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Storm clouds gather at PBS NewsHour

Monday, November 7, 2011

imageThe NYT ticks off a fast-forming list of headaches for the venerable PBS nightly newscast, not least of which is that San Ramon-based Chevron, the show’s main corporate underwriter, is pulling up stakes at the end of the year. Chevron accounts for $2 million of NewsHour’s $27 million annual budget.
Among other issues:
  • The Knight Foundation, which helped underwrite the show’s website, has declined to provide more support.
  • Its political editor (David Chalian) and managing editor for digital news (Maureen Hoch) are both leaving.
  • Longtime anchor Jim Lehrer, who has an ancillary role, may leave entirely at the end of the year.
  • Some PBS member stations are grumbling that the show’s scheme of rotating anchors is confusing.
  • And, last but not least, viewership is down 11 percent from a year ago.
Noted: On the bright side, at least, in Chevron’s case, viewers won’t be subjected to those obnoxious pseudo-environmental “We’ve got to get on this now” commercial spots.
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