User Guide: How to Watch PBS NewsHour Coverage of the DNC

BY News Desk  September 3, 2012 at 7:29 PM EDT


Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff report from the PBS NewsHour Skybox in Tampa, Fla., during the Republican National Convention.

NewsHour political journalists Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill will continue their history-making coverage of this year’s political conventions with a four-hour special report each night of the Democratic National Convention.

From Sept. 4-6, Ifill and Woodruff — the first all-woman anchor team to cover the conventions for a national network — will bring PBS viewers gavel-to-gavel coverage from the PBS Skybox in Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena. The live special will begin Tuesday and Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. EST — and Thursday at 8 p.m. EST — and continue through the end of each night’s speeches, around 11 p.m.

NewsHour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan will extend the coverage online via the NewsHour’s interactive digital map center and “NewsHour All Hours” — a 24-hour livestream on five different channels that offers viewers an “all-access pass” to the convention.


As with the team’s coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, PBS special broadcast coverage of the DNC will be interspersed with analysis, interviews and commentary, including:

  • Shields & Brooks: Political analysis from NewsHour regulars, syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

  • Reports from the Convention Floor: Senior correspondent Ray Suarez will have live dispatches from the convention floors throughout the evening broadcasts.

  • Political Analysis: NewsHour Political Editor Christina Bellantoni offers perspective and analysis on key developments at the conventions, with occasional appearances by Nathan Gonzales from the Rothenberg Political Report.

  • Historians: Presidential historians Richard Norton Smith and Michael Beschloss will provide historical context of the candidates’ acceptance speeches on the final night of each convention.

  • By the Numbers: Andy Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, explores data to provide insight on what motivates each party’s activists and how voters identify with the parties; he’ll drill down into the demographic shifts in the country that have changed the parties and voters’ identification with them.

  • Listen to Me: The PBS NewsHour showcases the voices of American voters through its year-long “Listen to Me” project, giving citizens from California to Virginia a chance to express their concerns and discuss top issues driving them to the polls.

  • The Daily Buzz: Political Editor Christina Bellantoni reports on how the politics of the conventions are being viewed online and what’s buzzing on Twitter before the convention each day.

  • Spanish Language: PBS NewsHour convention broadcast coverage will include a livestream channel for Spanish speakers.

  • Digital Map Center: The Map Center shows electoral map data and other demographics. Using Mozilla Popcorn.js and open web tools, the Map Center will enable home viewers to follow along with the broadcast in real-time, on a tablet or other secondary device, and is fully embeddable.

“The conventions have traditionally been PBS NewsHour’s time to shine during the election season and this year is no exception,” said Executive Producer Linda Winslow. “Viewers know we respect their intelligence and that when lawmakers and candidates approach the podium, we’re going to step out of the way and let them see and hear the speeches for themselves. Between speeches, viewers count on our seasoned team of journalists, led by Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill, to home in on the issues and get explanations in interviews with party leaders, delegates and the candidates or their representatives.”

“PBS NewsHour’s multi-platform approach will give the public the most up-close and engaging convention coverage available on air and online,” said Paula Kerger, PBS President and CEO. “With news that is trusted, in-depth and independent, our PBS Election 2012 coverage will provide the latest election information whenever and wherever consumers want it.”

Online, livestream coverage will include five channels, powered by Ustream, featuring additional coverage such as:

  • The Political Checklist: Each morning, Political Editor Christina Bellantoni will debrief co-anchors Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill about the nightly convention agenda and hear their take on political news and events.

  • Noon Update: Each day at noon, Hari Sreenivasan will host a live update on convention events of the day, including official business, delegate meetings, and activities outside the hall, such as demonstrations and protests.

  • Behind-the-scenes-access: An area cam showing the convention floors, a workspace camera showing writers, politicians and booths, and a “hatcam” will provide viewers up-close perspectives of the convention from all angles. Follow the hatcam’s travels on the NewsHour’s livestream, as well as on Twitter by following #hatcam.

  • Share Your Views: As part of NewsHour’s partnership with Ustream, viewers can provide their own perspective and engage in discussion while watching coverage online by sharing their views on Ustream’s social streaming chat room.

  • The Doubleheader: Mark Shields and David Brooks join Hari Sreenivasan for a daily online discussion about the sport of politics — and the politics of sport.

  • And much more. Find it all at newshour.pbs.org. And, of course, tune in for the broadcast special each evening Sept. 4-6 from 7 to 11 p.m. ET.

For more information on PBS Election 2012, including programming from PBS NEWSHOUR, WASHINGTON WEEK, FRONTLINE and NEED TO KNOW, visit pbs.org/election2012 and follow #pbsElection on Twitter.