Web series explores what Black Folk Don’t do

Doing yoga, going green and enjoying winter sports sound like innocuous topics for a public media web series — that is, until they’re preceded by “Black folk don’t…”

Now midway through its third season, the web series Black Folk Don’t aims to spark frank discussions of racial identity in modern-day America. Actors, scholars and ordinary black folk ponder stereotypes about African-Americans and how historical or cultural contexts might have led to such generalizations. “It was just an idea that popped into my head, being someone who technically does things that black folk ‘don’t do,’” series creator and director Angela Tucker said. Tucker and Black Public Media launched the show in August 2011 after Tucker, a documentary filmmaker whose credits include a 2011 documentary about asexuality, responded to an open call for pitches for web series. The show combines vetted interviews and spontaneous chats with people on the street.

NPR newscasters sign off for final time after taking buyouts

It was a bittersweet broadcast of NPR’s Morning Edition Dec. 20 as the show and network said goodbye to five staffers who opted to take an offer for a voluntary buyout. NPR newscaster Jean Cochran gave her final newscast Friday, concluding her 33-year career with the network. Cochran said she planned to travel and pursue new career options, possibly to include consulting and voice-over work. Last Newscast from Ben Mook on Vimeo.

Omidyar and Greenwald’s new journalism venture will be incorporated nonprofit

First Look Media, a new journalism organization backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and headed by former Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, will include a 501(c)3 nonprofit as part of its structure. The company, announced in June with $250 million in promised capital from Omidyar, will comprise several entities, including a for-profit division dedicated to exploring new media technologies. According to a Dec. 19 announcement, the still-unnamed nonprofit-journalism side of the company will create a digital publication. Funds from the technology wing will support the journalism, which will retain editorial independence.

After 30 years, still no meetings or memos for Shearer’s Le Show

Harry Shearer’s eclectic, acidic Le Show marks 30 years on public radio this month, and The Associated Press observes the milestone with an in-depth interview. When he launched his show on KCRW in Los Angeles in December 1983, Shearer figured that if no money changed hands in the deal, no one could tell him what to do. “The show has stayed free in both senses of the word,” he said. “That’s the only way you can do it for 30 years — without meetings and memos — if you have other things to do in your life.” Shearer pretapes the show’s multicharacter sketches and compiles and writes the remainder before the weekly broadcast.

PBS programming vet Wilson, education s.v.p. Lippincott exiting in January

Two more senior v.p.s are leaving PBS: John Wilson, a PBS programmer for nearly 20 years, and Rob Lippincott, who has led the network’s education strategy and partnerships since 2007. Their exits, which take effect Jan. 3, bring the total number of executive-level departures within the past four months to six. In a Dec. 13 memo to station managers, President Paula Kerger noted that Wilson has served the network “with tremendous insight, understanding, and leadership.

TV critic questions NewsHour reruns, pubcasting author segments

Is PBS NewsHour padding its content with previously aired segments and infomercials for books authored by pubcasters? Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik believes so. Today he notes that in its final half-hour Tuesday night, NewsHour ran a segment that had already aired on PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, as well as an interview with Masterpiece Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton about her book on the popular PBS series. Zurawik pointed out that in October NewsHour ran an interview with its founder, Jim Lehrer, about his novel on the Kennedy assassination. The show also featured a story about ultra-tiny apartments in New York City that NewsHour Weekend produced and ran three months ago. So the last half of Tuesday’s NewsHour “was a phantom newscast,” Zurawik writes.