Latino producers object: PBS diversity data ‘incomplete and often anecdotal’

The Diversity Committee of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers sent this letter to PBS about its November 2008 Report on the PBS Diversity Initiative on Content. The letter was released by Defend the Honor, a Latino civil rights group that led the protests against Ken Burns' series 2008 The War. March 4, 2009

Ms. Paula Kerger, Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Haydee M. Rodriguez, Director, Diversity Initiative
Public Broadcasting Service
2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202-3785

Dear Ms. Kerger and Ms. Rodriguez:

We would like to thank you for the PBS Diversity Initiative on Content (November, 2008). As you know, NALIP strongly supports and encourages PBS in its efforts to accurately reflect the diversity of American life in its programming and staffing. While we applaud the effort to generate an assessment of the system's diversity practices, we are concerned by the report's statement that PBS "cannot paint the full picture of its 'diverse' content or the diversity of its staff."

Latino producers to PBS: Diversity data ‘incomplete and often anecdotal’

The Diversity Committee of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers sent this letter to PBS about its November 2008 Report on the PBS Diversity Initiative on Content.  The letter was released by Defend the Honor, a Latino civil rights group that led the protests against Ken Burns' series 2008 The War. March 4, 2009

Ms. Paula Kerger, Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Haydee M. Rodriguez, Director, Diversity Initiative
Public Broadcasting Service
2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202-3785

Dear Ms. Kerger and Ms. Rodriguez:

We would like to thank you for the PBS Diversity Initiative on Content (November, 2008). As you know, NALIP strongly supports and encourages PBS in its efforts to accurately reflect the diversity of American life in its programming and staffing. While we applaud the effort to generate an assessment of the system's diversity practices, we are concerned by the report's statement that PBS "cannot paint the full picture of its 'diverse' content or the diversity of its staff."

The challenge for public radio: Letting go of our expected future

The fact that the public radio audience is 82 percent white is a problem when the public we aspire to serve is becoming rapidly more diverse. It is absolutely imperative that we find ways to bring in new voices, and that we resist the urge to apply old filters to new ideas. ...

Minority consortia to PBS: PubTV’s ‘stunning lack of diversity’ allowed the Burns flap to occur

Public broadcasting's five CPB-funded minority consortia sent this letter to PBS President Paula Kerger on April 9, 2007. Dear Paula:

I’m writing to you on behalf of my colleagues of the National Minority Consortia (NMC), which, along with the National Black Programming Consortium, includes the Center for Asian American Media, Latino Public Broadcasting, Native American Public Telecommunications and Pacific Islanders in Communications. We would like to offer our support to you in helping to address in a positive manner what we view as legitimate community concerns over the omission of Latino voices from Ken Burns’ The War. It is not the idea of an intentional exclusion that raises the flag of indignation from the American public – and not only, as has been suggested, Hispanic Americans. It is the idea that the perspective of those within the public broadcasting system empowered to make decisions about what is and is not appropriate for a public television event of this magnitude do not fundamentally represent the diversity of this society.

Video-rich website supports Eyes revival

Before Eyes on the Prize returns to PBS Oct. 2 [2006] for its first broadcast in 13 years, PBS.org will unveil a major website built around content from the seminal documentary series. The site will offer streamed historic video from key moments in the civil rights movement, including speeches of the Rev. Martin Luther King. Nearly two hours of clips in all will be accessible on the Web in perpetuity. In October, American Experience brings back Henry Hampton’s 1987 television series, which redefined the way Americans talked and learned about civil rights and social justice.

Native radio: at the heart of public radio’s mission

Ride the school bus on the Hopi Reservation in northern Arizona and you’ll hear Shooting Stars, a program for kids produced mostly by volunteers at KUYI, the three-year-old public radio station on the reservation. Tune in during the day and you’ll hear an update on living with diabetes or asthma. Keep listening and you’ll hear junior- and senior-high school interns reading the news. Stop to chat with someone on the reservation about what they’ve heard on the radio. Everyone knows you’re talking about the same station.

Seize the diversity market: a pragmatic view

With the search for Ervin Duggan’s successor now underway, public broadcasting has an opportunity to reflect on how the next PBS president should deal with the many controversial issues facing the system — 30-second spots, leasing of the digital spectrum, and delivery of PBS programs on DBS, to name a few.Amidst these raging debates, we should not lose sight of our commitment to diversity and multiculturalism. How will we provide a narrative space for different ethnic and racial groups to express their hopes and fears, their struggles and triumphs, their successes and failures? How will we allow various ethnic minorities to speak in what one commentator calls the “voice of color.” (1) In short, how will we allow the diversity of perspectives to be aired, the marginalized voices to be heard, and the American stories to be told?Attempts to bring perspectives that are considered “outside the mainstream” have sometimes engendered a lot of controversy, both within and outside the system. In some cases, public broadcasting has been subject to threats to reduce or even eliminate its governmental funding. In the face of these political and funding pressures, should we shy away from programs that contain unconventional or unpopular views, such as the personal struggles of a black homosexual man?