Current unveils the Public Media Honor Roll

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To mark the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act, Current invites you to honor the individuals who brought you into public media, saw something special in you and encouraged your work. Those who believed in your talent, supported your dreams, helped create a space for you to thrive or pushed you to achieve more. Think about the people who modeled for you what it means to provide excellent public service media.

You can honor these people by adding their names (and yours) to Current’s Public Media Honor Roll, a year-end fundraising campaign to recognize and celebrate those who made a difference in your career and in public media. When you make a $50 tax-deductible donation to Current for each person you wish to thank, we will put your name with theirs on an honor roll for all in public media to see online. And, if your honorees are still living, we will send them a note to let them know you named them.

It’s important that you do this now! Every donation you make before Dec. 31 will be doubled by NewsMatch, an initiative of the Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the MacArthur Foundation to spark and strengthen support for nonprofit news organizations. For example, if you donate $250 to name five people, your gift becomes $500 to Current. As someone who works in public media, you of all people know the magnetic power of a match to set your fundraising on fire. Can you feel the pull and the heat? NewsMatch will double donations of up to $1,000 with a total cap of $28,000.

That’s a very ambitious goal for us. Individual donations are relatively new for Current. We only started asking for your support in 2015 because we need to explore every possible revenue stream in order to sustain our service to you. We thought that since so many professionals in public media had been reading Current at no cost — either online for free or in a print edition bought for them by their employers — that people would step up. Some of you did, but not enough to call it a business model. As a trade publication that supports your workplaces and work lives, we understand that we hold a different value proposition from the case you make to viewers and listeners to support your station.

But this time is different. It’s urgent. NewsMatch is an amazing opportunity for Current to succeed during a challenging time of digital transition and a terrific opportunity for you to express your gratitude to others through the Public Media Honor Roll.

People Who Inspire

I’m personally taking advantage of this harmonic convergence of good. I’m donating $1,000 of my own money to Current because I believe in our essential role in the public media ecosystem and because I have so very many people to thank for inspiring me throughout my career.  Here’s who I’m naming to the Public Media Honor Roll and why:

  • Amy Salit, currently with Fresh Air at WHYY, who in 1985 encouraged WXPN’s manager to make me acting news and public affairs director right out of college. That summer gig lasted six years and launched my career.
  • Mark Fuerst, who later became the manager of WXPN and enabled me to get training to succeed and bring national acclaim to our public affairs productions.
  • Vinnie Curren, another WXPN alum and former CPB executive, who has always been supportive of me and my work.
  • Ginny Berson, a fellow Pacifica refugee and former VP of NFCB, a role model in feminist radio, who walked the talk of empowering community radio stations in Indian Country and Latino communities.
  • Dave Isay, my former editor and the founder of StoryCorps, perhaps public media’s most enduring, engaging and inclusive service to this country.
  • Elisabeth Perez-Luna, host and producer of Crossroads, an early multicultural radio program, who taught me the importance of telling unheard stories.
  • Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, whose passion for journalism as a force for justice is unparalleled.
  • Kathryn “Kitty” Kolbert, who hired me to help launch Justice Talking, supported my maternity leave, showed me how to bring an entrepreneurial spirit to work.
  • Margot Adler, the late NPR correspondent and host of Justice Talking, whose curiosity and authenticity represented the essence of the public media spirit.
  • Sheryl Flowers, late producer for Tavis Smiley and a colleague at Pacifica and Justice Talking, who brought patience, love and the sheer force of human will to her career and her fight against breast cancer.
  • Kara McGuirk-Allison, former producer for NPR’s Hidden Brain and Justice Talking, who is producing Current’s podcast Made Possible By… as a favor to an old friend and a gift to all of us.
  • Sue Schardt, who has taken the Association of Independents in Radio to the highest mountain and to the streets in order to ensure that public media lives out its mission to serve all Americans.
  • Maxie Jackson, GM of WCPN ideastream, who hired me to launch a short-lived but joyful daily local news-talk program at WETA in Washington, who has taught me much about leadership, professionalism and resilience.
  • Maria Hinojosa, host and EP of Latino USA and America by the Numbers, a tough and compassionate journalist who makes public media more public and more American.
  • Doug Mitchell, padrino of Next Generation Radio, who has nurtured hundreds of young journalists and created a pipeline of diverse talent into the public media system.
  • Steve Behrens, retired editor of Current, who poured his soul into keeping this publication alive and deserves a standing ovation.
  • Adam Ragusea, the intrepid and inquisitive host of The Pub. I will miss Adam’s clever wit and audio wizardry which made my first years at Current so much fun.
  • David Haas of the Wyncote Foundation who has been generous and strategic in supporting initiatives that benefit and better all of public media, including Current.
  • J.J. Yore, who is leading a transformation at WAMU in Washington that makes this local public radio listener proud and loyal.
  • And, finally, Fred Rogers, who kept me company as a child and showed what it means to be gentle, kind and caring towards children.

My tax-deductible donation to honor these individuals will become $2,000 for Current thanks to the NewsMatch.

Who inspired you? Who inspires you?

Who do you think belongs on the Public Media Honor Roll? How many people do you need to thank? Whom will you name and why?

This year, the seasons of gratitude and giving coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act and this unique opportunity to double your donation to Current by Dec. 31. It’s a harmonic convergence. The stars are aligned. This is a moment when you can make a difference to Current by honoring the people who really made a difference to you and to public media. You can make a difference today. Donate now, and thank you for doing your part.

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