Aug 9, 2011

Environmental news awards go to public media journalists

Public media reporters and producers made a strong showing in the 10th annual Society of Environmental Journalists awards: ProPublica and Frontline staffers for "The True Story Behind the Oil Spill"; PRI's The World for ongoing environmental reporting; Maine Public Broadcasting for “Science Skeptics, Corporate Lobbyists and the Assault on Maine’s Environment”; and PBS NewsHour for “In Middle East, Coalition Aims to Ease Tension Over Water Resources.” A full list of winners is here.

MemberCardConnect launches today

Member Benefits Inc., which runs local member benefit programs for more than 140 pubcasting stations, kicks off its new MemberCardConnect website today (Aug. 8). (Here's a look at the page for Chicago Public Media.) The company says the new site merges station content, branding and social networking tools with expanded MemberCard benefits and online rewards. Each station's page contains sections highlighting underwriters and sponsors and announcing upcoming events, as well as links to station social network pages and an RSS applet.

Rubinsohn: APT, TJL, DLT

Pubcaster David Rubinsohn has added yet more initials to his resume. In addition to working for TJL Productions and APT, he's now director of public TV sales for DLT Entertainment. The television production and distribution firm said in a statement Monday (Aug. 8) that it's looking to expand content choices to pubTV. Rubinsohn formerly headed programming at WHYY in Philadelphia, and was v.p. of programming and distribution at New York's WLIW. Titles from DLT include Benny Hill and Rumpole of the Bailey.

Former pubcaster uses news format to teach history of minorities in new website

Robert Miller, past director of educational publishing at WNET, has launched a new website with a unique approach to teaching African-American and Mexican-American history. Our History as News uses a newspaper format that is "engaging, exciting, immediate,” Miller told the Hispanically Speaking News site. “Because we use advertisements, short news articles and original illustrations, as well as feature stories and editorials, we offer people with all levels of reading skills the opportunity to learn.”
The Black Chronicle tells the story of African-Americans from 1778, when Rhode Island Slaves were promised their freedom if they fought in the Colonial armies, up through 1954, when Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of the bus. In the bilingual La Cronica, coverage begins in 1835 when California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas were still part of northern Mexico, and continues through 1969, when Latino students walked out of Los Angeles high schools to protest discrimination.

Miller started The Black Chronicle in 1969. Early supporters included Henry Hampton, producer of the critically acclaimed Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights documentary series.

Diana Nyad ends historic swim halfway through due to strong winds and currents

KCRW's Diana Nyad, the 61-year-old champion swimmer making her second attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, has officially ended her quest about halfway through, after nearly 30 hours in the water. CNN is reporting that Nyad was vomiting when she was brought aboard a boat at 12:45 a.m. today (Aug. 9). Nyad "struggled through ocean swells, shoulder pain and asthma Monday before she was forced to give up the 103-mile swim," CNN's account says. Her team told the network that strong winds and tricky currents figured into her decision. Her Twitter feed reports that as of 8:30 a.m. Eastern, she was eating scrambled eggs aboard the boat heading back to Key West. "I am not sad," she said. "It was absolutely the right call."