It’s time for most, perhaps even all, public media journalists to abandon both the practice and the pretense of conventional impartiality. On this week's episode of The Pub, we revisit several of our recent commentaries and interviews on this subject.
Back in 2012, Jennifer Brandel had the best new idea in local news that anyone has had in a long time. Rather than report the same old stories, ask the audience: What have you always been curious about? Use democratic online tools to pick the best questions, then go out and answer them as best you can.
That was Curious City, a Localore project based at WBEZ in Chicago. It has since been imitated and replicated dozens of times over.
In January, Brandel started Curious Nation, a spin-off company designed to help franchise the Curious City model to other cities. Last week, Curious Nation became Hearken, and with the new name comes a new and broader mission: to help journalists do work that better reflects the information needs and desires of their audience.
Also this week:
- We conclude last week’s investigation into why some national program producers are opting to self-distribute their shows
- WHYY Vice President for News and Civic Dialogue Chris Satullo argues that stations shouldn’t just do journalism — they should support good community journalism, whoever is doing it
On this week’s episode of The Pub, Raney Aronson, the new executive producer of public TV's "Frontline," goes deep on the show's production process, her vision for its future, and even some of the stumbles she’s had with new initiatives, such as the transition from hourlong documentary films to 2-minute web videos.
Also this week:
On this week's episode, Eric Nuzum discusses why he is stepping down as NPR's vice president for programming and taking a job at Audible.com. Also, KPBS Station Manager Deanna Martin Mackey talks about ways to grow the number of women in top public media positions, and listeners say that recent episodes on the ethical pitfalls of podcast advertising and Membership Video on Demand amount to slippery slope arguments.
On this week’s episode of The Pub, public radio Conor Gillies and host Adam Ragusea debate whether podcast ads are a threat to public media's integrity. Gillies wrote an excellent and widely shared piece last week for The Awl, “Podcasts and the Selling of Public Radio.”
Also on the show:
In this week’s episode — recorded in front of a live audience at the PBS Annual Meeting in Austin — we contemplate the challenges and the opportunities involved in expanding public television to new audiences. We also learn that the current audience is more expansive than many of us might have thought.
Guests and topics include:
One of the most effective public radio fundraisers ever wants to quit doing pledge drives. That’s the only way host Adam Ragusea can interpret what This American Life host Ira Glass said to Ad Age last week. On this week’s episode of The Pub, we contemplate the notion that public radio’s biggest star evidently doesn’t want public radio to be public anymore.
Also on the show:
What would make you give up on your dream gig? Former "Marketplace Money" host Tess Vigeland had to answer that question for herself. If you’re feeling itchy in your seat and thinking about a career change, don’t leap until you listen to this interview!
Also on this week’s show:
- Bruce Jenner reignites the debate over how news organizations should refer to transgender people
- Robert Drechsel, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin, considers WNET’s recently-received $20 million grant to fight anti-Semitism, and the ethical pitfalls of donors directing coverage priorities
Did one of public TV’s most revered figures really cede editorial control to a celebrity? It certainly looks that way to PBS ombudsman Michael Getler. On this episode, Ben Affleck's request to Henry Louis Gates and the aftermath.
Also, Current’s Dru Sefton dishes on the many other mentions of public media organizations and personalities she’s found in the leaked Sony emails.
CBC gadfly Jesse Brown returns to The Pub to dissect the CBC’s internal investigation into how former "Q" host Jian Ghomeshi allegedly got away with abusing women for years.
And host Adam Ragusea contemplates why local public radio voices tend to sound more bassy and boomy than national voices.
How do you figure out how to pronounce an unfamiliar name or word, and how do you let other hosts and reporters know so they don't screw it up live on air? Celeste Headlee drops by The Pub with some tips.
Also, Vera Ranieri of the Electronic Frontier Foundation discusses the major victory she helped win last week against Personal Audio, a infamous patent-troll company that has been claiming it owns the technology behind podcasting
Host Adam Ragusea's take on a controversial "Latino USA" episode about Chicago mayor candidate Jesús "Chuy" García, and his (limited) defense of one-sided reporting.
And we learn the hard way that the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law doesn’t count on SoundCloud.
A recent listening tour has done little to change the outlook of Stephen Segaller, VP of programming at WNET in New York City. He still sees an upside to the station's controversial plan to move documentary films out of a Monday night prime-time slot on its primary station. Segaller discusses the situation with host Adam Ragusea.
Also on this week's show, the growing drive to unionize in public media, and how bodybuilding is like public TV.
This week, host Adam Ragusea talks with Howard Husock, who holds a Republican seat on the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In an article for the journal "National Affairs", Husock suggested ways that public radio and TV stations can increasingly redirect their resources away from acquiring national programs and toward local journalism.
Also, newsroom consultant Judith Smelser on why it’s so hard for stations to find a good news director these days. And Adam explains his slogan, “Authenticity is the new authority” in media, with the help of deputy TheAtlantic.com editor Matt Thompson, who previously launched NPR’s Code Switch blog.
On this week’s episode, some common liberties that public media people take with copyright, and fair use expert Patricia Aufderheide tells us whether they’re legal, or should be legal. Also, is "The Pub" too long? Many of you think so. But are you listening with your broadcaster brain or your normal person’s brain? Is there an optimal length for podcasts?
On this week’s episode, we contemplate how public media can plug the brain drain of tech-savvy workers leaving for other jobs. Host Adam Ragusea talks with P. Kim Bui, now with First Look Media.
Also on the show:
Where is the line between pronouncing a foreign name or word correctly, and over-pronouncing it?
Current’s Mike Janssen reports from SXSW, where several recent public media dust-ups have been looming large
NPR updates its policy governing when reporters at university licensee stations are allowed to file stories about their own employers; we talk to Emily Reddy, news director at Penn State’s WPSU
Responses to Adam's argument that public media reporters should shed conventional rules of impartiality
This week on The Pub, an interview with pioneering journalist Maria Hinojosa about how public media covers communities of color and who's involved in the conversations on shows such as Latino USA.
Also, the conclusion of host Adam Ragusea's three-part argument that public media should abandon both the practice and pretense of impartiality. Daniel Hallin, the University of California, San Diego media scholar who coined the term “sphere of consensus,” reacts to the argument. And Adam contemplates a different way that NPR CEO Jarl Mohn might have responded to a Diane Rehm Show caller who was angry about underwriting.
Melody Kramer talks with host Adam Ragusea about public radio membership models, and the CEO of Voice of San Diego discusses his news nonprofit's own approach for attracting members. Plus, public media and impartiality in journalism, and your thoughts on last week's conversation about unpaid internships.
After eight years, Jesse Thorn is ending the internship program on his NPR-distributed culture interview show Bullseye — not because it wasn’t working, but because he thought it was wrong. He explains why to host Adam Ragusea. And law professor David Yamada discusses the legality of unpaid internships.
Plus, Adam's thoughts on Diane Rehm, her advocacy for the “right to die,” and the true definition of objectivity; and what you can do to be a “member” of The Pub and help the show sustain itself (no, it doesn’t involve paying money, yet).
On this week's episode, we contemplate how much children's public television has changed since the day of Mister Rogers. Host Adam Ragusea interviews Linda Simensky, PBS's v.p. of children's programming. Also, Deanna Garcia, a reporter for WESA in Pittsburgh, takes us to a new exhibit of Misters Rogers' Neighborhood set pieces now on display at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.
Also on the show, film writer and former Current reporter Andrew Lapin is worried that the PBS documentary showcases POV and Independent Lens are in danger.
A week after his sudden death, we look at New York Times media columnist David Carr's thoughts on public media, courtesy of The Pub intern Ben Conarck.
And we listen to some of your feedback on our two recent shows concerning vocal fry.
Host Adam Ragusea goes in-depth on what exactly vocal fry even is, talks with NPR veteran Jacki Lyden about her new micro-news organization reporting on fashion, and hears from West Virginia Public Broadcasting CEO Scott Finn about five things that public media can learn from commercial media.
This week, the "public radio voice," its biases and its limitations. Adam talks with communications professor Chenjerai Kumanyika, author of a recent widely-read essay about public radio voices; Morning Edition founding editor William Drummond; and Georgia Public Broadcasting journalist Sarah McCammon.
Host Adam Ragusea looks at the recent podcasting boom and how it is testing the boundaries of public media with PRX CEO Jake Shapiro and Current contributor Jon Kalish. He also talks to teen podcaster Olivia Millar, and looks at the controversy over Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's proposal for a state-run news service.
Host Adam Ragusea dissects some public media show themes, talks with Current Senior Editor Dru Sefton about the demise of public TV's History Detectives, and interviews a frequently cited expert source about whether such sources should be paid for their contributions to newsgathering.
Appearing on the inaugural episode of The Pub is Jesse Brown, the Canadian podcaster who helped break the news of Canadian Broadcasting Corp. host Jian Ghomeshi's alleged history of sexual assaults. Host Adam Ragusea also suggests public radio drinking games and chats with Current commentator Susanna Capelouto about local public radio news stories that get big social media buzz.