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A Conversation With Aaron Brown

Friday, May 30th, 2008
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We are a month away from launching our new season of programs and that seems like a good time to begin our conversation with you about what we are doing, why we are doing it and our own sense of what journalism in these times can be about.

With a month to go, the WIDE ANGLE staff is incredibly busy working with our filmmakers around the world to shape the pieces and get them ready for air. I am grateful for their experience and calm. As there is much work to do. It is not enough to simply present a program on Darfur or a program on the changing nature of the military in Japan or our own work on the sad and difficult Iraqi refugee problem in the Middle East. Our mission isn’t simply to make and support films on these issues.

What we must do and are doing is to make and shape films that look at these complicated issues in a compelling way. That requires not simply good journalism but good story telling – story telling with strong and compelling central characters that draw you into the journey we take each week. This is the essential difference between what I call “Eat Your Vegetables” journalism and work that you will not only watch but look forward to watching each week. In truth, the filmmakers and the WIDE ANGLE staff are far more experienced in the art of long form journalism than am I. So, I find myself helping some and learning a lot.

I come to this as a great believer in the mission and a great believer in you. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to engage in the kind of journalism that drew me to the craft a very long time ago. Modern media, with the pressures of minute-by-minute ratings, doesn’t always make that easy. A trip down Paris Hilton Lane is often easier and cheaper than a trip through the hospitals and culture of Mozambique. But you are a demanding bunch. You expect us to do work that is both important and compelling, and you should know how strongly all of us feel about delivering on that expectation. We are also sure you will tell us when we hit the mark and be just as vocal should we miss it.

That part of the season need not wait until we launch. We can begin now with a discussion of what you expect from us, from PBS and from the journalism you consume. I can’t promise we will answer each note we receive, but we will read them all and respond to as many as we can.

Finally, for some of you I am an old face in a new spot, for others I am just a refugee from cable news. To the first group, it will be so nice to work in front of you again. For that second group, I am eager to prove my chops. I trust you will not be bashful in your criticisms and – I hope – compliments.

Let the conversation begin! See Wide Angle site.

Aaron Brown
New York
May 29, 2008

(this post originally appears on Wide Angle web site)


    we know that wide angle will be on july 1st but we don’t know the time of day or evening it can be seen. will it be live ? please, give us this information. thank you.

  • Mssahata

    Welcome Back Aaron! You’ve been missed. I’ve looked for you and about gave up. Good Luck! Here’s to more hits than misses.

  • Nancy Ellen Mitchelle

    Hi Aaron, Congratulations! Welcome Back! You have a gift of communication, a storyteller. Please teach. Please take us on a tour of our planet and tell us world and people stories as well. It would be helpful to know info about “wide angle”. Starts July 1, but need to know if it is on all week, is it live, and what time day or night it can been seen. Thanks. :) Nancy

  • Nancy Ellen Mitchelle

    Hi Aaron, I hope we we have a chance to make suggestions for topics and guests on “wide angle” possibly in the newsletter for wide angle. I have a huge curiosity about our planet.
    Thanks. :) Nancy

  • edgertonr

    Wide Angle airs again on July 1 at 9pm with ‘Heart of Darfur’. more info at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle.

  • marietta

    So very glad to see your face again, Aaron….you’ve been sorely missed since you left CNN; it hasn’t been the same without you. We’re very much looking forward to your hosting Wide Angle….welcome back! YOU ARE THE BEST!!!

  • Gary Baumgarten

    Aaron Brown will be my guest this Monday July 28 at 5 PM New York time on News Talk Online on Paltalk.com.

    To talk to Brown please go to http://www.garybaumgarten.com and click on the link to the show. There is no charge.