PBS Layoffs: NewsHour to Make Some Cuts Amid Lost Corporate RevenueBy: Josh Wolford - June 12, 2013
PBS’s nearly four decade-old nightly newscast is about to face some serious cuts.
The New York Times reports that an internal memo from PBS NewsHour’s executive producer Linda Winslow indicates that the show’s producer, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, will be closing two offices and laying off most of their employees at those locations.
The two offices that will take the hit are located in San Francisco and Denver. PBS NewsHour‘s main office in Washington will also see some cuts – the elimination of “noncritical production positions.”
Apparently, the cuts come as the show loses support from its corporate sponsors.
PBS currently lists AT&T, BNSF Railway, and BP as corporate sponsors. They also have a couple dozen foundation funders.
PBS NewsHour first launched back in 1975 as The Robert MacNeil Report. It later went through a couple other name changes, including The MacNeil/Lehrer Report, The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. It’s been called PBS NewsHour since December of 2009.
That name change in 2009 came with a big push toward a unification of traditional and online content. The show switched to a dual-anchor format and PBS NewsHour merged their on-air and online operations and integrated its reporting teams.
PBS NewsHour is notable as one of the only hour-long nightly newscasts on American television. The format is also unlike most of what you see on TV – more in-depth coverage and longer segments. PBS NewsHour is also seen internationally, in the U.K., Australia, Japan, and parts of the Middle East.
“[A]long 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. Under no circumstances do we intend to abandon the minidocumentary 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,” said Winslow in the memo.