Nov 16, 2011

Penn State station confronts scandal with live program on child sexual abuse

In response to the recent scandal in its university athletic department, in which a former assistant coach has been accused of sexually abusing multiple boys over 15 years, Penn State Public Broadcasting is producing a special live one-hour interactive program, Confronting Child Sexual Abuse, at 9 p.m. Eastern Thursday (Nov. 17) on WPSU-TV and WPSU-FM as well as WHYY. It will also be simulcast on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) and streamed online.  Host Patty Satalia will moderate a panel including Lucy Johnston-Walsh, supervising attorney for the Children’s Advocacy Clinic of the Penn State Dickinson School of Law; David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire; Pamela G. McCloskey, a licensed psychologist; and Matt Bodenschatz, a survivor of child sexual abuse. Volunteers from the local Centre County Women’s Resource Center also will be available "to talk one-on-one if parents or others have more immediate concerns about child sexual abuse," the station said in a press release.

"Wait Wait" fans get a holiday present: A TV special, on BBC America

NPR's Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me! will make its television debut on BBC America on Dec. 23 with a "2011 Year in Review" special at 8 p.m. Eastern. The show also will run on NPR stations that weekend, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The hourlong special, complete with host Peter Sagal, scorekeeper Carl Kassell and a panel of cutups, will tape live at the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago on Dec. 2.

"As a long-time listener of Wait Wait Don’t… Tell Me!, I think its television debut is long overdue," said Perry Simon, g.m., channels, BBC Worldwide America, "and I can’t wait to see what Peter, Carl and the team look like.”

Doug Berman, the show's creator, added, "It’s going to be pretty much what we do every week, except NPR has to add a budget line for pants.”

Atalaya Capital takes over Nightly Business Report

Nightly Business Report, purchased in August 2010 by educational video salesman Mykalai Kontilai (Current, Aug. 23, 2010), has now been acquired by private equity firm Atalaya Capital Management, NBR Worldwide announced today (Nov. 16). Atalaya backed Kontilai's deal to buy the show.

Under the new ownership, NBR Worldwide will be led by Rick Ray, founder of Raycom Media. The press release did not specify if Kontilai would continue to be involved with NBR Worldwide, and the deal price was not provided. A press representative told Current that Kontilai and Atalaya would have no additional comments.

The program has had a challenging year. In November 2010, it laid off eight of its 44 staffers. This March, NBR Worldwide hired Paramount Media Advisors to explore options from partnerships to selling the program. In July, the show lost two top managers.

The program also hired correspondents in Houston, Phoenix, Denver and Silicon Valley; inked a broadcast partnership with SiriusXM radio; and secured new studio space at the NYSE.

“When we purchased NBR," Kontilai said in a statement, "we pledged to expand the program through new growth initiatives, while at the same time preserving the tradition of balanced reporting and analysis that has made it the highest rated business television program for the last 30-plus years, and we feel great about sticking with our pledge."

Public Broadcasting Atlanta gets EAS feedback from persons with disabilities

During the nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Nov. 9, Public Broadcasting Atlanta hosted focus groups involving members of the community with vision or hearing disabilities. Participants listened to WABE-FM/90.1 or watched PBA30TV to provide feedback, which is being forwarded to the Federal Communications Commission. Research was conducted with the local Wireless Rehabilition Engineering Research Center (RERC), which promotes access to wireless technologies for persons with disabilities and encourages Universal Design to allow for wider use of future technologies. Above, an interpreter translates for hearing-impaired participants during an EAS focus group. (Image: PBA)

Public Insight Network signs on first international newsroom partner

American Public Media’s Public Insight Network (PIN), a database of more than 130,000 sources worldwide, has its first international newsroom partner, the Mail & Guardian newspaper in Johannesburg, South Africa. “Media plays an essential role in addressing and exposing the top issues confronting communities, and the Mail & Guardian has long proven this with their groundbreaking news coverage,” said Joaquin Alvarado, senior vice president of digital innovation at APM. The newspaper was a leading opponent of apartheid in the 1980s and 1990s; more recently, its Centre for Investigative Journalism launched in April 2010. "In a country and continent where the voices of people on the ground are too often marginalized, PIN represents an exciting opportunity for the Mail & Guardian,” said Verashni Pillay, the paper's deputy online editor. The announcement comes two months after PIN got a boost of $4.1 million from CPB to expand.

Police action against Occupy protestors renews conflict over journalists' access

Julie Walker, a freelance reporter for NPR, was among the journalists arrested yesterday when the New York City Police Department evicted Occupy Wall Street protestors from Zuccotti Park. Walker told Associated Press she was arrested for disorderly conduct after she requested the name and badge number of a police officer who had grabbed her arm twice. "I told them I'm a reporter," she told AP. "I had my recorder on before he ripped it out of my hand."

At least seven journalists were arrested in New York during the police action, and several reported being rough-handled, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The Society of Professional Journalists called on New York officials to drop all charges against reporters who were arrested while covering the Nov. 15 protests, and for police to take greater care to avoid arresting reporters who are "simply and clearly" doing their jobs.

“We know that as protests escalate it may be difficult for police to distinguish bystanders from participants, but it is clear now that many journalists have been erroneously arrested without cause,” said SPJ President John Ensslin. “These errors must be rectified immediately.”

In September, a Web editor with WNET's new MetroFocus local news and culture site was arrested in while reporting on citizen journalism at the Wall Street protests. He spent nine hours in custody.