March 31, 2009

The place just filled up with guitars 

Stepped outside of my office today and found the Campbell Hall lobby brimming with guitars and guitarists. The 17-member Guitar Ensemble from Illinois State University was here to play a Bach Brandenburg Concerto in advance of their concert in the evening. The segment aired today on WILL-FM's new Live and Local with Kevin Kelly.

March 03, 2009

No news 

Print journalism spent the 1980s and '90s taking profits and then, in the decade that followed, impaling itself on the Internet. - David Simon, Washington Post
So the Baltimore police no longer provide reporters with the names of officers involved in police shootings. Their ranks have been so thinned, no reporter has even asked for so long the police forgot the law mandates they provide this information without delay, to anyone. But it's not just the law enforcement beat in Baltimore. Science and environmental reporters, political reporters, financial reporters, and especially foreign bureaus have been cut, cut again, then cut some more over the past two years. At a time when so much news is being made, and the stakes are higher than ever, our view of the world is dimming. And that's today's news.

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March 02, 2009

WILLblog returns...with disturbing news 

WILLblog was always intended to provide an insider's view on the public broadcasting world. (Soon we'll call it public media, but that's another post for another day...) Today I have some troubling news about struggling stations around the system. Of course just about everyone is dealing with fallout from the economic mess we're in, so this isn't meant to say "poor us." This is, however, about public broadcasting, so here goes: WNED REDUCES BUDGETED EXPENSES AND STAFF POSITIONS (Buffalo, NY) State funding for public TV, radio on chopping block (Charlottesville, VA) Layoffs at WBEZ, Vocalo (Chicago, IL) These are only three news items about very large cuts at local stations. I have friends at other stations all over the country, and many of them are laying off staff, cutting local programs, and reducing services just to survive. Of course newspapers across the nation are being hit even harder. In the case of some, like the Chicago Tribune, solvency is imperiled by excessive debt from buying other newspapers. Others, like the Rocky Mountain News, just couldn't make their payroll. Here is an important question we must raise as high as possible: At a time when, more than ever, we need to know what's happening, who will report the news? One other thing occurs to me as I ponder the fate of local npr and pbs stations: We have a chance to salvage the disaster happening to communities whose newspapers are folding, if we can remain strong enough to deliver. Might be a big if...

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