Sunday, April 4, 2010

Goodbye WorldFocus

I tuned in on Friday and caught the last half of WorldFocus, the daily half-hour International news roundup on PBS; turns out that I caught the last half of the last ever WorldFocus. Host Daljit Dhaliwal announced that the show was going off the air as of that evening. The WorldFocus website ( will remain online indefinitely, she said, though they will stop adding new content as of April 9.

With a real lack of international news coverage in the American mainstream media, losing WorldFocus is a bad thing. The news magazine, a project of New York’s PBS outlet WNET, debuted just 18 months ago. Unfortunately it displaced the half-hour BBC world newscast on many PBS stations (why the two couldn’t coexist is a mystery); and though WorldFocus couldn’t match the resources of the BBC in covering breaking news events, it did an excellent job in providing much needed context to some of the top stories in International Affairs and produced quality features on human interest stories on a nightly basis. While WorldFocus was critically acclaimed, the reason for its cancellation was financial – officials at WNET said they were not able to secure the full slate of funding they needed to continue the production of the newscast, an effect they said of trying to launch an expensive-to-produce program in the midst of an economic recession.
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