Notes on the Media

Judges amenable to Courtroom cameras

Opponents of the longstanding ban on cameras and radio equipment in federal courts are pleased by a report showing that federal judges were favorably impressed after allowing such coverage on a limited basis.

Federal judges in courts participating in the three-year, six-state experiment that began in 1991 generally said cameras have had little effect.

Some judges remain opposed, though: ``The basic purpose of TV is to entertain,'' the report quotes one judge as saying. ``TV producers will take trials and make them into entertainment....'' Public TV must change, officials say

Viewership is down, funding is off, and the prospect of 500 cable channels threatens to destroy public television if it doesn't change dramatically, public-TV officials say.

``Television today is at the end of an era,'' says Richard Carlson, president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Public TV cannot compete technologically with deep-pocketed media conglomerates, according to Robert Ottenhoff, president of the Public Broadcasting Service. The men spoke at a closed-door planning session.

But the unique programming that public TV has provided for 25 years can survive, they say, if the network and local stations revamp the system to stress programming instead of distribution.

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