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A personal note from the corner cubicle

This episode of Need to Know, the first of Season Two, will be the last one I produce.  I’ve been with the program and website since it was an idea waiting to be turned into reality, and it’s been my honor to be its executive producer.  One of the great joys of producing for public broadcasting is that you get to do the kinds of important stories that often are overlooked by commercial television, and you get to share them with an intelligent, informed and committed audience.   We’ve covered the issues of our day through the personal stories of our fellow citizens.  That’s been the signature style of Need to Know, and it will continue to be as the program evolves into a 30-minute, politically focused show.  You’ll see that focus represented here on the website, too.

I’ve loved engaging with those of you who post comments or suggest stories, and I thank you for taking the time to do so.  I’m going to be moving over to a whole new challenge, and leaving the program and website in the very capable hands of Marc Rosenwasser, a friend and colleague for more than 20 years.

Marc was executive producer of “WorldFocus.” He spent 16 years at NBC News as executive editor and senior broadcast producer of “Dateline,” and as executive producer of “Tom Brokaw Reports.” He is a recipient of 23 Emmy Awards, three Columbia-DuPont Awards and a Peabody Award.

So you can see Need to Know is in good hands.  Now all we need is your continued support.

My sincere thanks to all who made my tenure at Need to Know such a wonderful experience.

An animated Thanksgiving preview

What’s on Need to Know this week? Here’s a special holiday bulletin from the Corner Cubicle.

Love muffins from the corner cubicle, plus what’s on

The King Arthur muffin.

After the Great Muffingate Incident, I took full responsibility for suggesting the word muffin in the first place. It’s just how I roll, people.

Plying an overworked staff with sweets is also how I roll, especially after creating a kerfuffle (kermuffin?) that requires a certain amount of scrambling to clean up.

So Monday morning, I came into our staff meeting with the most appropriate gesture I could think of: freshly baked muffins for everybody.
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This week on Need to Know

Peter Sagal

Peter Sagal. Photo: Flickr/kuer90.1

Who the hell is Shelley Lewis? That was the question that greeted me (the aforementioned Shelley Lewis) in a posted comment on the Need to Know website.

Naturally, I fired my press agent immediately.
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This week on Need to Know

Photo: Flickr/Cory M. Grenier

This week on Need to Know’s The Watch List, we’re following the money.  (Why doesn’t the money ever follow me, I wonder? But I digress). Specifically, we’re following the campaign money. Editorial writers are calling it the Shadow Campaign — millions and millions of dollars being spent on candidates and causes by….whom, exactly? With the new rules allowing corporations, for the first time, to contribute unlimited sums on direct advocacy for campaigns, the worry is that they’ll be able to buy the results. We’re going to focus on Colorado, but we’ll be looking at interesting races all over the country.  I promise, there will be no math, and not only will it not hurt your head, it’ll be downright entertaining, because we have a team of creative and brilliant Need to Know staffers and the creative and brilliant correspondent Rick Karr on the case.
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This week on Need to Know

Photo: flickr/befuddledsenses

If you caught the program last weekend, you already know that we’ve introduced a new segment that I’m already proud of.  It’s called “The Watch List” and our goal is to report on the results of decades of de-regulation, outsourcing, and privatization by our government and the agencies who are supposed to be keeping us safe and secure.  We’re looking at the food supply, the environment, the infrastructure of our energy and transportation systems, homeland security, health care, and more.

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Roasted pumpkin à la Burton

It’s been reported for more than a decade that when Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana) wanted to prove that Clinton aide Vince Foster had been murdered, and had not committed suicide, he took a pumpkin and a pistol into his backyard and “reenacted” the shooting.  What this would prove was never entirely clear, but you’ll find numerous accounts of the story in Time, Newsweek and all the major papers.  Congressman Burton is still around, representing Indiana’s 6th district. No Tea Party threats there. Anyway, this time of year I love to roast and eat pumpkin. It couldn’t be easier.

Photo: Shelley Lewis

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Highwire at the media circus

I’m so glad to say that Need to Know was a Pastor Terry Jones-free zone last week. While we alluded to the difficulties an anti-Muslim demonstration presents to the U.S. government, and the real threats it posed, we did not contribute to his 15 minutes of fame.

The High Line in New York City. Photo: Martin Palmer

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Reveal, rebuild, reconsider

Welcome to the Daily Need. Ever since we began to imagine what Need to Know would be, we’ve expected our website to include a blog that featured robust, lively, provocative conversation, all day long, between you out there and us in here, at PBS. The Need to Know website launched the first of May, and while we love our website and appreciate the hard work of everyone who posts original stories, videos, blogs, photo galleries and the like…we did feel that something was missing. We really wanted a blog.

So here it is. The NTK staff will be posting news, opinion, funny stuff, awkwardly revealing information about ourselves, and more, every day. We hope you’ll respond, a lot. Read All »