Wednesday roundup: Supremes hear Aereo case; thoughts from Sagan’s daughter

By Current Staff

Carl Sagan poses with a model of NASA’s Viking spacecraft in 1980. (Photo: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

• Attorneys representing startup webcasting company Aereo and its opponents made arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, with Aereo defending its business model as legal. Pubcasters were among the broadcasters challenging Aereo, which provides local over-the-air programming to Internet subscribers. Media reports characterized the hourlong hearing as mixed, possibly tilting toward Aereo’s favor or a blow “on the jaw” for the startup. If you’d rather decide for yourself, we’ve uploaded the 50-plus page transcript here.

• Sasha Sagan, a writer, filmmaker and daughter of science educator Carl Sagan, pondered her father’s views on mortality in an essay published by New York magazine fashion blog The Cut last week. When she saw her father’s writings at the Library of Congress, “I could not help but imagine 23rd or 24th century schoolchildren looking at my dad’s penmanship under glass and feel his life was really extended in some tangible way,” she wrote. Sagan hosted Cosmos on pubTV in 1980; a new version of the show is currently airing on Fox and the National Geographic channel.

• Iowa Public Radio is asking its governing board of regents for an unexpected increase in 2015 funding, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reports. Citing an “extended period of interim leadership” that followed the board’s firing of CEO Mary Grace Herrington in 2013, IPR leadership requested $944,800 in funding for next year, an increase over a planned allotment of $708,600 and on par with 2013 allocations. IPR named Myrna Johnson as its new executive director in November after a seven-month search.

• Voice of OC, a nonprofit investigative news site in Orange County, Calif., is entering a content-sharing partnership with the for-profit print newspaper Orange County Register. The arrangement will follow the model of a wire service, with the Register running regular civic coverage by Voice of OC reporters, the site said in its announcement Tuesday. Another local publication is not a fan of the arrangement. The alt-weekly OC Register, which broke the story, chided the nonprofit: “The Voice of OC loses by entering into an agreement with their competitor, a competitor they have wonderfully exposed as a hater of journalism ethics in the past,” Gustavo Arellano wrote Monday.

• The Radio Television Digital News Association announced winners of regional Edward R. Murrow Awards Tuesday. Among winners of multiple awards were WBHM in Birmingham, Ala.; South Dakota Public Radio; and Marfa Public Radio in Texas. Find the complete list of winners here.

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