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‘Worldfocus’ Ending Run

worldfocus_3-5.jpgBreaking: TVNewser has learned that the public television newscast “Worldfocus” is being canceled. Staffers were informed of the news by Neal Shapiro, President and CEO of WNET.ORG, at 3pm this afternoon.

The program is the latest victim of a tough economy.

“We demonstrated that there is a demand for international news but we had the misfortune of launching a brand new program into the teeth of the recession,” Shapiro said in a statement. Shapiro said that the organization had raised significant funds, but was a a few million dollars short of what was needed, long-term. “Given the economic environment we now face, it is not prudent to continue the broadcast at this time. It is not an easy decision but it is the right decision.”

A spokesperson tells us WNET is working to find other positions for the “Worldfocus” staff within the organization. WNET was already preparing to launch a new, multi-platform PBS series, “Need to Know” in May.

“Worldfocus” launched on October 6, 2008, and was first anchored by Martin Savidge, then Daljit Dhaliwal. It is produced by WNET in New York. The final broadcast will be April 2nd.

More: Statement from Shapiro and press release after the jump.


STATEMENT FROM NEAL SHAPIRO, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF WNET.ORG ABOUT THE END OF WORLDFOCUS BROADCAST

I regret to announce that our nightly international news broadcast Worldfocus will end its run on April 2, 2010.

We are unhappy that the program will be ending but we are also proud that Worldfocus has been an important laboratory for us during these past two years. In a very short time, we have created an entirely new digital production process that is more economical and more efficient; we have brought a wide range of diverse voices to our viewers by cultivating reporters and analysts from around the world and we brought a new generation of adult viewers to public television.

We demonstrated that there is a demand for international news but we had the misfortune of launching a brand new program into the teeth of the recession. Success in the news business is often attributed to being in the right place at the right time; we were in the right place at the wrong time.

Nonetheless, we managed to raise a substantial portion of the required funding but found ourselves a few million dollars short of what we need to sustain the program on air for the long term. Given the economic environment we now face, it is not prudent to continue the broadcast at this time. It is not an easy decision but it is the right decision.

Worldfocus has been a fertile testing ground that has pointed the way forward in a rapidly changing media environment.

I’m proud of the contribution it has made to television journalism during its short time on the air. I thank the stations that supported it and I commend my colleagues, staff and the fantastic team of reporters and producers who worked so hard to meet the highest journalistic standards of public television.

International News Series Worldfocus To End Broadcasts On Public Television

Resources From Nightly Newscast To Be Channeled To New Current Affairs Series, Need To Know, Launching in May on PBS

New York—March 5, 2010—Worldfocus, the weeknightly international newscast, will end its run on public television on April 2, 2010.

“Of course, we are unhappy that the program will be ending but we are also proud that Worldfocus has been an important laboratory for us during these past two years,” said Neal Shapiro, President and CEO of WNET.ORG. “In a very short time, we have created an entirely new digital production process that is more economical and more efficient; we have brought a wide range of diverse voices to our viewers by cultivating reporters and analysts from around the world and we brought a new generation of adult viewers to public television.”

“We demonstrated that there is a demand for international news but we had the misfortune of launching a brand new program into the teeth of the recession,” Shapiro said. “Success in the news business is often attributed to being in the right place at the right time; we were in the right place at the wrong time.”

“Nonetheless, we managed to raise a substantial portion of the required funding but found ourselves a few million dollars short of what we need to sustain the program on air for the long term,” Shapiro added. “Given the economic environment we now face, it is not prudent to continue the broadcast at this time. It is not an easy decision but it is the right decision.”

Shapiro added that some of the producing techniques and innovative coverage concepts pioneered on Worldfocus will be rolled into Need to Know, a next-generation current affairs series that will be the centerpiece of the PBS initiative to reinvent public media journalism for the digital era. Resources from the series will also be channeled into Need to Know, which will premiere on PBS and PBS.org in May.

Launched to fill a gap in international news coverage on American television, Worldfocus became one of the fastest-growing series in public television history. Debuting on October 6, 2008 in 25 of the top 30 markets, Worldfocus achieved 88% coverage in top 30 markets and 81% coverage in the top 75 markets. The series was anchored in its first year by Martin Savidge. In August, 2009, Daljit Dhaliwal took over the anchor chair with Savidge becoming a special correspondent.

In its short time on the air, Worldfocus was honored with multiple awards, including a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award and two Emmy nominations.

Worldfocus is distributed by American Public Television and generously funded in part by Rosalind P. Walter, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, James and Merryl Tisch, the Estates of Helen and Sam Roseman, the Estate of Warren D. Paley, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman, the Estate of Lakshmi Bulusu, Alejandro Santo Domingo, Josh and Judy Weston.

“Worldfocus has been a fertile testing ground that has pointed the way forward in a rapidly changing media environment,” Shapiro said. “I’m proud of the contribution it has made to television journalism during its short time on the air. I thank the stations that supported it and I commend my colleagues, staff and the fantastic team of reporters and producers who worked so hard to meet the highest journalistic standards of public television.”

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