Jan 11, 2010

NewsHour correspondent to help judge Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival today announced that Jeffrey Brown, a senior correspondent with PBS NewsHour, is on the 2010 jury. Brown will help judge the World Cinema Documentary category. His specialty on NewsHour is reporting on on culture, arts and the media, and created Art Beat, the show's culture blog. The festival runs Jan. 21-31, in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. Awards will be announced Jan. 30 at ceremonies hosted by actor David Hyde Pierce.

Austin's own Spoon to headline NPR Music SXSW showcase

In anticipation of its opening night showcase at the South by Southwest music conference in Austin, NPR Music is offering an advance stream of the next release by Spoon, the band headlining the March 17 event. Transference, the third album by the Austin-based band, can be heard in its entirety, for free, through Jan. 18. Additional bands are to be added to the bill for NPR Music's Stubbs showcase, which will be produced as a live broadcast and webcast here. Spoon's set will kick off the band's U.S. tour supporting the new album. More details here.

CPB bolsters ongoing pubradio station philanthropy project

CPB is pumping more funding into its ongoing pubradio Leadership for Philanthropy effort, it announced today. The project, managed by Development Exchange (DEI), has trained 20 station general managers and boards to connect more with communities and work to increase gifts. The $1.5 million infusion will help 10 stations to continue work, and 30 more to get in on the next phase. "By the end of its first year, the participants raised over $1.4 million despite challenges presented by a failing economy," CPB noted in the announcement.

Three Alaska pubcasters appear to be merging

Alaska's three largest pubcasting stations are moving toward a formal partnership. General managers from dual-licensees KUAC in Fairbanks, KTOO in Juneau and Alaska Public Telecommunications in Anchorage are meeting today to brainstorm ways to share administrative costs and content production, reports the Fairbanks Daily News Miner. Those talks began last summer but have been "dormant for several months," the paper says. “We’re still talking about whether this makes sense and how it would work,” KUAC general manager Keith Martin told the publication. A plan could be finalized within a month.

Lessons from "Learn to Speak Tea Bag"

"For nearly two months, the animated political cartoon sat on virtually unnoticed. And then someone discovered it, was disgusted and launched it into the blogosphere -- making it a raucous rallying point for conservatives," writes NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard in her column on "Learn to Speak Tea Bag" by cartoonist Mark Fiore. The 90-second animation caricatures activists aligned with the conservative Tea Party movement and uses a sexual reference that was lost on Ellen Silva, the NPR editor who approved the piece, and many others, apparently. '[T]here are problems with the Tea Bag animation," Shepard writes. "Chief among them is it doesn't fit with NPR values, one of which is a belief in civility and civil discourse. Fiore is talented, but this cartoon is just a mean-spirited attack on people who think differently than he does and doesn't broaden the debate. It engages in the same kind of name-calling the cartoon supposedly mocks." NPR is standing by its decision to publish the cartoon. Shepard warns that NPR needs to recruit an equally funny conservative cartoonist fast: "Critics are right to take NPR to task for only representing one side using such a strong visual medium as an animated cartoon with sound and text."

Study examines Baltimore news media, including PBS, NPR members

Maryland Public Television and NPR affiliates WEAA and WYPR in Baltimore were part of the study "How News Happens" by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. The research looked at all media that produced local news in one week. Eight of 10 stories either repeated or repackaged previously reported information, it found. "As the economic model that has subsidized professional journalism collapses, the number of people gathering news in traditional television, print and radio organizations is shrinking markedly," it notes.

System lags in multimedia world, says pubmedia's Jessica Clark

When it comes to new media, Jessica Clark blogs, "the [pubcasting] system as a whole can barely make it onto the mat. The problem is an increasingly urgent mismatch between current infrastructure investments, and those needed to keep pace with the volatile digital media ecosystem." Clark directs the Future of Public Media project at American University's Center for Social Media. Her entry on MediaShift draws on a recent presentation by pubcasting consultant and former Alaska Public Telecommunications veep John Proffitt (that video is included on the post). In addition to infrastructure issues, Clark writes, pubcasting needs investments to create contexts for public participation through partnerships with existing social media platforms or open-source customized tools and interface development.