On-Air Highlights

PBS Newshour expands to the weekend

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Jul 8, 2013 11:29 AM

Hari Sreenivasan (pictured right) has been with PBS NewsHour since 2009, currently serving as both a correspondent and as director of digital partnerships. Mr. Sreenivasan makes regular news updates throughout the day on the NewsHour’s website, in addition to appearing nightly on the program. Prior to PBS NewsHour, he worked for CBS News, reporting regularly on the “CBS Evening News,” “The Early Show” and “CBS Sunday Morning.” Before that, he served as an anchor and correspondent for ABC News, working extensively on the network’s 24-hour digital service “ABC News Now.” Mr. Sreenivasan also reported for “World News Tonight,” “Nightline” and anchored the overnight program “World News Now.” Two weeks ago PBS announced the addition of PBS Newshour on Saturday and Sunday and Mr. Sreenivasan will be the anchor. He shares his thoughts about his future with PBS NewsHour Weekend.

How do you see your new role as anchor of PBS NewsHour Weekend, and what do you hope to accomplish?

I think we have an opportunity to experiment a bit more on the weekend program as we bring the Newshour to the next step in its evolution. We're committed to being available anywhere, anytime. That means online and on air, weekdays and weekends. I'm hoping to pull the audience into the ways we create content, and help us spread the word about it as well.  

Will we still see you on the weekday edition?

Yes, absolutely. I hope to contribute field pieces as well as conversations from New York, and D.C. is only a train ride away, so keep an eye out for me popping into the studios there from time to time. 

 You’re so knowledgeable about new technology and have been director of digital partnerships for the NewsHour. How do you plan to incorporate technology on the new show?

 I hope to have “Anchor” hour, a bit like office hours that your professors kept in college. And I'll be open to viewers across different social media platforms and having a conversation about aspects of the stories we are planning in the coming weekend and then taking some of these questions into our editorial meeting. We'll try to make sure some of those questions are addressed either in our broadcast piece or online. 

 You were based in New York during your time at CBS, yes? Are you looking forward to moving back?

 New York is New York; it’s a fantastic city. No other city has the same type of energy. I was there with ABC News, with CBS, and perhaps (he added, smiling) the third time is the charm.

 How do you think the transition to New York will impact your reporting?

We hope we can lure more guests to our studio and the program all seven nights a week. There are more than a few high-profile people to whom we’ll now have much easier access. 

 How would you compare your experience working on the NewsHour with your previous positions in network television? What’s the biggest difference?

 We have the luxury of time. We still bother to do the six- or seven-minute stories network broadcasts cannot afford to do these days. We're the only place on television where informed individuals can disagree agreeably about matters that matter, night after night. 

 What do you think will be the biggest difference between the weekend show versus the weekday edition?

 Well for starters, it’s a half hour versus a whole one!  And we have a new set, a new city, and new opportunities for viewers to engage while still keeping the depth and context that viewers have come to love and trust. 

 Are there any topics you’re particularly looking forward to covering?

 Several. You'll have to watch to see where we make our investments of time and energy.

 What attracted you to journalism originally?

 It is a license to stay curious. No other profession could have given me the range of life experiences journalism has, from the people I've met, the places I've been, and the things I've witnessed. 

 Do you see yourself as any kind of pioneering groundbreaker for South Asian journalists in broadcast media?

 There are several of us now, but that wasn't the case 15 or 20 years ago. Every one of us is a role model for young South Asians who would like to give their parents a good reason for not going pre-med or pre-law!

 What’s been the most meaningful story you’ve covered for the NewsHour?

 I think the dozen stories on climate change (thanks to the grant from the Rockefeller Foundation). It is not one story but if you watch my YouTube playlist of more than an hour, it’s difficult to argue that the changes with which these communities are now coping aren't real. 

PBS NewsHour Weekend is made possible with support from PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Lewis B. Cullman and Louise Hirschfeld Cullman, Mutual of America, Judy and Josh Weston, Citi Foundation, In Memory of Miriam and Ira D. Wallach, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Rosalind P. Walter, Betty and John Levin, the Vital Projects Fund, and Charlotte and David Ackert.

PBS NewsHour Weekend will air on witf beginning in September.

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