Mar 27, 2012

Arkansas pubcasting advocate of nearly 50 years dies in Little Rock

Jane Krutz, an enthusiastic advocate for more than 47 years for the Arkansas Educational Television Network, died Sunday (March 25) in Little Rock. She was 86. "It is literally true that there might not have been an AETN without her," Allen Weatherly, executive director of AETN, said in a tribute on the network's website. "In fact, she was advocating for a public television station for Arkansas years before we finally made it to the air in the mid 1960s."

Krutz frequently appeared during membership drives, testified before Congress for public broadcasting in 1995, served since 1996 on the AETN Commission, and received the PBS National Volunteer of the Year award. The original studio at AETN, still in service, is named for her. "She was just a remarkable person," Weatherly said.

Masterpiece Trust concept sparks new "Friends of NewsHour" effort

The PBS NewsHour is developing a Friends of the NewsHour initiative, similar to that created for WGBH’s Masterpiece strand, to allow viewers to contribute directly to the weeknight news program. The fund would solicit gifts from major donors. Bo Jones, president of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, told Current that he’s just begun to plan the project. “We want to consult with local stations to elicit ideas and their input,” he said. “We plan for Friends to be a cooperative effort with the stations.” The Masterpiece Trust has raised more than $2.5 million since January 2011, said Ellen Frank, director of major gifts at WGBH in Boston. For the Trust, a station that brings a major Masterpiece donor to WGBH gets half the resulting gift. Masterpiece supporters contacting WGBH directly may earmark a quarter of the gift for their local station. So far, seven stations have brought in contributions.

CPB backs NPR's foreign coverage

CPB has awarded a $500,000 grant to NPR in support of its international news coverage.

The grant, announced during a March 26 awards dinner honoring NPR correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, supports travel costs for reporters and their producers, as well as the work of NPR's foreign desk editors, according to CPB Chair Bruce Ramer.

As NPR's foreign desk steps up its reporting from the Middle East, Asia and Africa, reporters are putting themselves "on the frontline of historic news events," Ramer said."This will help NPR stay on the story as long as it takes."

"This is going to be so important for our work," said NPR President Gary Knell. "There's nothing more important to me and my colleagues than the foreign reporting work that we do."

Garcia-Navarro, recipient of CPB's 2011 Edward R. Murrow Award honoring outstanding contributions to public radio, described the grant as "a real gift to those of us who work in the field, and it has actual, practical implications."

"Never has covering the world been more dangerous and more vital," she said.