Jan 21, 2010

Bay Area news start-up signs deal with NY Times

The Bay Area News Project backed by San Francisco philanthropist Warren Hellman has forged a new alliance with the New York Times, the project announced today. The nonprofit news entity is to be helmed by C.E.O. Lisa Frasier, a McKinsey & Co. consultant who has been involved in planning the project since April 2009, and Executive Editor Jonathan Weber, founder and c.e.o. of New West, the Montana-based new media enterprise. The c.e.o. appointment, confirmed last weekend, was reported to have been a point of departure for San Francisco's KQED, which was dropped as a founding partner in the news project after several months of involvement. President Jeff Clarke told Current that the news project opted to sever formal ties with KQED in late December. Hellman informed Clarke that the pubcaster was seen as "such a force" in the Bay Area media landscape that its participation hinders the nonprofit start-up as it tries to establish itself as an independent news organization. "I respect the decision but was a little surprised by it," Clarke said. KQED still hopes to collaborate with the news project on editorial matters; Weber, a co-founder and editor of the defunct San Francisco-based Industry Standard that chronicled the dot-com boom, is highly regarded within KQED's newsroom, according to an insider who requested anonymity. And it appears the feeling is mutual. Weber told Current he intends to explore an editorial relationship with KQED. "I was not involved in the collaboration prior to the holidays," he said. "KQED has great talent and assets, and I'd like to see how we can work together."

FCC launches Future of Media initiative, requests public input

The FCC has issued a preliminary list of questions (PDF) and created a website for public comments on policy recommendations regarding media at the community level. In announcing the Future of Media initiative, Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said this is a "critical juncture in the evolution of American media. Rapid technological change in the media marketplace has created opportunities for tremendous innovation. It has also caused financial turmoil for traditional media." The FCC noted that the effort "will not include any effort to control the editorial content of any type of media."

Weekend Edition's Scott Simon on the mend after spinal surgery

NPR's Weekend Edition anchor Scott Simon has emerged from cervical spinal surgery to resume Tweeting about the experience. "Long surgery, went well, thanks for all lovely encouragement," he wrote late yesterday from his hospital bed in the Cleveland Clinic. He detailed the need for the operation last week on the NPR site. The surgery is used to correct neck problems.