May 30, 2012

WGBH and its largest union reach contract agreement

WGBH has reached an agreement with its largest union, the Boston Globe is reporting. The contract terms are the same as March 2011, which the union had initially rejected.

The agreement allows the pubcaster to assign individual employees to work across multiple platforms and to outsource work. “We have so many producers in house, but there are times when working with an outside producer makes sense, maybe for a particular project, or in terms of cost efficiencies,” said Jeanne Hopkins, WGBH spokesperson.

The Association of Employees of the Educational Foundation, Communications Workers of America, Local 1300, represents 250 production workers, editors, producers, writers, and marketing staffers. Its website says 63 percent of members approved the contract.

WGBH employs a total of about 850.

Marketplace raises pay rates for freelancers

American Public Media’s Marketplace announced today that it is raising its pay rates for freelancers and other outside contributors by 8 percent to 20 percent. The programs, which include Marketplace, Marketplace Morning Report, Marketplace Tech Report and Marketplace Money, will also adopt the tiered freelance payment structure devised by the Association of Independents in Radio, which takes into account the journalist’s experience and the level of effort a piece requires. Contributors will negotiate these factors with the show when accepting assignments.

Earlier this year, NPR also adopted the tiered payment structure and raised its pay rates as well.

LinkAsia melds citizen journalism, official news for digital/broadcast presentation

LinkAsia, a weekly digital/broadcast hybrid news show from nonprofit Link TV, curates stories from citizen journalists as well as packages of official news from commercial and state-run networks including CCTV in China, NHK in Japan, MBC in Korea, NDTV in India and VTV4 in Vietnam. Overseeing the year-old program is George Lewinski, former senior editor at PRI's The World and foreign editor at NPR's Marketplace.

"A show that started out as a weekly chronicle of politics and business in Asia, created for a U.S. audience — fed from syndicated news packages from Asian nations — is a full, nuanced ongoing examination of life as it is experienced by people who live there, juxtaposed with the 'official portrait' of that life by the region's official media organizations," writes Caty Borum Chattoo, a LinkAsia studio producer, on MediaShift. "It's the gap between the two that has created and supported the most valuable reporting and analysis — and the digital tools that allow us to continue to follow the long tail of the story after it may have faded from immediacy."

PBS NewsHour receives $3.55 million from four foundations

Four foundations are giving PBS NewsHour a total of $3.55 million for on-air and online coverage of the 2012 presidential election, the economy, international developments, and health, science, education and arts news. Participants in the multi-foundation initiative announced today (May 30) are Carnegie Corporation of New York, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

“It’s especially encouraging to have this special general support from some of the nation’s leading foundations,” said Bo Jones, president of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. “It is key to supporting the program’s infrastructure and ability to grow.”

The funds will enable NewsHour reporters to report from the field on issues critical in the election, such as jobs, the economy, immigration, education, the environment, and foreign policy, as well as file reports examining the changing nature of the American electorate. Support also will go to the PBS NewsHour Digital Election Data Center, which will give web viewers the same professional analytical tools that the NewsHour’s political unit will use.

PBS tops 13 media organizations in engagement via Pinterest

An analysis from the Poynter Institute reveals that PBS and USA Today are the two media organizations that most effectively engage with readers via the visually oriented social network site Pinterest. Reporter Susanna Speier examined 13 local and national news organizations — including the Los Angeles Times, NBC News and Newsweek/The Daily Beast — to compared their average repin to pin ratios, which are similar to retweets and tweets on Twitter. The highest overall repin to pin ratio was PBS; on average, a pin on PBS was repinned six times. USA Today had an average of 4.4 repins; Newsweek/The Daily Beast, 4.3; and the Wall Street Journal, 4.2. The remaining news organizations had average ratios between 1.1 and 2.2 repins per pin.

Kevin Dando, PBS's digital director, told Speier that online referrals from Pinterest are not yet a realistic goal. “We are focused on engagement,” he said. “We know the clickthroughs will come and the way to get them is through engagement.”

Transcript of Jason Seiken's speech to PBS Annual Meeting now online

Now on, text of the May 15 speech at the PBS Annual Meeting in Denver by Jason Seiken, head of PBS Interactive, which one g.m. called a "seminal moment" in public broadcasting. Three dozen general managers are coalescing around Seiken's ideas to transform each station into the YouTube of their local community, allowing public television to serve "millions more people with billions more videos."