Friday roundup: Heartbleed poses danger for newsrooms; PRPD elects new chair

By Andrew Lapin

Heartbleed (Illustration: Codenomicon via Wikimedia Commons)

Heartbleed (Illustration: Codenomicon via Wikimedia Commons)

• The Internet security bug known as Heartbleed can affect any newsroom that runs OpenSSL encryption software, according to a ProPublica report. The bug has existed since 2012 but was revealed publicly this week. Using the bug, hackers can trick a web server into giving up user passwords, email addresses, credit card information and other sensitive data. ProPublica provides a rundown of ways to test your server for vulnerability, as well as safe alternatives to OpenSSL.  The site also recommends alerting users of affected sites to change their passwords.

Any site on the Internet, including pubmedia and nonprofit sites, can be exposed to Heartbleed if it uses OpenSSL. Check the vulnerability of your site at this address.

• Public Radio Program Directors has elected Tamar Charney as its new board chair. Charney is p.d. at Michigan Radio, where she has worked since 1997. She succeeds Todd Mundt, formerly of NPR Digital Services and now with Louisville Public Media, who had reached the end of his term limit. The youngest member of the PRPD board, Charney takes the gavel later this month during the organization’s annual retreat in Chicago.

• The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. announced huge job cuts yesterday, as expected following revelations of the network’s massive revenue shortfall. CBC will eliminate 657 jobs over the next two years, with 115 to be cut within its newsroom. Its radio operations will scale back on music performances. The network’s financial troubles are tied to a confluence of setbacks, including loss of its rights to broadcast National Hockey League games and $115 million in cuts to its federal funding.

• PBS Digital Studios is a new participant at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Digital Content NewFronts event, where it will present top shows from its YouTube portfolio May 3. The event, now in its third year, mimics the TV industry’s annual UpFronts presentations: Web video providers present their offerings to the advertising industry. Other NewFronts participants include Buzzfeed, YouTube, the New York Times Company, Hulu and Vice.

• Looking for an easy guide through Ken Burns’s oeuvre? Less than a week before the TV premiere of The Address, The A.V. Club spotlights the PBS filmmaker as part of its “Gateways to Geekery” series, running down the best and worst ways to approach the documentarian’s dense body of work. The site advises Burns newbies to start with his 2012 miniseries The Dust Bowl before moving onto his more epic undertakings The Civil War and Baseball. By contrast, Jazz and The War “suffer a bit from [Burns’s] recent inclination to shove everything he can get his hands on into a film.”

• Los Angeles’s KCETLink will air Stand Up Planet, a documentary exploring whether comedians can change the global conversation around social issues, simultaneously with cable network Pivot, the channels announced yesterday. The film, hosted by comedian Hasan Minhaj, will air May 14, first on Pivot and satellite channel LinkTV at 7 p.m. EST, then on Los Angeles’s KCET at 9 p.m. PST.

• Boston classical station WCRB, part of WGBH Radio, is asking students of the Boston Conservatory to compose a “sonic logo” for the station. For the contest, students are asked to “draw inspiration” from WGBH’s own sonic logo, and will later have the opportunity to orchestrate different arrangements of the winner for use on the air. Student submissions are due April 25, and a winner will be decided in early May. “Every radio station should have a strong sonic identity,”  Anthony Rudel, WCRB station manager, said in the release. “We could not think of a more fitting way to commission a sonic logo for our station than to tap into the skills and enthusiasm of Boston’s talented composition students.”

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