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Dec 15, 2011

Masterpiece scores five Golden Globe nods

"Downton Abbey" on Masterpiece provided PBS with four Golden Globe nominations, announced today (Dec. 15), with a fifth from Masterpiece's "Page Eight."

"Downton" nods came for mini-series or motion picture made for television; actress in a TV mini-series (Elizabeth McGovern); actor in a TV mini-series (Hugh Bonneville); and supporting actress in a TV mini-series (Maggie Smith). Another name called for actor in a TV mini-series was Bill Nighy for "Page Eight."

A full list of nominees is here. The prestigious awards, from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, will be presented in televised ceremonies Jan. 15.

Attention RSS readers

Visit Current's website for the story of one former Antiques Roadshow appraiser who is blowing the whistle on what he alleges is unfair treatment of its 200-some appraisers. Producing station WGBH is currently conducting an internal review of his concerns, which he detailed in an 11-page complaint.

Omnibus to give CPB $445 million, requests report on weaning off federal funding

The Fiscal Year 2012 Final Consolidated Appropriations Bill package, which the House probably will vote on this Friday (Dec. 16), contains a fiscal 2014 advance appropriation for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting of $445 million, according to a summary of the legislation from the House Appropriations Committee (PDF). That's $50 million below CPB's request (PDF) and $6 million below the administration's proposal. In addition, the bill (H.R. 3671) would require CPB to compile a report on alternative funding sources for pubcasting stations in lieu of federal money. Full text of the 1,200-page legislation is not yet available online. The GOP House majority is expected to bring up the bill Friday, according to the website of House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). The omnibus spending package encompasses the nine remaining spending bills for 2012.

It's a public radio miracle on WXXI

A 10-year-old girl's recent letter to WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., has inspired its newsroom to present a special series of positive local stories. The weeklong radio project, titled "Liza's Letter," kicks off Dec. 26 during Morning Edition. "The reason why I want happy news," Liza wrote, "is that every morning on the radio they're talking about sad things, crimes, murders, car crashes, terrible storms, sometimes it depresses people who listen to it. So it would make me happy to hear good news, and would lighten other people up, too."

"I know you are busy," she concluded in her letter, "but it would really really be a big favor."

And a P.S. "If you said yes, would I get an interview?"

Yes, Liza, there is a Santa Claus . . . er, news director. So listeners will get to meet Liza and her sister Hannah (above, reading Liza's letter at the station), and hear several inspiring stories, including about a barbershop where haircuts and healthcare mix, and the softer side of one of Rochester’s toughest hockey players.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good news story! (Image: WXXI)

Crowdsourcing? Let iMA know

The Integrated Media Association is compiling a directory of public media crowdsourced projects. Examples include WDET's investigation into illegal trucking in neighborhoods of Detroit's Mexicantown, WNYC's map of plowed streets during a December 2010 blizzard, and WFIU's tips for green living based on suggestions from viewers and listeners. Watch iMA's Facebook page for details.

Knight gives $4.6 million for new local reporting partnership in Georgia


Georgia Public Broadcasting is part of a $4.6 million Knight Foundation project to strengthen local reporting that's being announced today (Dec. 15). The Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University in Macon, Ga., will bring together professional journalists from the local Telegraph newspaper and GPB Media staffers to help Mercer students learn and employ digital-age storytelling skills, the partners said in a statement. Plans are for the joint newsroom to also launch community engagement projects that will involve local residents in choosing issues to cover. Also, GPB Macon Radio will expand its news staff in Central Georgia over several years.

The center will reside in Mercer Village, a new mixed-use development on campus where ground was broken today. The first floor of the development, nearly 12,000 square feet, will house faculty offices, classrooms and labs for Mercer’s Journalism and Media Studies Department; offices for The Telegraph’s editors; and an open newsroom that will be shared by the newspaper, the journalism department and GPB Media. The pubcaster’s Macon radio and television studios are nearby.

“Journalism and news delivery must stay relevant to changing communities," said Alberto Ibarg├╝en, president of the Knight Foundation. "To succeed, we need to let the technology take us to new places and experiment with new forms of collaboration."

Taking part in the groundbreaking Thursday, from left: Mercer President Bill Underwood; Larry Brumley, Mercer's s.v.p. for marketing communications; George McCanless, publisher of The Telegraph; Beverly Knight Olson, Knight trustee and longtime Macon civic leader; Teya Ryan, GPB president; David Hudson, Mercer Board of Trustees chair; Beverly Blake, Knight program director for Macon; Anders Gyllenhaal, v.p. of news for McClatchy and member of Mercer’s National Journalism Advisory Board; and Jon Hoban, v.p. of radio for GPB. (Image: Cheryl Alford, GPB)

National ratings for PBS Kids' shows up "dramatically," Sponsorship Group says

The Sponsorship Group for Public Television (SGPTV) is reporting that Nielsen National Television Index ratings for PBS Kids programs "have risen dramatically" over last season, and two new corporate sponsors have signed on.

The group says that children's shows have posted national ratings gains in nearly every demographic, including a 30 percent hike for kids ages 6 to 8. Curious George is the No. 1 program on any network for kids ages 2 to 5, and SuperWhy is No. 1 for kids under 3 — PBS Kids also holds the 2, 3, 4 and 5 spots for that demographic.

In September, Stride Rite came on as a corporate underwriter for Curious George; and Age of Learning Inc., a Glendale, Calif.-based firm supporting early childhood learning, has been underwriting SuperWhy and Wild Kratts since November.