July 10, 2008
PBS to Provide Live, Prime-Time, Gavel-to-Gavel Coverage of 2008 Democratic and GOP Conventions
ONCE AGAIN, PBS IS THE ONLY BROADCAST TELEVISION NETWORK TO FULLY COVER BOTH CONVENTIONS
PBS and The NewsHour to produce 24+ hours of high definition convention coverage from Denver and St. Paul
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, one of the nation's most honored newscasts, and PBS will present America's only complete, prime-time, network television coverage of the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Jim Lehrer, will anchor gavel-to-gavel coverage from the PBS Skybox at the Pepsi Center in Denver throughout the Democratic National Convention (Aug. 25 to 27), and also provide live coverage of the acceptance speech of presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama from Invesco Field on Thursday, Aug. 28. Lehrer and The NewsHour team will cover the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., (Sept. 1 to 4) from a skybox overlooking the convention floor within the Xcel Energy Center.
Joining Lehrer will be The NewsHour's team of seasoned senior correspondents: Gwen Ifill, Ray Suarez, Margaret Warner and Judy Woodruff. "We have one of, if not the, most experienced teams on television to bring this story in all its dimensions to our viewers," said NewsHour Executive Producer Linda Winslow. "We will deploy them throughout the proceedings to give our viewers a comprehensive look at both conventions."
In addition to the correspondents, political analysis and perspective will be provided by New York Times columnist David Brooks; syndicated columnist Mark Shields; presidential historian Michael Beschloss; Richard Norton Smith, scholar in residence at George Mason University; Peniel Joseph, professor of history and African-American studies at Brandeis University; and Andy Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, in Washington, D.C.
The NewsHour will begin coverage at 8 p.m. ET, each evening of the conventions and continue the broadcast live until the conclusion of the proceedings at approximately 11 p.m. ET.
With so many voters turning to the Internet for their news, The NewsHour will also devote extensive resources to convention coverage online, including original reporting and video footage created exclusively for the Online NewsHour. With an eye on the issues at play in battleground states, Online will capture first-hand perspectives of state delegations and other voices from the convention floor, as well as the unique perspectives of the NewsHour's senior correspondents and guests. The Online NewsHour will post video, audio and other multimedia reports as well as allow site users to ask questions of experts and correspondents. Editors will also be publishing photos on the NewsHour's Flickr account, updating the NewsHour Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute observations and collaborate with NPR to constantly update an NPR/NewsHour/PBS interactive election map. While PBS convention coverage will be interspersed with analysis, interviews and commentary, The NewsHour will focus its coverage on podium activities to provide viewers with a real sense of what is going on inside the convention halls.
"This is a most-important presidential election," said Jim Lehrer, executive editor and anchor of The NewsHour. "Much is at stake. We see it as our duty to bring viewers as much of the convention experience as possible, so they can hear and see first hand what the political parties and the candidates represent."
"This has been the most exciting presidential campaign in recent memory and we will be there to let viewers see how the process plays itself out," added Linda Winslow. "The mission of PBS and of The NewsHour is public service. We remain solidly committed to enabling all Americans to see how the political parties define themselves as the nation moves one step closer to selecting a President."
This commitment to complete coverage and intelligent, insightful analysis led Television Week to describe PBS' 2004 convention coverage as "an oasis of sanity and responsibility on the broadcast dial," and to claim that "the need for PBS as an alternative to commercial broadcast outlets has never been more glaring." (Television Week Pressroom, editorial: "Networks Cavalier about Democracy," August 2, 2004)
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer is seen five nights a week on more than 315 PBS stations across the country (check local listings) and is also available online, via public radio in select markets and via podcast. The program is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, in association with WETA, Washington, D.C., and Thirteen/WNET in New York. Corporate funding for The NewsHour is provided by Chevron and Pacific Life, along with major funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.
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Contact: Anne Bell 703-998-2175.