Federal Agency Sharply Cuts PBS Funding, Shifts Money Into New Areas NY Times

The National Endowment for the Arts sharply cut grants to PBS yesterday, instead awarding big support for the first time to various mobile, Web and gaming projects, reports The New York Times' Elizabeth Jensen.

“Live From Lincoln Center" was one of the PBS programs that received a significant cut, with the program receiving no funding this year after it received $100,000 last year, the story says. "Great Performances" and "American Masters" each received $50,000, compared with $400,000 each a year earlier, the piece adds.

"[F]or us this is a huge impact, and we have to scramble and try to fill the gap,” said Paula Kerger, the president and chief executive of PBS. She called the decision "disappointing."

Other programs receiving less funding include "The PBS NewsHour," which received half of its year-earlier funding; "Independent Lens"; and "POV," the story notes.

The reason for the cuts was shifting ways that consumers want content, said Alyce Myatt, the endowment’s media arts director. "[W]e also know we have a generation -- not of kids but adults -- who are consuming content online and on mobile," she said.

“In particular, she said, the endowment hopes to encourage a public media sector for gaming,” the story adds. “Among the projects the endowment financed were a University of Southern California video game that uses the writings of Henry David Thoreau; Power Poetry, from Odysseus Group of New York City, which encourages youths to write poems via texting; the Flea Theater’s production of a play using interactive technology; and Spelman College’s ‘HERadventure,’ an augmented reality computer game featuring a superheroine.”