Expanding the Work of the Health Unit at PBS NewsHour

Dates of Project: March 2005 through June 2014

Description: The PBS NewsHour produced exclusive content on health policy, public health, and medical research with a dedicated correspondent-and-producer team for broadcast content and a producer for online material.

“While a high-profile ‘breakthrough’ or health emergency or crisis may receive surface or even saturation treatment, sustained, thoughtful, in-depth reporting of complex health and health policy issues is rare, especially in television—by far the leading source of information for most Americans,” PBS NewsHour producers say.

Key Results

  • PBS Newshour produced the following:

    • More than 200 taped reports on health policy, public health, and medicine on topics such as autism, Alzheimer’s Disease, food insecurity, and the Affordable Care Act.
    • More than 300 in-studio discussions or interviews, usually moderated by one of the NewsHour’s anchors, including many with brief taped stories to introduce a topic. The segments included experts in health policy or medical research as well as newsmakers.
    • More than 1,000 Web-only exclusives, including news stories, blog posts, Q&As, videos, interviews, and infographics posted online in a section of the website devoted to health.
    • More than 40 pieces for Extra, the NewsHour’s online website for students and teachers. The content included stories, interviews with students, and lesson plans.

“Having a website alongside a broadcast allows us to tackle many more angles of a story, not only transmitting more information, but also engaging those who may have missed the original report.”—Patti Parson, PBS NewsHour Managing Producer