Jun 17, 2011

Latest Nieman Reports offers public media insights

The Summer 2011 issue of Nieman Reports is now online, chock full of intriguing reading on public-interest media. Former NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard ponders "Online Comments: Dialogue or Diatribe?" (her take: "We would have more honest, kinder, civil exchanges if people used their real names"). Other writers include former Steve Weinberg, Investigative Reporters and Editors director; and Michael Skolar, v.p. of interactive at Public Radio International. It's published by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

WSRE lays off five staffers, drops "Lawrence Welk Show" due to state cuts

The fallout from Florida Gov. Rick Scott's decision to end all state funding to public broadcasters continues. Five positions have been eliminated from WSRE's full-time state of 27, the Pensacola State College station said in a statement online. Some local productions will go on hiatus pending future funding. And the station is dropping what it calls a "longtime favorite" program, The Lawrence Welk Show, to help reduce programming costs. “The difficult decision to cancel programs and eliminate the jobs of valued WSRE employees was made after an exhaustive review of our entire organization, and with the greatest reluctance,” said G.M. Sandy Cesaretti Ray in the statement.'s LulzSec attackers post hints to their motives

LulzSec, the shadowy, mischievous hackers that launched a high-profile attack against over Memorial Day weekend (Current, June 13), posted a statement Friday (June 17) explaining their motives and claiming they have access to far more secret information than they've revealed.

"Do you think every hacker announces everything they've hacked?," the statement says. "We certainly haven't, and we're damn sure others are playing the silent game. Do you feel safe with your Facebook accounts, your Google Mail accounts, your Skype accounts? What makes you think a hacker isn't silently sitting inside all of these right now, sniping out individual people, or perhaps selling them off? You are a peon to these people. A toy. A string of characters with a value."

" ... Welcome to 2011. This is the lulz lizard era, where we do things just because we find it entertaining. ... That's what appeals to our Internet generation. We're attracted to fast-changing scenarios, we can't stand repetitiveness, and we want our shot of entertainment or we just go and browse something else, like an unimpressed zombie. Nyan-nyan-nyan-nyan-nyan-nyan-nyan-nyan, anyway."

Since hitting PBS pages for NewsHour and Frontline, LulzSec hackers have claimed responsibility for breaking into sites for the U.S. Senate and the CIA, among other entities.

Nic Harcourt moving from KCRW to KCSN

Triple-A music veteran Nic Harcourt is joining KCSN 88.5 FM at California State University, Northridge, the school announced Friday (June 17). Harcourt has spent 12 years a KCRW/Los Angeles, 10 as music director and host of the influential Morning Becomes Eclectic program. He was the first broadcaster to webcast in video live in-studio sessions and the first pubradio host to take the show on the road with live broadcasts from events in New York, Austin, Vancouver and London, the announcement notes. "Many artists, including Adele, Coldplay and Norah Jones, have credited Harcourt for putting them on the map and helping them achieve stardom," it adds.

"Change is good," Harcourt said. "I’m truly excited about the opportunity to work with the team at KCSN as they build a dynamic new music format for Los Angeles.” Harcourt will begin as a weekend host in mid-July, and also contribute daily commentary on new artists.

The station recently hired Sky Daniels, another Triple-A powerhouse, as the new p.d. Daniels helped develop KFOG in San Francisco and has programmed stations including WLUP in Chicago, KISW in Seattle and KMET in Los Angeles. (Harcourt image: Leigha Hodnet)

Meanwhile, on Norwegian pubTV . . .

In a unique live broadcast that began Thursday (June 16), viewers of public television's NRK2 in Norway can watch all 8,040 minutes of the Hurtigruten MMS Nordnorge cruise ship and its roughly 670 passengers and crew as the vessel steams north along Norway's jagged coastline, reports Reuters. Coverage includes all on-board announcements and views from 11 cameras focusing on fjords, boat traffic around the ship, officers on the bridge and passengers strolling the decks. "It is slow, it is very slow," said Rune Moeklebust, the project manager for the show. Moeklebust said 1.3 million of Norway's 4.9 million residents at least were "stopping by" NRK2 between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. on the first day.

Attention, producers: New NEH guidelines are up

New application guidelines have just been posted for the Division of Public Programs on the National Endowment for the Humanities website for "America's Media Makers: Development and Production" grants. One upcoming deadline is June 29, for "Bridging Cultures through Film: International Topics." The division funds radio, television, and digital projects in the humanities intended for public audiences.

Seltzer leaves WBEZ to head SAG Foundation

Jill Seltzer, former head of institutional advancement for WBEZ/Chicago Public Media, is the new president of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. Seltzer told the Hollywood Reporter that her background dovetailed well with her new position. “The job is a mixture of fundraising, program delivery and management,” she said. The foundation is a separate entity from the guild and is responsible for its own fundraising. The organization serves actors, through targeted outreach, and the general public, through literacy programs in public schools, hospitals and shelters.

WDUQ staffers lose jobs as of June 30

As part of a deal finalized Thursday (June 16), the 20 full- and part-time employees of WDUQ FM in Pittsburgh are terminated effective June 30, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Duquesne University is turning over control of the station to Essential Public Media, a joint venture between WYEP-FM and Public Media Co. (a new subsidiary of Public Radio Capital). Two employees, interim General Manager Fred Serino and Business Manager Vicky Rumpf, will remain through the transition.