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Posts Tagged ‘Bo Jones’

The ‘PBS NewsHour’ Debates Its Own Future


With the news this week that the “PBS NewsHour” would be laying off staff and reorganizing in order trim costs, the show’s future has become a hot topic of debate.

The Baltimore Sun‘s David Zurawik wrote that the “NewsHour” had become a shadow of what it once was:

“Forget the world, they couldn’t cover stories down the street in Washington on their own most nights,” Zurawik writes. “Some nights, when they tried to re-purpose a piece that had run previously by giving a new introduction, it was just plain embarrassing.”

That column drew a sharp rebuke in letters from the “NewsHour,” with Gwen Ifill, EP Kathleen McCleery and MacNeil/Lehrer Productions CEO Bo Jones, both of which the “NewsHour” posted on its own site under the headline “Is The NewsHour” Worth Saving?”

“Is it what NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and CNN produce on a nightly basis? No. And it never has been. That’s pretty much why I work here,” Ifill wrote. “We skip the stories on the pole-dancing girlfriends and the Arias-type trials. We know there are other places to go for that. But we still stick by our core mission — to provide news and information for people who choose to know more than what their home browser page can show them.”

Today, The New York TimesElizabeth Jensen weighs in. At the end of her piece, Jensen reveals some news about where the program may be headed:
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‘PBS NewsHour’ Lays Off Staff In Reorganization

The “PBS NewsHour” is laying off staff in a significant reorganization, TVNewser has learned.

According to an internal memo obtained by TVNewser, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions–which produces the “NewsHour”–will be shutting down its offices in Denver and San Francisco, eliminating nearly all the positions there. The company will also eliminate several production positions in its Washington DC office, while leaving two open senior-level roles unfilled.The “NewsHour” is also planning to save money by streamlining and digitizing its technical process.

“This difficult step comes after more than a year spent reviewing how the ‘NewsHour’ functions, and determining the streamlining necessary to address both the funding challenges (primarily a steady drop in corporate revenue) and the opportunities presented by new technologies,” wrote “NewsHour” EP Linda Winslow and MacNeil/Lehrer president Bo Jones in the memo to staff.

The changes will go into effect at the start of the new fiscal year, July 1. None of the affected staffers were named in the email, but TVNewser hears that one of those departing is San Francisco correspondent Spencer Michels, who started reporting for the program 30 years ago.

While the program will still maintain in-house crews, the “NewsHour” will rely more on freelance contributions going forward.

“Along with sending our own teams in the field, we anticipate building new relationships with a variety of locally-based freelance video journalists around the country,” Winslow wrote to staff. “Under no circumstances do we intend to abandon the mini-documentary reports that have become so critical to our broadcast. The NewsHour remains committed to delivering the same kind of in-depth reporting our viewers and supporters expect from us.”
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Bo Jones Stops in at the ‘PBS Newshour’

A day after being announced as the new president of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, Bo Jones (center) met with Robert MacNeil (left) and Jim Lehrer (right) and got a tour of the studio for the company’s PBS Newshour, which MacNeil and Lehrer co-anchored for 20 years, from 1975-1995. As we reported yesterday, Jones left the Washington Post — which he called home for the last 30 years — for the top job at MacNeil/Lehrer.

(Photo: Matt Mendelsohn)

Bo Jones Named president of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions

Former Washington Post publisher Bo Jones has been named president and CEO of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions the producer of PBS’s “Newshour”

“It is a happy day for us in public broadcasting,” said Robert MacNeil. “We welcome a man of such rich experience in journalism management to help us keep MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and the NEWSHOUR vital into the future.” “Bo Jones is the ideal person to take us where we must go,” adds Jim Lehrer.

Jones will head corporate and foundation funding for “Newshour,” coordinating relationships with all public television broadcasters while also developing documentary programs and projects.

MacNeil/Lehrer Productions is a partnership of MacNeil and Lehrer, the longtime co-anchors of the broadcast, along with Liberty Media Corporation.

(Photo Credit: Bill O’Leary/Washington Post)