May 16, 2012

Round 2 of Knight News Challenge: Data

The Knight News Challenge, an international media innovation contest, revealed today that the second round of competition (with submissions accepted from May 31 to June 20), will be centered on the theme of Data.

Photo via cip_sb on Flickr.
The contest, which is part of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's $100 million plus "Media Innovation Initiative," is split into three rounds this year. The first round (Feb. 27 — Mar. 17) featured the theme of Networks and received 1,078 applications. The field has since been winnowed to 52 finalists, and only 4 to 6 entries will be brought before the Knight Foundation trustees for consideration in mid-June. Winners of Round 1 will be announced on June 18.

John Bracken, director of digital media at the Knight Foundation, writes that, for Round 2, "...we’ll be looking for ideas that help unlock the power of data, by collecting, processing, visualizing or otherwise making it available, understandable and actionable."

Anyone can enter the contest, and applications should be submitted via the Knight Foundation's website.

Feature Story News to open four new bureaus

Simon Marks
Feature Story News, an independent TV news agency that works closely with many pubTV outlets, announced the opening of four new bureaus in Miami, San Francisco, Houston, and Los Angeles today at the PBS Annual Meeting in Denver, Colo.

FSN is helmed by Simon Marks, a former president of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions.

The Houston bureau will be based in the TV/radio newsroom of Houston Public Media, the Miami bureau will be based at WPBT-TV, the Los Angeles bureau will be based at PBS SoCal, and the San Francisco bureau will be based at KMVT-TV 15.

Each bureau will be a two-person operation, with each staffed by an on-air correspondent and a video journalist.

Marks said the small bureaus will be funded entirely by FSN's existing business. FSN already has several two to four person bureaus across the globe, and a more sizable eight-person bureau in Washington, D.C.

Once the four planned bureaus are open and an additional bureau in South Africa actualizes, FSN will have 13 bureaus worldwide.

Actress Meg Ryan lends star power to "Half the Sky," and PBS Annual Meeting

DENVER, Colo. — At the PBS Annual Meeting, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof interviewed actress Meg Ryan during a luncheon presentation on Half the Sky. The Independent Lens two-part documentary, coming in October, is based on the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn. Ryan was one of several celebrity activists who traveled overseas with filmmakers and interacted with women bravely facing — and overcoming — horrendous conditions due to forced prostitution, gender-based violence and maternal mortality. The documentary is part of ITVS's Women and Girls Lead initiative. (Photo: Martin Allred/PBS)

WTTW's local and national production departments to merge

WTTW in Chicago is merging its national and local production departments, reports Time Out Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Over the years, WTTW National Productions has produced popular titles including Soundstage, Sneak Previews, The Frugal Gourmet and The McLaughlin Group; WTTW11 Local Productions handles shows such as Check, Please! and Chicago Tonight.

Dan Schmidt, president of parent company Window to the World Communications, wrote in a memo to staff: “With this new focus, we are better able to leverage the creativity, experience and expertise of our existing staff to develop programming that appeals to local, national and international audiences.”

Leading the combined WTTW Production division will be Parke Richeson, s.v.p. of WTTW National Productions, and Dan Soles, s.v.p. and chief television content officer, Schmidt said in the memo. The consolidation is effective this month.