Jun 16, 2009

Latin American Discovery Channel to carry Sesame Workshop show

Sesame Street's Abby Cadabby will host 3, 2, 1, ¡VAMOS!, a new half-hour preschool show starting June 22 on Discovery Kids Latin America. The program offers segments from the interactive program Play With Me Sesame and the multi-media project Global Grover, as well as Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures, the first claymation series from Sesame Workshop.

Can Planet Money be a money maker?

Negotiations over the future of Planet Money, the NPR blog and podcast on global economics, include the option of operating it as a for-profit, according to this report by AOL's DailyFinance. "Like everyone else in the business, we're trying to figure out if there are other revenue models that might work for us," says Adam Davidson, the NPR reporter who teamed up with This American Life's Alex Blumberg to report "Giant Pool of Money," the 2008 documentary that launched their multimedia spin off for "One of many possibilities raised has been the possibility, like many not-for-profits, of having a for-profit fundraising arm." But Davidson adds: "I can say with 100-percent assurance that our core goal is to be a not-for-profit, mission-driven company."

PBS board okays "three nons" requirement

In a compromise with the small number of PBS stations running religious programming, the PBS board today approved a membership requirement that would allow those shows to continue but would ban more sectarian programs to be added on primary channels. Also, religious programs may be carried on multicast channels or other platforms as long as PBS branding is not included. This was the final requirement recommended by the Station Services Committee after more than a year's work updating membership criteria. The "three nons" question had been sent back to the system for additional input (see Current, April 13). Also at the meeting in Arlington, Va., the board accepted the fiscal year 2010 operating budget, which includes a $3.4 million deficit.

Doug Mitchell honored for pubradio journalism training

Public Radio News Directors Inc. presented its Leo C. Lee Award to former NPR producer Doug Mitchell. The award, which honors distinguished contributions to public radio journalism, recognized Mitchell's work to "encourage young people - and particularly young people of color - to get into public radio," PRNDI announced on its website.

Mitchell, who left NPR in lay-offs announced in December, is a 20-year veteran of NPR News, and he worked for over a decade to establish a public radio journalism program for young people. Through Next Generation Radio, as the training program was called, "Doug did what a trainer is supposed to do--encapsulate the best values of the organization and transmit them intact to a new generation," wrote former NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin, in a blog posting about the loss of present and future talent with Mitchell's exit. "Using the metaphor of these days, he was a Moses to their Joshua."

Mitchell recently explained his motivation in creating the program on Transom: "[F]or 15 of my 21.5 years at NPR, my version of teaching was giving back. That’s an old-school term meaning that at one point in my life someone helped me, and after a period of time, I 'gave it back' to someone else who needed help."

The PRNDI award is named for the late Leo C. Lee, a newspaperman who became a western bureau chief for NPR and later founded Western States Public Radio. Lee also established a training program to prepare young journalists, including women and minorities, for careers in public radio. Previous award recipients include former NPR News chief Bill Buzenberg, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, longtime Marketplace executive producer Jim Russell, NPR investigative reporter Daniel Zwerdling, and producers David Isay and Ira Glass.