Jan 4, 2010

California Watch adds interactivity to its investigative toolkit

California Watch, a special project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, launched a new website with more interactive features. Users can dig deeper into databases connected to the project's reporting, such as this new report examining loopholes in the state's campaign financing rules; interact with each other and team reporters; and find contact information for public officials. "We've created an investigative reporting team for California that will not only expose corruption and wrongdoing, but will spark debate and give people the tools to learn more and identify solutions that will hopefully improve the quality of life in the state," said Robert Rosenthal, CIR executive director.

Sucherman to direct NPR's Project Argo

NPR hired two key staff members for Project Argo, its $3 million pilot testing new approaches to online local news. PaidContent reports that Joel Sucherman is leaving USA Today to become Argo project director as of Jan. 11; Matt Thompson, a web producer with the Knight Foundation, signs on as editorial product manager on Feb. 1. Two more NPR-based positions are still to be filled, as are blogger/reporter jobs at 12 pilot stations.

On the road again . . .

Ratings powerhouse Antiques Roadshow has announced its 2010 tour cities and dates. "We're calling this our Crystal Anniversary Tour," Roadshow e.p. Marsha Bemko said in a statement. "It's our way of celebrating Roadshow's 15-year romance with America's stories, its objects, and its extraordinary history." Bemko is also author of the new book, Antiques Roadshow Behind the Scenes. Here's the schedule: San Diego, June 12; Billings, Mont., June 26; Miami Beach, Fla., July 10; Biloxi, Miss., July 24; Des Moines, Aug. 7; and Washington, D.C., Aug.21.

CPB set to announce first executive director of American Archive

CPB sources reveal that Matthew White has been hired as the first executive director of American Archive. White's firm managed the yearlong Smithsonian Networks Archive Project, and is working on the Inter-Organizational Group on Archives at Risk (PDF), "a global effort to identify distressed audio-visual archives in developing countries, and to help build digital infrastructures and the necessary resources to ensure these materials survive the transition from analog to digital formats," according to his website. White's experience dates to the 1980s when he and a partner established the stock-footage WPA Film Library. A formal announcement on White's appointment is expected later today from CPB.

Cooney Center studying online search habits of youngsters

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop is co-sponsoring a research study on children and Internet keyword searching, reports the New York Times. Eighty-nine children ages 7, 9 and 11 participated. The newspaper says that because more children are using search as a tool for homework or entertainment, search-engine developers are studying youngsters for guidance on how to improve features -- which leads to improvements for all users.

WTTW's "Chicago Tonight" ends contract for 18-year correspondent

Rich Samuels, longtime reporter on WTTW's Chicago Tonight, did not have his contract renewed due to a "seven-figure shortfall" in the station's budget, according to blogger Robert Feder on Vocalo. The 68-year-old Samuels spent a total of 35 years in Chicago broadcast media, the last 18 at Channel 11. It's the latest blow for the pubaffairs show; host John Callaway died last June. A station spokeswoman declined to detail any financial troubles at the station in the Chicago Sun-Times. She did confirm that Samuels would not be replaced.