Wednesday roundup: Texas Tribune launches op-ed site, WRAS students protest GPB incursion

By Andrew Lapin

Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is among the first contributors to the Texas Tribune’s op-ed page, TribTalk. (Photo: Todd Wiseman/The Texas Tribune)

• This week the Texas Tribune launched its latest online experiment: TribTalk, a dedicated op-ed page that will double as a new revenue source for the nonprofit news site. Tribune editors will solicit and publish viewpoints from Texans, and the site also accepts sponsored “paid placement” advertorials. At its launch, the site features dueling columns from gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis, along with a paid placement column from CPS Energy, the country’s largest municipally owned gas and electric company.

• The Georgia State University students who run Atlanta student radio station WRAS are continuing to protest the station’s channel-sharing agreement with Georgia Public Broadcasting. In addition to an online petition and a Twitter hashtag campaign, students are attempting to organize station alumni and a benefit concert. They aim to force a termination clause in the station’s contract that allows GSU to end the arrangement, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

• Meanwhile, Celeste Headlee plans to continue her independent public radio program Middle Ground alongside her new gig hosting an Atlanta-based news program on WRAS. The six-month-old show, which covers stories originating between the U.S. coasts, will take a hiatus while Headlee moves to Atlanta and will return in June, Headlee told Current. She funded the program with the help of a $20,000 crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, launched in November 2013 after a Kickstarter campaign failed to reach a higher goal. Headlee has been posting episodes of Middle Ground on SoundCloud and Facebook and will soon distribute the podcast via iTunes.

• San Diego philanthropist Conrad Prebys has made his third major gift to pubTV since 2012. Prebys’ $500,000 donation, announced May 12 by local dual licensee KPBS, will be split evenly between KPBS and the Masterpiece Trust, the fundraising initiative supporting PBS’s Masterpiece series. The amount brings Prebys’s total contributions to $1.5 million for the Masterpiece Trust and $750,000 for KPBS.

• Greg Kot, co-host of WBEZ’s nationally distributed music program Sound Opinions, is the subject of a short documentary made by Marquette University students. The 11-minute film, Greg Kot: Never Too Loud, Never Too Old, chronicles Kot’s life as music critic for the Chicago Tribune and visits him in the Sound Opinions studio.

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