U.S. in Africa: Playing Catchup to China

WASHINGTON – On the eve of the historic US-Africa Summit here, America's number one objective on the African continent is to start closing the gap with China. That was the message from all three speakers at Monday's CCLP Communication Leadership lunch just a few blocks from the State Department. "There is no place in Africa where you do not see China," said Ron Nixon, who has covered several African countries for the New York Times. "They are in every aspect of business. The U.S. is far behind." Left to right: Ron Nixon, NY Times; Joan Mower, BBG; and Mwamoyo Hamza,…

Author urges U.S. public diplomacy to include debates about media content standards

WASHINGTON – What is good for U.S. media businesses but bad for American diplomacy? That is the question posed at today's CCLP Washington forum by Martha Bayles, author of "Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy, and America's Image Abroad". Author Martha Bayles with Pubic Diplomacy Council president Don Bishop (left) and CCLP senior fellow Adam Powell (right) Since 1999, she said, U.S. media companies have more than quadrupled their revenue from overseas sales. But more and more, Bayles argued, the content is offensive to foreign audiences — and it misrepresents the United States….

Al Jazeera America anchor: We never hear from Qatar

WASHINGTON — We never hear from Doha. That was the assertion by Joie Chen, Washington anchor for Al Jazeera America at Monday's CCLP Washington Communication Leadership forum. "I have never been to Doha," she said, "and I haven't heard from anyone in Doha." Rejecting criticism that Al Jazeera America is an instrument of the government of Qatar, which funds the new network, Chen said Al Jazeera America should be compared to the BBC or NPR, not to the VOA or Russia Today. "We are not in the public diplomacy business," said Chen. "We are in the journalism business."…

A bi-coastal conversation on arts journalism and social media

On October 20, 2011, the USC Center on Communication Leadership and Policy (CCLP) hosted preeminent arts organization leaders and journalists in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., in a bi-coastal conversation that centered on the increasing role of online social networking in the arts industry. Organized by CCLP Director Geoff Cowan and CCLP senior fellow Adam Clayton Powell, III, the event was part of an ongoing discussion among arts leaders that focuses on how technology is changing the nature of arts institutions and arts reporting. "There's certainly a cultural shift happening right now where there's more interest in being a participant…

BBC executives describe deep cuts, new investments

WASHINGTON — Faced with a 16% budget cut, BBC executives decided to focus resources on top priorities – peak viewing hours and the "best journalism in the world." That was the word today from top managers at the BBC, speaking at a CCLP communication forum at the USC Washington DC Center. The budget cuts were the result of across-the-board reductions by the UK government, and 16% was comparable to the cuts at museums and other cultural institutions. But the BBC was also determined to invest in new programming. "It's all very well cutting," said Caroline Thomson, the BBC's Chief Operating…

Media executives, policymakers and scholars assess public media’s future

Public broadcasting executives, journalists, policymakers, and others met in USC's Washington, DC office on Monday, July 25 to discuss growing threats to public broadcasting stations across the US. The program featured opening remarks by Geoffrey Cowan, director of the Center on Communication Leadership & Policy and was organized by Adam Clayton Powell III, CCLP's senior fellow who has served in top positions at several commercial and public news organizations. USC Annenberg's Dean Ernest J. Wilson III also participated in the forum. Tom Thomas, Co-CEO of Station Resource Group, observed that while public broadcasters have always had aspirations that exceeded available…

PBS loses a 4th station; public television local news commitment questioned

WASHINGTON — The Public Broadcasting System has been abandoned by a fourth station, WIPR-TV in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As previously reported, KCET-TV in Los Angeles dropped its PBS programming in January of this year. Two public television stations in Florida followed suit in early July. WIPR canceled its PBS affiliation after an unsuccessful year-long negotiation over the amount the station would pay for programming, according to an article in Current magazine. That was exactly the same pattern as in Los Angeles, according to KCET President and General Manager Al Jerome in an interview late last week with CCLP. In…

NJ Public Television Signs Off; Other PBS, NPR Stations Threatened by Cuts

WASHINGTON — While the nation celebrated the holiday weekend of independence, New Jersey's public television network signed off for the last time and many other PBS stations around the US may soon follow suit. The reason: cuts in funding from state governments across the country. As I had written about on the blog last December, NJN has finally come to the end of its broadcasting days. The final New Jersey newscast on NJN was Thursday night. At its end, viewers saw a simple sign, "New Jersey Network. April 5, 1971 – June 30, 2011." As of that night, 130 employees…

Copps offers rebuttal to FCC report on the future of news

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission member Michael J. Copps is calling for reinvigorated federal regulation of broadcasting to encourage more, and more serious journalism. Expanding on his June 9 remarks following the release of the FCC's staff report on the information needs of communities, Copps criticized the report's optimism about the Internet. "What we have gained on the Internet," said Copps (pictured left), "does not match what we have lost" due to cutbacks in newspaper and broadcast newsrooms. And he urged new FCC regulatory initiatives to help create new and strengthened forums for journalism and debate….

USC forum explores new FCC transparency & accountability requirements

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission will propose a new "streamlined web system" regulatory regime for broadcasters, requiring licensees to file all information on the Internet in a publicly accessible and searchable form. That promise came from Steven Waldman (pictured left), senior advisor to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who spoke at a Washington, D.C. forum organized by USC's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism to discuss the report, The Information Needs Of Communities: The changing media landscape in a broadband age which was released on June 9. First came the good news: the U.S. is close to having "the best…