Martin Savidge’s nightly newscast Worldfocus, airing on PBS station WNET New York,has won plaudits for covering global news stories often overlooked by network news, and for doing it on the cheap.
But disgruntled WNET employees say they’re not doing it cheaply enough, reports the NY Times, and blame Worldfocus. Around 14% of the combined WNET/WLIW staffs were laid off a few weeks back, and some are saying Worldfocus‘ $8 million annual budget comes at the expense of more local programming. WNET’s local programming division was hit particularly hard, and its New York Voices show was officially canceled recently.
WNET.org president Neal Shapiro says he remains committed to Worldfocus.
The newscast keeps its costs low by partnering with a wide range of news outlets around the world. Savidge told B&C at launch:
We’re not pretending to be a startup of CNN or NBC. We don’t have that kind of budget or manpower, but we do have that kind of reach, thanks to relationships we have with other networks in the regions of the world where we have an interest, such as ABC Australia, ITN in Great Britain, RNI in India, etc. We are building on these relationships all the time.