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Brooklyn College film students network with WNET.ORG and HBO

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

By Daniel T. Allen, Community Engagement Coordinator, Friends of Thirteen, Inc.

The Friends of THIRTEEN is a nonprofit organization of volunteers who act as liaisons between THIRTEEN and the community to: INCREASE engagement with the station’s quality programming; PROMOTE use of its innovative educational resources; and EXPAND support for public media as one of our nation’s great cultural resources. For more information about Friends please contact Executive Director Dorothy Pacella at 212.560.2800 or Pacella@thirteen.org.

On December 7th, WNET.ORG’s Director of Business Development Rich Siegmeister joined Greg Rhem, Director of Documentary Acquisitions at HBO, in speaking to a group of 40 Brooklyn College film students about how to build a career in today’s film and media industry.

WNET.ORG's Rich Siegmeister and HBO's Greg Rhem chat with CUNY film students.
Photo Credit: Daniel Cowen

“Perspectives on Film Careers,” a panel discussion, was co-hosted by the CUNY Film Festival (CUFF), the Brooklyn College Film Society and Friends of Thirteen.

CUFF founder Daniel Cowen began the evening by introducing his vision for a citywide community of student filmmakers collaborating on various projects. “There are 440,000 students in the CUNY system, we should all be working together,” he said.

Cowen said he would eventually like to see the CUNY Film Festival mushroom into a CUNY Film Fund that would help student filmmakers finance their projects.

During the discussion, Siegmeister and Rhem stressed that while the task of breaking into the business may seem daunting, their own career paths show that there are many alternatives.
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Video: Matisyahu on "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly"

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Watch Matisyahu perform “Thunder” and “On Nature”:

Matthew Miller, better known by his stage name Matisyahu, burst on the music scene in 2004 and soon gained critical acclaim with a Grammy-nomination and two gold albums for his reggae-inspired music. This week, Kim Lawton of Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly sits down with Matisyahu to talk about the continuing evolution of his music and his spiritual journey, from being raised in a non-religious home to becoming an orthodox Hasidic Jew. Matisyahu’s music has also become more mainstream. His hit single “One Day” is featured in NBC’s ad campaign for the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Please visit the Religion & Ethics Newsweekly website for Kim Lawton’s full interview with Matisyahu.

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Q&A: "New York on the Clock" Goes to a Bris

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Philip Sherman has performed over 20,000 circumcisions. In addition to performing the bris ceremony, he’s the cantor at Congregation Shearith Israel in the Upper West Side, also known as The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, New York City’s oldest synagogue. Daniel Ross of “New York on the Clock” joined him for a bris he performed in Lawrence, Long Island. Watch the film now. Inside THIRTEEN spoke with Ross about Philip Sherman and his unique profession.

Q. So why did Philip Sherman pick up this specialty? I mean, who’s a kid and thinks, “Hey, when I grow up I want to perform circumcisions?”

Philip Sherman’s father performed Philip’s bris, and he in turn performed the bris ceremony for his sons when he became a father. As you see in the piece, Mr. Sherman is a very pious man, and believes deeply in the traditions of Judaism, and that carrying them on is a responsibility from which he is not exempt. It’s tough to go deeper than that. I wasn’t there to challenge Mr. Sherman’s beliefs, and to go any further would’ve required asking questions that, at least for this piece, may not have been necessary/respectful/appropriate.

Q. What compelled you to pick Philip Sherman as the subject of this film?

Our executive producer had heard there was a mohel who ran a Web site called eMohel.com. At first it seemed kind of funny. We think of ‘e’ or ‘i’ camel case words like ‘eMohel’ more in terms of consumer goods/mundane things like the iPod. But when you think about it, advertising online is pretty commonplace/necessary. It would be weird if he didn’t have a Web site.

Q. So was it challenging to film a bris ceremony? Were people OK that you were there, filming a religious ceremony?

Yes, it was a challenge. We had some ground rules from the family and the rabbi: no naked baby, and no interviews with the family. We also wanted to be respectful of the ritual, so we kept our camera behind the audience seated in the pews. Most of the footage was shot from distance with the tops of heads entering the lower third of the frame.

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Q&A: Jim Lehrer on the launch of "PBS NewsHour"

Friday, December 4th, 2009


PBS NewsHour premieres Monday, December 7 at 7pm on THIRTEEN

This week sees a flurry of changes at The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer — the broadcast program and website are relaunching as the PBS NewsHour. NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer previews the changes to the program in the video below, and answers questions about what these changes mean to the way NewsHour does business.

Jim Lehrer

Q. How does the new PBS NewsHour fit into what you and Robert MacNeil originally envisioned?
The goal of “MacNeil Lehrer journalism” has always been to give our audience the news beyond the headlines – more in-depth reporting, thought-provoking analysis, engaging newsmaker interviews and more international news.

We plan to continue that mission, only expand it. Originally, the program was created to supplement the evening network news programs. Now, each week night we will be a key on air and online destination for a deeper dive into the most important news of the day presented in a thoughtful and objective way. Our goal is to be THE source for the best journalism available anywhere, anytime – on line, on air, morning, noon or night.

Q. So, why change? And why change now?
The explosive growth of cable news, the internet and a 24-hour news cycle has led to huge changes in the media industry. Newspapers are going out of business, blogs and talks shows proliferate. Serious news is on the decline. Our change is a coordinated response from The NewsHour and PBS to lead the way in providing Americans with the serious news and information they need. We have both an opportunity and an obligation to respond.

The new program title reflects our expanded mission — to be the hub of public affairs programming on PBS. In addition to our own reporting, the PBS NewsHour will showcase the best reporting in public television both online and on air.

Q. What will viewers see that’s different?
Our correspondents will be more prominent. Each night one of them will co-anchor the program with me. They will also report more, especially from the field.

Plus, we will introduce a new member of the team who will deliver the daily news headlines on the NewsHour broadcast AND provide online news updates throughout the day. This correspondent is just one example of our attempt to create a seamless connection between the web site and the broadcast.

By taking greater advantage of the Online NewsHour web site, we will be more responsive and more versatile. You know, we’re fortunate to have a really talented team of journalists. They have a wealth of knowledge and skills. Our expanded operation means viewers will be able to see more of what they have to offer.
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THIRTEEN and The New York Society Library Host Author Series Events

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

by Sara Elliott Holliday
The New York Society Library

Watch Caroline Alexander speak about her book 'The War That Killed Achilles' in Thirteen FORUM

THIRTEEN and The New York Society Library have four to six Author Series events a year since 1997. The lectures are created with the Patrons of these two institutions in mind, cultivating a large base of literate and socially conscious New Yorkers who make a focused and stimulating audience for the speakers.

Most Author Series events focus on recently published nonfiction books, plus the occasional novel. Speakers include both established authors, like Caroline Alexander, and people notable for varied accomplishments, such as Renée Fleming. Other past speakers include Benita Eisler, Shirley Hazzard, Walter Isaacson, Erica Jong, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Wendy Wasserstein, Robert A. Caro, Tom Wolfe, Dr. James Orbinski, and Bill Moyers. Topics have covered everything from the history of Manhattan (Russell Shorto, 2005) to the genocide in Rwanda (Paul Rusesabagina, 2007).

Audience members appreciate the chance to hear and meet an author they’ve enjoyed or gain a little education on a new subject. They don’t hesitate to ask demanding questions or even to disagree with the speaker; sometimes the question-and-answer session goes on for almost as long as the lecture.

Caroline Alexander’s event on The War That Killed Achilles was a particularly ideal one because it combined the classic of classics, Homer’s Iliad, with a trenchant application of its message to contemporary warfare. It is revealing to see how relevant Homer’s sense of tragedy is to today’s conflicts across the globe. The evening was also enriched by the beautiful voice of Simon Prebble, reading of the death of Hector.

For twelve years the Author Series has brought together recently published authors and appreciative audiences, and we are enjoying another excellent season in 2009-2010.

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What Do You Think? Troop Surge to Afghanistan

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

In a televised address at West Point last night, President Obama laid out a plan to send 30,000 more American troops to Afghanistan in early 2010, and begin a troop pullout in July of 2011. Listen or read the president’s speech. What do you think of the President’s plan?

[poll id=5]

For more coverage of Afghanistan, visit Worldfocus and WIDE ANGLE.

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Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Center

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

By Daniel Allen, Community Engagement Coordinator, Friends of Thirteen

THIRTEEN volunteers, staff members, Cyberchase star Digit and Macaulay Honors College students bring holiday cheer to Lincoln Center.

Season’s Greetings! Last night, a group of volunteers, WNET.ORG staff, Macaulay Honors College students and Cyberchase celebrity Digit took to the streets outside of the THIRTEEN and WLIW21 Studio for Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Center, a holiday festival that included a tree lighting ceremony, live entertainment, food tastings, in-store activities and shopping around and about the colorful and vibrant neighborhood.

At the event, volunteers handed out over 2500 goodie bags stuffed with CD and DVD premiums, a THIRTEEN program guide and other treats like a Cyberchase pencil. Staff members answered questions about the station and asked folks to sign up for a raffle of other THIRTEEN give-aways.

For me, the best part was overhearing the reactions of passersby, not to mention seeing the excitement of children’s interactions with Digit. “Man, I love this, I LOVE this,” said one man after getting his gift bag. And a teenage girl: “I have a problem, I think I watch too much PBS.”

While it was great to see so many people carrying bags emblazoned with the THIRTEEN and WLIW21 logos, the most important part of last night was that people were talking about us. Many were unaware of the new studio but were very excited to hear more about it.

Sara Sanders, a Macaulay Honors College freshman at CUNY Baruch College had this to say about Winter’s Eve:

“The experience was very exhilarating. I helped pass out free gifts to many New Yorkers and appreciated meeting different residents of the neighborhood. I attended the festival last year and enjoyed it, but this year I had an entirely new experience. It was nice spreading the word of a company who provides great public media for the nation. The staff was also really friendly and helpful. Overall, it was a great experience and I highly recommend anyone to volunteer for THIRTEEN in the future!”

As our anticipation for the new studio builds, we hope that the community will share in that excitement. People love THIRTEEN, we can’t wait to show that we love them back!

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Video: Preview "Ed Sullivan’s Rock and Roll Classics – The 60s"

Friday, November 27th, 2009

“Ed Sullivan’s Rock and Roll Classics – The 60s” airs Sunday November 29 at 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN

From the late 1940s ’til the early 1970s, millions of viewers of all ages saw great musical acts each Sunday night on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Watch classic song performances from 1963-1968. From the Beatles’ American television debut to the Doors’ infamous one-time-only appearance to the Rolling Stones, Sly and the Family Stone, the Mamas and the Papas and more, the special focuses exclusively on full-length music performances that evoke the spirit of that decade’s youth movement.

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Video: Preview "Sinatra at Carnegie Hall"

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

“Sinatra at Carnegie Hall” airs Saturday, November 28 at 9:30 p.m.

In 1980, Frank Sinatra performed a two-week engagement at Carnegie Hall, which at the time set a record for the venue by selling out each show in just one day. The performances followed the release of that year’s Trilogy, Sinatra’s ambitious triple-album comeback that featured “New York, New York.” This concert was recorded on June 25, 1980.

Watch Frank Sinatra perform “The Lady is a Tramp” from that concert.

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Video: Q&A with Niall Ferguson, Host of "The Ascent of Money"

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

If you missed the live Q&A with Niall Ferguson, the host of the Emmy® Award-winning series “The Ascent of Money”, watch it now.

This exclusive event was made possible by T. Rowe Price.

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