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Current is a youth-oriented cable television network and website co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore.
The network airs original news and entertainment programming with a heavy emphasis on viewer participation, including Vanguard, a documentary series produced by young journalists. It was described as “MTV without the music” at its launch in August 2005.
Current’s distribution has grown to include cable and satellite providers that reach 60 million American households, as well as providers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Italy.
Until a format change in 2009, Current aired short features called “pods,” many of them created by viewers and voted up by users of current.com. After Gore and co-founder Joel Hyatt reportedly tried and failed to sell the company, Current underwent an overhaul, laying off 80 staff members, canceling some programs, and introducing traditional 30- to 60-minute time slots.
In April 2011, after severing his contract with MSNBC, Keith Olbermann announced he would take his news and opinion program, Countdown, to Current TV. Olbermann was named the network’s chief news officer. He was fired in March 2012.
Cable giant Comcast Corp., which owns MSNBC, also owns a 10 percent stake of Current’s parent company, Current Media.
The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism is a nonprofit investigative news organization affiliated with the University of Iowa. The center was launched in spring 2010 by University of Iowa professor Stephen Berry and doctoral student Robert Gutsche Jr. It was initially staffed by students and interns working for free, though its leaders have plans…