PBS has decided to expand its anchor newscast “Newshour” to weekends starting this Saturday and Sunday, and its anchor says don’t worry if you’re not home to watch it.
“Of course we’d love to have everyone tune in at 6,” says Hari Sreenivasan. “But we recognize that realistically, that’s not going to happen.”
Rather, he says, “Weekend NewsHour” is looking for an aggregate audience: some viewers who watch live, some who tape it for later viewing and some who watch feature segments as much as 48 hours earlier.
“Social media has changed the role of evening newscasts,” says Sreenivasan, who worked at NBC, ABC and CBS before coming to PBS in 2009. “We’re no longer the place you go to see something first.
“Whenever some major event happens now, you can find it within minutes on social media. If an evening newscast tries to enter that race, we will lose.”
But that does not make evening newscasts obsolete, he says. Quite the contrary.
“We have so many more sources of information today, and that’s good,” he says. “But that makes the news a more complicated thing. How do you sort it all out?
“People trust ‘NewsHour’ to do that.”
“Weekend NewsHour” will also have its own online and social media presence.
Some of the feature material, the longer pieces that put a continuing story into perspective, will be posted on the website as early as Thursday or Friday.
With other stories, “NewsHour” will follow the popular practice of posting longer versions online.
“I’m optimistic,” says Sreenivasan. “I think there’s a real appetite for this.”