PBS NewsHour had a major update in 2013. It introduced the first all-female anchor team, refreshed its website and added a weekend program. How will it change in the next 12 months? Longtime PBS correspondent Spencer Michels shares the long view with Fresh Dialogues and asks a key question:
"What can we put on the air that will get people to watch?"
But perhaps he should be saying "on the air" and "online"? After all, that's where the growth opportunities are.
Michels describes how the media landscape has changed dramatically since he became a journalist 50 years ago. After working for PBS NewsHour as a national correspondent for 30 years, he was laid off last year during a major cost cutting exercise (although he still freelances for the program).
As weekend anchor Hari Sreenivasan recently explained to Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, "facts are expensive." That is, doing in-depth, intelligent journalism doesn't come cheap, especially in the Bay Area.
But PBS NewsHour may have found one answer to the plunge in television viewers and that's PBS Digital Studio's new online show, Everything but the News, the brainchild of Steve Goldbloom and Noah Pink.
It's a tongue-in-cheek, behind-the-scenes look at the work of a PBS NewsHour correspondent. The low-budget, goofy juxtaposition between Goldbloom and his demanding (fake) PBS NewsHour producer, Jordan Smith, is downright hilarious at times. "On air" introductions by (real) news anchors Judy Woodruff, Gwen Ifill and Hari Sreenivasan lend gravitas to the whole endeavor. The NewsHour hopes it will help to capture the exodus of its audience from television to online streaming and grab more younger viewers in the process. So far, it looks like a winning formula.
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