Now on PBS Digital: The National Film Society, all two of them

The National Film Society, the quirky duo that hosted PBS’s first Online Film Festival, now will have their own video creations featured on the PBS Digital Studios YouTube channel. Don’t miss their video announcement, during which they get a crash course in becoming pubcasters — complete with learning the lingo (“Check your local listings”) and drills to memorize station call letters (hey, nice shoutout to KUFM-TV in Missoula!).

Get the lowdown on WETA UK

Curious about WETA UK, the new all-Brit, all-the-time channel? Then check out its section on the station’s new blog, Programmer’s Choice. Entries are aimed at viewers (as well as pubcasters) wondering how and why the Arlington, Va., station decided to drop its WETA How-To (Create) to launch the nation’s only British multicast channel.Kevin Harris, station manager, explains in one post that while writing a white paper on the future of WETA’s multicast offerings, he and programmer Bryant Wilson discovered not only that those channels are popular within the Washington, D.C., market, but also that that the cable network BBC America was underserving the local audience. “There isn’t a show on BBC America that comes close to matching the large audiences that regularly watch British programs on WETA TV26,” Harris writes. “Doc Martin, Keeping Up Appearances, Sherlock Holmes and Masterpiece literally dwarf all of the programs on BBC America.”  “There was an opportunity for a public television British broadcast channel in the D.C. area,” Harris writes.

WGBH and its largest union reach contract agreement

WGBH has reached an agreement with its largest union, the Boston Globe is reporting. The contract terms are the same as March 2011, which the union had initially rejected.The agreement allows the pubcaster to assign individual employees to work across multiple platforms and to outsource work. “We have so many producers in house, but there are times when working with an outside producer makes sense, maybe for a particular project, or in terms of cost efficiencies,” said Jeanne Hopkins, WGBH spokesperson.The Association of Employees of the Educational Foundation, Communications Workers of America, Local 1300, represents 250 production workers, editors, producers, writers, and marketing staffers. Its website says 63 percent of members approved the contract.WGBH employs a total of about 850.

Marketplace raises pay rates for freelancers

American Public Media’s Marketplace announced today that it is raising its pay rates for freelancers and other outside contributors by 8 percent to 20 percent. The programs, which include Marketplace, Marketplace Morning Report, Marketplace Tech Report and Marketplace Money, will also adopt the tiered freelance payment structure devised by the Association of Independents in Radio, which takes into account the journalist’s experience and the level of effort a piece requires. Contributors will negotiate these factors with the show when accepting assignments.Earlier this year, NPR also adopted the tiered payment structure and raised its pay rates as well.

LinkAsia melds citizen journalism, official news for digital/broadcast presentation

LinkAsia, a weekly digital/broadcast hybrid news show from nonprofit Link TV, curates stories from citizen journalists as well as packages of official news from commercial and state-run networks including CCTV in China, NHK in Japan, MBC in Korea, NDTV in India and VTV4 in Vietnam. Overseeing the year-old program is George Lewinski, former senior editor at PRI’s The World and foreign editor at NPR’s Marketplace.”A show that started out as a weekly chronicle of politics and business in Asia, created for a U.S. audience — fed from syndicated news packages from Asian nations — is a full, nuanced ongoing examination of life as it is experienced by people who live there, juxtaposed with the ‘official portrait’ of that life by the region’s official media organizations,” writes Caty Borum Chattoo, a LinkAsia studio producer, on MediaShift. “It’s the gap between the two that has created and supported the most valuable reporting and analysis — and the digital tools that allow us to continue to follow the long tail of the story after it may have faded from immediacy.”

PBS NewsHour receives $3.55 million from four foundations

Four foundations are giving PBS NewsHour a total of $3.55 million for on-air and online coverage of the 2012 presidential election, the economy, international developments, and health, science, education and arts news. Participants in the multi-foundation initiative announced today (May 30) are Carnegie Corporation of New York, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.“It’s especially encouraging to have this special general support from some of the nation’s leading foundations,” said Bo Jones, president of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. “It is key to supporting the program’s infrastructure and ability to grow.” The funds will enable NewsHour reporters to report from the field on issues critical in the election, such as jobs, the economy, immigration, education, the environment, and foreign policy, as well as file reports examining the changing nature of the American electorate. Support also will go to the PBS NewsHour Digital Election Data Center, which will give web viewers the same professional analytical tools that the NewsHour’s political unit will use.

PBS tops 13 media organizations in engagement via Pinterest

An analysis from the Poynter Institute reveals that PBS and USA Today are the two media organizations that most effectively engage with readers via the visually oriented social network site Pinterest. Reporter Susanna Speier examined 13 local and national news organizations — including the Los Angeles Times, NBC News and Newsweek/The Daily Beast — to compared their average repin to pin ratios, which are similar to retweets and tweets on Twitter. The highest overall repin to pin ratio was PBS; on average, a pin on PBS was repinned six times. USA Today had an average of 4.4 repins; Newsweek/The Daily Beast, 4.3; and the Wall Street Journal, 4.2. The remaining news organizations had average ratios between 1.1 and 2.2 repins per pin.Kevin Dando, PBS’s digital director, told Speier that online referrals from Pinterest are not yet a realistic goal.

Transcript of Jason Seiken’s speech to PBS Annual Meeting now online

Now on, text of the May 15 speech at the PBS Annual Meeting in Denver by Jason Seiken, head of PBS Interactive, which one g.m. called a “seminal moment” in public broadcasting. Three dozen general managers are coalescing around Seiken’s ideas to transform each station into the YouTube of their local community, allowing public television to serve “millions more people with billions more videos.”

New Jersey’s pubradio operators step up coverage of Garden State

Nearly a year ago, two of the East Coast’s largest metropolitan pubcasting powerhouses took over nine New Jersey pubradio stations, casting uncertainty over the future of public radio news coverage for Garden State listeners. The outlook has begun to brighten as New York Public Radio, operator of WNYC and WQXR, and Philadelphia’s WHYY have brought the New Jersey stations into their operational systems and refined plans to expand and deepen their reporting on New Jersey. For four decades, the New Jersey state government owned and subsidized public radio and TV services delivered through the New Jersey Network. Then last year, New Jersey policymakers decided they wanted out of the broadcasting business. WHYY acquired five stations and NYPR bought four.