‘PBS NewsHour,’ NPR unite for election coverage

PBS NewsHour

Two of America’s most prominent public media organizations announced Tuesday that they will join forces to cover the 2016 political conventions.

NPR and “PBS NewsHour,” the flagship nightly news broadcast of PBS, will work together to cover the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention.

The two organizations will pool their reportorial muscle to form one team that will cover the conventions for radio, television and digital audiences. “PBS NewsHour” will air broadcasts focused on the conventions anchored by Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill. The shows will be informed by political journalists from both organizations.

From the release:

NPR reporters will be on the convention floors talking with delegates and elected officials. NPR National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson, Senior Editor Ron Elving and Political Editor Domenico Montanaro will be featured analysts as well as the NewsHour’s Political Director Lisa Desjardins and others.

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PBS ombud: Judy Woodruff’s Clinton Foundation donation a ‘mistake’


Michael Getler, the ombudsman for PBS, called on Thursday a decision by “PBS NewsHour” managing editor Judy Woodruff to donate to the Clinton Foundation “a mistake”:

Woodruff has had a distinguished, 45-year journalistic career, holding down important positions with CBS, NBC, CNN and PBS. She has always struck me as straight and professional in her approach to the news and, having watched her now for several years, I couldn’t tell you how she’d vote. But there are lots of ways to contribute to Haitian earthquake relief. So the choice of the Clinton Foundation, even in a small amount and with the best of intentions, was a mistake in my book.

As Getler explains, Woodruff recently discussed on air a donation of $250 to the Haiti Relief Fund, a charitable initiative founded by the Clinton Foundation in 2010 when the country was reeling from a massive earthquake. Read more

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PBS pulls branding on ‘Mediashift’

Future-of-news program “PBS Mediashift” will lose its affiliation with PBS beginning in July, Executive Editor Mark Glaser announced Friday.

Although the podcast and its associated programs will no longer be hosted at PBS.org or contain the public broadcaster’s branding in their titles, Glaser said “Mediashift” will continue in its current form as an independent entity. Idea Lab, an initiative focused on media innovation, and EducationShift, which focuses on developments in journalism education, will also continue.

PBS’ decision to disassociate itself from the program comes more than a year after its decision to pull funding from the program, Glaser said. Today’s news means PBS will no longer offer the program space on its servers or license to use its branding.

Glaser says he was notified of the decision a few days ago and has begun reviewing plans for migrating the site to its own domain. Read more


NPR standards editor voices disapproval of Affleck episode on PBS


An episode of PBS’ “Finding Your Roots” that glossed over the slave-owning heritage of movie star Ben Affleck is not in keeping with standards at NPR, Standards and Practices Editor Mark Memmott wrote Wednesday.

Let’s keep this simple: The people we interview, the sources we use and the supporters who give us money do not shape or dictate what we report.

NPR neither produces nor distributes “Finding Your Roots,” although the two organizations are the among the most prominent public media organizations in the United States and are both represented by the same corporate sponsorship organization, National Public Media. WGBH, where much of PBS’ content is produced, is an NPR member station.

The controversy surrounding Affleck’s appearance on “Finding Your Roots” began after a cache of documents stolen from Sony Pictures Entertainment and published on Wikileaks revealed that the actor requested that the show omit the fact that one of his relatives owned slaves, according to the Los Angeles Times. Read more


The New York Times, ‘PBS Newshour’ strike video-sharing agreement

The New York Times and “PBS NewsHour” have entered into an agreement to share video journalism, including news reports and longer documentaries, on a regular basis, the outlets announced Thursday.

The deal specifies that both news organizations will begin to offer each other footage for use on their websites and social channels.

This announcement formalizes an arrangement that manifested recently when “PBS NewsHour” aired a New York Times video about the film giant Kodak attempting to reinvent itself, according to the announcement. The program also broadcast two other videos from The New York Times, including an in-depth look at the life of Times Tehran Bureau Chief Thomas Erdbrink.

The agreement does not include a provision for sharing revenue, according to a spokesperson for The New York Times. Read more

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Career Beat: Arianna Huffington to get new chief of staff

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Elise Hu will be NPR’s Asia correspondent in Seoul. She covers tech and culture at NPR. (Poynter)
  • Mitra Kalita is now executive editor-at-large for Quartz. Previously, she was ideas editor there. Paul Smalera will be Quartz’ new ideas editor. He is editor of The New York Times opinion app. (Poynter)
  • Donald Baer is now chairman of PBS’ board of directors. He is CEO of Burson-Marsteller. (PBS)
  • Jessica Coen is now a contributing editor at Marie Claire. She is an editor-at-large with Jezebel. (Fishbowl NY)
  • Stephen Lacy is now chairman of the Association of Magazine Media. He is CEO of the Meredith Corporation. (Email)
  • Dan Katz will be chief of staff to Arianna Huffington.
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PBS shouldn’t ‘get in the way of reporters or photographers covering news,’ ombudsman says

PBS | Current

A PBS staffer was “clearly wrong” to try to stop a reporter from photographing hotel security detain a protester at PBS’ annual meeting last week, PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler writes. PBS distributes news programs, and “many people understandably view it as a news and public affairs network, and so PBS needs to continue doing that and not get in the way of reporters or photographers covering news,” he writes.

Dru Sefton, who reported on PBS’ interference for Current, tells Getler the staffer (whose identity Getler says he doesn’t know) “was frantically trying to contact Anne Bentley [PBS vice-president for communications] on her phone.” Sefton continues:

She was basically stating loudly over and over, STOP TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE PHOTOS.

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FILE - In this March 12, 2004 file photo, former New York Times reporter, Jayson Blair speaks to an audience in New York's Harlem neighborhood. After the plagiary scandal, Blair has been working as a life coach in northern Va. since 2007. The ex-New York Times reporter best known for fabricating and plagiarizing says his experience hitting the lows helps him relate to people, and the respected psychologist who hired him into his practice agrees: "Jayson is now using his talents for good." (AP Photo/Jennifer Szymaszek, File)

Washington Post was ambivalent about Jayson Blair story at first

The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia writes that when he discovered New York Times reporter Jayson Blair had plagiarized from a San Antonio Express-News article, “I called the national desk at The Post and suggested we write about what appeared to be an egregious case of plagiarism.” He “didn’t relish the idea of doing a gotcha piece about another journalist. For years, I felt so conflicted about the events that took place on that reporting trip that I seldom mentioned my small, early role in what became a major scandal.”

Roig-Franzia says the Post’s first reaction was “Meh.” After he met with Macarena Hernandez, who wrote the Express-News story, he decided to try again:

I made another call, and this time my editor, Daniel LeDuc — who also felt strongly that The Post should write about the plagiarism — took printouts of the two stories directly to Leonard Downie Jr., the paper’s executive editor.

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Journalism education site hopes to become hub for ‘solutions journalism’


PBS’ MediaShift launched a site focused on journalism education Wednesday. EducationShift hopes to become “the central hub for journalism educators, students and professionals to find resources, tools and support for transforming their work,” University of Wisconsin professor Katy Culver writes in an introductory post. Culver, who has taught and written for Poynter, is EducationShift’s curator.

EducationShift went live with a collection of articles that suggest its focus will indeed be on “solutions journalism,” as Culver puts it: Sue Robinson on “Creating a Social Media Class Out of Nothing“; Erica Salkin on how student journalists can avoid legal scuffles; Irving Washington on how to win a challenge grant for journalism education. The effort is funded by Knight and its “charter sponsor” is Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University. Read more


Gwen Ifill wrote Dec. 12 for PBS about the media’s coverage of Nelson Mandela’s funeral and a series of non-stories that, together, added up to missing the big picture.

The other non-story that overwhelmed coverage of a historic day was fun but excessive. I admit I shared the picture of the president posing for a “selfie” with the Prime Ministers of Great Britain and Denmark on Twitter. It was cute. It was funny, especially because Michelle Obama seemed so unamused.
But never in a million years did I think it would consume (and obscure) so much of the Mandela coverage. Is it because we can’t resist a caption contest?”

Gwen Ifill

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