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Recapping a Year of Growth, Innovation as PBS NewsHour Turns 1

January 21, 2011 at 6:15 PM EST
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Many of you have asked how the relaunched PBS NewsHour is doing now that we've celebrated our first birthday. The short answer is: very well. Simon Marks, president of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, recently recapped the past year of our evolution for TV critics' in Los Angeles. Here's a look at how we've changed on-air and online.
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KWAME HOLMAN: And, finally, many of you have asked how the relaunched PBS NewsHour”is doing, now that we have celebrated our first birthday. The short answer is, very well.

Simon Marks, president of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, recently prepared a more detailed answer for a TV critics’ meeting in Los Angeles, and we have posted it on our Web site.

Here’s an excerpt.

SIMON MARKS, president, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions: It was just over a year ago that the PBS NewsHour was officially launched…

GWEN IFILL: On the PBS NewsHour tonight…

SIMON MARKS: … a new broadcast and a new website, a completely fresh iteration of MacNeil/Lehrer journalism that date backs to the 1970s.

JIM LEHRER: People who are interested in serious new, the kind of serious news we provide, I don’t care if they get that news on a pink iPod or something sticking in their ear or anywhere else, as long as they get the information.

SIMON MARKS: Viewers of the program on PBS now find a livelier format, a rotating team of anchors, more taped reports from the field, and the addition of new on-air staff to engage the NewsHour’s audience.

Political editor David Chalian, formerly of ABC News:

DAVID CHALIAN: This is a critical bloc this election season.

SIMON MARKS: Science correspondent Miles O’Brien, a veteran of CNN:

MILES O’BRIEN: Looking at Leonardo, it’s easy to forget what’s behind him.

SIMON MARKS: And Hari Sreenivasan, formerly of CBS, who serves as the bridge between the nightly broadcast…

HARI SREENIVASAN: … WikiLeaks has faced growing pressure…

SIMON MARKS: … and its digital platform.

HARI SREENIVASAN: I’m Hari Sreenivasan. I’m joined, through the magic of the Internet and laptops…

SIMON MARKS: Those digital platforms have dramatically expanded over the past year.

On the website itself, the NewsHour’s focused reporting beats now produced dedicated topic pages. They present enhanced, deeper multimedia coverage of major stories in areas that include politics, science, business, health, and the arts.

New interactive widgets like this one developed by the NewsHour’s digital team reached millions of people worldwide who wanted to track the extent of the Gulf oil spill.

The NewsHour’s iPhone app launched in the summer delivers content to a growing number of younger, tech-savvy users. So does the NewsHour’s YouTube channel, which now regularly delivers NewsHour video streams to as many viewers as PBS’ own website.

KWAME HOLMAN: You can watch the entire presentation online. That and more is on our website, NewsHour.PBS.org.