A 'Cry for Help' Heard

April 27th, 2009

from: Edie Magnus, Executive Producer, Cry For Help

This all started pretty simply: we were touched by a story. In this case it was a story heard round the world: the slaughter at Virginia Tech. Almost immediately the reports began to circulate: the perpetrator had been diagnosed with mental illness, there’d been signs of his violent fantasies, but nobody had put the troubled pieces of his life together in time. Very soon after that we learned that for every young person like him who takes the lives of others, there are exponentially more who take their own lives. Again, there are often signs of mental illness. But the signs go unrecognized, and the pain goes untreated, and with their lives frayed in so many ways, many adolescents, as one doctor aptly put it, “get the short end of the stick” as they go through life. The troubling statistics mentioned throughout Cry for Help tell it all. There’s an enormous chasm between what we (adults) understand about their lives, and what they’re actually going through. (more…)

The first environmental TV series and Green Thirteen

April 22nd, 2009

from: Robin Edgerton, editor, Thirteen.org

We wanted to do special for Earth Day here at THIRTEEN, so we looked for the biggest fish we could find: the first environmental tv series, Our Vanishing Wilderness which was produced for THIRTEEN back when we were NET, National Educational Television. We’ve also started a new mini-site, Green Thirteen, where we’ll be putting environmental content both new and old, both print and video.

Our Vanishing Wilderness

It starts with a book. Husband and wife team the Grossmans (Shelly was a nature photographer, Mary Louise a nature writer) published it in 1969. It has the air of a textbook, a coffee table book, and a natural history all in one. Also titled Our Vanishing Wilderness, it examined some of the threats to the natural environment, particularly in the US. (It must have been fairly popular, because used copies are common). In transferring to television, the production team made the material more political and particularly topical, yet still beautifully filmed. (more…)

An Animated Forecast From Janice Huff

April 22nd, 2009

from: Neal Shapiro, President & CEO, WNET.org

I’m a big fan of the weather forecast. And that’s due to Janice Huff – the terrific meteorologist at New York’s NBC affiliate, Channel 4. Back when I was President of NBC News, Janice and I were colleagues, and I’m happy to report we’re working together again. Well, in a manner of speaking . . . Actually, it’s Janice Huff – the animated version – who has been appearing on our hit kids series, Cyberchase. (more…)

Pirate Musings

April 22nd, 2009

from: Jared Lipworth, Executive Producer, Secrets of the Dead, on Blackbeard’s Lost Ship

There’s been a lot of talk about pirates these last few months, and other than brave action by an American captain and a remarkable effort by three elite Navy snipers, little of it has been good. It amazes me that in this day and age, with all our high-tech monitoring, weaponry and vessels, the world’s shipping infrastructure can be held hostage by a bunch of terrorists in tiny boats.

What’s even more strange is that we look at today’s pirates as evil, lawless villains, yet we’ve somehow come to glorify and mythologize the pirates of the past, even calling their heyday the “golden age” of piracy. (more…)

The City Concealed: The United Palace Theater

April 21st, 2009

Q&A with: Josh Cohen, producer for The City Concealed

The most recent installment of The City Concealed is about uptown’s United Palace Theater, designed by movie palace architect Thomas W. Lamb, in Cohen’s words: “It’s sort of Neo-Classical Cambodian, with influences of Hindu, Mayan, and Moorish architecture. Gilded and covered in red velvet.”

Why did you choose this theater? Is it the best one in NYC? Is it the best one you’ve seen? (more…)

PBS Engage Calls for Comments on an Upcoming Study about our Information Landscape

April 21st, 2009

We need your input!

In today’s media environment – with so many newspapers cutting back on editorial staff, and online media becoming more ever-present each day – do you have the information you need to accomplish your personal goals and to be an effective citizen?

The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy and PBS Engage have teamed up to explore the issues around each citizen’s information needs, and would like to hear from you between now and May 8, 2009. (more…)

Special note to CT, NJ and PA basic cable Comcast subscribers

April 21st, 2009

In certain viewing areas of NJ and NY (near Philadelphia for THIRTEEN; also northern NJ and in the Hudson Valley, NY for WLIW) and in Connecticut (near Hartford), Comcast basic cable has moved THIRTEEN and WLIW21 to its digital tier. Some viewers will need a special set-top converter box from Comcast in order to continue receiving THIRTEEN and WLIW21 with their cable service. Comcast will provide this box at no cost for 12 months. Please call 1-800-COMCAST for more information.<!–

The new THIRTEEN.org: So what do you think?

April 17th, 2009

from: Robin Edgerton, editor, THIRTEEN.org

It was almost exactly a year ago – April 15, 2008 – that our last redesign of THIRTEEN.org launched. A year later, we have a better picture of how you use our site, and have adapted a new design we hope will suit you even better.

More content!
Every day, we have more and more of our broadcast programs online, in full, and in high video quality, for you to watch any time. Our new design emphasizes getting you to these easily. For instance:
• For Nature‘s 2008-9 season, most of the episodes are, or will be, streaming in full.
Great Performances, for the first time, put their season opener, the fantastic King Lear with Ian McKellen, online.
• From Wide Angle’s Focal Point series to our own The City Concealed (about rarely seen spaces in NYC), we have more and more online original video projects all the time that you can only see here.
• We’re also digging deeper our archives. Before we were Thirteen, we were NET, National Educational Television. We presented some pioneering programs in the history of public broadcasting, and we want to share them with you. Besides our “Broadcasting While Black” project about early black-identity TV (which has some programs you can watch), we will be releasing the 1970 environmental series “Our Vanishing Wilderness” back into the wild (i.e. streaming online, in full), next week, along with Green Thirteen, a site that links to our environmental programs and articles.

New Inside Thirteen
To keep track of new initiatives, new programs, further information, and behind-the-scenes p.o.v.s, our revamped Inside Thirteen engages the whole team behind THIRTEEN and WNET.org to bring you perspectives and info on the station and our presentations.

And yes, it still will be the voice of our president, Neal Shapiro, but the blog’s circle of contributors expands to include our producers, reporters, and other contributors, as well as being a repository for announcements of all kinds, from kids’ events in NYC, to upcoming broadcast projects, and all manner of other information.

And lastly, we have more SOUL!
You asked, and we’re in accord: 3 new (old!) episodes of SOUL!, WNET’s stunning showcase for black music and culture of the late ’60s – early ’70s. All three episodes date to 1972. Taj Mahal, Cicely Tyson, David ‘Fathead’ Newman, and many more guests. Check them out now!

So what do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Q&A: Worldfocus producer Megan Thompson on Liberia today

April 17th, 2009

For Worldfocus’ signature series, “Liberia’s Long Road Back”, producers Lynn Sherr and Megan Thompson recently went to Liberia to track the current conditions of the country, 5 years after their brutal civil wars ended. With the influence of President Ellen Sirleaf, the reconstruction has prominent roles for women.

Stories in the series (watch now):
Women’s movement transforms post-war Liberia
Liberia, “America’s stepchild,” searches for own identity
Former child soldiers, sex slaves recover from Liberia’s war
Liberian women occupy front lines of war on sexual violence

All of the questions pertain to these reports from Sherr and Thompson. (more…)

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