With return to KCET, SoCal Connected adds local color amid hard news

Los Angeles public TV station KCET is bringing back weekly series SoCal Connected after a yearlong hiatus, this time as a mix of hard news and features. The award-winning show will start its sixth season May 14. In previous seasons, SoCal earned a reputation for hard-nosed journalism, along with 17 local Emmys, by covering corruption at the Los Angeles Housing Authority, sweetheart deals involving electronic billboards and the dire consequences of climate change. But after the station dropped its PBS affiliation, it went into an economic tailspin that resulted in the layoffs of 22 employees, including Bret Marcus, SoCal’s executive producer. The show then went on hiatus.

After 18 years leading KCET, Al Jerome announces retirement

Al Jerome, the broadcasting executive who led Los Angeles public television station KCET out of PBS membership and into a partnership with satellite network Link TV, is retiring within the next six months, KCETLink announced today. Jerome has served as president of KCET for 18 years and is only the third person to lead the organization in its 50-year history. He will stay on through September and assist in the search for his successor, the statement said. He joined KCET in February 1996 after a 30-year career in commercial broadcasting at NBC, CBC and ABC. During Jerome’s tenure the station won 69 Emmys, seven George Foster Peabody awards, five duPont-Columbia awards and the Edward R. Murrow Award.

Friday roundup: This American Doodle, troubles at KCETLink

• Nothing spells love quite like This American Life. For a Valentine’s Day Doodle, Google has enlisted the Public Radio International program to present five love-themed stories from the series, complete with animations. Host Ira Glass provides an introduction. Time has a behind-the-scenes video of how the Doodle came together. • Veteran pubcasting exec Chet Tomczyk, currently managing Illinois stations WTVP-TV in Peoria and dual licensee WILL in Urbana in a unique agreement, announced yesterday that he is retiring, although he hasn’t set a date. Tomczyk has worked in the system for nearly 50 years, beginning in 1965 as associate producer of The Week in Michigan, a weekly travel and outdoor show produced at WKAR-FM in East Lansing, Mich.

Six TV and radio pubcasters receive Golden Mike Awards

Two Los Angeles–area public TV stations won Golden Mikes. KCET won three awards in Division A (for stations with 50 or more full-time news staff members): topping the category of news/public affairs program and investigative reporting with SoCal Connected. It also won for entertainment reporting. PBS Southern Cal (KOCE-TV) won for best documentary in Division B (comprised of TV stations with 49 or fewer full-time news staff) for Be Brave: Samantha’s Story and for best news public affairs program. In the radio contest, KPCC/Southern California Public Radio won 10 Golden Mikes in Division A (stations with six or more full-time news staff members): individual writing, sports reporting, live coverage of a news story, news public affairs program, news reporting, serious feature reporting, light feature reporting, news special, entertainment reporting and use of sound.

NPR, Frontline cited for 2013 duPont-Columbia Awards

Public media outlets were cited for six 2013 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards, announced today by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. NPR received three awards, with one given to reporters Deborah Amos and Kelly McEvers for their coverage of Syria. “NPR’s series of daily news reports about the conflict in Syria was wide ranging, balanced and in depth,” the announcement said. “Veteran foreign correspondent Deb Amos provided critical context and explanation in her reporting that helped listeners understand the complex sectarian and regional factors at play. Her reporting from inside Syria at the scene of a massacre and the capitol Damascus documented spikes in violence.”

“Correspondent Kelly McEvers brought a focus on individual stories that made the conflict real in human terms,” the citation said.

Output: Prop 8 goes down in starry radio docudrama, online cultural essays graduate to videos at KCET.org, and more

On Sunday, June 10, L.A. Theatre Works debuts a radio docudrama about the federal court case that overturned the referendum that banned  same-sex marriage in California. Director Rob Reiner assembled an all-star cast to perform 8, which was written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. Brad Pitt plays Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court for Northern California; Martin Sheen and George Clooney portray the lawyers who joined forces to argue for gay rights — Ted Olson and David Boies, respectively. Olson and Boies had been combatants in arguing Bush v. Gore before the U.S. Supreme Court, so their alliance in the Perry case added a twist to the case and the dramatization. Kevin Bacon plays the lead attorney for Prop 8’s proponents.

Chapin moves from CNN to NPR, C-SPAN founder steps down, and more…

NPR tapped CNN veteran Edith Chapin to run its foreign desk
News chief Margaret Low Smith announced Chapin’s appointment last week along with another change on its foreign desk: Didi Schanche, a former Associated Press correspondent and editor who joined NPR in 2001, is to become deputy senior foreign editor. When Chapin officially signs on May 14, she will oversee NPR foreign correspondents based in 17 bureaus worldwide as well as a team of editors and reporters in Washington, D.C. She succeeds longtime foreign desk editor Loren Jenkins, who departed last November. Chapin has spent her entire career at CNN, beginning in 1987. Based in London in the early 1990s, she covered events in Bosnia, Rwanda, Zaire and Ireland. For seven years she directed editorial coverage from CNN’s New York bureau, including its reporting on 9/11 and its aftermath.