships, an indispensable service that delivers exceptional value to citizens in small towns and major cities. It is an appropriate role for our government and one that we hope you will support."

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) authored the request, and spoke up for pubcasting on the House floor today. takes up pubcasting funding fight

The progressive website has a petition on its site supporting public broadcasting as the debate on federal funding nears. From the page: "The Republicans just released their budget proposal, and it zeroes out funding for both NPR and PBS – the worst proposal in more than a decade. We need to tell Republicans that cutting off funding was unacceptable last time they were in charge, and it's unacceptable now." Signers' information is zapped directly to their Congressional reps with the message, "Congress must protect NPR and PBS and guarantee them permanent funding, free from political meddling."

Berkman's Online Media Legal Network to assist nonprofit investigative journos

The Berkman Center’s Online Media Legal Network will collaborate with the Investigative News Network (INN) to help its member nonprofit news organizations find pro bono and low-cost legal help. Based at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet Society, Online Media Legal Network is a legal assistance and referral service of more than 100 law firms, law school clinics, in-house counsel and 7,000 individual lawyers nationwide that provide free and reduced-fee legal assistance to qualifying independent journalists and journalism ventures. The INN was conceived at the 2009 investigative public media conference in Pocantico, N.Y. Its members include some of the top pubmedia news orgs, including California Watch, Center for Investigative Reporting and the Center for Public Integrity.