Year in Review
September 22, 2009
Ford Foundation awards grant for 2010 launch of new PBS Digital Learning Library
The PBS Foundation received a $1 million grant from the Ford Foundation to help build the PBS Digital Learning Library (DLL), an online repository of educational content created by public broadcasting that will provide teachers and students nationwide with a comprehensive curricular supplement for every subject taught from pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Delivered to teachers exclusively through local public television stations, the DLL will offer video, audio, images, games, documents, and interactive learning activities designed specifically for classroom use. CPB is providing content development grants to help stations develop content for the DLL. Meanwhile, PBS is working with the Council of Chief State School Officers to ensure the content meets each state’s educational requirements. While a number of local stations already offer digital education services featuring public media content, such as WGBH Boston’s Teachers Domain and Maryland Public Television’s Thinkport, many more will be integrating content from the DLL and launching its supported services over the course of the 2009–2010 school year.
October 2, 2009
CPB and Knight Foundation fund NPR’s online local journalism venture
With funding from CPB and the Knight Foundation, NPR launched a journalism project to develop in-depth local coverage on specialized subjects critical to that community and the nation. The funding—$2 million from CPB and $1 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation—provides a pilot group of 12 NPR stations with the resources to hire new journalist bloggers who will focus exclusively on reporting news about a topic especially relevant to its community as well as to curate and distribute the resulting multimedia content online. Stations will then feed their work into NPR’s content management system, a common content-sharing infrastructure that supports stations’ online publishing needs. The PBS NewsHour will also feature reporting from the participating NPR stations on its Web site. In addition, the PBS NewsHour will share its embeddable video player with the pilot participants, allowing them to access and present video content from the PBS NewsHour, Frontline, Now, Washington Week with Gwen Ifill, Bill Moyers Journal, Tavis Smiley, and a dozen local PBS stations.
October 7, 2009
CPB funds In Performance at the White House “Fiesta Latina”
CPB announced major funding for an October 13 concert hosted by President and Michelle Obama on the South Lawn of the White House in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. The public television performance special, In Performance at the White House “Fiesta Latina,” which included Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, José Feliciano, Thalía, Jimmy Smits, and George Lopez, was aired later in October on public television stations and on V-me, the national Spanish language network presented by public television stations, later in the year. CPB, PBS, corporate sponsors and public television viewers provide major funding for the In Performance at the White House series, produced by WETA, Arlington, Virginia, since 1978.
October 15, 2009
Public media increases preschoolers’ literacy skills
A study conducted on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education shows a measurable improvement in preschool children’s literacy skills when they participate in a media-rich literary curriculum integrating public media video content and educational games. The children who had public media content in their classes developed significantly more literacy skills—the ability to name letters, know the sounds associated with those letters and understand the basic concepts about stories and printed words—than children who did not have public media content in the classroom. The study evaluated educational video content and associated interactive games from Super Why!, Between the Lions, and Sesame Street, which are produced as part of the Education Department’s Ready To Learn initiative to increase literacy skills for children aged 2–8 living in high-poverty communities by utilizing multiplatform public media content. The study is significant because digital content from public television was integrated into a preschool curriculum, while past studies focused on public television viewing at home with or without parents or caregivers present. Also, previous research studied only one television program and did not incorporate interactive educational media.
October 17–18, 2009
NPR and PBS host PubCamp in Washington
PublicMediaCamp (PubCamp) is an initiative to strengthen the relationship between public broadcasters and their communities through collaborative projects. NPR, PBS, and the American University Center for Social Media in conjunction with iStrategyLabs hosted a kickoff event in Washington. CPB funding allowed staff and community representatives from 10 stations that plan to host their own PubCamps within the next year to attend the event. CPB also funded toolkits for stations that couldn’t attend. The kits included a step-by-step guide on how to host a PubCamp.
November 16, 2009
Public media fights childhood obesity
Launched as a Web site by PBS Kids Go! with CPB funding, the animated adventures of Professor Fizzy and friends in Fizzy’s Lunch Lab guide early elementary school children to adopt healthy habits through positive role models, storytelling, animated and live-action shorts, interactive recipes, interesting food facts, and engaging games. Fizzy’s Lunch Lab is the creation of CloudKid, a company that uses emerging technologies to create new forms of children’s media. For parents and educators, the site also features extensive resources and activities on PBS Parents and PBS Teachers designed to help children make healthy choices. They can also connect via a Twitter feed linking to additional health tips, recipes, and articles.
December 16, 2009
CPB receives funding for digital conversion, radio interconnection, and fiscal stabilization
When President Barack Obama signed into law a $446.8 billion omnibus appropriations bill, it gave CPB $36 million for digital conversion and $25 million for the public radio interconnection system during Fiscal Year 2010. The omnibus bill also provided $25 million in “fiscal stabilization” grants to public television and radio stations to maintain local programming and services and to preserve jobs threatened by the current economic decline.
January 14, 2010
CPB distributes $25 million in stabilization aid to stations
After studies confirmed that a weak economy caused a sharp decline in financial support to public media stations from individuals, local and state governments, businesses, foundations, and other support, CPB distributed $25 million in fiscal stabilization grants to public radio and television licensees across the country. In addition to regular CPB funding, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 provided the grant funding “to maintain local programming and services and preserve jobs threatened by declines in non-Federal revenues due to the downturn in the economy.” Grants were calculated based on a multiplier of a station’s three-year average community service grant. Reps. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) were credited for their support of public broadcasting’s fiscal stabilization request.
January 14, 2010
Public media wins 4 Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Awards
Public media wins 8 White House News Photographers Association The Eyes of History Awards
February 9, 2010
White House hosts PBS’s In Performance at the White House “A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement”
President and Michelle Obama hosted In Performance at the White House “A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement,” a public television performance special celebrating Black History month. Aired as a 60-minute program on PBS stations nationwide, the concert in the East Room of the White House featured songs from the civil rights movement as well as readings from famous civil rights speeches and writings. Performing artists included Yolanda Adams, Joan Baez, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Jennifer Hudson, John Mellencamp, and Smokey Robinson. Actor Morgan Freeman was a guest speaker. CPB, PBS, corporate sponsors, and public television viewers provide major funding for the In Performance at the White House series, produced by WETA, Arlington, Virginia, since 1978.
February 22, 2010
CPB announces funding for the National Center for Media Engagement
CPB announced a three-year investment in the National Center for Media Engagement (NCME), formerly the National Center for Outreach, which has refocused its mission on community engagement and is serving as the centralized entity for professional development for the public media system. NCME provides public media organizations nationwide with resources that engage and educate its citizens, build sustainable community relationships, and stimulate civic participation. It shares best practices and local stories of impact, creates and delivers community engagement initiatives on every platform, and sponsors opportunities for public media entities, national foundations, and like-minded institutions to work together.
March 1, 2010
CPB funds second year of public media fundraising project
The central, irreplaceable element of success in developing major giving is leadership. Leadership for Philanthropy, the major-giving plan for public radio, focuses intensively on developing the philanthropic leadership capacity of general managers. The program trains them and their board members to develop and strengthen ongoing relationships with philanthropists who can and will make gifts of $10,000 and more to public radio. After a successful first year in which 20 stations raised an additional $1.4 million after receiving training through the CPB-funded initiative, 37 radio stations began an intensive, yearlong project in 2010, Leadership for Philanthropy Phase 2: Engaging the Donor Community. Twelve of those stations from the first year are continuing their work, and an additional 25 are joining the project for the first time.
March 22, 2010
CPB launches PBCore 2.0 Development Project
The PBCore 2.0 Development Project will expand the existing PBCore metadata standard, which describes media, both digital and analog, and was designed for the Internet and for the kinds of software applications public media uses to manage, access, and share media. The new project will increase the ability of content producers and distributors using digital media to classify and describe public media content, audio and video, while also increasing the ability of audiences to find public media content on a variety of digital media and mobile platforms. Moreover, the PBCore 2.0 Development Project will enhance the PBCore standard to ensure that it will be able to satisfy the demands of multiplatform digital content and the ever-evolving Internet. An updated PBCore will benefit public broadcasters and all users of metadata standards based on PBCore. PBCore 2.0 will be managed by WGBH Boston, AudioVisual Preservation Solutions, and Digital Dawn.
March 22, 2010
CPB presents 2010 Education Innovation Awards
Narrowing the field from hundreds of applicants, CPB presented its My Source Education Innovation Award to 39 television stations across the country that use technologies in creative and innovative ways to deliver educational tools and resources that are making a real difference to teachers, parents, and children—on air, online, at home, and in the classroom. The work of these award-winning stations demonstrates the breadth of public media’s educational contributions nationwide and the depth of its impact on individual learners and their families. Each station received a $3,000 grant to further support their innovative work.
March 25, 2010
CPB launches local journalism initiative
CPB announced a new Local Journalism Centers (LJC) initiative to support in-depth reporting in public media markets across the country. The nearly $12 million initiative will allow regional public radio and television stations to report on issues of critical importance in these regions and to share this content across a public media platform for national and local broadcast and online. A regional consortium of stations, the largest of which spans five states, will hire new reporters and a common editor to create a team of journalists who will produce video, audio, blogs, slideshows, and more to become the “go-to” resource on that topic. LJC content will be offered to other public media outlets and the public through digital media and broadcast platforms. This innovative grassroots collaboration will leverage public broadcasting’s journalistic resources, giving America’s communities the breadth and depth of news and information they need to make informed decisions. The LJCs are expected to become self-supporting after two years. CPB President and CEO Patricia Harrison made the announcement at the Newseum in Washington.
Washington Week with Gwen Ifill wins Interactive Media Association Interactive Media Award
April 2, 2010
NPR launches app and Web site for the iPad
Following the success of its award-winning NPR News App for iPhone, which remains among the nation’s top three free news apps since its August 2009 launch, NPR launched a new app and a fully optimized Web site for the iPad. The new NPR app uses a magazine-style presentation to highlight public radio’s news, arts and life, and music content. The Web site features all of NPR.org’s content, including its signature photojournalism, but has been optimized for the touch screen and given a more prominent audio player. The NPR News App is available for free from the App Store on iPad or from iTunes. Typing NPR.org in the iPad’s Safari Web browser or through search engines or social media links can access the Web site.
April 5, 2010
NYU honors The Giant Pool of Money
The Giant Pool of Money was the only radio program New York University’s Carter Journalism Institute chose to honor in its Top Ten Works of Journalism of the Decade, 2000–2009. A 2008 documentary by correspondents Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson and a co-production of This American Life (Chicago Public Radio and Public Radio International) and NPR, “This collaborative hourlong radio documentary finally made the ‘subprime’ mortgage crisis clear and cogent,” explained NYU, “and the result was the most downloaded episode in the history of the show.” Hailed “a brilliant piece” by the Columbia Journalism Review, the documentary also earned Peabody, duPont-Columbia and George Polk awards. Its success led to the creation of NPR’s Planet Money, a multimedia reporting project covering the global economy on radio and through a blog, podcast, and social media.
April 11, 2010
The Diary of Anne Frank premieres on Holocaust Remembrance Day
In commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, PBS’s new adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank premiered on the Emmy Award-winning drama series Masterpiece Classic. This adaptation of the world’s most widely read work of nonfiction after the Bible was granted permission to use passages of the diaries previously excised by the family, and the production team painstakingly recreated the annex where the Frank family lived for two years. PBS complemented the two-hour broadcast with an ambitious outreach effort that included free online materials for middle- and high-school English, history, and media studies teachers as well as book and film clubs.
April 22, 2010
Public media wins 3 Overseas Press Club of America Awards
May 13, 2010
CPB and PBS invest $20 million in diversity programming
CPB and PBS announced their $20 million investment to attract younger, more racially and ethnically diverse viewers and content creators. With funding available over the next two years through a CPB-PBS Diversity and Innovation Fund, PBS’s National Program Service will expand its current audience by developing content for a diverse audience across a variety of platforms and will encourage the use of technology in the planning, production, and distribution of the content across four areas: television-centered, multiplatform content; digital initiatives; education initiatives; and gaming. Initially, the fund will finance a weekly, 10-episode series within the genres of history, science, travel, natural history, and exploration—a multiplatform project that employs new content distribution tools such as video on demand, Web presence, mobile applications, social media, and inclusion in the PBS Digital Learning Library and/or PBS Teachers.
May 17, 2010
Public media wins 12 George Foster Peabody Awards
May 18, 2010
CPB announces grant to expand Frontline
A new $6 million, two-year grant from CPB grant will allow Frontline, PBS’s award-winning investigative documentary series, to add new multistory magazine-format programs to each season. Frontline’s expanded schedule on PBS will also feature “fast turnaround” news reports and timely investigative stories. Concurrently, the expanded documentary series will build on and increase its partnerships with journalism schools and public media institutions to expand its ability to develop a digital-age generation of younger and more diverse reporters doing innovative work both online and for broadcast.
May 18, 2010
David Fanning receives CPB’s Ralph Lowell Award
CPB presented its Ralph Lowell Award for outstanding contribution to public television to Frontline Executive Producer David Fanning. Now in its 29th season, America’s longest-running investigative documentary series on television has won all of the major awards for broadcast journalism—and Fanning has been its executive producer since its first season in 1983. In 2004, Fanning received the Columbia Journalism Award, the highest honor awarded by the faculty of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, recognizing “singular journalistic performance in the public interest ... David Fanning and his signature program, Frontline, have turned a commitment to probing journalism and public service into an enduring national conversation, without which far too many important issues would remain veiled or hidden altogether.”
May 21-23, 2010
70,000 attend Wisconsin Public Television’s LZ Lambeau event
Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) conducted LZ Lambeau, a “welcome home” for Vietnam veterans in which 70,000 people traveled to Green Bay for three days of exhibits, reunions, memorials, music, and education conducted by 800 event volunteers. (LZ stands for landing zone, which for this event was Lambeau Field, home field of the Green Bay Packers.) LZ Lambeau was one component of Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories, a multiyear project giving voice to Vietnam veterans through a 3-hour documentary series, statewide outreach, a museum portrait exhibit, and formal curriculum. With a grant from CPB, WPT provided 100 stations (at no charge to them) nearly 29 hours of logged archival footage that WPT acquired for the production of Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories. In addition, the National Center for Community Engagement held a webinar in June and distributed a CPB-funded LZ toolkit to help other stations plan their own production and outreach.
June 14, 2010
Public media creates shared digital content platform
Public broadcasters and Web producers will be able to combine, create, share, and distribute their news and cultural content with a digital distribution network spearheaded by American Public Media, NPR, PBS, Public Radio International (PRI), and the Public Radio Exchange (PRX). NPR is administering a $1 million grant from CPB to create development plans and a working prototype of what the partners are calling the Public Media Platform (PMP). Fully developed, the PMP will allow incompatible systems to achieve unprecedented access and flow of content. With it, public media producers, and potentially others outside public media, can combine their content in a shared platform and make it available for a wide variety of public uses, from news sites to educational curricula. It will be available to the five public media partners as well as public radio and TV stations, independent producers, and nontraditional, mission-focused content creators and developers.
Public media wins 5 Webby Awards
June 17, 2010
Public media wins 4 Editor & Publisher EPpy Awards
July 8, 2010
Nina Totenberg receives CPB’s Edward R. Murrow Award
CPB named Nina Totenberg, NPR’s award-winning legal affairs correspondent, the recipient of its 2010 Edward R. Murrow Award. Totenberg has worked with NPR for 35 years. Her reports air regularly on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition. Previously, the National Press Foundation honored Totenberg as Broadcaster of the Year and recipient of its 1998 Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcasting.
August 23, 2010
PBS.org launches Web site for the arts
Americans can experience the arts and explore the creative process through special virtual exhibits, videos from PBS national and local programs, and interactive features presented on PBS Arts, PBS’s new Web site on PBS.org. PBS Arts (www.pbs.org/arts) is organized into exhibitions and searchable by artistic discipline. Initially, the Web site will feature at least one new exhibition each month with content spanning all genres of the performing and visual arts, including dance, theater, contemporary music, opera, painting, sculpture, film, and photography. PBS Arts’s debut kicks off PBS’s multiplatform initiative to reinvigorate public engagement with the arts through an exploration of performance, artistic expression, and the creative process—on-air, online, in the classroom, and in every community.
August 29, 2010
Public media wins 7 Primetime Emmy Awards
Public media wins 6 News and Documentary Emmy Awards
Public media wins 16 Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards
WNET.org wins Interactive Media Association Interactive Media Award
September 8, 2010
NPR launches Argo Network
With a $3 million grant from CPB and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, NPR announced the launch of its Argo Network, a collection of topic-focused news Web sites by 12 NPR member stations. While a different member station runs each Argo site, all of them cover news that resonates nationally. The stations chose their topic for in-depth, local coverage based on what was most relevant to their community. The 12 stations use common tools and platforms to create an online “niche” experience that invites an exchange of views, ideas, and solutions from across the community. The sites are connected to each other through NPR’s Application Programming Interface (API), which allows the integration and sharing of content among the ARGO stations and NPR.
The ARGO Network includes the following news sites:
- Boston/WBUR: CommonHealth (“Where reform meets reality”);
- Boston/WGBH-WCAI: Climatide (“Oceans, coasts, and climate change on Cape Cod”);
- Minnesota Public Radio: On Campus (“Everything higher education in Minnesota”);
- Oregon Public Broadcasting: Ecotrope (“Covering the Northwest’s environment”);
- New York/WNYC: The Empire (“Everything you need to know about New York state politics and governance”);
- Philadelphia/WXPN: The Key (“Discover Philly’s best local music”);
- San Diego/KPBS: Home Post (“The military in San Diego”);
- San Francisco/KALW: The Informant (“Cops, courts, and communities in the Bay Area”);
- San Francisco/KQED: MindShift (“How we will learn”);
- Seattle/KPLU: Humanosphere (“Charting global health and the fight against poverty”);
- Los Angeles/KPCC Southern California Public Radio: Multi-American (“Immigration and cultural fusion in the new Southern California”); and
- Washington/WAMU: DCentric (“The changing face of the District”).
September 15–October 15, 2010
Public media celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
Public media honored National Hispanic Heritage Month with a slate of new and encore programming that celebrated the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. On PBS, new programming—Cachao: Uno Mas,an American Masters filmabout bassist Israel “Cachao” Lopez; When World Collide, a documentary exploring what happened in the Americas after Columbus; and Ken Burns’s update of his 1994 Baseball series, The Tenth Inning, which included the dramatic stories of players like Sammy Sosa and Pedro Martinez—was bolstered by encore programming on Latin Music USA, American Masters, Independent Lens, P.O.V., and Global Voices. NPR producer Felix Contreras curated a short series featuring Latino themes that ran throughout the four-week period. Contreras is also the co-host of NPR’s Alt.Latino, a program and Web site dedicated to Latin Alternative music and rock in Spanish.
September 21, 2010
PBSparents.org blog turns kitchen into classroom
The new PBSparents.org cooking blog, Kitchen Explorers, offers recipes, tips, and tools parents and kids can use together in the kitchen. Mothers and cooks Alice Currah and Aviva Goldfarb help make cooking with kids fun and educational, introducing concepts of measurements, chemistry, and creativity.
September 28, 2010
CPB and PBS to be awarded $71 million Ready To Learn grant
The U.S. Department of Education notified CPB and PBS that they will receive a $71 million Ready To Learn grant for the research, development, and deployment of transmedia content to improve the math and literacy skills of children ages 2–8, especially those living in poverty. In partnership with local PBS stations, researchers, leading children’s producers, educational technologists, and university and community partners, CPB and PBS will spend the grant over the next five years (2010–2015) to develop media content across many technology platforms that help teach children how to learn. Extensive research and evaluation conducted by the Education Development Center, SRI International, and WestEd will measure improvement in children’s math and literacy skills through Ready To Learn. The grant was offically awarded on October 8, 2010.
September 29, 2010
CPB launches two more Local Journalism Centers and Gulf Coast Consortium
CPB announced funding for two additional Local Journalism Centers (LJCs), in the Northwest and South, which will expand the journalism initiative launched last March from five regions to seven, increasing original local reporting capacity in those areas. In the Northwest, Oregon Public Broadcasting will lead a consortium of stations as the primary source for regional environmental coverage. The Southern Regional Education Desk LJC will concentrate on education challenges facing the South. In addition, CPB announced a $538,000 grant to Louisiana Public Broadcasting to help create a Gulf Coast Consortium for expanded reporting on the oil spill. The consortium will create and share content for broadcast and digital distribution and will also conduct community engagement activities.
October 8, 2010
KCET/Los Angeles withdraws its PBS membership
Public television station KCET/Los Angeles notified CPB and PBS of its intention to withdraw its membership from PBS. At issue were KCET’s repeated requests that it be allowed to operate as a PBS member station without abiding by PBS policies and paying the corresponding dues. KCET now operates as an FCC-licensed educational television station, providing noncommercial, general interest programming to the people of Los Angeles. As such, KCET will continue to be eligible for CPB support, including a community service grant and other grant funding awarded by CPB for special projects. Meanwhile, PBS stations KOCE, KVCR, and KLCS continue to serve the Los Angeles area, and KOCE—rebranded as SoCal PBS—is now the primary PBS member station in the market.