Monday roundup: Alaska journalists raise concerns; Obama renominates CPB board member

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• A lengthy Columbia Journalism Review feature focuses on a conflict over journalistic ethics at Anchorage-based Alaska Public Media. CFO Bernie Washington has been nominated to serve on the State Assessment Review Board, which helps to determine revenues from oil taxes in the state. APM journalists are concerned about Washington’s appointment compromising the network’s coverage of the review board. “We are aghast, quite frankly, aghast that our management doesn’t understand that this is a solid, more than apparent conflict of interest,” Steve Heimel, host of Talk of Alaska, told CJR.

• President Obama will nominate Elizabeth Sembler for a second term on the CPB board, the White House announced Thursday. Sembler joined the board in 2008 as an appointee of President Bush; her term expires this year. She currently serves as the board’s vice chair. Sembler has also served on the boards of WEDU-TV in Tampa Bay and the Association for Public Television Stations. She is director of congregational engagement for Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Trixie, Chummy, Jenny, Cynthia (Photo: Jonathan Ford, Neal Street Productions)

The third season of Call the Midwife, which premiered on PBS Sunday, finds Trixie (left), Chummy, Jenny and Cynthia once again busy at work in 1960’s London. (Photo: Jonathan Ford, Neal Street Productions)

• Strong women characters — such as those on Sunday night’s season premiere of Call the Midwife — are helping propel PBS to higher ratings, reports the Washington Post. Those characters often get the short shrift on network television. “We considered it to be somewhat of a market failure, and we’re always looking to fill those gaps,” said Beth Hoppe, PBS’s chief programmer. “Our mission is to serve the audience where they aren’t being served.”

• Twin Cities Public Television has launched a shared operational facility with Chicago’s WYCC, using Myers software. The arrangement “will allow WYCC to capitalize on TPT’s centralized programming, traffic and master control operations as a means to improve operations while containing operating expenses,” reports TVNewsCheck. TPT also has handled master control for PBS member station KSMQ in Austin, Minn., since 2009.

• Four U.S. public TV programs will be screened at this year’s International Public Television Conference (INPUT) May 12-15 in Helsinki. Selections are Frontline‘s “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis”; Not Another Word, part of the Independent Television Service’s Women and Girls Lead outreach program; Sweet Corn and Expensive Tea from A Chef’s Life; and The March on Washington, PBS. The annual INPUT conference gathers media professionals from around the world to discuss public-service broadcasting. ETV in Columbia, S.C., serves as the U.S. secretariat for INPUT.

• Graham Parker, g.m. of New York’s classical station WQXR, opened up to Tablet on growing up gay and Jewish. For a time he lived in “total denial,” he said, noting, “Nice Jewish boys from England don’t come out.”  Parker is leading WQXR’s first instrument drive now through April 7, asking listeners to donate instruments to New York public schools.

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