Jan 28, 2010

NewHour's annotated version of Obama speech called "remarkable"

PBS NewsHour's "Annotated State of the Union" is being praised by the Poynter Institute's Al Tompkins as a "remarkable analysis." He's the Group Leader for Broadcasting and Online at the institute, which is a school for journalists and media teachers. The feature breaks the speech into clips with links to resources for people who want to learn more. "It's pretty brilliant," Tompkins writes. Anne Bell, spokesperson for the show, said analysis by Mark Shields and David Brooks on YouTube also received more than 22,000 views.

Haiti telethon, carried by PBS, has raised $66 million so far

Relief organizations have raised a total of more than $525 million for victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. As of Wednesday, the figures from just a few: A worldwide telethon last Friday, "Help for Haiti Now," raised $66 million; it was carried by a multitude of channels including PBS affiliates. The American Red Cross received about $185 million, some $29 million of that via text messages. And Convio, which provides software to charities, processed more than $195 million online.

SRG, AGC partnering to formulate editorial integrity guidelines

Over the next year, the Station Resource Group and the Affinity Group Coalition will be soliciting input from both inside and outside the pubcasting system for its project, "Editorial Integrity for Public Broadcasters in the 21st Century." Tom Thomas, co-CEO of the SRG, and Ted Krichels, g.m. of Penn State Public Broadcasting, are organizing the effort. The two told the CPB Board at its meeting earlier this week that the project, expected to take about a year, is just getting under way. Both TV and radio pubcasters will be involved, as well as experts and others both inside and outside the system. This will be a "station-centric" undertaking, Krichels said. At that level, "some stations have very well-thought out guidelines, others don't have much of anything," he noted. There'll be a website to share papers and reports as well as recommendations. However, "the website won't be just for stations," Thomas said. "There'll be a broader transparency to invite others to join in."

Webinars upcoming on broadband stimulus applications

CPB and the National Center for Media Engagement are sponsoring two webinars in February to advise stations applying for broadband stimulus funding. Joanne Hovis, president of Columbia Telecommunications Corp. and an authority on community broadband topics, will offer background information on the availability of funds, explain the application requirements and answer questions from participants to help them develop and refine their applications. Sign up here for the 2 p.m. Eastern meeting on Feb. 4, and here for Feb. 11.

New report recommends increased pubcasting funding

Congress should not only increase money to pubcasting but also use its funding mechanism as a possible model to funnel financial support to news operations, according to a new report from the USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Geoffrey Cowan, one of the co-authors, is director of the school's Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, as well as a past CPB board member; David Westphal is a longtime print and wire service editor, heading up McClatchy's Washington bureau for more than a decade. They point out the value of pubcasting: "News coverage on public radio and TV has the highest trust ratings of any American media. . . . In short, policymakers have in public broadcasting an almost sure-fire bet for strengthening the quality and scope of news and information." They also suggest any future government funding of news "should be indirect, rather than direct (as it is through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and through participating public radio and television stations)." Read the 20-page report here (PDF).

Dump CPB, save "a quick $420 million," says Washington Times

CPB has become "a needless drain on the public coffers that has outlived its usefulness," writes the Washington Times in an editorial today. Its reasoning: Pubcasting was born of the need to provide alternative programming to only three networks available in 1967; now there are a multitude of channels both on TV and the Internet. The newspaper cites demographics of viewers (mainly white, educated and older) that "reinforce the argument that public broadcasting is an upper-class subsidy. It's highly doubtful that the urban American underclass is rushing home to catch Masterpiece Theater and the best of British comedy." It suggests turning Sesame Workshop, "one of the most lucrative franchises to emerge from the public broadcasting system," into a for-profit publicly traded corporation to support pubcasting.