When you hear a letter written by Thomas Jefferson being read by actor Sam Waterston or see a photograph showing the intensity in the eyes of a Civil War soldier, you know you’re watching a Ken Burns documentary.
In this episode of My First Big Break, the iconic filmmaker tells the MediabistroTV crew how he channeled his feelings of humiliation into his first masterpiece on the Brooklyn Bridge and reveals how his mother’s death sparked his need to bring the dead back to life, shaping the style we know today as the “Ken Burns Effect.”
Watching a Ken Burns film is like watching the past come alive through the expert use of narration and still photographs. So how did he develop his signature style? The iconic filmmaker sits down with MediabistroTV in, “Ken Burns: My First Big Break.”
>UPDATE: Watch “Ken Burns: My First Big Break” in three weeks on MediabistroTV, Thursday, December 6.
And if superstorms on the East Coast and unseasonably warm weather on the West Coast wasn’t enough to satisfy your craving for major weather events, PBS presents an Extreme Weather Night of TV this Sunday (11/18), beginning at 7pm ET.
NOVA gets the party started with the premiere of “Inside the Megastorm” an original one-hour documentary taking viewers moment by moment through Hurricane Sandy. Then Ken Burns gives us reason to give thanks when he presents “The Dust Bowl.” Burns tells the story of the worst man-made environmental disaster in American history in a two-part, four hour documentary detailing how the convergence of a terrible drought and the scramble for the American Dream nearly changed the southern plains forever.
Legendary doc filmmaker Ken Burns is scheduled to appear at the National Archives on Wednesday morning. The reason? He has discovered information about a relative who fought in the Civil War, and is unveiling his discovery in conjunction with Ancestry.com.
Only members of the press can come to the announcement featuring Burns and NY1 News Anchor Cheryl Wills, author of Die Free, a book about her great-great-great grandfather, who escaped from slavery to fight in the war.
Wednesday will mark the first time that the digitized Civil War records will be available outside of the Archives. Members of Ancestry.com can view the records starting Wednesday, and they’ll be free to the public for one week only.
The announcement commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War on April 12, and Burns’ documentary on the war is airing on PBS all week. To attend the unveiling, contact the National Archives Public Affairs office at (202) 357-5300.
An NBC release announced, “NBC’s ‘Meet the Press with Tim Russert’ reached a ratings milestone as the nation’s No. 1 Sunday morning public affairs program, winning its 10th consecutive season among total viewers and its 14th straight season among the key demographic adults 25-54.”
ABC’s “World News” webcast launched a new page on ABCNEWS.com yesterday.
Washington Post reports, “New mom Tracey Neale thought she understood how adopting twins would change her life. She had no clue.”
A reader weighs in on The New York Times magazine on D.C., calling it “horribly juvenile, amateurish, unprofessional, offensive, way off-base, and so full dumb generalizations, stereotypes and over-simplifications that it was worse than some high school newspaper articles that I’ve read. For about the millionth time: D.C. is NOT New York and New York is not New Orleans and New Orleans is not Austin and…etc., etc. No one can compare cities, and no one can say what is ‘energy’ or what is not, and no one can just bolt into a town and make generalizations that are not true. And, what, for some period of time there were no clubs in D.C. with ‘energy,’ and, poof, all of a sudden there are? Huh? What? What a stupid, dumb article to appear in The New York Times.”
A reader weighs on in Kucinich, “Dana Milbank gets the same treatment from the Kucinich camp. this is at the end of his column last week about the event at the press club on aliens: ‘So far, however, the presidential candidates remain, well, alienated.’ Even Kucinich. ‘If you have a serious question, just ask me,; Kucinich spokeswoman Natalie Laber replied when told of the UFO crowd’s hopes for her boss. ‘If not, then just keep your silly comments to yourself.’ (Milbank skewered Kucinich earlier this year over a press event he had to impeach Cheney, I believe).
The International Reporting Project (IRP) announced “12 senior editors and producers from across the United States to participate in an intensive 11-day visit to Korea this November as part of the IRPâ€™s annual ‘Gatekeeper Editors’ fellowships. For the full list, click here. IRP also announced the three U.S. journalists awarded International Reporting Project (IRP) Fellowships for the fall 2007 program.
FishbowlNY has launched the 360 Daily Angle: “a video update of the morning’s news stories.” It’s produced and anchored by NYCTV’s Amy Palmer.
MarketWatch reports, “News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch joined heads of state from Turkey, Croatia and Timor-L’Este in condemning violence in Myanmar and called on economic prosperity as a cure for the global turmoil.”
Los Angeles Times reports, “Since the public blow-up in July between Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari over corporate governance and succession issues at their family-controlled entertainment empire, the 84-year-old chairman of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. has been on a campaign to convince the world that the feud has blown over.”
Dallas Morning News reports, “Belo Corp., owner of The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV, announced this morning that it intends to spin off its newspapers and publishing operations into a separate, publicly traded company.”
The Guardian reports, “The FT has announced a radical overhaul of the fees users must pay to access its website”
WWD.com reports, “Across the category, men’s titles are adapting to a field swept clean of most laddie magazines and men’s shopping titles, where luxury is king, and where reaching the older man is now a desirable proposition. GQ, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and Esquire, which will celebrate its 75th next year, used to be cast as stodgy by the British lad invasion, and both resorted to copying their formula of gross-out humor and barely clothed starlets.”
Bloomberg reports, “Time Warner Inc.’s AOL is poised to capture a bigger share of Internet marketing budgets as its advertising.com unit more than doubles sales to $1.3 billion in four years, a Bear Stearns Cos. analyst said.”
MarketWatch’s Jon Friedmanwrites, “If the speculation is true about you and GQ magazine, you are playing a dangerous game with the media. This time, you apparently crossed the line.”
AP reports, “Barnes & Noble.com is getting a new look. Starting Monday, the online site for the superstore chain will have a thoroughly revised home page, including a running scroll of featured releases, and a number of new offerings, including Barnes & Noble Review, a magazine that will be updated daily with reviews and interviews.”
The Charlotte Observer reports, “In an address that made the musings of Nostradamus seem rosy by comparison, a respected industry observer warned radio executives Wednesday that their industry would all but evaporate within 20 years.”
Washington Post reports, “The industry has tried to get the word out, but many consumers still aren’t getting the message: In a year and a half, millions of television screens could go dark. Not the fancy high-definition TVs or those connected to cable or satellite. But the 70 million sets relying on rooftop or ‘rabbit ears’ antennas will end up showing nothing but snow.”
PBS Ombudsman writes, “This was a big week for PBS. On Monday night, the Public Broadcasting Service won 10 ‘Emmy’ Awards in the News and Documentary category, more than any broadcast or cable television network. And the night before, the highly-touted and much-publicized series ‘The War’ by famed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns made its debut on hundreds of PBS-affiliated stations across the country. But did PBS try to make what, by any measure, was a big â€” and justifiably good — week appear even bigger? The officials here say no, but it looks to me as though they did.”
“WHYY’s Bill Marrazzo is America’s best-paid public broadcasting exec. So why does his station give Philadelphians news from Delaware, produce almost no national or local programming, and have employees who are calling for his head?” asks Philadelphia Magazine.
Washington Post’s Howard Kurtzasks, “Out-of-Town Critics Too Tough On Thompson?”
A reader wonders whether shuster got the idea to ask blackburn…from moveon.org.
Media Week reports, “For the fourth consecutive season, Fox’s American Idol is network TV’s highest priced regular series for advertisers. The cost of a 30-second unit for upcoming episodes (which begin in January 2008) is $700,000 for both the Monday and Tuesday installments of the program, according to media buying and network sources.”
New York Times’ Brian Stelterreports, “When does a television show become an event worth covering on the evening news? Lately, the answer seems to be every week — at least when the show has high ratings expectations and runs on the same network as the newscast.”
TVNewser reports, “Juan Williams, whose conversation with Bill O’Reilly on The Radio Factor has been the subject of a week’s worth of cable and print stories, has written about being brought into the fray, and being labeled a ‘happy negro.’ He writes in Time magazine that he was ‘astounded’ to hear O’Reilly was being attacked ‘on the basis of that radio conversation as a ‘racist’”
Bloomberg reports, “The British Broadcasting Corp. bought travel guidebook company Lonely Planet, gaining a catalogue of 500 travel guides from Antarctica to Zimbabwe to boost holiday coverage on television and the Web and expand outside the U.K.”
TVNewser reports, “TVNewser tipsters tell us more executive changes could be in the works at ABC News. ABC NewsOne VP Kate O’Brian is being tasked with a project to review the assignment desk. The desk is currently overseen by VP of news coverage, Mimi Gurbst. What this means for Gurbst is not yet clear. An ABC insider says O’Brian’s review should be finished in a few weeks. The insider says the review had been planned before last week’s hiring of Dave Davis as ABC News’ new #2.”
Kansas City Star reports, “The U.S. military needs to get over its fear of the media and open up, a panel of officers told newspaper pundits Friday.”
New York Times reports, “As the newspaper industry bemoans falling circulation, major papers around the country have a surprising attitude toward a lot of potential readers: Don’t bother. The big American newspapers sell about 10 percent fewer copies than they did in 2000, and while the migration of readers to the Web is usually blamed for that decline, much of it has been intentional.”
AP reports, “They speak English at the BBC, but CBS News veteran Rome Hartman still faced a language barrier when he was hired to create a newscast specifically for American viewers.”
The New York Times reports, “During the next year or so, The St. Petersburg Times plans to continue pursuing deeply reported, long-term features about such topics as Floridaâ€™s property insurance crisis, complex tax issues, public education at all levels, and wildlife and endangered species. It will balance this slate of stories against all the other bread-and-butter issues it covers everyday for its readers: politics, business, sports, community affairs, culture and more.”
NY Post reports, “The appointment of Dave Davis as ABC News’ new No. 2 has roiled staffers who believe the shuffling of the news division’s executive suite was mandated by corporate parent Disney — or more specifically Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney, sources said.”
Bloomberg reports, “New York Times Co. began a campaign to bolster awareness of NYTimes.com, less than two weeks after it stopped charging readers to access parts of the Web site of its flagship newspaper.”
PRNewsire reports, “A new survey finds that 101 million adult Americans now get most of their news from Web sites, while 35 million people rely on TV comedians and eight million individuals turn to blogs for their main source of news.”
Justin Fishel, Andy Rooney’s grandson, is FOX News’ new Pentagon producer.
Media Week reports, “Hearst Magazines is building a case that, properly done, sweepstakes can be a legitimate way to grow circulation as well as online traffic. In August, Hearstâ€™s Good Housekeeping launched the Pay Off Your Mortgage sweepstakes, which led to such an increase in traffic and sub growth (a challenge for any mature title) that the company is applying the model across its other titles.”
TVNewser reports, “Two weeks before the TV network launches, the web component of Fox Business Network is up and running.”
Market Watch reports, “Shares of Google Inc. hit an all-time high Friday, amid a flurry of upbeat news including new share rankings for the Internet-search market and an analyst’s report on ways the company may one day reach $100 billion in annual revenue.”
FT.com reports, “Online advertising spending is widely predicted to continue its strong growth even if a US economic downturn squeezes the advertising sector as a whole.”
Mediabistro.com “will mark its 10th anniversary with a gala celebration on Thursday, October 4th at The Plumm, 246 West 14th Street in New York City. To celebrate mediabistro.com’s remarkable growth over the past decade, mediabistro will honor ten individuals whose media careers have skyrocketed during the same period with Golden Boa Awards in the 10 verticals that mediabistro.com serves. Festivities will begin at 7:00 pm.” For more info, click here.
A ICFJ release announced, “Anton Kazarin, editor-in-chief of the business magazine group Delovoy Kvartal, has been named winner of the 2007 Paul Klebnikov Fund Prize for Excellence in Journalism. Kazarin will be honored at ICFJ’s Annual Awards Dinner at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., on November 13.”
AFF “announced a contest for the best college blog with a grand prize of $10,000. The purpose of the contest is to encourage original liberty-minded blogger journalism on college campuses and to identify young conservative and libertarian talent who wish to pursue careers as journalists and writers. The contest is open to all graduate and undergraduate bloggers age 25 and younger.” For more info, click here.
Poynter Online reports, “This week, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will take up the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007, sponsored by senators Arlen Specter R-Pa. and Charles E. Schumer D-N.Y. There are 10 co-sponsors from the Senate and 71 from the identical House version.”
A tipster tells us, “BBC World News America is building a new set in Washington at the moment. They are also preparing for World News Today on Oct. 1.”
A Sierra Club release announced, “A former vice president, a New York Times reporter, and a California Assemblyman who have helped raise awareness of global warming are among those receiving awards from the Sierra Club this year.” They include former Vice President Al Gore, Tom Friedman and Congressman Mike Thompson.”
Media Matters is calling on readers to contact their local papers and “help end the conservative advantage” of syndicated columnists.
The 2007 MacArthur Fellows, awarded by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, will be announced on this morning. For more information, click here.
Center for American Progress says, “Know Your Sources: The Mainstream Press Keeps Finding Wacky Immigration ‘Experts’”
“The Moving Picture Institute will host the world premiere of Indoctrinate U at the American Film Renaissance Film Festival in Washington, D.C. on Friday, September 28, 2007, at 7:30 pm ET at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Auditorium.” Tickets are available for $10 and can be purchased by calling 877-933-4730 or clicking here.
The AP reports, “An experimental online ‘mashup’ — a build-your-own Democratic presidential debate — attracted more than 1 million viewers in the past 10 days, many of them young people drawn to the interactivity of the Internet. … Yahoo, HuffingtonPost.com and Slate.com conceived the format as a way to give online viewers the ability to build a debate with video blocks of each candidate answering different questions on education, health care and the war from PBS host Charlie Rose.”
Amy Doolittle is covering transportation issues for DCist.
Hollywood Reporter reports, “With only one new non-heterosexual regular character this coming season — Bonnie Somerville’s bisexual Caitlin Dowd on ABC’s drama ‘Cashmere Mafia’ — the number of portrayals of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people on scripted network series declined for a third straight year, according to the annual ‘Where We Are on TV’ study by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.”
Guardian reports, “BBC News is to join the media stampede for integration by merging its TV, radio and online newsrooms, although the new set-up will immediately face an annual budget cut of 5% over the next five years.”
Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco writes, “Internet Company’s Headed to Big Apple, and This Columnist Is Rooting for the Suddenly Agile Giant”
Media 3.0 reports, “MySpace recently announced a deal with Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, the team behind Thirtysomething and My So-Called Life to create Quarterlife, an online show about post-college twenty-somethings. Unless it was a very slow news day, this would not be on most people’s radar — at least not until the show was a hit. However, what makes this particular press release interesting is that the producers have announced that the hour long show (which will be broken up in to segments for online viewing) will have ‘TV-level production values’ and ‘TV-level production costs.’”
New York Times reports, “Media consumers have said, loudly and repeatedly, that they want to watch what they want, when and where they want it. Last week NBC called that bluff, saying that its prime-time broadcast schedule would be there for free downloading for a week after being shown on television. In doing so, the network is leaving behind a business model that is as old as “I Love Lucy”: audiences who make appointments with their favorite shows and who then show up in numbers that open up advertisers’ wallets.”
“‘What would students do,’ one journalism researcher wondered, ‘if they got to create a media by them, for them — to create whatever they want, and not have to worry about what’s always been?’” Curious? Insider Higher Ed has the answer.
Market Watch’s John Dvorak writes, “With the recent discussions of various news organizations eliminating subscription or paid services, whether it’s Dow Jones & Co. or the New York Times Co., it might be time for shareholders to evaluate the future prospects of all the newspaper-publishing companies.”
Boston Globe reports, “Among the investments that Jim Savage, a Waltham venture capitalist, is considering is a North Carolina company introduced to him in an unorthodox way: The entrepreneur posted a comment on Savage’s blog.”
AP reports, “The social networking Web site MySpace is launching a free, advertising-supported cell phone version Monday as part of a wider bid by parent News Corp. to attract advertising for mobile Web sites.”
Media Week reports, “The Week, Felix Dennis’ tightly edited news digest, has launched a new Web site that will attempt to do every day what the magazine does on a weekly basis.”
B&C reports, “PBS is looking to avoid airing profanities ‘in the teeth’ of the Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement regime. While the commission’s crackdown on cussing has been called into question by a federal court, PBS is taking no chances, or at least fewer than it could, with Ken Burns’ documentary, The War.”
The AP reports, “Starbucks Corp. plans to give away 50 million free digital songs to customers in all of its domestic coffee houses to promote a new wireless iTunes music service that’s about to debut in select markets.”