Tuesday roundup: Erbe criticized for ties to anti-immigration group, AxisPhilly to shut down

By Current Staff

• The Southern Poverty Law Center criticized To the Contrary host Bonnie Erbe on its Hatewatch blog for accepting a journalism award from the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which has advocated against immigration reform. Erbe “has long been a proponent of dubious claims that immigration depletes natural resources and worsens global warming,” SPLC writes. Erbe has also cited studies from CIS and NumbersUSA, which calls for a reduction in immigration, on her weekly PBS roundtable talk show, according to SPLC. Erbe accepted CIS’s annual journalism award for “reporting on immigration’s effects on health care, poverty, and natural resources, as well as on birth tourism” last week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Watch Erbe’s acceptance speech here:

• The nonprofit news site AxisPhilly will shut down by week’s end. Temple University’s Center for Public Interest Journalism, which provided a home to the public-service news site, will be taking over operations of OpenDataPhilly, the site’s Philadelphia-centered open data portal, as well as incubating a new news venture from Digital First Media’s Jim Brady. In October, AxisPhilly received a General Excellence in Online Journalism award, with an attached $3,000 prize, from the Online News Association.

“While the quality of the work on the site was lauded nationally, it did not achieve consistent local impact and fell short of serving as a collaborative hub for the emerging news ecosystem, both of which were goals at founding,” CPIJ wrote in a June 6 announcement of the shutdown.

• A new Pando Daily report on funder influence in public broadcasting criticizes the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s support for Teaching Channel, a teacher-training series developed for public TV distribution that focuses on Common Core education standards. The nonprofit behind the series promoted ties to public TV when the channel launched in 2011. Pando Daily points to the series’s uncritical treatment of Common Core standards, as well as a lack of disclosure over the Gates Foundation’s political agenda supporting national adoption of the standards. A spokesperson for WNET, which produced the series through subsidiary WLIW, responded in the story that the Gates Foundation and other funders “were clearly identified both on-air and in publicity materials. Neither the Gates Foundation — nor any of the other funders — had editorial control regarding this content.”

• Sacha Pfeiffer a senior reporter at WBUR in Boston and local host of All Things Considered, tweeted Friday about, well, NPR’s Dumbass heads-up:

• Primetime Emmy Award nominations are revealed July 10; will Antiques Roadshow score its 12th? “We’re the granddaddy of a genre,” EP Marsha Bemko tells Deadline.  “I will be devastated not to get the 12th nomination —I’ll go ahead and say that on the record.”

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