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What do you think of the new NTK?

By now, you may have noticed some changes here at Need to Know. Our show has a new half-hour format, with an upcoming lineup of guest hosts to fill the spot of our longtime anchor, Alison Stewart. The Need to Know website also has a sleek new look that highlights our heightened focus on U.S. politics and the impact that Washington’s decisions have on ordinary American citizens and underrepresented communities.

Our first show with this new format airs this Friday. In the meantime, tell us: What do you think of the new Need to Know? What issues are most important to you, and what kind of stories would you like us to cover? Let us know here in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter.



  • Georgiana Cameron

    I am a Jon and Allison fan.  I will give this a try, but there is so much political programming now, when the election is over a year away.  The changes that need to be made are systemic, and will not be done.  Most voting in most states hardly matter in the general election.  I am an unhappy Independent and do not think that my feelings are alone.  

  • Cadabra1

    Why were the previous hosts and direction of Need to Know changed? Tonight’s program I thought reflected a more conservative, right-wing slant. I wondered if this is the direction that PBS was taking in the future.

  • Anonymous

    First PBS got rid of Bill Moyers. Need to Know proved to be a pretty good program, and just when I began to look forward to seeing it, you reduced it to half-an-hour. What is going on with PBS??? 

  • Anonymous

    In my opinion, it is really short-sighted to ditch the previous format.  Of all places, it seems like PBS would be keenly aware of giving a program time to find its voice.  It had taken me awhile, but I was beginning to pay attention to the show on a regular basis and had begun to relate to Stewart and Meacham.       Reducing the show to 30 minutes is largely going to eliminate any possibility of in-depth investigative reporting, which was NTK’s strength.   Then again,  if the show is going to devolve to another weekly (weakly?) political analysis, then 30 minutes is way too long.   And now any remaining audience is going to be subjected to a parade of radio-faces? I’ll be disappointed for as long as I continue to pay attention, but I think it was a craven mistake to junk the show as it was.    Nut it up, WNET. 

  • Duke

    Too bad it is not still an hour long.  Will miss Alison.  Pretty good show tonight.  Keep up the investigative reporting.  No horse race coverage please.

  • Bkrulikowski

    I did like it best when it was an hour long.
    I enjoyed different speakers and different
    topics. But my favorite piece was when Jon
    Meacham pulled a quote from former president Bush. I couldn’t believe George Bush ever said
    anything so intelligent! Jon Meacham seemed to
    hold in a big grin and said something like, yes
    George Bush really did say that and here’s
    the tape. He also has stated what Jimmy Carter
    once said about the Middle East leaders
    and our reliance on oil. What was said then
    Is still true today. Please bring Jon and these
    little gems back. I miss both.


  • Simon McCain

    PBS has initiated, then killed, disturbingly but consistently, the most informative and progressive news programs available in America. Bill Moyers, whom we might call the conscience of America, in January 2002 hosted Now, a pungent, courageous news program that brought vigorous investigative reporting back to the public airwaves. His was truly a voice crying in the wilderness in the midst of a corrupt and ultra-conservative administration. It lasted a scant 2-1/2 years before the show was gelded by Moyers’ ouster, and reduced to a very cramped half-an-hour. Public radio veteran David Brancaccio & senior reporter Maria Hinojosa did their best to keep it relevant, and it somehow managed to last 5 more years. Meanwhile, Moyers re-developed & fielded another creative hourlong news show, Bill Moyers Journal, in an interview format he’s used twice before, and let voices be heard who articulated strong, reasoned postions from the broadest group of respondents ever seen consistently & at such depth in a national news format. Lasting barely another 2-1/2 years, before Moyers announced his retirement from his Sisyphian efforts, it nonetheless consistently set the highest standards for integrity & intelligence. About the same time, in late 2009, the replacement show was trotted out, called Need To Know, with squeaky-clean Jon & Allison reading. It was antiseptic, careful, colorless, and politically correct. Even that proved to be too progressive for its host producers, though it also proved once again that an audience for progressive & reasoned, longer-format journalism rests waiting to be informed and to hungrily support such an approach whenever it is offered. NTK, too, was summarily gutted to a half-hour, effectively neutralized, and given a mix of faces from across the news format spectrum at PBS and some familiar voices from NPR to keep it light. In a medium in which it’s hard enough on any network to develop a winner, let alone the lonely and friendless news format, PBS manages to develop a number of them, then shoots them in mid-stride. This is very curious and frustrating behavior.

  • Stafford Doc Williamson

    I believe it was Bill Moyers who annointed John Stewart’s The Daily Show, and John Stewart himself as the best NEWS program on television, however Jon Meacham and Alison Stewart were pinnacle pair of serious liberal journalism who (apparently) grew tied of being undercut by programming policy.  
    I applaud the underwriters for their support of Need to Know, but I do not think my interest will survive the disappearance of the two people who made the show what it was by their commanding on-screen presence and obvious intelligence. 

  • Phil

    Why was the show reduced to a half hour?  Are public broadcasting programs dependent on ratings?  Did conservative politicians pressure PBS to change it?

  • Kat

    PBS is caving to right-wing pressure. How disgusting.  Alison Stewart and Meachem were a refreshing, youthful team, relying on serious, in-depth journalism, about voiceless populations–Stewart without the greasy lip-gloss and managed cleavage, Meachem without the usual smarmy sneers of male anchors. They will be sorely missed.  I won’t be watching Sunday morning PBS any longer. I can get the new PBS-lite rubbish anywhere.