Jones steps down from helm of National Black Programming Consortium

Jacquie Jones, executive director of the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) since 2005, has resigned, effective immediately, but will continue to produce for public media. Stepping in as interim is Leslie Fields-Cruz, programming director, who has supervised distribution of programs to PBS since 2001. NBPC, a 35-year-old nonprofit that is affiliated with the CPB-backed National Minority Consortia, develops, produces and funds public media content focusing on the African American experience, such as the Peabody-winning documentary, 180 Days: A Year Inside An American High School. The 2013 film, which Jones directed and produced, portrayed day-to-day challenges of students and educators at an alternative high school in in Washington, D.C.

Jones will return to film production with the follow-up, 180 Days: Hartsville, a coproduction of South Carolina ETV and NBPC. Her previous television production credits include 1998’s Africans in America— another Peabody winner — and Matters of Race in 2003 for PBS; From Behind Closed Doors: Sex in the 20th Century for Showtime; and The World Before Us for History Channel.

Web series explores what Black Folk Don’t do

Doing yoga, going green and enjoying winter sports sound like innocuous topics for a public media web series — that is, until they’re preceded by “Black folk don’t…”

Now midway through its third season, the web series Black Folk Don’t aims to spark frank discussions of racial identity in modern-day America. Actors, scholars and ordinary black folk ponder stereotypes about African-Americans and how historical or cultural contexts might have led to such generalizations. “It was just an idea that popped into my head, being someone who technically does things that black folk ‘don’t do,’” series creator and director Angela Tucker said. Tucker and Black Public Media launched the show in August 2011 after Tucker, a documentary filmmaker whose credits include a 2011 documentary about asexuality, responded to an open call for pitches for web series. The show combines vetted interviews and spontaneous chats with people on the street.

Upcoming American Graduate specials tackle lax schools, juvenile justice system

A pair of documentaries to be released for public TV broadcasts next month focus on two of the most difficult aspects of the nation’s dropout crisis — under-performing schools and at-risk youth. 180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School will be presented in conjunction with Tavis Smiley Reports: Education Under Arrest as part of CPB’s American Graduate initiative. Both premiere in late March, and were previewed during a Jan. 30 webinar from the National Center for Media Engagement. For 180 Days, “our goal was to share the perspective of students, how they view the things they have to go through,” Alexis Phyllis Aggrey, production manager of National Black Programming Consortia, told webinar participants.

What’s the job for the Public Media Corps?

Modeled on programs like Americorps and Teach for America, the Public Media Corps will hire local residents as “fellows” for yearlong residencies at public broadcasting institutions. Their job there will be to identify local issues and use multiple media platforms to spark vigorous community engagement on the issues.