Newsy Ramps Up Its Daily Programming, Focusing on Non-Partisan Reporting

By EW Scripps InSites Archives
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Newsy is debuting a range of news shows only a month after launching as an over-the-air network, bringing the total programming to 17 hours a day. The shows are all distinguished by one North Star: provide straightforward, opinion-free news across multiple platforms.

Newsy, which broadcasts from Atlanta and is owned by The E.W. Scripps Co., had previously been distributed primarily via over the top. By expanding to over the air on October 1, Newsy achieved a key goal: to deliver a consistent content experience across all devices and manners of distribution.

"From a business standpoint, our contention is: You have to be everywhere. You have to be on TV. You have to be on the phone. You have to be on computers. You have to be over-the-top," said Kate O'Brian, Scripps Networks' Head of News. "For us, we have to be the same linear stream everywhere, so every consumer gets the full complement of everything we're doing."

This also comes at a time, as O'Brian noted, when increasing shares of consumers, particularly from younger generations, opt against purchasing cable at all. To this point, as Toni Fitzgerald noted at Forbes earlier this year, "Since 2014, the number of people who have cut the cord on their cable, satellite or telco subscription (or never had a subscription at all) has more than tripled, going from 15.6 million to a projected 50.4 million this year."

Newsy has sought to double down on its content positioning in aiming to avoid the sort of opinion-based journalism that has in recent years become largely synonymous with national cable news. In this way, Newsy joins the ranks of other news media projects that are, in essence, betting against the continuation of an ever-escalating dialectic of partisanship in both the news media and society at large.

Bolstered by study results suggesting that there is a large, untapped audience pool of self-identified independents or moderates, projects such as these believe that this large segment of Americans is being underserved by the current news landscape. Newsy's approach is to focus less on divisive political issues, including waiting with bated breath for each and every development out of Washington D.C., and even to avoid fixating on bemoaning constantly that there is a stark partisan divide between Americans.

As O'Brian put it, "[Many Americans] don't want pure partisan content, meaning that the content is only about the partisan divide, which then actually supports the partisan divide because if you're only talking about it, you're just perpetuating it. We're not talking about it, so we're trying not to perpetuate it. Instead, we're giving people information and interesting original reporting and beautiful stories to look at -- in addition to what's going on in the world. That is the vison of Newsy."

O'Brian said she's particularly proud of a segment by journalist Jason Bellini on gene therapy advances in a certain breed of dog, the King Charles Spaniel, which may have bearing on future applications to humans.

Another striking piece of journalism is Sasha Ingber's emotional story on the suicide of Afghanistan war veteran Michael McCarthy, O'Brian noted. The tragedy was triggered by the circumstances that relate to the withdrawal in August. This segment, which was interspersed with footage from the events surrounding the fall of Kabul, underscores Newsy's ability and willingness to supplement its focus on domestic affairs with coverage of events beyond American borders.

"We have built a team of strong storytellers, anchors and reporters with a goal of making journalism as enjoyable, relevant and interesting as it is important," O'Brian concluded. "Our promise is to provide the objective journalism that Americans are seeking."

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