Jan 17, 2012

Kellogg, NPR national correspondent, departs after 14 months

NPR National Correspondent Alex P. Kellogg has left the network after 14 months on the job, he told the Journal-isms blog on Monday (Jan. 16). "We're parting ways amicably," Kellogg said. The blog noted that Kellogg is "one of NPR's two black male on-air journalists." The Harvard-educated Kellogg had previously reported for the Wall Street Journal and Detroit Free Press. While at NPR he reported on topics including deportations, interracial marriage and the racial gap in homeownership.

Ratings for new format WESA-FM down 50 percent from WDUQ days

Audience numbers for news WESA-FM, the former WDUQ jazz/news station in Pittsburgh, have dropped 50 percent since June 2011, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, from a 1.6 Arbitron share that June to a .8 share in December. "It's not surprising there's some audience loss because of the jazz loss," pubradio consultant John Sutton told the paper. "What is surprising: Usually when you streamline your format, you see an increase in listening among the remaining listeners. And that hasn't happened yet."

Tammy Terwelp, WESA director of content and programming, said she considers the downturn typical for a new format, and the low December number doesn't concern her. "Holiday listening patterns of people are so unlike their normal listening patterns," she said. "People are off from work, shopping, traveling. It's really a mixed bag."

South Dakota governor criticizes NPR investigation on Native foster children

The governor of South Dakota is criticizing an NPR investigative report on foster care for Native American children in the state, according to the Daily Republic in Mitchell. The yearlong project, “Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families” ran as a three-part series by NPR investigative correspondent Laura Sullivan on Morning Edition and All Things Considered in October 2011. Sullivan found that nearly 700 Native American children in South Dakota are removed from their homes every year, and that the vast majority of those children are placed into nonnative homes or group homes. According to the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, Native children must be placed with their relatives or tribes.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard told the newspaper's editorial board on Monday (Jan. 16), "I can’t identify any legitimate criticisms that identified an area where we could take action. It raised my level of knowledge, but I think that’s a poor way to cause me to raise my level of knowledge, through a sensational story that was unfounded.”

The newspaper said that Daugaard and his chief spokesman have been in contact with NPR’s ombudsman, Edward Schumacher-Matos, for six weeks. Schumacher-Matos said in a column on Dec. 23, 2011, that he is looking into their concerns.

UPDATE: Here is a statement from NPR on Daugaard's comments. "We stand by our story. NPR’s Laura Sullivan conducted extensive research and interviewed more than 100 people over the course of a year. The state granted NPR only one interview, with two state officials, which they limited to one half hour, and declined further requests for interviews and information. Sullivan is currently working on an additional report in this series from South Dakota and we hope the governor and department officials will reconsider and sit down with her to better explain this issue from their perspective."

Attention RSS readers

Now online is Current's obituary for, as well as two tributes to, Jim Fellows, the publication's founder, who died Jan. 6 at age 77. Fellows represented stations on the national scene for 40 years, serving as the last president of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, a forerunner and parent of PBS and NPR. Here is his obituary, along with a remembrance by David Kleeman, president of the American Center for Children and Media, which Fellows founded; and an appreciation of Fellows' life by David L. Fornshell, longtime executive director of the Ohio Educational Telecommunications Network Commission in Columbus.

"Downton" and "Freedom Riders" score Eddie Award nods

Nominees for the 62nd annual American Cinema Editors' Eddie Awards include several public TV include Downton Abbey from Masterpiece Classic and Freedom Riders from American Experience. The Eddies honor excellence in film editing. Here's a full list of nominees.

"Independent Lens" schedule includes two possible Oscar nominees

Independent Lens has unveiled its winter/spring 2012 season, which includes two films on the "short-list" for Academy Award nominations: Hell and Back Again, about the human costs of war, and We Were Here, a look at the early days of the AIDS crisis in San Francisco. Here's a full rundown of the 2012 offerings, to be hosted by actress Mary Louise Parker. This season, the program moves to Thursday nights on most PBS member stations.

"Downton" wins Golden Globe for best mini-series

Downton Abbey, the PBS hit from Masterpiece Classic, received the Golden Globe for best mini-series or motion picture made for television in ceremonies Sunday night (Jan. 15) in Hollywood. Downton had received four nominations. A complete list of winners and nominees is here.