Program: Special Initiatives
Area of Work: Arts
Grant Purpose: Arts Coverage
The PBS NewsHour is an hour-long evening news broadcast, anchored by Judy Woodruff, which offers news updates, analysis, live studio interviews, discussions and more. Arts coverage is an important component of the broadcast, bringing a perspective that may take the viewer to an often unexpected place — artistically, geographically, emotionally or metaphorically. Reporting on arts and culture on a nightly news program not only engages those who may not have been looking for such coverage but also makes a statement about the importance of the arts in our daily lives.
Purpose: To support arts coverage on the PBS NewsHour and on CANVAS, NewsHour’s online arts hub.
The Illumination Fund has supported arts coverage at the NewsHour since 2015. Along with general arts coverage, with a new grant in 2020, the NewsHour will launch a series on Arts in Health. During the latest one-year grant period, the NewsHour produced 194 broadcast reports as well as 281 shorter arts segments and hundreds of online posts. Segments were developed by the national team as well as produced by 30 public television stations across the country, helping to shape their content to strengthen it for a national audience. Stories have covered the Dallas Street Choir, which gives homeless residents a voice; the country’s first-ever exhibition devoted solely to the works of Native American women; Mexico’s tradition of public murals and its influence on art in the U.S.; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film industry; the story of a blues singer in North Carolina struggling with the economic impact of canceled gigs but finding new meaning by performing outside of a nursing home during the pandemic’s lockdown; and efforts to promote equity for artists of color on Broadway.
The impact from this coverage extends beyond the broadcast. Segments not only engage viewers and build knowledge — they spur viewers to act. Reports from viewers indicate that they have traveled to sites they learned about and have supported organizations featured, and organizations have reported that they have been contacted to explore replication of programs.
Visit PBS NewsHour — Arts