Light weekend reading from “Grow the Audience”

As a follow-up to its recent report on public radio audience growth strategies, Station Resource Group asked 14 leading pubcasting and public media experts to react to its recommendations on new media. Which of the many activities proposed to advance pubradio in the “networked environment” should be top priority? In Proposals for Investments in New Media (PDF), an analysis and report on what the 14 respondents told SRG, two initiatives appear to have “relatively broad support”: developing a flexible local/national Internet structure for distributing all pubradio content, and exploring a coordinated online fundraising system. If you haven’t already read the final set (PDF) of recommendations from the CPB-backed Grow the Audience project, the section on new media–which is the focus of this particular discussion–begins on page 43.

CPB issues affirmative action report

The CPB Board earlier this week approved its FY08-09 affirmative action report and FY10 plan (PDF). According to the document, during FY09, total employees increased from 100 to 114; 12 staffers left during that year. Of the 26 employees hired, 13 are women and 10 are minorities. In FY 2009 CPB also hired five student interns: one male and four females, and three of the five were minorities. That brings the total staff breakdown for 2009 to non-minority, 61 percent; minorities, 39 percent; males, 45 percent; and females, 55 percent.

President Obama congratulates Sesame Street on its 40 years

President Barack Obama has released a minute-long video praising Sesame Street on its 40th anniversary year — or, as he says, “this video is brought to you by the number 40.” He congratulates the show “as a parent, and as the president,” and recalls watching it with his younger sister. His two girls as well “learned a great deal” from the show. “There are many adults who can stand to learn again the lessons Sesame Street offers: Compassion, kindness and respect for our differences,” the president noted.

Goldsmith Prize finalists include Frontline producer

Frontline’s Tom Jennings is part of a team of journalists that are finalists for the prestigious Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, the Harvard Kennedy School announced today. The investigation, titled “Law and Disorder,” revealed details of police shootings of at least 10 persons in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In addition to Jennings, reporters included Gordon Russell, Laura Maggi and Brendan McCarthy of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, A.C. Thompson of public interest journalism site ProPublica, along with support from the Nation Institute, a progressive think tank supporting freedom of the press. The winner of six project finalists will be announced at a March 23 ceremony at Harvard. The award is intended, according to the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, to “recognize and encourage journalism which promotes more effective and ethical conduct of government, the making of public policy, or the practice of politics by disclosing excessive secrecy, impropriety and mismanagement, or instances of particularly commendable government performance.”

Public broadcasting obituaries

Greg Shanley, 49, longtime news director, producer and show host for Iowa Public Radio, died Tuesday night at University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City, according to the Des Moines Register. He was hired in 1987 as a producer/reporter, and served as local host of Morning Edition before moving into the director post. Other obituaries in Current: Carlos Sena of KSUT in Colorado; Robben Fleming, former CPB Board president; and Lillie Herndon, who served on the boards of PBS and CPB.

NewHour’s annotated version of Obama speech called “remarkable”

PBS NewsHour’s “Annotated State of the Union” is being praised by the Poynter Institute’s Al Tompkins as a “remarkable analysis.” He’s the Group Leader for Broadcasting and Online at the institute, which is a school for journalists and media teachers. The feature breaks the speech into clips with links to resources for people who want to learn more. “It’s pretty brilliant,” Tompkins writes. Anne Bell, spokesperson for the show, said analysis by Mark Shields and David Brooks on YouTube also received more than 22,000 views.

Haiti telethon, carried by PBS, has raised $66 million so far

Relief organizations have raised a total of more than $525 million for victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. As of Wednesday, the figures from just a few: A worldwide telethon last Friday, “Help for Haiti Now,” raised $66 million; it was carried by a multitude of channels including PBS affiliates. The American Red Cross received about $185 million, some $29 million of that via text messages. And Convio, which provides software to charities, processed more than $195 million online.

SRG, AGC partnering to formulate editorial integrity guidelines

Over the next year, the Station Resource Group and the Affinity Group Coalition will be soliciting input from both inside and outside the pubcasting system for its project, “Editorial Integrity for Public Broadcasters in the 21st Century.” Tom Thomas, co-CEO of the SRG, and Ted Krichels, g.m. of Penn State Public Broadcasting, are organizing the effort. The two told the CPB Board at its meeting earlier this week that the project, expected to take about a year, is just getting under way. Both TV and radio pubcasters will be involved, as well as experts and others both inside and outside the system. This will be a “station-centric” undertaking, Krichels said.

Webinars upcoming on broadband stimulus applications

CPB and the National Center for Media Engagement are sponsoring two webinars in February to advise stations applying for broadband stimulus funding. Joanne Hovis, president of Columbia Telecommunications Corp. and an authority on community broadband topics, will offer background information on the availability of funds, explain the application requirements and answer questions from participants to help them develop and refine their applications. Sign up here for the 2 p.m. Eastern meeting on Feb. 4, and here for Feb.