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Mar 23, 2011

Journalism panel to discuss myths about news media

Tom Rosenstiel of the Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism will discuss the latest State of the News Media report during a panel discussion to be webcast live at 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 24. His talk will focus on "myths" about contemporary media, drawing on PEJ's research and insights from a panel of media experts, including Alberto Ibarg├╝en of the Knight Foundation, Jane McDonnell of the Online Journalism Association, and Matthew Hindman of George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs, which is hosting the event. Broadcast journalist Frank Sesno, director of the school and host of PBS's Planet Forward, will moderate.

WNET's first 3D series, with DirecTV, premiering this weekend

WNET in New York City and DirecTV are announcing the premiere U.S. broadcast of their "Treasure Houses of Britain in 3D," WNET's first 3D project. The five-part series debuts Saturday (March 26) on DirecTV's n3D channel. Producer-Director is Alastair Layzell of Colonial Pictures, cinematographer is Richard Hall. Executives in charge for WNET are Gillian Rose and Stephen Segaller. Neal Shapiro, WNET president, said in a statement that the "Treasure Houses" 3D series "showcases public media’s continued journey toward the future of television programming, which our viewers have come to expect.”

Need to transport turkey chicks? Call North County Public Radio

Ellen Rocco, station manager at North County Public Radio in Canton, N.Y., writes today (March 23) on the station's blog about how staffers helped an errant shipment of turkey chicks find their way home to her farm. Well, one did manage to escape down a station hallway. But fear not: Program Director Jackie Sauter made it a little nest while Rocco was on the air with her blues show, Blue Note.

Loss of federal aid will stifle diversity, innovation in public media

As the political battle over federal aid to public broadcasting focuses narrowly on NPR, two public media leaders describe what's most vulnerable to funding cuts: diversity and innovation in content.

"[W]hat bothers me about this debate is the lack of true understanding in the public eye about just what public media is," writes Jacquie Jones of the National Black Programming Consortium for the Huffington Post. "Despite NPR's and PBS's enormous contributions to the media universe -- their bedrock news and information services and their role in the documentation of American life, history, culture and experience -- public media is a whole lot more than NPR and PBS. . . ."

"Public media is a tapestry of independently produced media that represents the full range of experiences in our society -- from the very good to the very bad," Jones writes. "Are there redundancies? Yes. Are there areas for improvement? Absolutely. But it is in public media that you'll find some of the most culturally diverse, substantive and provocative content."

Jessica Clark of American University's Center for Social Media points to the field's recent progress in launching innovative digital news projects and cross-platform content distribution and writes that these efforts would be strangled by funding cuts and prompt an exodus of talent and private sources of support.

"It is exactly public media's mandate to inform and involve the whole public -- not just targeted partisan clusters or market niches -- that drives such content innovation," Clark writes for MediaShift. "Beloved shows such as Sesame Street and This American Life broke new ground in terms of voice, aesthetics and inclusion of differing perspectives. They served new waves of users, influencing commercial formats in the process." The new generation of innovative public media content -- public radio's Snap Judgment, the Public Insight Network, and the Public Media Corps -- could be lost before their full potential for creativity and innovation in media is realized.

Clark writes: "Such losses could mean sure and slow (or maybe not-so-slow) death for the sector. They'll drive a brain-drain of younger, more creative and wired staffers just at the point when Boomers are beginning to retire in droves out of stations and national networks. They'll choke off funding for independent radio, film and online producers. They'll disgust foundations and major donors who have poured millions into trying to jump-start the shift from public broadcasting into public media 2.0. What's more, they'll render public media mute in a national conversation that is increasingly 24-7 and cross-platform."

Without getting into specifics, Clark describes CPB's direct annual appropriation for digital initiatives as a cornerstone of public media innovation. This is one of several lines in the federal budget that are vulnerable to budget cuts beyond CPB's forward-funded appropriation of $460 million for fiscal 2013.

Congress provided $36 million to CPB Digital in 2010. President Obama has proposed cutting it to $6 million.

Why does Gowalla matter?

The National Center for Media Engagement explains why today (March 23), in its first of five postings exploring the use of social media by public media. Today's post discusses location-based social network sites. Writes Bryce Kirchoff, "Imagine: A mobile user checks into your city’s art museum on Gowalla and they’re offered a clip your station produced about the institution’s Picasso exhibit. Or, a high school student visits Washington D.C.’s Vietnam War Memorial and is prompted to stream a preview of a Ken Burns film. Both are potential parts of public media’s future."

Beyond brand, editorial narrative important in era of paywall news, Bole says

Pubmedia thought leader Rob Bole has posted on his Public Purpose Media blog his presentation for Media Future Now on new forms and formats of digital storytelling, from the D.C. group's meeting Tuesday (March 22). One point: "In the seemingly coming era of paywalls (or the final, sad collapse of mainstream journalism), it is not just brand that carries the day, but quality, unique, relevant content that has editorial narrative ... and this might be supplied, in part, by new forms of digital journalism."