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Public Television Not Pleased With Newsweek’s Brash Vulgar Style

February 13, 2012

Another reason to be proud of public television.   This is a follow-up to my post several weeks ago on this matter.

A recent spate of vulgarity in Newsweek could cost the newsmagazine some valuable partners — the public television and radio stations that offer the magazine as a gift in exchange for donations.       

Since 1991, subscriptions to Newsweek and other magazines have raised more than $375 million for public broadcasters, who pay sometimes as little as a penny per subscription, according to the Pledge Partner Magazine Premium Program. Newsweek accounts for 90 percent of the money that the program has raised since 1996, when it was first offered, said Zunk Buker, founder of Pledge Partner, which is based in New London, N.H.       

But as the content of the magazine has grown more brash in recent months after its merger with The Daily Beast — the blogger and author James McPherson documented a dozen examples of vulgarisms in the Jan. 23 issue — some public television stations have taken note.       

Bill Sanford, chief executive of Lakeland Public Television in Bemidji, Minn., told fellow station executives this month via e-mail that a major donor had complained, and that he, too, wanted his station “to offer premiums that reflect our values. Being family-friendly is one of them.” He suggested that Time or U.S. News & World Report might “fit our values better.”      

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