Jul 9, 2009

PBS ombudsman hears from viewers upset with "Capitol Fourth"

It's Mailbag time for PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler and -- uh oh -- some letter writers found PBS's A Capitol Fourth less than thrilling this year. In fact, they called it "meaningless," "disappointing" and "insipid." Writers are also still weighing in on the PBS Board's new ruling on sectarian programming.

Another gold star for NPR's mobile site

The Poynter Institute's Amy Gahran is raving about NPR's mobile web capability, from her current vacation spot in northern Michigan -- which has little or no cell or broadband access. "This trip has really hammered home how poorly most news sites handle the mobile Web -- and brought one shining star to the fore: National Public Radio," she writes on the Poynter's E-Media Tidbits column. She adds: "People want news where they are, and often their cell phone is all they've got. Also, they may sometimes only have a couple of bars of cell network connection. It's up to news organizations to work with those constraints to help build loyalty with this huge market. NPR sets a great example on this front."

Mississippi net chief is former U.N. food official

The head of the theater program at private Mississippi College and a former United Nations World Food Program official, Judith Lewis, starts work Aug 1. as executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported yesterday. She succeeds Marie Antoon, who announced her retirement earlier this year and will continue to work with MPB for a transition month. Lewis is an associate professor of communications at the college in Clinton, near the state capital, Jackson. She retired about three yeares ago from the U.N. program; she was a regional director in eastern and southern Africa and has lived in Angola, Ethiopia, Uganda and South Africa, the newspaper said. The board chair said there were 60 applicants.

Lehrer to lead forum with Fed chief on KCPT

KCPT, the PBS affiliate in Kansas City, Mo., will host a one-hour forum with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke moderated by Jim Lehrer on July 26 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. That will translate into three nights of coverage on NewsHour followed by a one-hour special. TV critic Aaron Barnhart wrote in a Kansas City Star blog, "This is a coup for KCPT, the Kansas City public TV station that continues to outperform its 31st-largest-market stature. It will be choosing the members of the local audience, who will join online participants in a national dialogue about the Fed, its power, and the state of the economy following one of the biggest government economic interventions in history."