PBS NewsHour Announces Launch of PBS NewsHour West at ASU’s Cronkite School

ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

PBS NewsHour, the national nightly newscast known for its in-depth exploration of the day’s most critical issues, is opening a western news bureau at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication under a new partnership with Arizona State University.

PBS NewsHour West, made possible with the generous support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, will allow NewsHour’s nightly broadcast to better serve audiences in the West and online, and to continue its expansion into a 24/7 news operation.

“As news cycles continue shrinking and America’s appetite for fair, contextual and trustworthy reporting intensifies, PBS NewsHour West at ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism will allow us to better serve our audiences across platforms and time zones,” said Sara Just, the program’s executive producer who also serves as a WETA senior vice president. “With a team located at the Cronkite School and Arizona PBS, we will have an ideal perch from which to better cover the important issues in the West with alacrity and insight and serve our West Coast audiences even better.”

Cronkite School Dean and Arizona PBS CEO Christopher Callahan added, “PBS NewsHour has a long history of setting the standard for broadcast journalism. We are honored to be a part of this great partnership, and we look forward to helping NewsHour deliver critical news coverage to communities in the western United States and sharing western stories with audiences across the country.”

Callahan said the new partnership will more deeply connect Cronkite to one of its most important professional partners. Over the past year, students in Cronkite News, the student-staffed, faculty-led news division of Arizona PBS, have produced in-depth packages that have been broadcast on the NewsHour.

Under the new partnership, the connections between Cronkite News and NewsHour will deepen, and the new Howard Center for Investigative Journalism will work collaboratively with NewsHour on national investigations, Callahan said.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our students while, at the same time, giving us the opportunity to help provide deeper and more nuanced news coverage of the issues most critical to the West,” he said.

The PBS NewsHour West team will consist of up to six people, including a correspondent who will serve as West Coast anchor.

Judy Woodruff, the winner of ASU’s 2017 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, who has more than four decades of reporting experience at PBS, CNN and NBC, will continue to serve as NewsHour managing editor and primary anchor of the nightly broadcast.

When news warrants, the PBS NewsHour West team will update PBS NewsHour’s 6 p.m. Eastern time zone broadcast for West Coast audiences also carried in some cities as late broadcasts on radio, television and streaming platforms.

“Through strategic investments, CPB is working to strengthen and expand public media’s local, regional and national journalism capacity,” said Pat Harrison, CPB President and CEO. “With CPB’s funding for the establishment of a western bureau, PBS NewsHour will be able to better serve audiences with late-breaking news and cover stories of western importance with greater depth across all platforms.”

Several factors played into the PBS NewsHour’s decision to open PBS NewsHour West at ASU, Just said. The university, with its pre-eminent journalism program, is committed to public broadcasting and serves as the home to Arizona PBS. The bureau also will allow NewsHour to work more closely with PBS stations and other media partners on the West Coast, where more than 20 percent of NewsHour’s audience resides.

Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA, the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital and producer of PBS NewsHour, added, “The launch of PBS NewsHour West is part of our unwavering commitment to excellence in journalism. This collaboration with ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism broadens our reach and provides extraordinary learning opportunities for new journalists as well.”

Under the leadership of Just, who joined as executive producer in September 2014 after more than 25 years at ABC News, PBS NewsHour has seen growth and expansion across platforms. At 1.14 million viewers per minute, PBS NewsHour’s nightly broadcast audience for the 2017-2018 television season (October 2017 – September 2018) was up 34 percent compared to the 2013-2014 television season. NewsHour’s website in 2018 reached 52 million users, up nearly 40 percent compared to 2015. With an eye for continued growth and reach across platforms, Just announced in September 2018 the move to expand and transform PBS NewsHour online with the addition of nine new full-time digital positions.

In the decade since ASU President Michael M. Crow made the Cronkite School an independent college and moved it from ASU’s Tempe campus to downtown Phoenix, the school has established itself as one of the country’s top professional journalism programs. Housed in a $71 million, six-story state-of-the-art facility, the Cronkite School has four television studios and more than a dozen professional immersion programs in which students receive real-world experiences under the guidance of faculty comprised of award-winning journalists and world-class media scholars.

Arizona PBS, which is part of the Cronkite School, serves as the hub for the school’s professional programs, which includes Cronkite News, a multiplatform news operation with bureaus in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., as well as a local nightly newscast.

About PBS NewsHour
PBS NewsHour is a production of NewsHour Productions LLC, a wholly owned non-profit subsidiary of WETA Washington in association with WNET in New York. Major funding for PBS NewsHour is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers. Major corporate funding is provided by American Cruise Lines, Babbel, BNSF and Consumer Cellular, with additional support from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Lemelson Foundation, National Science Foundation, Skoll Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Friends of the NewsHour and others. More information on PBS NewsHour is available at www.pbs.org/newshour. On social media, visit PBS NewsHour on Facebook or follow @NewsHour on Twitter.

About WETA
WETA Washington, D.C., is one of the largest producing stations of new content for public television in the United States. WETA productions and co-productions include PBS NewsHour, Washington Week, The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize, The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns and scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. The WETA studios and administrative offices are located in Arlington, Virginia. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org. On social media, visit www.facebook.com/wetatvfm on Facebook or follow @WETAtvfm on Twitter.

About PBS
PBS, with nearly 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 100 million people through television and nearly 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a new 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services. More information about CPB is available at www.cpb.org.

About Arizona State University
Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American Research University, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

About the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
The Cronkite School at Arizona State University is widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier professional journalism programs. The school’s 2,000 students regularly lead the country in national journalism competitions. Cronkite’s full-immersion professional programs give students opportunities to practice what they’ve learned in real-world settings under the guidance of professionals.

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