Dec 9, 2010

Sreenivasan ponders how NewsHour would have handled WikiLeaks documents

What if PBS NewsHour had been approached by WikiLeaks with its raw, secret diplomatic cables? How would the news staff have handled the material? On Nov. 29, the cache of documents was given to journalists at the Guardian, Der Spiegel and Le Monde (the New York Times also received the data, via the Guardian).

That was one question for Hari Sreenivasan, online and on-air correspondent with the show, in today's (Dec. 9) online Reddit chat marking the one-year anniversary of its revamp (Current, Jan. 11).

"We don't have nearly as many staff members as those institutions but we would have reached out to partner perhaps with someone the likes of ProPublica to help sort through the data," Sreenivasan replied. "As you've seen over the past few weeks, its not just raw data that tells a story, its context and perspective."

Pubradio's Golding named USA Rasmuson Fellow

Barrett Golding, indie curator of NPR's Hearing Voices, on Tuesday (Dec. 7) was named a USA Rasmuson Fellow by United States Artists. He is one of 52 artists receiving $50,000 each from the grant-making and advocacy organization. Winners include "cutting-edge experimenters and traditional practitioners from the fields of architecture and design, crafts and traditional arts, dance, literature, film and media, music, theater arts, and visual arts," the group said. The fellows were announced at a celebration Wednesday night at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.

US Artists has also unveiled USA Projects, an online microphilanthropy initiative to encourage direct connections between artists and the public, catalyzing new funding for artists and helping to complete creative endeavors.

NJN signs long-term leases, hoping to stay in New Jersey

The New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority — whose future is set to be debated yet again today (Dec. 9) in Trenton — has approved two long-term lease agreements, hopeful that the New Jersey Network will remain in the state after it is cut loose from state funding (Current, July 6). So far interested buyers include WNET/Thirteen and WNYC in New York City and Philadelphia-based WHYY. The Senate State Government Committee is expected to discuss today disbanding the authority and could consider a bill to give control of NJN’s future to a bi-partisan committee of legislators.

AIR, ITVS survey indie journalists

The Association of Independents in Radio (AIR) and Independent Television Service (ITVS) have teamed up to survey the field of independent journalists who have been paid or commissioned to produce reporting for public radio, TV or digital platforms within the past two years.

The Scan of Public Media's Independent Journalists, to be conducted by MarketTrends Research through Dec. 31, was commissioned by CPB to provide a more complete picture of the journalistic capacity of the field. It complements findings of the census of public radio and television journalists conducted this summer by Public Radio News Directors, Inc. This survey seeks insights about formats and distribution outlets for indie media makers, as well as their sources of income outside of public media.

"The scan is part of a larger-capacity building initiative of AIR funded by CPB and designed to help the organization develop a strategy for a) sustaining AIR’s core programs and b) [determining] how the talents of independent producers can best be directed to build/strengthen the public media industry," AIR explains on its FAQ.

The survey is the first-ever collaboration between AIR and ITVS. Results are to be released in February.

CPB, PRX "haven't gotten any traction" on Apple's iPhone nonprofit app ban

Nonprofits remain upset with Apple's ongoing ban on making donations on the iPhone through charity apps. Donors are directed out of a nonprofit’s app and to its own website, making the process of contributing more cumbersome.

CPB and the Public Radio Exchange met about three years ago with Eddy Cue, the Apple exec in charge of iTunes, which handles the App Store. “We heard there were really serious internal discussions about this at Apple after that, but we haven’t gotten any traction,” Jake Shapiro, executive director of PRX, told the New York Times in a story Wednesday (Dec. 8).

“One of Apple’s major objections," he said, "has been that if donations were to go through its payment mechanism, it would have to be in the business of managing and distributing funds and verifying charities as well." PRX has developed iPhone apps for pubradio stations and programs. Shapiro told the paper that the apps had the potential to become a “core revenue source” for the organizations.

An online petition protesting the ban has nearly 2,000 signatures as of Thursday morning.

Current reported in March that public broadcasters who have tried raising funds from mobile givers via texting have met with very limited success. Doc Searls, executive director of Berkman Center’s ProjectVRM, told Current that this whole hardware category is "very young" and dominated by Apple and its App Store. “We’re going to see lots of other devices, hardware makers, service providers and applications flowing into the marketplace over the next several years,” Searls said.

Chicago media critic and former Vocalo blogger lands at Time Out Chicago

Veteran Chicago newsman and former Vocalo writer Robert Feder has joined Time Out Chicago, a weekly cultural magazine, as media critic. Feder left Vocalo in November, just as the blogs were moving from an independent site to WBEZ's online home.