Intel chips in some cash for NewsHour

PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer has signed a major new corporate underwriter, Intel Corp., through the rest of 2009. As part of the deal, NewsHour staffers will help plan and moderate several small meetings on national issues and a larger conference on innovation this year, says spokesman Rob Flynn. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the program will thank Intel with a 30-second underwriting credit and a short mention at the other end of the show, plus short mentions on Tuesday and Thursday. The NewsHour also has underwriting from Chevron Corp., Grant Thornton LLC accounting and consulting, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and more than a dozen other foundations.

No snacks for thrifty PBS board

How bad is the economy? So bad that treats for PBS board members are disappearing. At the meeting today in Arlington, Va., Chairman John Porter quipped to the board, “Symbolic of the careful work being done on the budget, there will be no snacks at break time. We’re doing every single thing to make certain the budget is as tight as possible.” Board members didn’t go hungry, as lunch was indeed provided.

HuffPo launches investigative unit with $1.75 mil

The Huffington Post has unveiled details of its expansion into investigative journalism. With an initial budget of $1.75 million, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund will hire 10 staff journalists who will coordinate stories with freelancers. Work produced by the investigative team will be available for any publication or website to use at the same time it is posted on the Huffington Post, said Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief. The Atlantic Philanthropies and other unnamed donors backed the venture. In its report on the HuffPo’s new unit, Poynter’s E-media Tidbits points to other nonprofit and philantrophic efforts to produce investigative reporting, including

Channeling ire over NPR fundraising

That brouhaha over a proposed NPR pledge drive? It’s based on outdated assumptions about the potential for pubradio growth, according to marketing consultant John Sutton. “The industry is losing money each year by not allowing NPR to raise money directly from listeners,” he writes emphatically on RadioSutton. “We know from past research that listeners to two stations will support both stations and give average or above average gifts. They have room in their budgets to do both.

Author looks to a more dynamic public media

Jessica Clark, author of a a recent white paper on public media, shares thoughts on the future of public broadcasting in an interview at MediaShift Idea Lab. One point: “‘Legacy media’ is top-down, one-to-many media: print, television, radio, even static web pages. We’re advancing a more dynamic, relevant definition of public media — one that’s participatory, focused on informing and mobilizing publics around shared issues.”

Some stations lagging in PBS dues

PBS station paid dues are running about 4 percent behind last year at this date, network CFO Barbara Landes told the board at today’s meeting in Arlington, Va. As of Friday, figures were down 4 percent compared with this same time last year. That’s actually an improvement since January, when dues were down 8 percent compared with January 2008. Landes said PBS had been “tracking closely” the payment of dues, for both timeliness and amount. “Any threat to the flow of dollars has significant implications for PBS as well as producers,” she added.

Nonprofits in dire straits, report says

The nation’s nonprofits are in serious trouble, according to a report released today by the Nonprofit Finance Fund. It’s a survey of 986 nonprofits in markets across the country. Among the troubling findings: 31 percent don’t have enough cash to cover more that one month of expenses; 12 percent expect to operate above break-even this year; 16 percent think they’ll be able to cover operating expenses in 2009 and ’10; 52 percent expect the recession to have a long-term or permanent negative financial effect on their organization. This link offers both a summary and another link to the full PDF report.