• WNYC is teaming up with the New York Daily News, WNBC and WNJU Telemundo to revamp its Schoolbook.org, a “part-data, part-storytelling education news website” that allows parents to search and compare schools based on performance figures, reports Nieman Lab.
• CPB awarded a one-year grant of $1 million to NPR’s International Desk Thursday to help cover operational and content-creation costs for NPR’s 17 foreign news bureaus. Previously, CPB had awarded $500,000 to NPR for international coverage in 2012 and $700,000 in 2013. This year, NPR asked for increased funding in light of the rise of the Islamic State group in the Middle East and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
• In other CPB news, the corporation reports that its American Graduate Day recognized nearly 2.8 million “American Graduate Champions” nationwide during its daylong telethon Sept. 27. National broadcast carriage was 84 percent of U.S. households, up from 66 percent in 2012 and 73 percent in 2013. Celeb appearances included singer Tony Bennett, newsman Bryant Gumbel and Girls actress Allison Williams.
• PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler criticized the PBS NewsHour and co-anchor Judy Woodruff Tuesday for their handling of an interview with Frederick Kagan, a defense analyst with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. Getler said the Sept. 29 interview failed to put the institute’s leanings in context during the discussion about events in Iraq. The NewsHour should also have presented a countering opinion, Getler said, or at least should have informed the audience that, as in this case, an opposing viewpoint had been planned but last-minute technical issues prevented the expert from going on the air.
Woodruff also prompted feedback by closing the interview with “We hear you,” which some viewers saw as an endorsement. Woodruff said she sometimes uses that phrase as an alternative to “thank you” when a guest expresses strong views. Getler said he didn’t believe that Woodruff was endorsing Kagan’s viewpoint but argued that she should stop using the phrase.
• Another NewsHour anchor faced some questioning last week. Hari Sreenivasan appeared with Nina Davuluri, the first Indian-American Miss America, as co-emcee of the Sept. 28 Madison Square Garden event featuring Prime Minister Narenda Modi of India. That prompted pubmedia journalist Jessica Naudziunas to ask via Twitter why Sreenivasan hosted a “political event,” a characterization the NewsHour host challenged.
@JessNaudziunas because it wasn't. I Introduced a bipartisan delegation of elected us officials by a visiting head of state
— hari sreenivasan (@hari) September 29, 2014
The full exchange is here. A NewsHour spokesperson confirmed to Current that Sreenivasan received approval from NewsHour editorial management to host the event.