Jan 24, 2011

Weekend breaking news coverage would need a "NewsHour approach," Lehrer says

In an interview with Baltimore Sun TV columnist David Zurawik, PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer said although it would be "possible" to cover breaking news on the weekends, "we just don't have the resources right now."

Lehrer also noted: "... We've got to keep in mind, it's got to be more than just the headlines. The headlines are already available in other places. We've got to take a NewsHour approach on Saturday and Sunday, just like we do Monday through Friday, or it is not working."

And, once again, Lehrer addressed his inevitable retirement. "Well, as you know I have stepped back a little, and I am going to continue to do that," he said. "I am very keen on the idea of a team approach to this rather than a big-time anchorperson approach. So, there will come a time and maybe some day after I've been gone for five years, someone will say, 'Whatever happened to that guy who talked like he was from Kansas or Texas or some goddamn place? What happened to him?'"

Marcotte weighs in on editorial integrity of university-owned pubradio stations

Public radio news veteran Michael Marcotte acknowledges feeling conflicted by the proposal by Minnesota Public Radio founder Bill Kling to cut institutional ties between universities and public radio stations. As a former news director, reporter, anchor for more than one university-owned NPR outlet, Marcotte writes in a blog post that he understands the simplicity of Kling's argument – "Universities have different missions than public radio stations, so their goals clash."

"I have spent many an hour working on heat-shield policies, ethics statements, codes of editorial independence, etc. toward fortifying journalism at university licensees. This is because Kling’s point has its basis and I’ve [known] many news directors who needed back-up. ... At the end of the day, I refuse to believe that university licensees are structurally compromised in their editorial integrity. And I believe Mr. Kling has some self-interest in play — hoping to pick off a few more stations for his empire."

Marcotte wrote his critique as a contributor to Carnival of Journalism, a revived blog that relaunched this month with a discussion of the role of universities as journalism hubs.

Cutting NPR's funding won't eliminate the deficit, Powell says

During an appearance on CNN's State of the Union yesterday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell dismissed congressional Republicans' proposal to cut the deficit by defunding public broadcasting.

Congress won't be able to balance the budget without going after the "real money" that's spent on entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Powell told host Candy Crowley.

"You can't fix the deficit or the national debt by killing NPR or National Endowment for the Humanities or the Arts. Nice political chatter, but that doesn't do it. And I'm very put off when people just say let's go back and freeze to the level two years ago.....That usually is a very inefficient way of doing it. Tell me what you're going to cut, and nobody up there yet is being very, very candid about what they are going to cut to fix this problem."

Links: Huffington Post, CNN video and transcript.

Cable glitch drops KCET from some Time Warner viewers

KCET continues to weather challenges following its departure from the PBS system on Jan. 1. The latest is a cable glitch, according to the Los Angeles Times. Time Warner was supposed to convert KCET to an all-digital signal last week, according to station programming chief Mare Mazur. The switch "should not have affected any subscribers with digital boxes, which according to Time Warner represents about 90 percent of their customers," Mazur said. But  KCET received complaints from viewers. The outlet has since been working with Time Warner to try to resolve the situation. The LA Times could not reach a representative for Time Warner Cable for comment.