Inauguration Report ’09, organized by NPR, American University’s School of Communication and CBS, brought in more than 35,000 user contributions via Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, iPhone, Google Phones and text messaging. One of its creators, David Johnson, a professor at American University’s School of Communication, reviews the project, and its implications for the future of public media.
Here’s a bit of positive news during this ominous economic time. A huge increase in grant support enabled WGBH to have a very strong ’08. Grant commitments grew year-to-year a hefty 70 percent to $121.8 million, from $71.7 million, as of Aug. 31, 2008. Many were PBS grants; its commitments to WGBH jumped to $83.8 million in 2008, from $28.3 million in ’07.
“When you reach the end of an experience, it is right to ask, ‘What have I learned?’ ” mulls Weekend America host John Moe. “And after five years of shows, fair question. What I’ve learned is patriotism.” Read the rest of his comments bidding farewell to the APR show and its listeners.
Vivian Schiller, NPR’s new c.e.o., tells the American Journalism Review in a profile that her career as a tour guide in the Soviet Union prepared her for managing at media companies. “I think when I retire I’m going to write a book called Everything I Know I Learned as a Tour Guide, including how to lead the conga line.” On the subject of NPR’s future, she says: “I’ve been proselytizing a little bit about the incredible opportunity that NPR has that no other media organization has, to create a constellation of hyperlocal sites that provide inhabitants of communities with national news, local news and information tools for their communities. This has been sort of the Holy Grail for many media companies … and I think NPR’s the only organization that’s positioned to do it.”
In a speech to FCC staff (PDF) this week, Acting Chairman Michael Copps stressed cooperation within the agency and transparency for the public. “The spectrum is theirs and the rest of us are stewards,” he said. In the weeks ahead, he later added, “our three most important priorities will be, as you have heard me say already, DTV, DTV and DTV.” However, he also said, “At this point, we will not have — we cannot have — a seamless DTV transition,” due to “a patchwork of disjointed efforts.”
NPR’s Juan Williams is “America’s most two-faced senior black correspondent,” writes Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman. (The “senior black correspondent” bit is a borrowed Daily Show joke.) Norman notes that on Fox News, Williams has joined the chorus of alarmist voices criticizing Michelle Obama. “Ironically, Williams probably considers his slander a form of racial tough love,” Norman writes. “I wonder if he secretly believes that knocking the first lady will earn him an invitation to the next soiree the president has with conservative commentators.”
At least one senator is fairly certain the DTV delay House bill will pass next week. Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar is a supporter of the date change from Feb. 17 to June 12. “This is more than just about just watching TV for fun,” she told C-SPAN’s Communicators series on Jan. 30.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy is hosting an online discussion, Planning Special Events During a Recession, at noon on Feb. 3. Possible topics: How can you make your event seem worthwhile in the current economy? What steps can you take to promote your event? What can you do to ensure that an event’s participants will become active donors and volunteers?