Sep 16, 2009

Ernest Wilson, new CPB chair and comm-school dean, sees push to define and advance public media

With the change of parties in the White House comes an echo at CPB. Its board unanimously elected a Democrat, Ernest Wilson, as chair today in Washington. Louisiana PTV chief Beth Courtney was named vice chair. Afterward Wilson told Current that the time is right for a reexamination and expansion of pubcasting comparable to the Carnegie Commission's report more than 40 years ago. The outcome "shouldn't be determined on 9th Street," at CPB headquarters, but rather through discussion around the country, he said. The international communications scholar, now dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, was first named to the board nine years ago by President Clinton and reappointed by President Bush. [CPB release.] Full interview to come in Current, Sept. 21, and on this site.

Smiley wins international prize

PRI talk host Tavis Smiley was awarded the 2009 Interdependence Day Prize on Sept. 12 in Istanbul, Turkey, by the CivWorld project of Demos, a nonpartisan public advocacy organization. About 100 delegates from around the world attended the policy forum. CivWorld President Benjamin R. Barber, called Smiley a "fearless television broadcaster, intrepid interviewer and ardent humanitarian, who has become a voice for all humankind by putting honesty before interest, civil discourse before polemics, and integrity before advantage." Past recipients include actor/activist Harry Belafonte; Lord Bhikhu Parekh, professor of political philosophy at the University of Westminster; and Polish Solidarity founder Adam Michnik.