|December 2, 2008|
|Bill & Melinda Gates Deliver Ray of Hope in Bad News Environment|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|News has not been good of late. Terrorists spread horror over the Thanksgiving holiday, killing nearly 200 people in Mumbai. That slaughter raises the tension between nuclear-armed powers India and Pakistan.|
On the homefront, crazed shoppers stampeded a Long Island Wal-Mart "associate" to death in what has apparently become a “Black Friday” ritual.
Things are even grim on the New York sports scene as the Knickerbockers slate a showdown with reluctant warrior Stephon “Starbury” Marbury. Meanwhile, Giants receiver Plaxico Burress decided to shoot himself in the thigh during a fun-filled night at a Big Apple nightspot. [The Plaxico-less Giants still managed to steamroll the Redskins. The Broncos however shot down the streaking Jets.]
Things are off to a bad start this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tanked today after sleepy scholars at the National Bureau of Economic Research woke up to report that “Yes, America, you are in a recession.” They trace the downturn’s beginning to last December, begging the question: “Are we currently at the beginning of a rebound?" Stay tuned for the next economic bulletin 12 months from now.
That NBER report put an end to the Obama rally. The market was up 17 percent since my Nov. 21 blog, pleading with Obama to get off his duff and start talking about how he can’t wait to tackle the economic woes. Keep on reading, Mr. President-elect.
With all the downer news, it was refreshing to receive a release just minutes ago from the good people at “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.” Public broadcaster Washington, D.C.’s WETA, which co-produces NewsHour with New York’s Thirteen/WNET, has just received a $3.5M grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
That windfall means NewsHour correspondents will have funding to produce up to 50 documentaries on major global health issues during the life of the three-year grant. Imagine the world of good that may arise from those stories. The NewsHour will also report about how global health challenges are being addressed from both scientific and public policy perspectives, according to its release.
The Gates gift is a ringing endorsement to NewsHour, a stalwart among the mainstream or “old media.” It will be well spent. Bill and Melinda know there is plenty of life in the MSM despite current fixations about things like Twitter, which did win some accolades for its 140-character, including spaces, snippets about the horror in Mumbai.
NewsHour staffer Anne Bell tells me in addition to the Gates grant, the program has recently received funds from Atlantic Philanthropies ($1.3 million for general operating funds) and the Sloan Foundation ($900,000 for one year for coverage of economics.) Current corporate sponsors are Pacific Life, Vestas, Chevron and Grant Thornton.
Long live NewsHour and the sainted Lehrer. Keep those in-depth reports coming.
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