New TV and online video content to rate digital tools

Maryland Public Television and Ashburn Media Company to launch “Daily Download” starting February 2012, with support from Knight Foundation

March 7, 2012 — New, interactive programming will create a series of video reviews that will help users determine which websites and online tools for covering news and public affairs are effective and credible.

The Daily Download, which premiered in February, will feature an on-air component hosted by Howard Kurtz, Washington bureau chief for Newsweek and Daily Beast and host of CNN’s Reliable Sources, and by Lauren Ashburn, president of Ashburn Media and former managing editor for USA Today and Gannett Broadcasting.  Maryland Public Television will make the program available to other public television stations nationwide.

“There are an overwhelming number of new digital media tools available, and both news producers and consumers need help sorting through this space,” said Michael Maness, vice president for Journalism and Media Innovation at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which is providing $230,000 in support for the project.

Maryland Public Television will provide editorial oversight and distribution services for the project, which includes a new website and a broadcast “Daily Download” interstitial for public television station use.

“MPT is pleased to partner with AMC and Knight Foundation to provide a guide to the digital world as part of our public service mission,” said Faith E. Wachter, Director of Community Outreach Initiatives at Maryland Public Television.

“We are excited about the opportunity to help viewers cut through the fog of information on the web,” says Ashburn.  “We want to explore the ways in which news organizations are reinventing themselves and help people find the inventions and interact with them.”

Written content and videos will also appear in the media innovation vertical of www.daily-download.com, a new multi-media, multi-platform editorial venture created by AMC.  The project will be accessible via tweets and social networking sites, promoting online engagement.

About Maryland Public Television

Launched in 1969 and headquartered in Owings Mills, Maryland, Maryland Public Television is a nonprofit, state-licensed public television network and member of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).  MPT’s six transmitters cover Maryland plus portions of contiguous states and the District of Columbia.  Frequent winner of regional Emmy® awards, MPT creates local, regional, and national television shows.  Info:  www.mpt.org

About Ashburn Media Company

Ashburn media is a Washington, D.C.-based producer of online and television content.   Its founder, Lauren Ashburn, is a 20-year veteran journalist and former managing editor for USA Today and Gannett Broadcasting.  Info:  http://www.ashburnmediaco.com

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.  Info:  http://www.knightfoundation.org.

Contacts:

Faith E. Wachter, Director of Community Outreach Initiatives, Maryland Public Television, 410-581-4031, fwachter@mpt.org

Lauren Ashburn, President, Ashburn Media Company, 202-617-0016, lauren@ashburnmediaco.com

Andrew Sherry, Vice President/Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, media@knightfoundation.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.