Frontline’s Fanning decries commercialism in public broadcasting

Public broadcasters face grave risks of losing credibility and trust through increasing commercialism of their work, says David Fanning, founding executive producer of the award-winning series Frontline. It is "shameful" he says about the ways some public stations use pledge drives to market products for local sponsors. "This is our deepest embarrassment as public broadcasters…we spend more of our energy and promotional time pushing programs that have nothing to do with our mission." Fanning delivered remarks at the annual James L. Loper Lecture in Public Service Broadcasting in November before an audience of public broadcasting leaders, community leaders, scholars and…

Loper Lecture in Public Service Broadcasting: David Fanning, Frontline & Ernest J. Wilson III, Corporation for Public Broadcasting

USC Annenberg School for Communication and the Center on Communication Leadership & Policy present the annual Loper Lecture in Public Service Broadcasting. This year’s honoree is David Fanning, founder and executive producer of Frontline, the weekly PBS series that remains as the only regularly scheduled investigative documentary series on television. Frontline has won every major award in broadcast journalism, including 39 Emmys and a special Emmy Award for excellence in documentary filmmaking; 23 duPont-Columbia University Awards; 13 Peabody Awards; and 10 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. This year’s program also honors Dean Ernest J. Wilson III, who has been elected…