Tuesday roundup: RadioLoveFest; Public Integrity’s Pulitzer; digital education doc series

By Current Staff

• The Brooklyn Academy of Music is partnering with WNYC to throw RadioLoveFest, a giant celebration of radio artists that will feature appearances from tons of pubradio stars. The festival runs June 4 – July 8, and will include live performances of Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me!, Radiolab, This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour, Studio 360, Ask Me Another, Soundcheck and others. In addition, WNYC’s Brian Lehrer and On the Media‘s Brooke Gladstone will introduce screenings of Stop Making Sense and The Princess Bride, respectively; and StoryCorps founder Dave Isay will participate in a live chat with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon. Ticket information is available on BAM’s website.

• The nonprofit Center for Public Integrity won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. The center won for “Breathless and Burdened,” reporter Chris Hamby’s investigation into how doctors and lawyers were able to deny benefits to coal miners with black lung disease. The award is the center’s first Pulitzer.

Gina Madera, a student at the Marquette School of Excellence in Chicago, is one of the eighth graders profiled in Central Standard: On Education. (Photo: WTTW)

Gina Madera, a student at the Marquette School of Excellence in Chicago, is one of the eighth graders profiled in Central Standard: On Education. (Photo: WTTW)

• WTTW and PBS Digital Studios premiered a short-form documentary series, Central Standard: On Education, Monday online. The weekly 15-minute episodes will roll out over nine weeks, introducing viewers to five eighth-grade students who hope to make it into the region’s top public high schools.

“At a time when education models are in the national spotlight daily – with closures, strikes, and privatization – Central Standard: On Education examines how students and families highly invested in their children’s futures navigate the public system,” said Anne Gleason, WTTW s.v.p. of marketing and interactive media, in the announcement. “The digital format allows the filmmakers to present stories as they happen, and allows the audience to experience the content anywhere and at any time.”

The series, funded in part by CPB and an Indiegogo campaign, is produced by the local Scrappers Film Group and will also run on the PBSDS YouTube channel.

• Nate Silver’s new data journalism site FiveThirtyEight crunched the happy little numbers behind the late Bob Ross, host of pubTV’s The Joy of Painting. In a statistical analysis of Ross’s 403-episode PTV series, reporter Walt Hickey found that Ross paints “at least one tree” in 91 percent of his paintings; other popular subjects include clouds, mountains and lakes. Hickey also found that there was a 93-percent chance Ross painted a second tree after painting his first one.

Hickey also interviewed Annette Kowalski, Ross’s longtime business partner and painting collaborator, who noted, “His cabins never had chimneys. That’s because chimneys represented people, and he didn’t want any sign of a person in his paintings.”

• Neil Shubin, host of PBS’s Your Inner Fish miniseries and author of the bestselling science book of the same name, has taken his share of criticism  from creationists who object to his work. “My inbox is filled with some interesting emails,” Shubin told Slate. But he continues to give lectures across the South and the rest of the country on his findings, which help explain the missing evolutionary link between humans and sea creatures. Shubin’s three-part series is airing Wednesdays on PBS; the second part airs tomorrow night.

• The Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University profiles WGBH’s Frontline as part of its “Video Now” report on long form TV journalism. The investigative documentary series is successful at reaching younger audiences online, according to the center: 60 percent of Frontline‘s online visitors are between 18 and 35 years-old. Another installment of “Video Now” profiles efforts within NPR to merge visual with audio storytelling online. 

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