OPB asks WNET for “assurance” that funder didn’t influence Pension Peril

Oregon Public Broadcasting has asked New York’s WNET to demonstrate that no “improper influence” was exerted by the primary funder of its special news series covering public pensions. OPB said in a Feb. 13 statement that it is “seeking assurance from WNET” that its Pension Peril series was not subject to improper editorial influence. In a PandoDaily article published earlier this week, reporter and columnist David Sirota called attention to a major funder of the series, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. According to Sirota, co-founder John Arnold has supported political efforts to reduce retirement benefits for public employees. Sirota argued that Arnold’s support for the WNET production calls its impartiality into question.

OPB meets funding goal for new Southwest Washington bureau

12/16/13: This item has been updated. Oregon Public Broadcasting is preparing to open a permanent bureau in Southwest Washington state by early 2014, and has surpassed $400,000 in funding to make it happen. The bureau will allow OPB to deepen its reporting on Washington’s Clark County, which is located just across the Columbia River from OPB headquarters in Portland, as well as cross-border issues and the Washington State legislature in Olympia. It will contain one staff member, a full-time multimedia reporter, to start. Stories produced by the bureau will be shared across public radio stations and for-profit media organizations in the Pacific Northwest, and with national outlets such as NPR and the PBS NewsHour.