Jul 1, 2009

Conference takes first steps toward official nonprof investigative network

The Watchdogs at Pocantico conference, "Building an Investigative News Network," has wrapped up in Tarrytown, N.Y., and attendees from nearly 30 media outlets are heading home. But before they departed, they signed onto the Pocantico Declaration. It recommends preparations begin immediately to form the Investigative News Network. The network will "aid and abet, in every conceivable way ... the work and public reach of its member news organizations." The steering committee will begin fund-raising work, and create an Investigative News Network website. "What is clear in this Pocantico Declaration," the treatise concludes, "is that we have hereby established, for the first time ever, an Investigative News Network of nonprofit news publishers throughout the United States of America." Pubcasters in attendance included Brian Duffy, NPR's managing editor for news; Stephen Segaller, director of news and public affairs programming at WNET.ORG; and Stephen Smith, executive editor and host of American RadioWorks from American Public Media. The gathering was co-sponsored by the Center for Investigative Reporting and Center for Public Integrity, two nonprofs.

Wayne Dyer = New Age, letter writer says

Time for the PBS ombudsman's Mailbag column. Michael Getler received a letter from a viewer upset about the PBS Board's sectarian programming decision. The writer's request: "Re the no religious broadcasting ... please then remove Wayne Dyer from your begathon. He is as New Age as they come."

House committee may investigate Arbitron's Portable People Meters

The Miami-Dade (Fla.) County Board of Supervisors is the latest entity to take on Arbitron's Portable People Meters. On Tuesday the board adopted a resolution to "ensure that the ratings methodology used by the Portable People Meter ratings system designed to measure radio station listenership does not under-represent minority radio listeners." That's the alleged problem that is drawing so much attention to the ratings devices. Broadcasting & Cable also reports that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee plans to investigate the devices. In its defense, Arbitron contends it has been refining and improving the meters with suggestions from members of Congress, the FCC, the industry and other interested parties. The FCC began an investigation (PDF) into the PPMs last month.