PBS Layoffs: 'NewsHour' Positions Cut; San Francisco, Denver Offices Close

Wednesday, 12 Jun 2013 02:18 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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With corporate revenues down, "PBS NewsHour" announced it will be closing its bureaus in Denver and San Francisco and relying more on video freelancers in the future.

The cuts will take effect on July 1, according to a PBS memo. The memo also said technical changes will be made to "streamline and further digitize operations."

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In total, 10 positions will be eliminated — production, technical, and administrative jobs. There are 100 people who work for PBS.

"These steps come after more than a year reviewing how the 'NewsHour' functions and how to take advantage of opportunities presented by new technologies," PBS said in a statement obtained by the Denver Post. "We believe the staff restructuring and production changes, along with continuing web investment, will make us stronger and enable us to be more effective and nimble. Along with sending our own teams into the field, we will build new relationships with journalists around the country."

In addition to the San Francisco and Denver office closures, the company will also eliminate several production positions in its Washington, D.C., office, while leaving two senior-level roles unfilled.

The Denver PBS office served as a regional base and was the primary office for the show's health correspondent Betty Ann Bowser. All of the program's anchors relied on the bureau at one time or another.

PBS also has offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and elsewhere.

Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil started "MacNeil/Lehrer Report" in 1975, a 30-minute news format show. It was expanded to an hour in 1983 and renamed "MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour," becoming the nation's first hourlong news program. MacNeil left the program in 1995. In 1997, "NewsHour" opened its San Francisco bureau at KQED. 

It’s been called "PBS NewsHour" since December of 2009. The show has been based out of its studios at WETA in Washington, D.C., since its inception. It is one of the few hourlong nightly newscasts and broadcasts internationally.

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