‘Downton Abbey’ hype may highlight PBS problems

PBS executives are promoting the second season of its imported British costume drama "Downton Abbey," doing their best not only to attract viewers to the program but also to present "Downton Abbey" as part of a new strategy to attract audiences. However, critics such as Brian Lowry of Variety have responded by saying that this is more public relations than anything resembling a deliberate plan, "misreading something after the fact, then allowing execs to conflate an unexpected windfall into a 'strategy.'" And across the Atlantic, the hype may have backfired. In the UK, where "Downton Abbey" runs on the commercial…

NPR chief Vivian Schiller: Don’t take the work of news gatherers for granted

At this time of tremendous upheaval in American news media, its leaders should not focus on transformation at the expense of fortifying and expanding concrete, on-the-ground reporting. That was the message offered Thursday by NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller as she delivered the James L. Loper Lecture in Public Service Broadcasting at USC Annenberg. "For well over a decade, at gatherings like this, news people have obsessed about transformational technologies, vanishing business models and new paradigms of mass communication," Schiller told an audience of students, faculty members and leaders of influential Los Angeles-area media who gathered at USC Town…