NewsHour gets $3.5 million from Gates Foundation

Here’s an excerpt from the press release from the well known weeknight news program:

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer announced today that public broadcaster WETA, its co-producer, has received a three-year, $3.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish a dedicated NewsHour production unit to report on important global health issues….

The Gates Foundation grant will enable The NewsHour to significantly expand its broadcast and online coverage of major global health issues affecting developing nations, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, measles and neglected diseases. The NewsHour will also report on how global health challenges are being addressed from both scientific and public policy perspectives.

Over the three-year life of the grant, NewsHour correspondents will travel around the world to produce approximately 40-50 documentary style reports on major global health issues. These reports will air on The NewsHour’s daily PBS broadcast and will be distributed via The NewsHour’s digital platforms, along with original web-based global health content. The NewsHour will also launch a targeted outreach effort to put its reporting in front of policymakers, scientists, medical professionals and others in the global health community.

I spoke to NewsHour’s communications chief, Rob Flynn:

Q: Who decides what the news is?

A: We have complete and final control.

Q: Are you obliged to report on health issues that the foundation is interested in?

Is PC the new black? Ask Microsoft

im-a-pc.jpgLook out nerdy-cool Apple guy, the empire is striking back. And it’s got Eva Longoria Parker, Tony Parker, Pharrell Williams and Deepak Chopra on its side.

Microsoft is launching (another) new commercial campaign Thursday night. It takes aim at Apple’s “Mac vs. PC” campaign that has portrayed personal computers running Windows as clunky and uncool.

The commercial starts with a real-life Windows engineer who looks eerily similar to John Hodgman (the comedian who plays the role of “PC” in Apple’s commercials), saying “I’m a PC and I’ve been made into a stereotype.” After that is a montage of celebs and normal folk, saying “I’m a PC.”   Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, along with the aforementioned celebrities, makes an appearance in the ad.

Yahoo! Yahoo gets a makeover

yahoo1.jpg Yahoo is about to make a radical change to its home page — mostly trying to make it a more personal experience. It begins testing the page, on a small basis, today, Reuters reports.

For any of you out there who get a chance to play around with it, let us know what you think.

For the moment, here’s what were looking at…

The new home page relies on slick personalization technology that allows users who have signed into their Yahoo account to see when new information arrives not just on Yahoo sites, like e-mail or news, but off-Yahoo on sites such as eBay Inc’s auctions or Google Inc’s Gmail service.

Microsoft’s Bert and Ernie

bertandernie.jpgBill Gates’ retirement from Microsoft Corp was an opportunity for him and Chief Executive Steve Ballmer to espouse on their decades-long partnership. Here are some excerpts from their Town Hall meeting with Microsoft employees on Friday.

On how they met:

Gates : Steve and I were both at Harvard and I was in this dorm up at Radcliffe where the kind of anti-social math types hung out … I was energetic and had ideas. There was a guy who would hang out with me who also knew Steve and he kept saying “There is this other guy who is super energetic like you and he’s a neat guy.” So … we went out to the movies together. I think we saw right away that, even though we are different in some ways, we had a lot in common and from that day forward, we brainstormed about our dreams, what we wanted to do and that was fantastic.

Ballmer: So we went out to see this movie. It was a double bill. ‘Singing in the Rain,’ which is my favorite movie ever. I’ve seen it now 30 times … We come back from the movie and we’re dancing, playing Gene Kelly and some guy wrestles me to the ground. Bill is trying to beat him away. It was really a weird kind of place.

Microsoft, the $250 billion underdog

Microsoft may be the behemoth monster 800-pound gorilla of software, whose Windows and Office products are nothing short of Golden Gooses. Or Geese. Or whatever.Video: Bill Gates last day at Microsoft

But it’s interesting to hear how its leaders view themselves. To hear Chief Executive Steve Ballmer talk about Microsoft, you might think it is still the underdog startup it was 33 years ago when Bill Gates and Paul Allen started the company . Or the sapling it was when Ballmer joined in 1980.

People are underestimating Microsoft. Yes, we make mistakes, but we come back and learn from those things.