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Posts Tagged ‘Gwen Ifill’

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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Inauguration 2013: PBS Coverage Plans

PBS will broadcast a special daytime edition of “NewsHour” Monday to cover President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. Gwen Ifill and Jeffrey Brown will anchor beginning at 11amET. They will be joined by syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks, as well as presidential historians Richard Norton Smith, Beverly Gage and Anette Gordon-Reed.

Online, PBS will have coverage of the day’s events with a live stream and a live blog, as well as several online features.

More in the PBS press release, after the jump. Read more

The Programming Ticker: CNN, PBS, ID

  • One month after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, Anderson Cooper will anchor a special AC360° “United in Newtown,” tonight at 8pmET. Country superstar Kenny Chesney recorded a special version of “Amazing Grace” for AC360°, which premiers on the show.

  • Next month PBS devotes an entire week to gun violence in America called “After Newtown.” “Frontline,” “Need to Know,” “Nova,” “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill,” and “PBS Newshour” will offer special reports during the week of February 18.

  • MSNBC’s Tamron Hall will be working overtime on another network. NBC’s Peacock Productions will produce “Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall” for Investigation Discovery. The show promises to go beyond the headlines of a crime to explore what happened and how it was investigated. The 13-part series premieres on ID in the fall.

PBS’ Election Night Plans

Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will anchor PBS’ election coverage on Tuesday night from 8pm-midnight. The pair will be joined by “NewsHour” analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks, and Jeffrey Brown will talk about national trends with political editor Christina Bellantoni and Stuart Rothenberg. Hari Sreeivasan will man the “NewsHour” digital map center.

Senior correspondents Ray Suarez and Margaret Warner will report from the candidates’ respective campaign headquarters in Chicago and Boston. “NewsHour” will also feature comprehensive election coverage on its website, which will transition to a special election day homepage with a live blog dedicated to campaign news.

More details after the jump. Read more

Charlie Rose Meets the Press, a Lot of Them, in Post-Debate Show

If you’re looking for the most ecumenical post-debate coverage tonight, check out Charlie Rose‘s PBS show. The “CBS This Morning” co-anchor is up late with a live debate wrap up with guests spanning many TV networks and publications, including:

Chuck Todd, NBC News
John Dickerson, CBS News
Martha Raddatz, ABC News
Gwen Ifill, PBS Newshour
Mark Halperin, Time Magazine
John Heilemann, New York Magazine
Tina Brown, Newsweek/ Daily Beast
Albert Hunt, Bloomberg News

Where to Watch the Final Presidential Debate

Tonight is the third and final Presidential debate of this election cycle. CBS’ Bob Schieffer moderates at Lynn University in Boca Raton. Here’s a round up of what the cable and broadcast networks have planned…

Scott Pelley anchors on CBS from 9-11pmET. With Schieffer moderating, certain CBS programs — including yesterday’s “Face the Nation” and today’s “CBS This Morning” — originate from Florida. Pelley will be joined by Major Garrett of National Journal and Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg, among others.

ABC’s coverage kicks off at 9pmET with Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos anchoring. They will be joined during the two-hour broadcast by VP debate moderator Martha Raddatz, Christiane Amanpour, Jake Tapper, David Muir and Jonathan Karl.

Brian Williams anchors on NBC from 9pm-11pmET. Williams will be joined by David Gregory, Savannah Guthrie, Tom Brokaw, Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell and Richard Haass.

PBS’ coverage runs from 9-11pmET, with Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff anchoring and political editor Christina Bellantoni contributing.

Plans for the cable networks after after the jump. Read more

MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry: ‘The point of doing this show is not about the ratings’

MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry is the subject of this week’s “So What Do You Do?” column. In addition to noting her media idols (Bill Moyers, Gwen Ifill, Rachel Maddow) and her guilty TV pleasures (“House Hunters,” “Parks and Recreation”), Harris-Perry told us about how the show is produced, and whether ratings play a role.

Having a show with your name on it makes you a brand. Who decides the direction of the show, and how do you balance the network’s desire for ratings with your own vision?
I have never once had someone from this network come to me and have a conversation about ratings, good or bad. No one. Maybe they’re talking to my executive producer, and that’s completely possible. But none of them have ever walked in here and said, “You know what? You cannot do that because of the ratings” or “Please do that more because of the ratings.” I will say that I have been completely clear, to the point of being fanatical, that my staff is not to share with me ratings information. I don’t ever want to know because, for me, the point of doing this show is not about the ratings. But I can tell when it’s not been a good weekend just by looking at the staff the next week. It’s kind of like after President Obama had that bad showing in the debates, like you just know that nobody was walking around happy in [Obama campaign quarters] OFA 2012. So, I can kind of tell if I had a week that wasn’t great because people are kind of down but, if I had a week that’s great, people are in there bouncing around.

Read the entire interview, here.

Where to Watch the Second Presidential Debate

Tonight’s Presidential debate, moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley, will be held at Hofstra University at 9pmET. Here’s a round-up of what the broadcast and cable networks have planned.

On ABC News, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will anchor coverage from 9pm-11pmET. They will be joined by Jake Tapper, David Muir and Jon Karl. “Nightline” will be live at 11:35pmET, and ABC News will stream the debate online.

CBS News will also be live from 9pm-11pmET with Scott Pelley at the anchor desk. The network’s post-debate coverage will feature a poll of approximately 500 uncommitted voters around the nation.

Brian Williams will anchor from 9pm-11pmET on NBC News in New York City. He will be joined by David Gregory, Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd and Tom Brokaw. Andrea Mitchell will lead the network’s “Truth Squad” fact-check team.

PBS is live from 9-11pmET. Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill will anchor coverage, and political editor Christina Bellantoni will be on hand to report on social media reactions to the debate.

Fox News Channel’s Shepard Smith will anchor on Fox Broadcasting beginning at 9pmET.

Plans for the cable networks are after the jump. Read more

Ifill And Woodruff To Anchor ‘PBS NewsHour’ Debate Coverage

Presidential debate coverage for “PBS NewsHour” will be led by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, and will be joined by analysts Mark Shields, David Brooks and political editor Christina Bellantoni. “Newshour’”s coverage will run from 9-11 PM ET.

Tonight’s debate is a particularly big one for “NewsHour,” as Jim Lehrer will be serving as moderator. “NewsHour” will also be streaming the debate live on its website, alongside blog posts offering additional analysis.

More information after the jump.

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