Nov 11, 2009

A new pubTV offering: National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

For the first time, pubTV stations may broadcast the 60-minute National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, D.C. According to partners WETA, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the ceremony, which takes place Dec. 3, will be available starting Dec. 4 to run throughout the holiday season. It's the 86th annual lighting. (2008 photo: National Park Service)

APT Fall Marketplace gets under way

The crowds are arriving for APT's Fall Marketplace, today through Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla. Lots of events, including a professional development seminar by Steve McGowan, senior vice president of research for the Discovery Channel, "Traditional Media's Future When Facing the Rise of New Media."

KQED, CIR pair up for statewide investigative reporting

California Watch, a division of the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting, and KQED Radio officially unveiled their editorial collaboration to bring more watchdog coverage of statewide issues to public radio airwaves. Michael Montgomery, a veteran investigative reporter formerly with American RadioWorks, will produce stories exclusively for California Report, a KQED Radio series with a weekly cume of 620,000 listeners statewide. The partners will jointly produce interactive multimedia and pool their editorial resources, including office space in the Sacramento, the state capitol, and California Watch journalists will appear regularly on other KQED programs. "Public radio is a critical distribution outlet and this opportunity to reach large numbers of public radio listeners in California fits right into our strategy of maximizing the impact of our stories by using muliple media platforms," said Robert Rosenthal, executive director of CIR.

Can't you poke fun at Democrats too?

In an online chat with readers, Vivian Schiller gives herself a B+ for her first 10 months as NPR president. "I've gotten a lot done, but not as much as I hope to over time!" she writes. Beyond the usual complaints about pledge drives and government subsidies for public broadcasting, chat participants complained about liberal bias on the weekly NPR news quiz Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! "Peter Sagal is the most biased personality you have on staff. He routinely takes cheap shots at the GOP, but refuses to go after Democratic figures," writes one participant. "Why do you keep Dan Schorr around?" asks another. "His analysis is reliably faulty, liberally-biased, and mean-spirited (yeah, I guess I'd feel the same way after what Nixon did to me). But still -- he really knocks down any credibility you have of being 'unbiased', especially since he is a part of the news wing, not entertainment." Chat moderator and Post media writer Paul Farhi deflected criticisms of WWDTM, but Schiller responded to the complaint about NPR's senior news analyst: "Dan Schorr is a liberal commentator. I will not deny that is true. So what do we do about that? We balance his views with those of conservative guest commentators who frequently appear on our airwaves."

FCC adviser to tackle journalism woes

Steve Waldman, incoming special adviser to FCC Chair Julius Genachowski, said confronting the myriad troubles in the news industry will be a priority in his work. He told TV News Check (registration required) that he will study "the very worrisome and deep contraction of journalism," adding, "You have this real threat, especially to fulltime professional local journalism. ... The chairman is interested in making sure we're thinking creatively and in a coordinated way." AOL's Daily Finance Blog dubbed him "The point man for fixing the news business." There he laid what he'll be looking at: "My first assignment is really to figure out what the problem is, and to try to be as precise and kind of data-driven as possible. We certainly all have anecdotal senses of some of the big cosmic shifts going on, but what's the upshot? When you kind of net all these things out, what are the key gaps? What are the key areas that the market's not going to take care of?" Meanwhile, another agency, the Federal Trade Commission, is convening a two-day seminar, "How Will Journalism Survive the Digital Age?" on Dec. 1 and 2 in Washington. See the latest Current for a look at pubcasting's role in the future of news, and how that's playing out in one market.