Dec 16, 2010

Berkes wins Sidney Award for reporting on Massey Energy

NPR's Howard Berkes won the November Sidney Award for a seven-month investigation into Massey Energy, which owns the West Virginia Upper Big Branch mine where 29 miners died in April (a Dec. 13 Berkes piece on Massey here). One finding: NPR obtained court documents and state and federal records citing persistent and widespread safety violations. Berkes spearheaded a team of NPR journalists that included Susanne Reber, deputy managing editor of investigations; producer Robert Benincasa; and reporter Frank Langfitt. Berkes conducted a dozen on-air stories for NPR about Massey, and wrote or co-wrote another 15 pieces for the NPR website. Berkes, 56, has been NPR’s rural correspondent since 2003, based in Salt Lake City. The Sidney Award is given once a month to an outstanding piece of socially-conscious journalism by the Sidney Hillman Foundation. Berkes discusses the project on the foundation's "Backstory" page. NPR has been bolstering its investigative news work over the past year (Current, Jan. 11, 2010).

PBS Kids programs score high in fall ratings

According to Nielsen ratings, PBS Kids had four of the top 10 spots in children's programming among kids 2 to 5 years old for September, October and November. Curious George was ranked No. 1 in September and tied for the spot in November. And The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That was No. 1 in October. Results are based on national ratings for PBS and select competitive cable networks (Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, the Hub, Nickelodeon, and Nick Jr.) and unique program names for shows telecast at least three times each month.

Sesame Street returning to Chinese TV Dec. 22

There's been lots of coverage of Sesame Workshop's recent news out of China. But Hollywood Reporter has the coolest photo. Interesting story, too, of the Workshop's history in the country, from the movie "Big Bird in China" in 1983, through Sesame Street's run on Shanghai TV from 1998 to 2001.

CPB seeks organizational consultant for L.A. work

CPB is continuing its work to support the burgeoning collaboration among the three PBS member stations in Los Angeles (Current, Aug. 9, 2010) with an RFP for an organizational consultant. Deadline is quickly approaching: Jan. 3, 2011.

Quite a year for HistoryMakers

HistoryMakers, the nonprofit African-American archive of oral histories and a longtime contributor to PBS programming, is wrapping up a busy year. Its archives — already the largest of its kind in the world — increased are still growing; this year brought interviews with Maya Angelou, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Minister Louis Farrakhan. Appearances by individual history makers at schools reached 10,000 students at 105 schools in 50 cities. That led a four-week National Endowment for the Humanities-funded Summer Institute on oral history techniques and African American political history. It also received a $2.3 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct 180 ScienceMakers interviews, provide educational public programming for children and adults, and produce a ScienceMakers DVD Toolkit . And something new and different: University of Illinois African-American Studies Professor Christopher Benson and Chicago playwright David Barr III created a dramatic play, "The Moment," inspired by their research in the archives. It was staged at the Champaign-Urbana, Ill., campus in March.

Several pubradio stations say Williams furor didn't affect fall pledge

NPR station execs tell the Washington Post today (Dec. 16) that the controversy over the firing of commentator Juan Williams in October didn't significantly affect their fall pledge campaigns. New Hampshire Public Radio raised $473,000, a record amount. Another record set at WAMU in Washington, D.C., which hit $1.7 million — up $400,000 from last year's fall drive. WMFE in Orlando is running pledge this week; contributions are above the goal. Any fallout from the controversy during your station's fall fundraising? Drop us a line.