Study points to lack of diversity on NPR and member station boards

A new study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting finds that the boards of NPR and eight large-market public radio stations are made up mostly of men, white people and people with corporate connections. The study examined the boards of NPR and eight of its most-listened-to member stations: KQED in San Francisco, WNYC in New York City, KPCC in Los Angeles, WHYY in Philadelphia, WBUR in Boston, WABE in Atlanta, WBEZ in Chicago, and WAMU in Washington, D.C. “Board members were coded by occupation, ethnicity and gender,” wrote Aldo Guerrero, a former FAIR intern, in a post on FAIR’s website. Of the 259 members on the boards, 72 percent are non-Latino whites, 12 percent African-American, 9 percent Asian-American and 5 percent Latino. One board member is of Middle Eastern descent. “Six members’ ethnicities were unidentifiable,” Guerrero said.

CPB backs new episodes of Hinojosa’s America By The Numbers

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting awarded an $850,000 grant for eight new half-hour episodes of America By The Numbers, a series featuring journalist Maria Hinojosa that had a pilot run as a PBS election special. Programs in the series, which will air on PBS and the World Channel, will cover topics such as health disparities revealed by infant mortality rates, military service by residents of non-voting territories of the Pacific Islands and the effects of the domestic oil boom on Native American lands. "Consistent with the mission of public broadcasting - to give voice to the extraordinary diversity of this country - I am excited that PBS and the World Channel will premiere America by the Numbers,” said Maria Hinojosa, series host and project leader, in a statement. “This eight-part series is the first national TV program dedicated to documenting massive and historic demographic change in the US using hard data and powerful storytelling.”

America By The Numbers is a collaboration between Hinojosa's Futuro Media Group and Boston's WGBH. CPB backed the production through its Diversity and Innovation Fund, according to its June 5 grant announcement.

CPB to support more collaborative journalism projects

CPB will devote $2.5 million to reporting projects spearheaded by stations and national producers, President Patricia Harrison announced Nov. 12 at the Public Radio Regional Organizations Super-Regional conference in Fort Washington, Md. The funder will provide $1.5 million for the Diverse Perspectives project, an initiative to support reporting from groups of news stations for local, regional and national use. Like the CPB-backed Local Journalism Centers, the stations will focus on particular topics. The number of stations to receive the two-year grants will depend on the range and size of proposals submitted, said Bruce Theriault, CPB senior v.p. of radio, but he estimated that about five groups will receive support.

Downton Abbey once again helps generate big budget surplus for PBS

PBS closed its books on fiscal 2013 with an extra $24.5 million — more than twice the $11 million surplus that bolstered its bottom line in FY12. Earnings generated by distribution deals for the hit drama Downton Abbey once again brought in much of the extra revenue, along with ancillary revenues from PBS Kids’ properties, short-term investment gains and reimbursements for overhead costs tied to grants. Molly Corbett Broad, chair of the PBS Board’s finance committee, announced the positive financial results Nov. 6 at a PBS Board meeting. The meeting, at PBS headquarters in Arlington, Va., was the first of the network’s new fiscal year and marked the beginning of a new board term for directors elected or re-elected to new terms. In addition to electing a chair and two vice chairs, directors were briefed on PBS’s expanded efforts to diversify its content, workforce and audience.

Hinojosa interviewed Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor for Latino USA earlier this year. (Photo: Christopher Soto-Chimelis)

Gambit to go independent opens new doors for Hinojosa

Veteran public radio and television journalist Maria Hinojosa found herself at a crossroads in March 2010 with the impending cancellation of Now on PBS, the weekly newsmagazine she reported for as senior correspondent.