For many of its 38 years, the sober studio-interview format of the “PBS NewsHour” has served the program well, drawing viewers and corporate underwriters alike. But with a deep financing crisis forcing layoffs and other cutbacks this week, some public television employees believe that format — and a general unwillingness to embrace the digital realities facing journalism — may be jeopardizing the program’s future.
Interesting piece by Elizabeth Jensen in the Times. The genius of the “NewsHour” has always been to place long-format, thought-provoking pieces in the public square. Does the “digital reality” of today mean we have to dumb everything down?
I think there’s a definite niche for the program and that it should be preserved. I do, however, agree with the assessment that it needs permanent anchor or anchor team. Building your brand using your key personalities is important. After all, how many of us would still default to calling the program “MacNeil/Lehrer” even though there’s no longer a MacNeil or a Lehrer on it?