PBS NewsHour Plans First Layoffs in Two Decades as Revenues Decline

After being able to avoid ups and downs in the economy, the PBS NewsHour nightly newscast is laying off employees for the first time in nearly 20 years. According to the New York Times, the show's production company will close its two offices outside of the Washington, DC area.

The show is facing a significant budgetary shortfall of almost one-fourth of its $28 million annual budget:

Facing a multimillion-dollar shortfall in the program’s budget, the show’s producer, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, will close its two offices outside of the Washington, D.C., area — in Denver and San Francisco — and lay off most of the employees there. The company, which is based in Arlington, Va., will also eliminate several of what it calls “noncritical production positions” at its main offices.

The cutbacks were described in an internal memorandum on Monday from Linda Winslow, the executive producer of the “NewsHour,” and Bo Jones, the chief executive of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. They said the reorganization would “improve the long-term sustainability of the ‘NewsHour.'”

While a spokeswoman for the “NewsHour” declined to comment on the program’s budget, employees who were not authorized to speak publicly said earlier this year that the production company was facing a shortfall of up to $7 million, a quarter of its $28 million overall budget.

Surely, this is somehow the fault of a Republican somewhere.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013