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Public Broadcasting in the News

'Street' Life: Commercial Partnerships Keep Show Thriving, Says Sesame Workshop

A history scholar looks at longtime public television staple Sesame Street and its foray into commercialism. Many fans see its relatively new home behind the HBO paywall as running counter to the free access and educational mission of Big Bird and friends, the historian writes in The Washington Post. But the people charged with keeping the show alive say public television funding isn't enough. 

NPR Never Became the Music and Cultural Standard-bearer, Writes Producer Wes Horner 

National Public Radio has been celebrating its 50th year, but early NPR music and art visionary Wes Horner laments the public radio network’s longtime drift toward news, in a retrospective essay for Current. Horner was founding executive producer of “Performance Today” and produced the pilots for “From the Top” and other programs.   

CPB Has ‘No Immediate Plans’ to Replace Outgoing Ombudsman

The Corporation for Public Broadcast said it has “no immediate plans” to replace Jan Schaffer, whose three-year term as ombudsman at the congressionally-created oversight body has ended, Current Newspaper reports. 

News Deserts

Do you live in a ‘news desert’? The University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism looks at the growing gaps in news coverage left by the closures of local newspapers around the country.

When Texas Border Town Lost Its Only Paper, Local Start-up Filled Void

When the Southwestern border town of Del Rio, Texas, lost its only newspaper, a local man stepped in with an investment in print, turning his event-oriented website into a news outlet with a print edition. He’s helping fight back against the encroaching edges of a news desert.

...more on 'News Deserts' and what PBS can do about them (older coverage)

Against the growing phenomena of news deserts in the United States – areas where local news outlets have failed or have been gutted by the loss of ad revenue – PBS is being called upon to act. One suggested remedy is overhauling the way the Corporation for Public Broadcasting issues grants for public affairs programming, from a Washington, DC -based metric to spending decided by local news producers. ...