Apr 24, 2009

Girl's screams on NPR piece prompt listener objections

NPR ombudsman Alicia C. Shepard writes in her latest column, "What makes NPR's storytelling so powerful and compelling is the adroit use of sound." However, those sounds can sometimes be quite disturbing. Shepard reports that several listeners "strongly objected" to an April 7 Morning Edition story that used the screams of a Pakistani girl being flogged by a Taliban commander.

How about $2 billion for NewsHour?

Alex Jones wants one or more of the world's richest people to establish a $2 billion endowment that would provide permanent funding for PBS's NewsHour, reveals journo David Westphal, blogging on the Annenberg School for Communication site. Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard, floats the idea in his upcoming book, Losing the News: The Uncertain Future of the News That Feeds Democracy. Regarding NewsHour, Jones writes: "If Warren Buffett or a group of billionaires wanted to change the world, this is how they could do it. It'd be one hour of prime viewing time for every television in the country. It would give the United States the genuinely high-quality TV news operation that it has never had."

Save WCAL group commits to appeal MPR's legal victory

Four years after classical station WCAL left the air in the Twin Cities region, its fans have committed to raise the legal costs and appeal their case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Save WCAL filed a brief yesterday asking the appellate court to undo St. Olaf College's sale of the station to Minnesota Public Radio, which now uses the frequency for its contemporary music service, The Current. The WCAL group, represented by attorney Michael McNabb, has had mixed results so far with its claim that the college ignored the intent of donors who kept WCAL going for 80 years. The case won some favorable comments from retiring Judge Gerald Wolf but lost in February with Judge Bernard Borene's summary judgment upholding the legality of the sale. Save WCAL's website says the group is raising funds to match a $25,000 challenge grant to pay McNabb, who said he could not undertake the appeal on a continuing pro bono basis.