Jun 16, 2011

Sesame Street in Tanzania sponsors malaria outreach campaign

The First Lady of Tanzania, Salma Kikwete, launched Kilimani Sesame’s Malaria Education Outreach Campaign today (June 16) in the East African country. The campaign includes four malaria prevention public service announcements for TV and radio in Swahili, as well as nearly 16,000 storybooks to be distributed to primary schools nationwide. Children got to hear Kikwete read the book titled Chandarua Salama ("The Safe Net") at offices of Wanawake Na Maendeleo (WAMA) in Dar es Salaam, a charity headed by the First Lady. The storybook, printed in Swahili and English, follows Muppet friends Lulu, Neno and Kami as they go through their bedtime routine and learn the importance of sleeping under a bed net to prevent the mosquito-borne illness.

#MuckReads a new "experiment in social aggregation" for ProPublica

ProPublica has launched the Twitter stream #MuckReads, a way for readers, reporters and editors to share public-service news stories. The nonprofit investigative news org calls it the next evolution of its Investigations Elsewhere roundup.

"#MuckReads is an experiment in social aggregation," ProPublica said in on its site. "The feature as you see it is just the beginning. We've got big plans for feature upgrades and integration with Facebook, but first we want to see what works and what needs more tinkering."

News 21 project expands to include all journalism schools

News 21, a journalism education project launched in 2005 at five j-schools, will be available to all journalism and mass communications programs in the country thanks to $3.9 million in new support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the two announced today (June 15). The support brings the total initiative to $19.7 million. It will be administered by Arizona State University. The expansion comes after an independent evaluation found the initiative has "already helped transform" curricula and is getting more students news jobs "at a critical juncture in the industry’s history," the statement said.

In the News 21 program, journalism students get fellowships to do investigative reporting overseen by professors and distributed through partner media outlets. One examined racial integration in California prisons, and produced this fascinating interactive map showing how various racial groups gather in sections of the yard at Folsom State Prison.

FCC report picks up on AIR's push for airtime, funding for radio indies

The FCC's latest report "The Information Needs of Communities" may be long on verbiage and short on remedies, but it does offer some key insights for independent producers, public media analyst Jessica Clark writes for the Association for Independents in Radio's MQ2 blog.

Public broadcasters' expansion onto online and mobile platforms, as well as the explosion of nonprofit media outlets, creates new opportunities and more competition in many arenas, Clark writes.

She points to a key FCC recommendation that policy makers reconsider which types of media deserve CPB aid. "[T]his report does not explicitly recommend additional funding for public broadcasting," Clark writes, "However, it does recommend CPB funding requirements be reconsidered so that it's easier for new kinds of projects and outlets to receive federal dollars."

The report directly cites AIR's advocacy on behalf of indies, Clark notes, including adoption of local content rules requiring noncommercial stations to present "new voices" and independently produced work. AIR argued for an "intervention on behalf of independent radio producers" comparable to the legislation that established the Independent Television Service in 1988, according to the report.

Radio Bilingüe announces suspension of LA>Forward, LAPM initiatives

Fresno, Calif., broadcaster Radio Bilingüe has suspended the LA>Forward and Los Angeles Public Media projects "for the foreseeable future," it announced Wednesday (June 15). "Radio Bilingüe’s efforts to secure a radio broadcast outlet in Los Angeles for LAPM have proven unsuccessful, while federal funding cuts to CPB's digital appropriation are precluding the agency from assuring support to LAPM in the coming years," the statement said. With backing from CPB, work began two years ago to develop and test programming for a new multiplatform public media outlet targeting young, educated minority listeners in Los Angeles (Current, July 20, 2009).

MinnPost, Voice of San Diego get very little web traffic, report reveals

MinnPost and Voice of San Diego — two online nonprofit news outlets often held up as models for the future of local news coverage — actually receive scant web traffic, according to a new report, "Less of the Same: The Lack of Local News on the Internet" (PDF). The study was commissioned by the FCC as part of its quadrennial review of broadcast ownership regulations. The author is Matthew Hindman, assistant professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University. (Details on the 11 FCC studies here.)

Hindman used comScore panel data tracking 250,000 Internet users across more than a million Web domains, focusing specifically on online local news within the top 100 U.S. television markets during February, March and April 2011. "The breadth and the market‐level granularity of the comScore data makes this study one of the first comprehensive looks at of Internet‐based local news," Hindman notes.

Out of the 1,074 online local news sources in the study identifies, only 17 are "genuinely new media outlets," he writes, rather than online homes of established print or broadcast media.

Hindman discovered that MinnPost traffic is minimal: between 0.5 and 1.3 percent audience reach in Minneapolis‐St. Paul, from .0009 to .0012 percent of total page views there. For Voice of San Diego, "the site is elegant and content‐rich, but traffic numbers are low," he writes. Its reach was .48 percent in February (with 0.0005 percent of total San Diego pages viewed), 1 percent in April (with 0.0008 percent of pages) — and too low to measure in March.

"The poor showing of and Voice of San Diego may be especially surprising to some," Hindman writes. "While MinnPost and VoSD are particularly celebrated examples of a new breed of local and regional online news organizations, numerous other local online news sites are missing altogether ... including many other sites mentioned as promising experiments. If traffic to these 'model' outlets is minimal across the board, this has profound implications for media diversity, and for the future of journalism."