Up Next: First
WHYY-TV’s new newsmagazine looks better and digs deeper.
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When WHYY-TV aired its final broadcast of “Delaware Tonight” on July 17, the First State lost its only statewide news and public affairs program. But the crew is back, producing the weekly newsmagazine “First.”
“First” is a 30-minute program with three in-depth stories and roundtable discussions named “First Person” and “State of Play.” It gets its polished look from three polished hosts: Stephanie Aldrich, Tom Byrne and Bill Cook. The TV veterans were part of the team that developed the concept, says Chris Satullo, WHYY’s executive director of news and civic dialogue.
The new format allows reporters to create investigative pieces. “I love being able to delve deeper into the issues,” says Aldrich. “Five-minute pieces are very different than short news segments.” And talking head segments staffed by local pols, press people and other notables reveal serious insider stuff. A segment called “First Experience,” which caps each episode, explores local arts and culture. The show is taped at WHYY’s Orange Street studios in Wilmington, then sent to the flagship Philadelphia station for digital editing.
The show is broadcast Fridays at 5:30 p.m. and again at 10 p.m. It is repeated at 11 a.m. Saturdays and streamed at whyy.org/video.
The newsmagazine actually gets more airtime than its predecessor. WHYY took some heavy criticism after it canceled “Delaware Tonight.”
“Despite much misinformation spread by others, WHYY’s commitment to covering the news in Delaware has never wavered,” Satullo says.
Managing editor and executive producer John Mussoni says “First” was designed to follow a block of PBS heavyweights such as “Washington Week” and “Bill Moyers Journal.” “If you like watching the 10 o’clock news,” he says, “you’ll love this slot.”
Daily stories are still produced for the Web. “And sometimes,” says Aldrich, “our stories make it on NPR. So exciting.” —Maria Hess
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