Aug 20, 2008

Journalists' credibility holding steady at 99-plus, for now!

While Digg and other online news aggregators use popularity to recommend articles, the new site NewsCred asks users to rate the credibility of the article, the journalist, the news org and even the news sources by choosing "credit" or "discredit." The users' reactions combine to yield a rating between 1 and 100. Public input has been limited because the site just graduated from alpha to public beta stage on Tuesday, and all of the rated media are scoring north of 99 points (NPR is at 99.12, a point above right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin). But that can't last. NewsCred kicks off its press release with statistics indicating that most Americans distrust journalism. The website, based in Geneva, Switzerland, was started by Iraj Islam and Shafqat Islam, described as a web programmer from Sweden and a former Wall Street technology exec. TechCrunch covered the debut.

Ag Dept helps equip 19 stations for DTV and HD

The Agriculture Department yesterday announced $5 million in digital TV equipment grants to pubTV stations in 19 states. In less-populated areas, the department's Rural Development grants have been supplementing the Commerce Department's annual Public Telecommunications Facilities Program aid. Central Michigan University's six-station network (WCMU and kin) covering the upper half of lower Michigan received the biggest sum, $750K for new digital production equipment, including a satellite uplink truck. Among the bigger checks are those payable to Northern Michigan University, the Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Dakota and Nebraska networks and KEET in Eureka, Calif. For info on the grant program, see here. Last month, another program in the agency gave grants totalling $15 million for broadband facilities to rural communities, cable companies and Indian tribes.

Martin Savidge to anchor new nightly news program for pubTV

NBC News correspondent Martin Savidge has been named anchor of public TV's new nightly news program Worldfocus, produced in New York by WLIW and conceived by WNET President and longtime network newsman Neal Shapiro, who heads up the parent organization of both pubTV stations. Former CBS Evening News producer Marc Rosenwasser is executive producer of the program, which begins airing Oct. 6 and is a direct competitor to public TV's long-running BBC World News, previously distributed by WLIW but now represented by KCET in Los Angeles (Current, May 12). Worldfocus aims to contextualize international events for an American audience. Look for a story on the program in the Sept. 2 issue of Current.