• Cynthia Lopez, who has helped shape POV for the past 14 years as its executive vice president and co-executive producer, is the new commissioner of the New York City Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting. The agency markets the city as a prime location for production and assists production companies throughout the five boroughs.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the appointment at a Friday afternoon press conference, calling Lopez “a remarkable media professional.” He noted that this is the first time the office will be led by a person of color and that Lopez has long been “a force for greater inclusion in this industry.”
Simon Kilmurry, POV executive director, told Current that the appointment is “fantastic for Cynthia, and it’s very exciting for us to have a public media person — and a documentary person — in that job.” He said POV has “a deep bench,” with many experienced candidates in-house. “We’ll take our time to find the right person” as Lopez’s replacement, he added.
Watch video of the announcement here:
• Controversial politician Chip Rogers is out at Georgia Public Broadcasting, just over a year after he landed a six-figure job there, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The governor had recommended Rogers, a former Georgia Senate majority leader, for the post after Rogers became mired in several politically embarrassing controversies. Rogers’ hiring prompted a community outcry and the resignation of a senior producer.
• Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has decided to take part in a hearing Tuesday that could determine the fate of webcasting startup Aereo, removing the chance of a tie vote occurring. Alito had previously recused himself from the hearing but said in an April 16 filing with the court that he would participate. The participation of the full court could benefit the broadcasters who are challenging Aereo, according to communications attorney Scott Flick. “…[B]roadcasters are unlikely to find themselves losing on a tie vote, and if the rest of the court should split 4-4, Alito’s entry into the fray effectively gives broadcasters a free throw opportunity at the buzzer to score his vote and break that tie,” Flick wrote in a blog post. “Now broadcasters just need to convert on that opportunity.”
• KUNM News Director Elaine Baumgartel took on accusations of plagiarism in the public radio station’s newsroom in a blog post Friday. “We’re disheartened,” she wrote. “But we’ve taken this situation as an opportunity to re-examine our ethical practices.” Among the actions: staffers took an online ethics course, and execs created “a detailed and explicit ethics guide” for KUNM reporters. “We take journalism ethics and allegations of misconduct very seriously. Everyone in our newsroom is sorry this happened. And we are making sure it won’t happen again,” she wrote.
• In a blog post Friday, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler said he has provided commissioners with a draft Report and Order “that will determine many significant issues and policy decisions” in the upcoming spectrum auctions. A fact sheet provided to reporters includes details on how the FCC may handle translators that could be displaced during repacking — an issue of special interest to public broadcasters in rural areas. The commission is suggesting adopting a transitional time that allows for continued operation until new license holders become operational. The Report and Order will be made public after commissioners vote on it at a May 15 FCC meeting.