Jan 19, 2012

WGBH modifying Roadshow web contact info, participation agreement after complaint

After receiving and investigating an 11-page complaint from a former Antiques Roadshow appraiser (Current, Dec. 12, 2011), producing station WGBH is revising how it handles contact information for experts on the Roadshow website, and making changes in its Appraisal Event Participation Agreement.

In a letter to Gary Sohmers, who had raised concerns over what he saw as "illogically restrictive" clauses in the contract signed by all the experts — who are not compensated for their work — WGBH Corporate Counsel Eric Brass said the station, as part of an ongoing review process of production-related practices, would make contact information available online for past appraisers, and change the participation agreement "to focus more clearly any restrictions on an appraiser's activities and statements regarding Antiques Roadshow to those that WGBH believes are important for protecting the series' trademark and other legal rights, and its image."

"WGBH has been fair and responsible in reviewing the matter and considering your comments and suggestions," Brass said in the letter.

Shapiro: Accelerator's challenge is using for-profit energy for nonprofit mission

Here's more from Jake Shapiro, founding c.e.o. of Public Radio Exchange, on why PRX and the Knight Foundation created the Public Media Accelerator, which was announced in December 2011. First, the concept: "Accelerators are organizations focused on early stage investment in technology startups, providing a mix of financing, mentorship and other support to help launch new companies with the potential for explosive growth," he writes on MediaShift. "It's clear that public media needs its own accelerator — attuned to the needs and assets of the industry and connected to the talent and energy in the broader technology and media world."

One challenge, he notes, is to "harness the for-profit energy that attracts top talent and aligns incentives in the standard accelerator model, while advancing the mission-driven principles at the core of the venture." 

If that's possible, one outcome would be to "overcome the inherent weaknesses of the grant-driven, project-based funding that has been the means of innovation funding in the industry to date," he writes. "These efforts tend to be incremental, short-lived, and at best result in 'sustaining' rather than 'disruptive' innovation (using Clayton Christensen's well-known construct). It's not hard to see why disruptive innovations tend to come from outside successful organizations and industries rather than from within. The Public Media Accelerator has the opportunity to change this dynamic: Knight and PRX have significant standing and relationships in public media, but are also accomplished risk-takers without the legacies and limits of many public media institutions."

MPTV to premiere documentary on conservative talk radio in Wisconsin

A two-hour documentary examining the impact that conservative talk radio has had on the political climate in Wisconsin — a state currently roiled by an impending gubernatorial recall — will premiere on Milwaukee Public Television on Jan. 30. Conservative Talk Radio: Liberty or Lies was produced, written and directed by Brien Farley, a Waukesha County radio, video production, marketing and public relations professional, as a graduate-level independent study project through Marquette University’s College of Political Science, and began as a six-part series based on 17 hours of interviews. “There’s little question that conservative talk radio has had a significant impact on political conversation and results in Wisconsin over the past few years," said Ellis Bromberg, general manager of MPTV, in a press release. "We think this documentary does a good job of explaining, in a balanced way, why that has been the case.”

NewsHour gets CPB grant to caption and translate its election coverage

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is giving PBS NewsHour a $420,000 grant to enable volunteers to translate its 2012 election coverage into dozens of languages, as well as caption it for viewers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. NewsHour Open Election 2012 will use crowd-sourcing technologies developed by the nonprofit Participatory Culture Foundation and open-source Web tools creator Mozilla. "These technologies will make election news, speeches and debates more accessible for diverse audiences, helping to increase their understanding of, and engagement in, the political process," CPB said in a press release Thursday (Jan. 19).

NewsHour has used the technology twice before. The first was a translation of the president's 2011 State of the Union Address, which was converted via open-sourced captions into seven languages and partially translated into 16 more. The other followed the death of Osama bin Laden; that coverage was interpreted in 15 languages.

NewsHour will launch the election-year translation and captioning project during President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union on Jan. 24.