CPB’s $7.5M in pubmedia news grants honors slain Charlie Hebdo journalists

CPB reacted Jan. 8 to the attack on journalists at the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo by announcing grants totaling $7.5 million to four public media newsrooms.

“Now more than ever it takes so much courage to be a journalist,” said CPB President Pat Harrison in an to public media managers. “To understand that every word you may write, every cartoon you might draw could be your last. The chilling effect this can have may result in stories not told, reports not filed, journalism watered down.” CPB awarded the grants in memory of eight journalists who were killed. The money is given “in support of freedom of the press and freedom of expression,” Harrison said.

Kansas City’s KCPT picks up gauntlet to expand local news coverage

Three years ago, a delegation from Kansas City Public Television, including the board chair, trekked out to San Diego’s KPBS to evaluate how that station’s extensive radio, television and online news operation might be adapted in Kansas City. A few months later, an influential visitor to Kansas City, PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer, urged KCPT leaders to act on their nascent ambitions to develop a locally focused news service for the community. Over dinner at the restaurant Lidia’s, Lehrer “kind of threw the gauntlet down,” recalled Kliff Kuehl, KCPT president, challenging executives to step up the station’s commitment to news coverage. But the proposal to transform KCPT into a true local news hub remained mostly an aspiration until a surprise major grant from the Hale Family Foundation arrived in July 2013. Only then was the station able to turn its ambitions into something substantive and seemingly sustainable.