That's when PBS channel WNET will broadcast the final airing of its international TV news program World Focus. Full disclosure: Avuncular American is on World Focus' "Blogwatch" roll, and I'm not sure what will become of its eclectic and world-spanning collection of blogs. Like the TV program, the Blogwatch people at World Focus sought out blogs from every corner of the world.
These days, interesting websites come and go - Baghdad Burning and The Hegemonist were two excellent blogs 'til they just stopped in their tracks - with such regularity that some people might not get worked up about the loss of a TV news program. The difference being the international focus of WF, and that it was on American TV screens. American audiences have already seen the steady diminution of international coverage from the heydays of network news in the 60s and 70s, when the Big Three of CBS, NBC, and ABC fielded correspondents across the globe.
The sad announcement from World Focus explained that it was all about money: great concept, growing audience, but expensive to produce in recessional America, when all kinds of great ideas must scrounge for dwindling philanthropic resources. How many former donors were burned by Bernie, or lost it all with Lehman?
Worked up about a TV program that I don't even watch (my capacity for video streaming in a two-inch square box is limited to cute kitty videos that last 90 seconds)? No, it's especially about a lost opportunity for Americans to learn more about the world than breathless anchor coverage of Haitian disasters can provide.
Next lost opportunity to mourn: the world's ability to learn about America through sites like the New York Times, which, after an apparently unsatisfactory pay-as-you-go experience a couple of years ago, is going to give it a go again. Yes, I know that journalists have to be paid and the lights kept on, but readership will inevitably shift to those papers, like The Guardian, which plan to remain free. I love The Guardian, and it has excellent coverage of US topics through columnists like Gary Younge and Michael Tomasky. But it's a UK-based paper.
World focus, both inbound and outbound, is an activity that also needs to have its US practitioners.