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Martin Miller is stepping down from his post as president of New England Public Media.

Miller started at UMass-licensed WFCR in 1995 as the station’s general manager. In the next 26 years, his operation grew into a Western Mass public media network.

David Stewart Home Gets / Creative Commons

Many of us subscribe to a few (or many) newsletters of our favorite writers and thinkers. Newsletters have become a great way for journalists and others to dive deep into less covered topics and engage directly with their readers in ways not always possible in the mainstream media ecosystem.

The platform Substack is making it easy for them. The subscription-based model offers writers more editorial control and the ability to offer free content and earn a sustainable salary at a time when public trust in media is low, local news is thinning and media content is often driven by social-media algorithms.

Ajay Suresh / Creative Commons

Fox News broadcast the first episode of Greg Gutfeld's new late-night show, Gutfeld!, earlier this month. They're betting that Gutfeld can turn his talk show format into a successful late-night comedy show for conservatives. The problem is that conservatives don't do political satire any better than liberals do opinion talk radio.

Dannagal Young believes that opinion talk is political satire for the right and political satire is opinion programming for the left. They serve the same purpose; both formats are responses to a lack of trust in mainstream media. Which one appeals to each of us depends less on how "smart" we are and more on how we process information.

Photo by Victoria Will, illustration by John Gibson

Hear about the 5000 year history of billboards, and meet the man behind the “I LOVE YOU JESUS” billboards on I-84 and I-91 here in Connecticut.  And hear about a technology that focuses the audio of a billboard directly to you and only you.  Plus, why one Baltimore resident chose to propose to his girlfriend with a billboard (and how it went).

Sage Ross / Creative Commons

The Hartford Courant is America’s oldest continuously published newspaper. But the proposed acquisition of the paper’s parent company Tribune Publishing by hedge fund Alden Global Capital has reporters worried about the newspaper’s future.

This hour, we look at the future of the Courant.  In a changing world, how will newspapers and other media companies survive?

Tony Webster

A number of media critics gave poor grades to reporters questioning President Biden at his first formal press conference last week. Is there a disconnect between what the media cares about, such as the filibuster and the 2024 election, and what people care about?

Ben Novak / Revive and Restore

The U.S. is about to surpass 500,000 deaths from COVID-19. That said, new cases are declining, hospitalizations and deaths are trending down, and vaccination rates are picking up, though inequities remain. We talk vaccines, variants, messaging, and more.

Also this hour: A new study finds that House members who hold extreme views receive far more airtime on cable and broadcast news than their moderate counterparts. Changes in the media have incentivized elected officials such as Marjorie Taylor Greene to build a national brand at the expense of legislating for their local constituents.

Last, welcome to Elizabeth Ann, a baby black-footed ferret cloned from Willa, who died more than 30 years ago.

We had trouble mustering enthusiasm to wrap up our final episode of this second season of Pardon Me. Last week's roller coaster of a trial culminated in 43 senators choosing to acquit on a weak and deceptive defense -- despite a factual and painstaking accounting of how bad the breach was, how bad it might have been, and how Donald Trump incited it.

Sage Ross / Creative Commons

A hedge fund will purchase the parent company of Connecticut’s Hartford Courant, the nation’s oldest continuously published newspaper.

Alden Global Capital is poised to take complete ownership of Tribune Publishing and most of its subsidiaries, including the Courant, New York Daily News and Chicago Tribune. The deal will not become official until shareholders agree to the purchase.

Ninian Reid / Fox News / Zuma Wire

As of Monday morning, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are still working out the details for the Senate impeachment trial scheduled to begin this Tuesday, February 9. Forty-five senators say it's not constitutional. Conservative lawyer Charles Cooper says it is. We talk to Connecticut U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal on impeachment, intelligence, and more. 

Paul Sableman / Creative Commons

Some say the press continues to portray the Republican Party as a "mainstream, center-right entity," long after their words and deeds reflect something more ominous. Is the media failing to convey the extreme behavior of the GOP out of fear they will be accused of liberal bias? It's not the first time the media has been accused of bias or been too slow to see something for what it is instead of what they want it to be.

Also this hour: Five members of former President Trump's impeachment team departed Saturday, a little over a week before the Senate trial is set to begin on February 9. On Sunday, Trump hired lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. to take over. Will they be ready by next week?

Pxhere

In a world where falsehoods sometimes come directly from our elected officials, how do we spot “disinformation" when we see it? 

This hour, what’s the science behind uncovering “fake news?”

ESPN

Broadcast sports giant ESPN is telling employees that pandemic-related layoffs are coming. In a company memo sent to NPR, Jimmy Pitaro, chairman, ESPN and sports content, revealed that 300 people would lose their jobs. He also said 200 open positions will be eliminated.

Phillip Pessar / flickr creative commons

The one thing we knew for sure was that by the time we got to today, yesterday would be over.

And it is.

And we don't quite know what actually happened yet.

Updated at 7:52 p.m. ET

Quibi, the mobile-first streaming service to specialize in original shows with short five to 10-minute-long episodes, is shutting down its business operations and selling its assets little more than 6 months after launching, according to a statement released by the company.

It was an abrupt ending for a company founded by big names in entertainment and business worlds and seemed poised, at one point, to reinvent the streaming TV game.

VHS Will Not Die

Sep 9, 2020
Carlos Mejia / Connecticut Public Radio

Tracking, rewinding, ejecting, collecting -- VHS broke ground in home entertainment like never before. The culture of VHS and its enormous best friend, the VCR, were kings of consumer media for decades. Despite the last VCR and VHS being manufactured just four years ago, videotapes are still consumed, collected, and in some cases, sold(!) across the country. But why?

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Who would have guessed a face mask would become the latest cultural symbol of our identity, one more way to express our politics, our sense of style, and our deepest beliefs in what it means to be American.

On December 13, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend two articles of impeachment against President Trump, and the full House of Representatives adopted them on December 18. On February 5, 2020, the Senate acquitted the president on both articles.

Going by those dates, the full, official impeachment saga lasted 54 days.

Our side-project, Saturday-show chronicling of the impeachment, Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?), launched on December 6, 2019. 11 episodes and 12 hours of radio later, Pardon Me has come to its close.

This hour, in lieu of a proper Colin McEnroe Show, and continuing the Presidents' Day weekend festivities, we present the final installment of Pardon Me.

Four Department of Justice prosecutors working on the case of Roger Stone, a close friend of President Trump, withdrew from legal proceedings Tuesday after Attorney General William Barr overruled their sentencing recommendations. The president had complained about the long sentence.

Barr denied that President Trump asked him to intervene and claimed he wouldn't be "bullied or influenced by anybody." He said Thursday that the president should stop tweeting about DOJ criminal cases. The president took to Twitter Friday to say he has the "legal right." Shortly therafter, the DOJ dropped their probe into former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Before you think this is more than theater, keep in mind that Barr also set up a process to vet information that Rudy Giuliani is gathering in Ukraine. And he tasked prosecutors to review the case of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

What is real is no longer a question for philosophers alone. In today's world, it's a question we all contend with on a daily basis. Online, on television, in print and in public discourse, facts, feelings, and flat-out lies all share the same stage.

Unclimatechange / Creative Commons

The Atlantic writer McKay Coppins says President Trump's reelection team is waging a massive disinformation campaign that uses the same tactics of information warfare used by autocrats like Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and by Russian President Vladimir Putin in our 2016 election.

kaboompics.com

Yale University is among the recipients of new grants from the Knight Foundation to fund research into the impact of technology on democracy. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

 

Veteran radio reporter and editor John Dankosky is leaving Connecticut Public, the organization announced Monday. 

Dankosky, who has worked at the company for 25 years and is the executive editor of the New England News Collaborative, has taken a voluntary separation option offered to longtime employees.

VHS Will Not Die

Aug 20, 2019
Carlos Mejia / Connecticut Public Radio

Tracking, rewinding, ejecting, collecting - VHS broke ground in home entertainment like never before. The culture of VHS and its enormous best friend, the VCR, were kings of consumer media for decades. Despite the last VCR and VHS being manufactured just three years ago, videotapes are still consumed, collected, and in some cases, sold(!) across the country. But why?

Connecticut Public in Hartford, Connecticut.
Heather Brandon / NEPR

Connecticut Public, the entity that operates Connecticut Public Television and WNPR radio, is offering voluntary buyouts to some longtime employees. 

The Truth About Lies

May 29, 2019
Mike Roberts / Flickr Creative Commons

Laszlo Ratesic is a nineteen-year veteran of the Speculative Service. He lives in the Golden State, the only place left in what was once America. Laszlo's job is to bring the worst criminals to justice, those who tell lies. In his new novel, Ben Winters creates a world which might sound Eden-esque in our era of misinformation. 

VHS Will Not Die

May 16, 2019
Carlos Mejia / Connecticut Public

Tracking, rewinding, ejecting, collecting - VHS broke ground in home entertainment like never before. The culture of VHS and its enormous best friend, the VCR, were kings of consumer media for decades. Despite the last VCR and VHS being manufactured just three years ago, videotapes are still consumed, collected, and in some cases, sold(!) across the country. But why?

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

State Attorney General William Tong says his office has diagnosed an aggressive cancer eating away at America's healthcare system.

According to Tong, it's triggered by scheming executives at many of the largest pharmaceutical companies illegally working together to artificially inflate the cost of generic drugs. Forty-three other states are joining the effort spearheaded by Connecticut's AG to litigate drugmakers into a court-ordered treatment plan.

Melanie and Kyle Elliott / Creative Commons

NPR has a new theme song. The new theme is much like the old theme with new embellishments created by a "sonic studio" instead of one artist and a "creative director" instead of a composer or arranger. After 40 years, is it time to update or do you miss the old song?

Lets Eat Grandma!

May 1, 2019
Danielle Blumenthal / Flickr Creative Commons

Who would have thought that a book on grammar would be #5 on Amazon's best-seller list? (Should that be "whom" would have thought? Should I write out the number five? Should it be "bestseller?" Ugh. I can't remember if the exclamation goes inside or outside the quotation mark in the sentence I just asked myself.)

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