May 4, 2009

Online columnist slams Cokie Roberts

Slate's Jack Shafer thinks NPR's Morning Edition should dump longtime Congressional analyst Cokie Roberts. "I can think of no comparably sized media space that's as void of original insight and information as Roberts'," he writes. "Her segments, though billed as 'analysis' by NPR, do little but speed-graze the headlines and add a few grace notes. If you're vaguely conversant with current events, you're already cruising at Roberts' velocity. Roberts doesn't just voice the conventional wisdom; she is the conventional wisdom."

Antiques Roadshow coverage hits a bump

Here's a rare occurrence: Newspaper coverage of PBS fave Antiques Roadshow is at the heart of a controversy (albeit small), in Grand Rapids, Mich. A reader questioned the news judgment of the Grand Rapids Press over its decision to feature prominently a $2,000 letter from Gerald Ford over an oil painting worth $300,000. "In his day, who in Grand Rapids didn't get a letter from Congressman Ford?" a reader asked. "There may be valuable Ford items out there, but a three sentence, hand-written letter? I don't think so."

Think your job is complicated? Try rights clearance

WGBH staffers talk about the arduous task of rights clearance in a story in today's Boston Globe. Reclearance for program use years later is especially tricky. "I had film material from a man who is deceased, and his wife granted permission but said that the estate would not go under $20,000 for 50 seconds of material," said Karen Cariani, head of the WGBH archives. "Definitely way overpriced, but we had to pay it."