Apr 21, 2010

In shift to local newsgathering, Michigan Radio drops Environment Report

Michigan Radio will end national production of The Environment Report, a news service producing daily interstitial news spots, in June. Three staff working on the show will be reassigned to local reporting: Lester Graham, host and senior editor, will create a new investigative/enterprise reporting unit; Mark Brush, senior producer, becomes the network's online news content specialist; and reporter/producer Rebecca Williams will host a local/regional version of the show, covering environmental issues affecting Michigan and the Great Lakes. The Environment Report went national in 2008 but didn't secure carriage in enough major markets to secure underwriting, according to Graham. Michigan Radio, which has been subsidizing the production, is restructuring its news room to focus on local news gathering, online reporting and investigative coverage. The Environment Report was created by the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, a news service covering environmental issues for stations in the Upper Midwest. Since GLRC launched in the early 1990s, stations in the Northwest, Northeast and the Ohio River Valley have created similar news collaboratives.

NJN starts planning departure from state oversight

The New Jersey Network is beginning its transition to an independent nonprofit. Republican Gov. Chris Christie called for the pubcasters to sever from the state by Jan. 1, 2011, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The move ends a four-decade relationship. The governor's office cited budgetary concerns. "In these tough economic times, there are things that can be done by the private sector [that] should be done by the private sector," Sean Conner, a Christie spokesperson, told the paper. Howard Blumenthal, interim NJN executive director, told the state Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee yesterday that stations would continue to provide not only broadcast programming but also multiplatform content, adding, "we'll do more, we'll just do it with less." Democratic Sen. Barbara Buono told the panel: "It would be a shame if NJN didn't continue. A lot of people have come to rely on it. We stand ready -- I'm sure I speak for every member on this committee -- to move forward and would like to be an integral part of the process."