Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

CPB Announces Grant To Expand PBS Series "Frontline"

From the Corporation for Public Broadcasting:

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) today announced a new grant to expand PBS’ award-winning investigative documentary series FRONTLINE to a year-round broadcast footprint.  FRONTLINE will be celebrating its 29th season this fall on PBS. 

The announcement was made at the annual PBS membership meeting in Austin, Texas, where CPB also presented FRONTLINE Executive Producer David Fanning with the Ralph Lowell Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Television. The award is named after the late Boston philanthropist and founder of WGBH, where FRONTLINE is produced, and is among the highest recognitions in public media. Earlier recipients of the Lowell Award include Ken Burns, Julia Child, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alistair Cooke and Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, among others.

The $6 million two-year grant to expand FRONTLINE will allow the series to add new multi-story magazine-format programs to each season, providing FRONTLINE producers with greater capacity to provide in-depth coverage of domestic and international stories, as well as social and cultural issues.  The expanded FRONTLINE schedule on PBS will also feature “fast turnaround” news reports and timely investigative stories.


The new expanded FRONTLINE will build on and increase its partnerships with journalism schools and public media institutions like the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, ProPublica, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop, among others.  These partnerships will enhance FRONTLINE’s investigative reporting resources and expand the series’ ability to develop a digital-age generation of younger and more diverse reporters, doing innovative work both online and for broadcast.

"Quality journalism has never been more important.  This grant to FRONTLINE will advance an investigative news service that will work across multiple platforms to expand its reach and service to the American people," said Pat Harrison, the President and CEO of CPB.  "FRONTLINE continues to be a resource for stations and for educators, providing information and a thorough reporting on a wide-range of topics."

“At a time when journalism is facing widespread cutbacks and reductions, when network news divisions are laying off hundreds of broadcast journalists and producers, when fewer significant news programs are being produced, we’re extremely grateful to CPB for its support of FRONTLINE’s expansion plans,” said David Fanning.  “It’s a testament to the series, its long history, and its place in American journalism.”

“FRONTLINE is a paragon of American journalism and investigative reporting,” said PBS President and CEO Paula A. Kerger. “PBS and its member stations transport citizens to wherever news happens, whether it’s onto the battlefields of Iraq or into the obscure corridors of power.  We are deeply proud that PBS has been the home of FRONTLINE for 28 seasons.  During that time, FRONTLINE has helped burnish public media’s reputation for independent, courageous journalism.  We look forward to extending the series through the summer.”

Vivian Schiller, President and CEO of NPR, said, “FRONTLINE shines a light on some of the most complex and controversial issues of our times, and we at NPR are great admirers of their deep and incisive approach. FRONTLINE’s year around presence further reinforces public broadcasting as the most important provider of independent in-depth reporting on television, radio and online.”

This is the second major journalism grant announced by CPB this year.  In March, Ms. Harrison announced a new Local Journalism Centers initiative to support in-depth reporting in markets across the country. The $10.5 million initiative will allow regional public radio and television stations to report on issues of critical importance in these regions and to share this content across a Public Media Platform for national and local broadcast and online.

“CPB is committed to independent, unbiased journalism and believes that public media can help fill a critical hole in the country at this time,” Ms. Harrison said.  “We have an obligation to ensure that in-depth international, national and local journalism thrives in the United States. It is critical to the health of our democracy.”

Visit the Frontline website here.

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