Google updates Currents aggregation app, signs licensing agreement with APM

Google released updates to its Google Currents news-curation app March 20, including enhanced audio capabilities, and Minnesota-based American Public Media is taking advantage of them. The free app, currently available on Android platforms, has a structure similar to those offered by other digital news curators such as Flipboard and Pulse. Users subscribe to feeds from news outlets that appear as simple RSS lists or, if the provider has signed a licensing agreement with Google, as enhanced magazine-style content. Its latest updates include audio playlists and media bars with options to pause and skip tracks. More than 10 million users have installed Currents since its December 2011 launch.

PBS NewsHour report yields unexpected results

A PBS NewsHour report on population growth and food scarcity in the Philippines prompted an increase in donations to the PATH Foundation Philippines Inc., an organization with a pilot program promoting family planning in rural areas of the Southeast Asian country. The report explored the foundation’s community-based approach of making contraceptives accessible to villagers who want to limit the size of their families. The story, which aired in January 2012, was produced as part of the public media collaborative project Food for 9 Billion, and has also been used by educators to set up discussions of the links between population and the environment. During a Jan. 28 panel discussion on environmental reporting hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., Sam Eaton of Homelands Productions described the impact of his reporting for Food for 9 Billion.

Budget cuts at Marketplace result in departure of another longtime reporter

This post was updated at 4:50 p.m. on Feb. 4
Marketplace Senior Business Correspondent Bob Moon is leaving the American Public Media show after his position was eliminated in a budget-cutting move, according to a memo released to Current. Moon, a 12-year veteran with the public radio series covering business and finance news, has served as an occasional fill-in host for Marketplace, Marketplace Morning Report and Marketplace Money. Before joining the Los Angeles-based production in 2000, Moon covered international news for The Associated Press for 20 years; he also served as White House correspondent for the wire service’s broadcast division. In the Feb.

A pitch for a story about handicap accessibility in national parks, proposed last June by the independent news site Yellowstone Gate, is featured prominently on the homepage. In seven months, it's earned only five of its requested 750 credits. (Photo: Yellowstone Gate via

Use of crowdfunding site flags under APM, the crowdfunding website allowing journalists to raise funds for their reporting projects, has been hit by a sharp decline in usage since its acquisition by American Public Media, which has been making changes intended to revamp its business model and protect the site’s journalistic integrity in the world of online pitch funding.

After producers upload their audio, video, photo or text content

Full speed ahead for Public Media Platform

After two-plus years of planning and prototyping a shared hub providing easy access to digital content from across public media, partners in the Public Media Platform will begin building the new technical system next month.

Marketplace bureau chief riffed in APM downsizing

Ten employees of American Public Media will lose their jobs in a strategic reorganization announced this afternoon, according to an internal memo provided to Current. Layoffs extend across the Minnesota-based pubcaster and into its news operation in Washington, D.C., where Marketplace Bureau Chief John Dimsdale received a pink slip. In more than 20 years with APM, Dimsdale has covered regulatory hearings, budget battles and presidential elections "with reliability and great credibility," according to the memo, which was co-authored by four of APM's top managers. APM also released employees who work behind the scenes on Marketplace Tech Report, local broadcasts of Morning Edition, and the classical music series Pipedreams, which will continue broadcasting but on a "less-demanding" production timetable. Host Michael Barone remains on the show and will take on a "more visible regional role with Minnesota audiences."

Reber leaves NPR; Arganbright, Appleby launch firm; and more…

CIR has hired ex-NPR investigative news head Susanne Reber. As senior coordinating editor for multiplatform projects and investigations for the nonprofit newsroom, Reber will lead national and international investigative and enterprise reporting projects, and guide the center’s team of health and environment reporters. Reber joined NPR in January 2010 to build and lead the network’s first investigative unit as deputy managing editor of investigations. She left NPR this month, according to a May 8 memo by NPR News chief Margaret Low Smith that was published on the Poynter Institute website. Smith put Senior National Editor Steve Drummond in charge of investigations while NPR determines “next steps for the unit’s leadership,” she wrote in the memo.

Chapin moves from CNN to NPR, C-SPAN founder steps down, and more…

NPR tapped CNN veteran Edith Chapin to run its foreign desk
News chief Margaret Low Smith announced Chapin’s appointment last week along with another change on its foreign desk: Didi Schanche, a former Associated Press correspondent and editor who joined NPR in 2001, is to become deputy senior foreign editor. When Chapin officially signs on May 14, she will oversee NPR foreign correspondents based in 17 bureaus worldwide as well as a team of editors and reporters in Washington, D.C. She succeeds longtime foreign desk editor Loren Jenkins, who departed last November. Chapin has spent her entire career at CNN, beginning in 1987. Based in London in the early 1990s, she covered events in Bosnia, Rwanda, Zaire and Ireland. For seven years she directed editorial coverage from CNN’s New York bureau, including its reporting on 9/11 and its aftermath.