Oct 25, 2010

The Hub nonprofit news resource site now online

If you're interested in nonprofit news, be sure to check out the Hub. It's a new online resource from the Voice of San Diego, a successful indie public service news site, and professors from San Diego State University. The Hub is targeted at folks who want to start their own public service news organization, offering help including legal and tax tips, an editorial toolkit and sustainability strategies. As its creators say on the site, the Hub "is intended to be a lively forum for discussion and information. We depend on the entire virtual community to add to its content. Please share your stories, your challenges, and what’s working for you. We all learn from each other."

IdahoPTV debate clip used without permission in campaign ad

Some 45 seconds of a controversial 60-second ad in the heated election race for Idaho schools superintendent consists of copyrighted material from an Idaho Public TV debate, reports the Spokesman-Review. IPTV General Manager Peter Morrill told the paper the network will "vigorously" defend its copyright. “We are not issuing them a license to utilize footage for their campaign purposes and … we would ask them to cease and desist,” he said, adding that manipulations of the clip include slow motion, digital zoom and a digital insertion of an out-of-date Idaho Public TV logo.

The ad, for GOP Superintendent Tom Luna, criticizes his Democratic challenger, Stan Olson, recently retired superintendent of the Boise School District. In their recent debate on IPTV, Olson made reference to his difficulty with math. The personal care products company Melaleuca Inc., which paid for the ad, was denied permission from IPTV to use that copyrighted material. Its chief exec Frank VanderSloot told the paper he thought IPTV’s response was “way out of line,” decided to go ahead with the ad anyway, and has hired copyright attorneys to challenge the state.

ProPublica editor speaks out on new public media business models, funding

Paul Steiger, editor-in-chief of the indie nonprofit news source ProPublica, pointed out some of the many challenges that need to be addressed by members of the new public media, as part of the McGill lecture series at the University of Georgia last week (Oct. 21)."If we create business models that depend largely on page views," he said, "we should not be surprised if they drive publishers to favor content with a high prospect of 'going viral' over content that is primarily thought-provoking, or challenging, or discomfiting, or even educational." Also: "To sustain this kind of reporting as part of the fundamental underpinnings of our democracy, we need to nudge the sources of philanthropy in our society – ordinary citizens, foundations, and wealthy donors alike – to widen their view just a bit and see investigative reporting as a public service just as worthy of aid as museums, orchestras, ballet companies, clinics and private universities." His full speech is here.

PBS NewsHour goes live on-air and online for election night

PBS NewsHour has big plans for midterm election evening on Nov. 2. Anchor Jim Lehrer will host a live interactive special from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m. both on-air and online, according to a show statement. After 10 p.m. online there'll also be live blogging, interactive graphics, an election night mashup video and a social media stream highlighting comments on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and AIM.

Vocalo blogs shifting to

Robert Feder, media blogger on Chicago Public Radio's, writes that its blogs are taking "a short break" and will return in a week or two on the redesigned website of

Vocalo, which kicked off as a multimedia public-square discussion space in 2007, is having a rough go of it. A strategic plan (PDF) presented to Chicago Public Radio's board last October said, “As a website Vocalo must be seen as unsuccessful so far” (Current, Jan. 11, 2010).

Sesame Street via Christopher Street?

A Twitter from Sesame Street's Bert, longtime pal of Ernie, prompted Sesame Workshop to declare that, no, the two are not gay. In Bert's posting, he used the term "mo," referring to his hairstyle. In a Sunday (Oct. 24) story the Los Angeles Times reports: "Reading 'mo' as slang for homosexual, gay bloggers rejoiced." The paper notes that "the show's latest season feels more LGBT-friendly than ever," with guest stars including openly gay comic Wanda Sykes. But Ellen Lewis, Sesame Workshop's corporate communications v.p., told the Times that the show is not consciously trying to appeal to gay viewers. "We've always reached out to a variety of actors and athletes and celebrities to appear on the show, and our programming has always appealed to adults as much as children," she said. "Honestly, the idea that anyone would interpret [this season] that way never crossed our minds."

College students to accompany Freedom Riders for 50th anniversary trip as part of outreach

American Experience's "Freedom Riders" doc is giving 40 college students the chance to ride along with the civil rights activists on the route of their famous 1961 trip. Students will be on board May 6-16, 2011, the 50th anniversary of the freedom rides (background from the Civil Rights Movement Veterans). The trip is the centerpiece of the unique outreach for the series, airing that month. College students may apply here.

UPDATE: Also, don't miss the National Center for Media Engagement/WGBH webinar Nov. 10 on the Freedom Riders outreach; more here. NCME says it's streaming the entire program for station staff to preview leading up to as well as after the webinar.

ivi asks for change of venue in ongoing fight to stream TV signals, including pubcasters

In a U.S. District Court filing in New York on Friday (Oct. 22), ivi TV asked that the case against it by several broadcasters including PBS be moved to Seattle, where the company is based, reports Broadcasting and Cable. The broadcasters are asking the court to stop ivi's streaming of their TV signals online either by restraining order or preliminary injunction (Current, Oct. 4). ivi says online TV station streaming is legal with its license from the U.S. Copyright Office. Here's a copy of ivi's latest court filing (PDF).

CPB's Boles talks digital pubmedia innovation at FedTalks 2010

Rob Bole, CPB's v.p., digital media strategy, spoke on "Public Media in a Digital Age" Oct. 12 at the FedTalks 2010 confab. Innovators from sectors such as citizen engagement, cyber security and open government addressed administration officials and other government reps at the one-day event. Check out Boles's presentation here.

Seven ITVS films heading to prestigious film fest

The Independent Television Service (ITVS) reports that seven of its productions have been chosen as official selections for the 23rd International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), Nov. 17-29, the world's largest doc showcase. Many ITVS films received critical acclaim at recent IDFA's, including last year’s best feature length film winner, Last Train Home, and The Most Dangerous Man in America, with its special jury award to a film not in competition. Here's a list of ITVS's 2010 IDFA films at the Beyond the Box blog.

NBR partnering with Planet Forward on environmental programs

Planet Forward, a multimedia environmental innovation project at George Washington University, will be collaborating with Nightly Business Report to develop environmental programming, NBR has announced.   Viewers will submit ideas to tackle energy and climate challenges through, and the partners will jointly produce stories around the most interesting. The series premiered Oct. 21 with Planet Forward host Frank Sesno appearing. The first episode looked at the new 100 percent electric Nissan Leaf.