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…

Fund cuts for public television lead to mergers; is there life after PBS?

WASHINGTON – Coping with reduced funding by state governments and other sources, public television stations are pursuing diverse options ranging from mergers and consolidation to dropping PBS network programs. As reported in early July, funding cuts led to the demise of the New Jersey Network of PBS stations, which were merged into New York's WNET. The station had earlier acquired WLIW on Long Island, so currently, WNET controls PBS programming on stations well to the east and south of New York City. New York is not unique: San Francisco's public television station, KQED, acquired KTEH, serving San Jose and the…

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…

Leading Journalism Association Spotlights CCLP Research on Funding the News

CCLP’s groundbreaking report, Public Policy and Funding the News, continues to garner media hits and attention of experts in journalism. On March 28th, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication cited the CCLP study in their call for Congress to maintain federal funding of public broadcasting. As research also points out, commercial media enterprises have —- for most of this country’s history —- received federal assistance in the form of discounted postal subsidies and tax breaks, for instance. Yet, Americans trust public media more for relevant, complete news. A recent Roper Poll listed PBS as the nation’s most-¬≠trusted institution….

Public TV stations face challenges on West, East Coasts

All of the PBS TV stations in the state of New Jersey may go off the air entirely early next year. The New Jersey network's governing authority meets on Wednesday to consider how to survive – or sell. Kept alive by a subsidy by state taxpayers that is scheduled to end shortly, one option on the table is a merger with New York City's WNET and/or Philadelphia's WHYY. This news comes as KCET in Los Angeles prepares to drop PBS programming in three weeks in favor of an independent public TV schedule that starts next month….

PBS: End of the Old Boys Network?

Los Angeles station KCET's announcement on Friday that it is canceling all PBS programs is a dramatic, all-stakes-on-the-table gamble. KCET is gambling that, without hefty payments to PBS and substituting a new lineup of independent and international programs for the PBS network feed, it will be a smaller but sustainable public service broadcaster. For its part, PBS is gambling that KCET cannot possibly go through with its plan and will have no alternative but to pay the substantial dues required to keep PBS programs on the station….

CCLP panel explores technology and education with FCC Chairman Genachowski

On Tuesday, September 21, CCLP Director Geoffrey Cowan (pictured, right) led a discussion on the intersection of technology and education in the 21st century. The panel, featuring FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski (left), kicked off a half-day event called "Back to School: Learning in a Digital Age," sponsored by USC Annenberg's Center on Communication Leadership (CCLP), Common Sense Media, PBS Kids and The Children's Partnership. Leaders in technology and education discussed the benefits of equipping children and educators digitally – both inside and outside of the classroom. "The need far exceeds the risk," said Genachowski. "When our schools win, our country…

Public policy and the crisis in the news business

Newspapers are for sale across the country. National Public Radio and television news shows are laying off staff. The Tribune Company is in bankruptcy. It's clear that journalism is in crisis, and in the current recession, things are likely to get much worse. That's alarming. A robust press is vital to our democracy. And while bloggers and other new-media news operations have enriched the public dialogue in important ways, their work still depends on the painstaking – and expensive – reporting supplied by traditional journalists….