Monday roundup: Polk goes to Frontline, CPB ombud calls for transparency in grant dustup

By Dru Sefton

Frontline's examination of head injuries in the NFL has won it a coveted Polk Award. (Image: Frontline)

Frontline‘s examination of head injuries in the NFL has won it a coveted Polk Award. (Image: Frontline)

• Frontline today won a George Polk Award for “League of Denial,” its investigation of the NFL’s efforts to downplay evidence linking head injuries of football players to long-term brain disorders. The nonprofit newsroom Center for Public Integrity also won a Polk for “After the Meltdown,” which explored the aftermath of economic crash caused by sub-prime mortgage lenders. A full list of Polk winners, presented by Long Island University, is here.

• While CPB Ombudsman Joel Kaplan agrees with WNET’s decision to return a $3.5 million grant for its series reporting on public pensions, he remains troubled by “the lack of transparency by both WNET and PBS” in handling the controversy. He suggests the original agreement between WNET and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation needs to be disclosed. “In the interest of objectivity, balance and transparency, such agreements should never be confidential,” he writes.

• WXEL in in West Palm Beach, Fla., helped teach local university students about philanthropy while generating nearly $18,000 to support kids programs using the crowdfunder piggybackr. “The experience gave WXEL a way to connect to younger people,” said Development V.P. Debra Tornaben on PBS’s Station Products and Innovation Blog. “And it made us realize that we do not have to worry about the next generation. They have a passion for PBS and the mission.”

• Juan Sepúlveda, new PBS station services s.v.p., tells the San Antonio Press-News that there’s a lot of Latino content coming to PBS that expands on last fall’s documentary series, Latino Americans. He notes that Latino viewership of PBS doubled after the series, which aired in September.

 John Keefe, senior editor for data news and journalism technology at WNYC, has created an object that “has helped foster household harmony” and also makes his wife Kristin “smile every day.” It’s a Monthly Mood Cube, which tracks her periods. As Keefe explains in a blog post, a light glows a soft white for 18 days, then slowly progresses for 10 days “into a hearty, deep red-orange.” When her period begins, his wife pushes a button on the back of the lamp “that resets the cube back to white and starts the day count anew.” Inspiration came from a WNYC colleague who indicates her moods on a poster near her desk.

• Whither goes the jazz radio deejay? Radio Survivor covers an interesting discussion on the Jazz Video Guy YouTube channel on their possible fates. Among the guests: veteran public radio jazz presenter Thurston Briscoe.

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