Wednesday roundup: Pubradio at SXSW Music, Frontline Vatican doc goes international

By Current Staff

• The South By Southwest Music festival is underway in Austin, Texas, and public radio is providing an Internet gateway to the show. Beginning at 8:50 p.m. Eastern time, NPR Music will live-stream its showcase at Stubb’s BBQ; the lineup includes St. Vincent, Damon Albarn and Kelis. Meanwhile, Los Angeles’s KCRW will broadcast live from the Spotify House, with editions of its music show Morning Becomes Eclectic beginning tomorrow. KCRW is also sponsoring several artist showcases at the festival and plans to feature some of their live performances on the air. And Austin’s KUTX will feature four live early-morning broadcasts from the Four Seasons, with artists including Wye Oak and Mother Falcon.

If you know of other public radio events happening on the ground at SXSW Music this week, drop us a line.

• After New York’s WNET returned a questionable grant from the Arnold Foundation that funded a series of reports on pensions, a teacher retirement agency is urging the Pew Charitable Trusts to do the same. In a letter to Pew chair Robert Campbell, the National Council on Teacher Retirement criticized the foundation’s underwriting of Pew’s Public Sector Retirement Systems Project on the grounds that the foundation has engaged in anti-pension advocacy, calling its funding motivations into question. NCTR cited WNET’s return of its own Arnold Foundation grant, according to Pensions & Investments.

Secrets of the Vatican, a 90-minute documentary from Frontline, is heading to international distribution. (Photo: Frontline)

Secrets of the Vatican, a 90-minute documentary from Frontline, is heading to international distribution. (Photo: Frontline)

Secrets of the Vatican from Frontline is heading to broadcast on SBS in Australia, TVN in Poland and TVI in Portugal, according to distributor PBS International, which inked the deals. The 90-minute documentary from director Antony Thomas investigates the church’s response to the ongoing clergy sex-abuse crisis, money laundering and corruption at the Vatican Bank and Vatileaks — the disclosure of internal documents revealing cronyism, power struggles and allegations of blackmail within the Holy See. Tom Koch, v.p. of PBS International, said the distributor expects the title to be “in high demand” at MIPTV in April.

• Nonprofit newsroom ProPublica is partnering with Upworthy, a popular site that curates cause-based articles and videos as viral-friendly material, on content related to income inequality. Upworthy embarked on its partnership after it conducted a survey that found younger-skewing users voted income inequality one of the top three issues they most care about. ProPublica is the only newsroom partnering with Upworthy following the site’s user survey; Upworthy’s two other new content partners, ClimateNexus and Human Rights Watch, are both advocacy organizations. ProPublica will create stories about income inequality exclusively for the site in a variety of different media, Nieman Lab reports.

• The Open Technology Institute of the New America Foundation, which advocates for open-source innovation and wider public use of technology, is one of 10 nonprofits to receive a total of $1 million in New Digital Age Grants from Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chair. The grant will back the institute’s Measurement Lab project, which tracks repressive governments that interfere with the Internet in their countries. A full list of winners is here.

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