Tuesday roundup: AmGrad launches “Raise Up”; pubmedia fundraising earns middling grade

By Current Staff

The Chicago Writers Workshop (Image: Raise Up)

Members of Young Chicago Authors are among writers vying for a chance to perform at the Kennedy Center as part of American Graduate’s “Raise Up” project.  (Image: Raise Up)

• CPB’s American Graduate dropout-prevention outreach launched Monday a hip-hop and spoken-word contest and radio special, “Raise Up,” with partners including Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons. The nationwide contest is “designed to use the power of spoken word and hip hop, as well as the reach of public media to foster a discussion among a diverse group of young people about their education and future aspirations,” the  announcement said.

Five winners of the competition, which runs through June 30, will perform at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and will be featured in a two-part public radio series produced by the Association of Independents in Radio.

• Pubmedia stations are lackluster fundraisers in the online sphere, at least according to a new study conducted by fundraising researchers Dunham + Company and Next After. Public broadcasting stations scored an overall grade of B-, with Cs for email registration and communication. PBS’s Station Products & Innovations blog has a rundown of the takeaways.

• Amazon’s new set-top box, Fire TV, comes with a “Just for Kids” interface that includes PBS Kids programming. Shows such as Curious George, Thomas & Friends and Sesame Street will be featured on the device, according to TechCrunch. The shows are part of PBS’s ongoing digital-distribution agreement with Amazon, according to PBS spokesperson Jan McNamara. PBS content is also available for streaming on Xbox Live, Roku and Apple TV.

• Oklahoma’s OETA will air this month a 30-minute pilot program for Native Oklahoma, a series of Native-themed programming. The program includes segments about the Osage, Cherokee, Ponca and Choctaw Nations and the Kiowa, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, the Native American Times reports.

• Oakland Police Beat, an investigative nonprofit site covering Oakland’s public-safety officers, launched this month. The site is heavy on data journalism and funded by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the Fund for Investigative Journalism. Co-founder Abraham Hyatt talked to Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism about the site’s mission and data-gathering processes.

• Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg showed off her Brooklyn abode and discussed the joys of walk-up apartments in a New York Times Real Estate feature Sunday.

• A Nebraska high-school student’s poem about tolerance of differences in gender identity will air on the public TV network NET’s Best of the Best program after education administrators tried to censor the poem. Though Rhonda Blanford-Green, executive director of the Nebraska School Activities Association, initially demanded that poet and speech-contest winner Michael Barth not recite his winning poem on the air, she backed down after an outcry on social media, the Omaha World-Herald reports. In a statement on Facebook, NET said it was “prepared to broadcast whichever selection Barth chooses to perform. The program taped Thursday and will air April 20 on NET.

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