Tag Archives: public broadcasting

Fluportal.org: Postmortem of a temporary resource

Fluportal.org, a Corporation for Public Broadcasting-funded site built to help public media cover H1N1 and related issues, has completed its grant and will stop updating at the end of this month.

As a fitting capstone to a very well-executed and valuable resource, the staff has posted an exhaustive, honest review of what the site did, where things went right and where they went wrong. It’s a lengthy read, but one that gives insight into how best to organize and execute a health-related, issue-oriented Web resource.

Other resources on the site look into health reporting and how to communicate information about H1N1 to the public:

Bush Institute program set to launch for PBS

The Dallas-based George W. Bush Institute, a think tank founded by the former president, is working on a new public television program (in cooperation with Grace Creek Media) that plans to focus on global health issues in addition to domestic policy and education. According to The Dallas Morning News‘ Lori Stahl, two episodes of “Ideas In Action with Jim Glassman” have already been taped, and the program will start airing on PBS and some cable stations in February.

bushHost Jim Glassman, who also heads Bush’s think tank, brings with him a solid, if somewhat partisan, resume. He hosted TechnoPolitics on PBS in the late ’90s, published The New Republic in the ’80s and has long written conservative-leaning columns in various media outlets, including The Washington Post and SHNS.

Stahl writes that PBS viewers have already begun to push back against what they fear will inevitably be idealogically motivated programming. Glassman’s response? The show will fall somewhere between neutral and “absurdly biased.”

Glassman said the new show will not try to promote a political viewpoint. Noting that he’s well-acquainted with PBS standards from a stint hosting the PBS series TechnoPolitics, Glassman said, “If you get something that’s absurdly biased, people aren’t going to watch it.”

At the same time, he acknowledged that the Bush Institute is looking for places to influence the course of civic action, not just generate more debate.

“We’re not going to shy away from the fact that we’ve built the Bush Institute on principles,” Glassman said, noting that other public television show hosts are not entirely neutral. He cited Bill Moyers, William Buckley and Tavis Smiley as examples.

Fluportal.org stays on top of H1N1

While H1N1 seems to have peaked in many states – at least for now – Fluportal.org‘s resources to cover the pandemic are still growing. Recent highlights include tips for using American Public Media’s Public Insight Network (which we’ve mentioned before in conjunction with a ProPublica story on health care reform), a few interesting photos with creative commons licenses (like a collection of H1N1 street art).

One of the creative commons licensed shots of H1N1 street art spotlighted by fluportal.org. Photo by Brazilian artist guitavares via Flickr.

Fluportal also has tackled some media ethics issues related to the outbreak, notably in a post where staff from PRI’s The World had to consider how to frame the German medical establishment’s reluctance to recommend the H1N1 vaccine. After all, they did not want to confuse listeners or have a negative impact on public health, but they also weren’t going to “censor” the sincere opinions of German doctors, even if they conflicted with CDC advice.


Public broadcasters have H1N1 site for journalists

PBS documentary delves into depression

A 90-minute public television documentary that first aired on May 21 (transcripts and video are available online here) dives headfirst into the lives of depression sufferers and seeks to explain and destigmatize a set of disorders the National Institute of Mental Health says affects about 18.8 million American adults. Producers also followed cutting-edge researchers to learn of new discoveries and treatments in the fight against depression. The broadcast was followed by a 30-minute roundtable discussion titled “Take one step: Caring for Depression, with Jane Pauley.”

As part of the accompanying outreach effort, PBS has created a dedicated Web site for the program with resources for those who fear they or someone they know is suffering from depression. The package, a blend of public service and journalism, helps fulfill public broadcasting’s unique mission.