Jul 18, 2011

Flynn of MacNeil/Lehrer to join FORA

Rob Flynn, communications and marketing v.p. for MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, is departing after 11 years to accept a newly created position as sales and marketing v.p. with, a San Francisco-based digital media company. Flynn will open a Washington, D.C., office for FORA focusing on corporate sponsorships and content partnerships — "generally trying to grow the brand," he said in an email to colleagues. FORA (Latin plural of "forum") curates and distributes a massive video library of live events, lectures, and debates at universities, think tanks and conferences. It currently works with partners including the Aspen Institute, the New Yorker, the New York Times and the Economist. "As I move along, there is much I will miss about the NewsHour and about public television," Flynn said in the note. He'll be at PBS NewsHour for a few weeks more, and begins at FORA in early August. His experience prior to NewsHour includes marketing and communication positions at the Golf Channel, National Cable & Telecommunications Association and GE.

PBS Kids Go! gets $250,000 from Arthur Vining Davis Foundations

The PBS Foundation last week received a $250,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to support PBS Kids Go! interactive content. The grant will fund website expansions, game development, research and PBS station and producer support for, which includes a video player with more than 3,000 video clips from series such as Wild Kratts, Arthur and WordGirl and averages 4.8 million streams per month. Upcoming projects include new short-form episodes of web-originals such as Fizzy's Lunch Lab, customized user features and more content on new media platforms such as mobile devices and interactive white boards.

Half of nonprofit news start-ups produce biased coverage

A survey of the emerging field of nonprofit news organizations found that roughly half produced coverage that was ideological in nature. The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism examined 46 news sites covering national or state-level news. Ideological sites "tended to be funded mostly or entirely by one parent organization," which in some cases may have various contributors, and "they tended to be less transparent about who they are and where their funding comes from," according to the study's authors. Nonprofit news groups that collaborate with pubcasting news units, such as ProPublica, California Watch, and Texas Tribune, received high ratings for non-ideological coverage, transparency and productivity. Public broadcasting's start-up online news sites -- the seven regional Local Journalism Centers and NPR Argo Network blogs -- were not included in the survey.

Mexico undergoing massive pubcasting expansion

Mexico is planning a $45.5 million boost to public broadcasting, to rough triple national coverage from 2010 to 2012, Variety reports. That initial investment for 2011-2012 will mainly fund 19 new repeater substations to help boost signals across the nation. An additional $3 million yearly will go to operations through 2020. The government hopes to improve the coverage of Once (Spanish for 11) TV, the largest educational broadcast network (owned by Instituto Politecnico Nacional, or the National Polytechnic Institute), from 50.7 percent to 76.8 percent of the country, an additional 26.9 million viewers. Its goal is to reach more than 91 million viewers by 2020. Some 79 percent of television sets in Mexico rely solely on over-the-air broadcasting.