Edward Schumacher-Matos, a journalist, educator and columnist, is the new NPR ombudsman, the pubradio network announced today (April 29). He begins a three-year term on June 1. Schumacher-Matos has been ombudsman for the Miami Herald since 2007. He founded Meximerica Media and Rumbo Newspapers in 2003, launching four Spanish-language daily newspapers in Houston, San Antonio, Austin and the Rio Grande Valley. He is also founding editor and associate publisher of Wall Street Journal Americas, the business newspaper’s Spanish and Portuguese insert editions in Latin America, Spain and Portugal.
The South Carolina Senate is fighting Gov. Nikki Haley’s move to defund public broadcasting in the state, reports The State newspaper. The GOP-controlled Senate on Thursday (April 28) approved a measure 25-18 that uses general funds to pay for South Carolina ETV. It’s part of the debate over the state’s $5.8 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year. The governor also replaced the entire public broadcasting board last month.
When NPR general counsel Joyce Slocum took over after Vivian Schiller’s March departure, “the move was sudden, but not unscripted,” notes Law.com. In 2009 NPR’s board of directors drew up a succession plan that designated Slocum as the replacement if Schiller left unexpectedly. Carol Cartwright, vice-chair of NPR’s board, says one of the main attractions was that Slocum didn’t want the job. “We did not want an interim c.e.o. who would be actively pursuing the role on a permanent basis,” Cartwright says.
Several residents of the Orlando, Fla., area have contacted the Federal Communications Commission with their concerns about the sale of WMFE-TV (Current, April 18) to religious broadcaster Daystar, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Several noted that the community did not have advance warning of the sale, which WMFE management announced on April 1.
The PBS NewsHour’s recent series on autism has reignited the debate on the role of vaccines in the childhood syndrome, reports the Los Angeles Times. It’s a personal issue for former NewHour co-anchor Robert MacNeil: Viewers meet his grandson, Nick, who is on the autism spectrum.
Public media outlets scored five honors in this year’s Overseas Press Club Awards, announced today (April 28).— The Lowell Thomas Award for radio news or interpretation of international affairs goes to David Baron, Patrick Cox and Sheri Fink of PRI’s The World for “Rationing Health: Who Lives? Who Decides?”— The Carl Spielvogel Award for international reporting in the broadcast media showing a concern for the human condition goes to Landon van Soest and Jeremy Levine of Transient Pictures for American Documentary / P.O.V. on PBS, “Good Fortune,” on how efforts to eliminate poverty in Africa may be undermining communities.— The Whitman Bassow Award for reporting in any medium on international environmental issues goes to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a project of the Center for Public Integrity, for “Looting the Seas: How Overfishing, Fraud and Negligence Plundered the Majestic Bluefin Tuna.”The OPC Online Awards were presented for the first time this year. Winners include:— The General Excellence Online Award for overall international coverage on a website goes to Dafna Linzer, Chisun Lee and Krista Kjellman-Schmidt of ProPublica for “The Detention Dilemma.”— The Best Online Investigation of an International Issue or Event for coverage of a news event of international significance goes to Sebastian Rotella of ProPublica for “Mumbai Terror Attacks.”The awards will be presented tonight by NBC News anchor Lester Holt at a dinner in New York.A full list of the winners is here.
Three-dimensional sound! That’s what’s coming this weekend on Studio 360 from PRI and WNYC. The show says in a statement that this will be “the exclusive radio debut of 3D sound.””Until now, only a handful of audiophiles and industry insiders have had access to this emerging technology that makes surround sound seem ancient,” it notes. Host Kurt Anderson will be joined by Edgar Choueiri, a professor of applied physics at Princeton University, whose decades-long passion for recording technology led him to develop a digital filter that produces what he calls “pure stereo.” The filter will work on any stereo recording played through an ordinary pair of speakers. Andersen will give listeners instructions on placing their speakers to best appreciate the effect.
It was Public Radio Day at the Minnesota State Capitol Wednesday (April 27), as supporters gathered to ask legislators to continue funding Minnesota Public Radio. Standing in the rotunda, MPR founder and president Bill Kling told volunteers to wave their signs, bend the ears of legislators and “give them hell,” according to the Star Tribune. The network is requesting $3.3 million over the next two years.
What do young, up-and-coming public broadcasters dream about? The retirement of older public broadcasters. That’s one of the many topics that Jesse Thorn, host of The Sound of Young America, discussed during an interview today (April 27) on the Nieman Journalism Lab site. As Thorn says: “I have these conversations with public radio people, and they say, ‘Well, you know, Terry Gross is going to retire, and Diane Rehm is going to retire, and Garrison Keillor is going to retire, and they’re need a show with a proven track record to fill in.’ And I’m like, Terry Gross is only like 50!