The nonprofit InsideClimate News won this year’s National Reporting Pulitzer Prize for its investigative series The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of. Reporters Elizabeth McGowan, Lisa Song and David Hasemyer took on a seven-month investigation about a 2010 oil spill in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. The winning package consisted of a three-part narrative and follow-up articles delving deeper into the circumstances of the oil spill. “It was an important story, and we told it well through the eyes of the people who experienced it and who are investigating it,” said David Sassoon, founder and publisher of ICN. Sassoon started ICN six years ago as a blog with just two people.
The first television broadcast in China was transmitted in 1958. The first time that Ling Ling Sun watched a television program was 20 years later, when she was 18. Now she is engineering manager for television broadcast services at WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, and was recently appointed vice chair of the PBS Engineering Technology Advisory Committee.
Audiences of WGBH’s High School Quiz Show can now play against Massachusetts whiz kids through an online game that launched early this month. The Boston station’s digital team developed a browser-based game allowing viewers to play along during broadcasts of High School Quiz Show. The game is based on a technology that has become popular among quiz shows in England. The High School Quiz Show live game is running in its beta version, and will be available through the season’s championship episode, to be broadcast May 19. WGBH developers are testing the game on a total of eight shows this season, according to Hillary Wells, e.p. of children’s programming.
The National Endowment of the Arts announced $4.68 million in funding to 76 media-arts projects April 23, including new grantees such as the Online Video Engagement Experience (OVEE) developed with CPB funding, a new initiative from the Association of Independents in Radio called Spectrum America and Sonic Trace, a multimedia production at KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif., that was created through AIR’s recently concluded Localore project. For a second year, the NEA will continue to support projects that use digital technologies to go beyond traditional broadcasting platforms. In its announcement, the endowment highlighted a $100,000 grant to OVEE, a digital platform that allows web users to interact while watching PBS and local station content. The Independent Television Service developed the technology with support from CPB. AIR also received $100,000 for Spectrum America, a project that will pair media artists with public stations as they experiment with “new approaches to storytelling.”
Sonic Trace, a co-production at KCRW initiated through AIR’s 2012–2013 Localore initiative, received a direct NEA grant of $75,000 to continue exploring the experience of Latino immigrants. NEA also backed digital media projects at NPR, providing $100,000 for music programming and multimedia content.
The Association of Independents in Radio will launch a metasite April 22 that combines its 10 Localore multimedia projects on a single interactive platform, showcasing the results of a yearlong production to develop broadcast and web content in cities across the United States. The website uses a map of the country to direct users to content that public media audiences first discovered on local stations. Designer Drew Schorno chose the map “as a way of representing the U.S. experience” of Localore, he said. A half-hour documentary, This Is Localore, will accompany the launch of the metasite, which will be unveiled during an April 22 event at the Brattle Theater in Boston. Producers from each of the Localore projects will join Sue Schardt, AIR executive director, and Noland Walker, Localore executive editor, in a Q&A session moderated by PBS NewsHour’s Hari Sreenivasan.
ImageMakers, the indie film showcase curated by San Francisco’s KQED TV, will debut the Oscar-winning film Curfew, May 12. Every year, KQED Program Director Scott Dwyer makes the film festival rounds and screens over 2,000 productions to curate a new season of ImageMakers, a series featuring short independent films from around the world. He rushed to buy broadcast rights to Shawn Christensen’s Curfew in January 2012, as soon as he watched it and well before the drama started gaining recognition. “In order to compete with places like Starz, Sundance Channel and HBO, I have to buy them really fast, before they start to win awards,” said Dwyer, whose film festival circuit includes the Aspen Shortsfest and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Dwyer, series creator and producer, conceived of ImageMakers in the late 1990s, when he realized that Masterpiece Theater was the only regular drama on PBS.
A PBS NewsHour report on population growth and food scarcity in the Philippines prompted an increase in donations to the PATH Foundation Philippines Inc., an organization with a pilot program promoting family planning in rural areas of the Southeast Asian country. The report explored the foundation’s community-based approach of making contraceptives accessible to villagers who want to limit the size of their families. The story, which aired in January 2012, was produced as part of the public media collaborative project Food for 9 Billion, and has also been used by educators to set up discussions of the links between population and the environment. During a Jan. 28 panel discussion on environmental reporting hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., Sam Eaton of Homelands Productions described the impact of his reporting for Food for 9 Billion.
The educational system in the newly independent South Sudan is undergoing many changes, and WXXI’s Hélène Biandudi recently reported on them firsthand for broadcast and digital audiences of the Rochester, N.Y., station.