• In his annual review of objectivity and balance in CPB-funded programming, CPB Ombudsman Joel Kaplan noted "far fewer complaints directed at public media," continuing a trend of the past few years. "Whether that is because public media has improved in this area; people have grown tired of complaining about a lack of balance; or there were just not that many controversial stories this year is not clear," he noted. Looking back over 2013's controversies, Kaplan also criticized NPR's reaction to a lengthy report by its own ombudsman that found fault with an award-winning NPR investigation. As Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos reviewed the three-part series about South Dakota's foster-care system for Native American children, he "took the unusual step of re-reporting the story," Kaplan wrote. NPR execs called the ombud's report "deeply flawed"and said little would be gained "from a point-by-point response to his claims."
Ted Krichels, CPB’s senior v.p. for system development and media strategy, recently talked to Current about the 50-page “Public Media Models of the Future” report he co-authored this fall with PBS Director of Strategy Stephen Holmes. Edited, rearranged and condensed excerpts from that conversation follow. Current: How did you start the process? Did you survey the entire system, or was it more word of mouth? Ted Krichels: Stephen and I initially were collecting stations, ones you would have heard about.
Richard Heffner, the founding g.m. of New York’s WNET/Thirteen network and longtime host of public affairs program The Open Mind, died in his New York home Dec. 17 of a sudden cerebral hemorrhage. He was 88.
Representatives of several liberal groups delivered signed petitions to New York City’s WNET Aug. 13, urging the station to ask PBS to air the documentary Citizen Koch, a critical look at the increasing political influence of the conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.
Music City Roots: Live from The Loveless Cafe, a weekly radio show and HD webcast featuring roots, alt-country and Americana music from Nashville, is heading to public television as a 13-episode series showcasing performances from its 2012 season. The show will be released for pubTV broadcast Sept. 5, presented by Nashville Public Television and distributed by American Public Television. Carriage commitments from 75 stations so far includes major markets such as WNET in New York and WGBH in Boston. In each episode, emcee Keith Bilbrey — a former Grand Ole Opry announcer — welcomes musicians to a 600-seat barn at the Loveless Cafe, built in 1951 and locally famous for its homemade fried chicken and biscuits.
As managers grapple with how to cultivate young, diverse talent as public media leaders, questions of whether to compensate interns — and even what constitutes a legal internship — become more complicated.
Citizen Koch, a documentary about the growing influence of money in politics that lost a pot of planned public TV funding in December, has taken in more than $100,000 on Kickstarter in less than a week.
Public radio reporters took all nine awards for radio reporting in this year's Sigma Delta Chi Awards, which recognize outstanding reporting on radio, TV and the Web by national and local news organizations. NPR’s Ina Jaffe, Quinn O’Toole and Steven Drummond won for breaking news reporting (network syndication) for “Los Angeles VA Has Made Millions on Rental Deals.” For investigative reporting, John Ryan and Jim Gates of KUOW in Seattle were cited among stations in markets 1–100 for “Shell's Arctic Oil-Spill Gear ‘Crushed Like a Beer Can,’” while Sandy Hausman of WVTF and Radio IQ in Roanoke, Va., won in the 101+ market category for “Naming the Fralin,” about naming the University of Virginia Art Museum. In the feature categories, Linda Lutton, Cate Cahan and Sally Eisele of Chicago’s WBEZ won for “The weight of the city's violence, on one school principal,” and Lance Orozco of KCLU in Thousand Oaks, Calif., for “My Cancer.”
NPR's State of the Re:Union, co-distributed by Public Radio Exchange, won the syndicated documentary award for “As Black as We Wish to Be,” which explored an Appalachian foothills town in Ohio where residents who look white identify as African-American; it was reported and produced by Lu Olkowski, Laura Spero, Taki Telonidis and Al Letson. Alabama Public Radio’s “Winds of Change,” coverage by Pat Duggins, Ryan Vasquez, Maggie Martin and Stan Ingold of a Tuscaloosa tornado, won for smaller-market documentary. The public service in radio journalism winners were “If it's legal: Five ways legal pot could affect your life,” by the staff of Seattle’s KPLU (markets 1–100); Charles Lane and Naomi Starobin of WSHU in Fairfield, Conn., for “State struggled at fire prevention ahead of Manorville blaze.”
In the television categories, San Francisco’s KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting won for large-market (1–50) documentary for “Heat and Harvest,” a report on the effect of climate change on California agriculture by Mark Schapiro, Serene Fang, Gabriela Quiros and Craig Miller.