Current is likely to have a new publisher in January — the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C.
Details of the contract transferring the print/web publication remain in negotiation, but the governing boards of the university and of Current’s longtime publisher, New York’s WNET, have approved the deal in principle. Approval by the WNET Board, Dec. 9 , prompted coverage in a New York Times blog Dec. 12.
WNET accepted responsibility for publishing Current in 1983, after the collapse of the paper’s founding parent, the National Association of Educational Broadcasters.
The editor and staff will keep their jobs; and the paper will continue to cover public media. The School of Communication has said Current will be editorially independent.
“Helping to define, develop and demonstrate a robust and inclusive public media culture is core to our mission,” says Larry Kirkman, dean of the school.
Current will benefit from such resources as the school’s Center for Social Media, which produced the Public Media 2.0 report for the Ford Foundation and co-hosted two Public Media Camps this year; J-Lab: the Institute for Interactive Journalism, which is working with KQED and WHYY on community journalism projects; and the Investigative Reporting Workshop, a new producing center for Frontline. “Current can be a demonstration project for transforming a legacy trade publication into an interactive service working across media platforms,” Kirkman said.
current.org will report more about the transfer and plans for its future when details are settled.
James A. Fellows, who started Current in 1980, served as its overseer until he was severely injured in a traffic accident in 2003.
Current was one of the last new projects begun by the National Association of Educational Broadcasters," where Fellows was president.
Timeline of Current's history.
American University's School of Communication has numerous links with public media, including the AU Center for Social Media's multiyear project on the Future of Public Media and the Investigative Reporting Workshop's documentary partnerships with PBS's Frontline.
Public broadcaster is to sell Current, a trade publication, reports the New York Times, December 2010. WNET President Neal Shapiro said the station lacked the resources to assist Current. He told the Times he found it odd for WNET to publish a paper that covered the station itself. “It always had the potential to be a problem,” he said.