Jan 5, 2011

Pubradio commentator hailed as Librarian of the Year

Nancy Pearl, a regular commentator on NPR's Morning Edition, Seattle's KUOW and Tulsa's KWGS, was named Librarian of the Year by Library Journal, the magazine announces in its issue next week. The University of Washington professor developed the widely imitated One City, One Book citywide book discussions in 1998 before she retired from the Seattle Public Library. A former librarian in Detroit and Tulsa, Pearl remains already one of very few library science personalities to have an action figure made in her image (with shushing action, $8.95 for standard or $12.95 for deluxe). Though Pearl still loves printed books, she admits to occasional reading on her iPad. She pointed out one advantage to Library Journal: “Romance readers I watch love the technology. They can download all the romances, and nobody will see the covers.”

Ongoing push to de-fund pubcasting still generating notes to CPB ombudsman

CPB Ombudsman Ken Bode looks back over the past year and the various notes he received along the way, including this: "I will dedicate my short life to de-funding you socialist bastards."

Bode observes: "If the majority leadership of the incoming Congress acts on its pledge to de-fund public broadcasting ... it doubtless will generate more expressions of that opinion."

"On the other hand," he notes, "it appears that the community is preparing to mount a strong, coordinated case in support of public broadcasting" (Current, Dec. 13, 2010).

Bode also gives high praise to "the public affairs sector of public broadcasting."

National Public Media to sell web ads for ProPublica

The highly respected nonprofit investigative news site ProPublica will now carry advertising. So will its daily e-mail, and its mobile site, and its iPod app. "We’re doing this for the usual reason: to help raise revenue that can fuel our operations, promoting what people in the nonprofit world call 'sustainability,'" said Richard Tofel, ProPublica general manager. Website advertising will be handled by National Public Media, a subsidiary of NPR owned in partnership with PBS and WGBH. National Public Media also works with other nonprofit news sites, including the Texas Tribune and MinnPost.

"New media" should have a new name by now

Had enough of "hyper local" "citizen journalists"? Knight Digital Media blogger and news consultant Michele McLellen has. Those are the two phrases she wants to remove from public media conversations this year.

Hyper local, she notes, "is a mass term for what is, in reality, a lively emerging collection of niches." And the ongoing debate over just what a citizen journalist is "gets in the way of discerning in a practical way what functions need a high level of professional skill, such as investigations, and which ones can easily be handled by interested non-journalists, paid or volunteer, like listings, calendars and short breaking news stories."

Several readers leaving comments also nominated "engagement" and "new media" to the annoying terms list.

One new programming choice at KCET "will not win a lot of fans," critic predicts

Will Los Angeles viewers looking for news coverage on KCET really be interested in "traditional Korean wedding ceremonies, the finer points of conveyor-belt sushi, Japanese trade policy or men in diapers wrestling over a large ball"? That's what Los Angeles Times media reporter James Rainey is wondering in a column today (Jan. 5). Those stories ran one recent evening on Newsline from NHK, which KCET substituted for PBS NewsHour.

Now that the station is independent from PBS, its main programming, particularly its news, comes from different sources, including the Japanese broadcaster. Rainey sees that as an "attempt to fob off Asia- and Euro-centric news of the day on an audience that may be interested in a worldwide reach, but would much prefer it delivered by known personalities."

Rainey also terms KCET's decision to dump PBS "daring and possibly foolish."

Newspaper's Haiti footage grows into pubTV documentary

Two Florida newspapers, an indie filmmaker and WPBT2 in Miami are joining to present "Nou Bouke: Haiti's Past, Present and Future," an hourlong documentary that provides a comprehensive overview of the ongoing challenges to the island nation following the devastating earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010.

The Miami Herald used its online video footage to create the TV program, said WPBT2 spokesperson Neal Hecker. "This might represent a new model for public media in print and broadcast to work together in a less traditional way," Heckler told Current.

A videographer for the El Nuevo Herald, the Miami Herald's Spanish-language publication, is director of photography for the film.

"The magnitude of this catastrophe really required coverage beyond traditional news stories from the field," said Nancy San Martin, the doc's executive producer. "We hope this film provides insight and provokes some reflection on Haiti's plight.''("Nou bouke" translates to "we're tired.")

WPBT2 will premiere the film Jan. 11 at Miami's Little Haiti Cultural Center, and repeat it on the air on Jan. 13. A live call-in hour will follow, featuring reporters and filmmaker Joe Cardona. Island TV, a local Haitian cable channel, is planning a simulcast and will have its own live program in Creole.

KQED to pick up two coverage areas lost by KCET's departure

KQED is enlarging its coverage area to include San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria, Calif. In a statement, the station said the expansion will reach viewers lost by the departure of KCET from PBS on Jan. 1.  The residents will receive both analog and digital; KQED also has plans to also provide HD in the future.

APTS promotes Lonna Thompson

Lonna Thompson has been promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Association of Public Television Stations, APTS announced today (Jan. 5). She had been general counsel, and served as interim president and c.e.o. during the advocacy group's recent presidential search. The promotion is effective immediately. Thompson also serves on the Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council of the Federal Communications Commission, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Community Service Grant Review Committee, the CPB Digital Funding Advisory Committee and the PBS Interconnection Committee.