Jan 6, 2010

HuffPost mistakenly reports "convergence" of pubcasting and Bush organization

So. Will the George W. Bush Institute "co-produce a public television show . . . in a rare convergence of public broadcasting and a partisan research organization," as reported by the Huffington Post? Nope. That and more in this week's PBS Ombudsman column.

Pubradio growth strategies for the new decade

A report released today by Maryland-based Station Resource Group proposes new audience service goals for public radio in the next decade and recommends seven broad approaches for achieving them. Top recommendations of "Public Radio in the New Network Age" call for the field to "commit to a greater inclusiveness of people of color in every dimension" and to expand its journalistic output to become the "most trusted and most widely-used source of daily journalism." In the biggest change from the draft that SRG issued last year, the report recommends that public radio "create a renewed vision" for music programming that incorporates both broadcast and digital platforms. "Music is a critical part of public radio's audience service equation...and warrants a higher profile in public radio's vision and goals," the report says. There's 95 pages of details about tactics, points for further discussion and analysis here. SRG worked with a task force of public radio leaders to manage an extensive consultation project and produce the report, which was funded in 2008 through CPB's Grow the Audience initiative.

PBS announces Teachers Innovation Challenge for STEM

PBS is undertaking a multi-year initiative to recognize excellence in pre-K through 12th grade educators and practices in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The PBS Teachers Innovation Challenge was announced today, as President Barack Obama spoke at the White House on the second phase of its Educate to Innovate campaign. “America's leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today, especially in science, math and engineering,” the president said, praising the numerous partnerships that include PBS. The National Science Teachers Association is encouraging educators to participate in PBS's Challenge. Fifty winners will be announced this spring.

New partnership offers legal advice to indie digital journalists

The Online Media Legal Network will provide legal assistance to independent digital journalists via the Online News Association, the Citizen Media Law Project announced today. The association, part of Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, has more than 1,600 professional members who gather or produce news for digital presentation. The new collaboration offers them access to media, intellectual property and business lawyers nationwide. “Journalists starting up their own sites now need to focus on issues that help them create and sustain their businesses,” said Jane McDonnell, association executive director. “This partnership helps address one of the most critical—providing a legal safety net for small news operations.”

"Washington Week" goes HD on Friday

Washington Week is upgrading to HD this week, tweaking everything from the set to the graphics. Senior Producer Chris Guarino tells Current the show has been using HD cameras and down-converting; after several months of preparation, "it was finally time to pull the trigger." Lighting director Charlie Ide (in photo on the set) has been busy installing additional lights. He points out that viewers will see gradations of dark tones in the backdrops instead of just solid black. Two copper-colored columns widen the set to fill the new image format. Guarino also said a revamped website will launch at the end of the month. Online will be a new feature, "From the Vault," drawing on the 42-year-old show's extensive archives.

Smiley ends decade-long State of the Black Union

After 10 years, PBS talk host Tavis Smiley is ending his State of the Black Union event. He crisscrossed the country for the free gatherings, which served as "as a pulse check on how African Americans were fairing economically, politically and socially," according to a statement. Tens of thousands attended in person and millions viewed the annual live broadcasts on C-SPAN, the statement said. In a video on his site, Smiley says that during the past 10 years, many venues for those discussions have developed -- especially the Internet -- which reduced the need for a once-yearly meeting. He also cited his work on a series of primetime specials for PBS that will put more demands on his time. Smiley thanked numerous supporters of what he calls SOBU, including a group of participants that literally followed the event from city to city.