An Interview with PBS NewsHour Weekend Anchor Hari Sreenivasan
Saturday, September 7th marks the debut of PBS NewsHour Weekend, an exciting addition to THIRTEEN’s influential and trusted lineup of news and public affairs shows and an extension of one of America’s most iconic news broadcasts. PBS NewsHour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan will anchor the program which will be broadcast Saturdays and Sundays at 6 p.m. from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center.
In the following interview, he shares his thoughts about 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
What has 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.