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Lauren Elkanich

OPB Statement on "Pension Peril"

OPB | Feb. 13, 2014 4:58 p.m.

 We are aware of the questions raised about the Pension Peril series, produced by WNET/New York with funding provided by The Arnold Foundation.  One or more stories from the series were included by WNET in the PBS NewsHour Weekend program that they produce and which OPB broadcasts.
 
For OPB and for all of public broadcasting, it is important to ensure that funders do not influence editorial decisions in the programs they support. We are seeking assurance from WNET that there hasn’t been any improper influence in this case.
 
OPB works hard to maintain its editorial independence and the trust of its audience. We believe that diversity in funding sources coupled with transparent disclosure of those sources contributes to editorial independence and trust.
 
WNET/New York has issued a statement in response to the issues raised, which you can see here:  http://www.thirteen.org/topic/announcements/wnet-statement-regarding-pension-initiative/).
 
Our view is that while the Arnold Foundation was listed as a funder of PBS NewsHour Weekend, WNET should also have clearly disclosed the foundation’s specific funding of the Pension Peril series.
 
OPB has also requested that the PBS Ombudsman review the stories broadcast and the underlying funding relationships.

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