Attempts to mediate the months-long dispute between Southern Oregon University and the Medford-based Jefferson Public Radio network were put on hold last week after Gov. John Kitzhaber requested that the parties renew negotiations after a 90-day cooling-off period. Members of the board of the JPR Foundation, a sister organization to JPR, voted June 22 to approve the hiatus and the renewed attempt at mediation. The university also agreed to back down from threats of lawsuits against individual members of the board. An adviser to the governor told the Medford Mail Tribune that the governor made that request to the chancellor of the Oregon University System. “That allows mediation to be resumed without a gun to the head of the foundation,” says Ron Kramer, JPR executive director.
American Public Media’s president, Jon McTaggart, won re-election to the NPR Board this summer but won’t be taking the seat after all. McTaggart resigned from the board at NPR’s request after an outside legal analysis determined that his promotion to president of APM and Minnesota Public Radio presented a potential conflict of interest with his service on the NPR Board. Since his first election to the board three years ago, McTaggart had been promoted from chief operating officer to chief exec of American Public Media Group, the parent company of APM/MPR. That put him uniquely and simultaneously on the boards of the two largest producers and distributors of public radio programming. Marita Rivero, v.p. and g.m. of WGBH’s television and radio stations, will fill the NPR Board vacancy instead.
On the Media, the NPR-distributed weekly press review, released a correction last week apologizing for what it called a “lapse in journalistic judgment” in preparing its November 2008 report about the public radio show The Infinite Mind.
Bill Lichtenstein, executive producer of pubradio’s The Infinite Mind, got a phone call Nov. 20 from a New York Times reporter with troubling information: the program’s host, psychiatrist Fred Goodwin, had been paid more than $1 million by drug giant GlaxoSmithKline since 2000. “My first question was, where did you get that information?’’ Lichtenstein said in an interview with Current. When the reporter said that Goodwin had told him, Lichtenstein was stunned. “When he began to read me the dollar amounts of fees, year by year, I went from stunned to shocked.”
The $1 million-plus figure had been uncovered by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican in the Senate Finance Committee, which has been investigating the lack of financial transparency in medicine.
KQED has dropped plans for a public TV documentary about pioneering Napa Valley winemaker Robert Mondavi after widespread newspaper reports that an organization funded largely by Mondavi had supplied the first and only seed money.