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PBS NewsHour is an hour-long nightly television news program known for its sober, in-depth reporting.
The program is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions in the studios of WETA in Arlington, Va. PBS distributes the program on more than 300 member stations nationwide. It ran on a $27 million annual budget as of 2011.
The NewsHour was created in 1975 as The Robert MacNeil Report and later became The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour to include the program’s co-host, Jim Lehrer. In 1995, after MacNeil retired, the program was renamed to The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer. In late 2009, the program underwent an overhaul and renamed itself again, to PBS NewsHour. Lehrer retired in 2011 but as of 2013 was reported to retain a heavy influence on the show. In 2013, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff took over as co-anchors.
The 2009 changes included a merger of the show’s television and online staff and a revamped website with more blogs and social media involvement. An anchor rotation was added to the nightly broadcasts, removing Lehrer as the sole anchor. Former CBS and ABC News reporter Hari Sreenivasan was hired as the program’s first “online and on-air correspondent.” The program also formed an international reporting partnership with the online startup GlobalPost. In announcing the changes, Lehrer reiterated the show’s guiding principles, saying they would remain unchanged. Since then, the NewsHour has been criticized for its slow adaptation to digital media.
The NewsHour launched a half-hour-long weekend edition in September 2013. The edition is based in New York rather than Arlington and is funded by the New York public television station WNET.
The program launched a free iPhone app in 2010, which includes news articles, video, and headlines from other public media outlets. NewsHour content is also available in PBS’ iPhone and iPad apps.
The NewsHour is funded primarily by corporate underwriters, which are clearly identified on its website, as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and membership dues from local PBS stations. The program has faced a severe funding shortfall in recent years, precipitated by the loss of a major corporate sponsor. It was reportedly forced to ask PBS for emergency infusions of money in early 2013. As of 2013, it had just one corporate underwriter, BNSF Railway. It made several cutbacks in 2013, closing two bureaus and making its first layoffs in nearly two decades.
The NewsHour has crowdsourced the translation of its political videos into more than 50 languages through its viewers.
Lehrer announced he would retire from anchoring in June 2011, having hosted some 8,000 broadcasts and moderated 11 presidential debates over 36 years. His was the longest run of a national news anchor.
The St. Louis Beacon was a nonprofit online news organization that covers public affairs, health issues and the arts. It existed from 2008 through 2013, when it merged with St. Louis Public Radio. The Beacon was launched in 2008 by a group of former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporters and editors. Its initial funding was provided through…