BOSTON (December 7, 2018) – WGBH News is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Beat the Press, the public media station’s weekly television program dedicated to commentary and analysis of the media and news industry. The 20th anniversary episode will air live in front of a studio audience on WGBH 2 on Friday, December 7 at 7pm and stream via the WGBH News Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Beat the Press is the standard-bearer for media criticism, especially Boston stories with national interest. Created by Executive Editor and Host Emily Rooney, a former director of political coverage and special events at Fox Network and executive producer of ABC World News, Beat the Press, convenes a weekly panel of leading media thinkers to provide commentary and analysis of major national and local media developments. The program has covered everything from The Boston Globe’s groundbreaking expose of clergy sexual abuse, to the media’s coverage of the Boston marathon bombing, and provided critical commentary and analysis of the media coverage surrounding Whitey Bulger’s crimes, apprehension and death.
“The news media has shifted dramatically over the past two decades,” said Rooney. “One of the most concerning trends is a growing tendency for news consumers to seek out only what they agree with and want to hear. When I put together a Beat the Press episode, I listen to and watch everyone—radio, newspapers, magazines and social media—then work with my top tier panelists and producers to expose media trends and note strengths and weaknesses in news organizations of all varieties.”
Regular panelists include Northeastern University professor Dan Kennedy, WGBH News journalists Callie Crossley and Adam Reilly, along with panelists come from other media organizations including U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Gizmodo Media Group, as well as from academia. The program calmly analyzes an industry facing declining readership and revenues, the challenges of bringing analogue platforms to digital audiences, the consolidation of media ownership, the fragmentation of audiences, changes in the media’s objectivity, and the public’s loss of trust in news outlets.
The show has never shied away from covering controversial media issues, from its unabashed criticism of the on-air racial slurs at Boston sports talk station WEEI to wielding its editorial independence to hold parent organization WGBH accountable.
“Our public media platform allows us to explore and analyze issues in a productive civil discourse, not always evident on commercial TV,” continued Rooney. “That’s what Beat the Press has aimed to do on a weekly basis for 20 years and it’s a legacy I’m proud of.”
In addition to Dan Kennedy, Callie Crossley and Adam Reilly of WGBH News, Jon Keller of WBZ News will join Emily Rooney for a 20th anniversary episode on Friday, December 7 at 7 pm in front of a live studio audience. The episode will take a critical look at changes in the media’s objectivity and the challenges in covering major local and national news stories over the past twenty years. Following the broadcast of the anniversary show, the audience will be invited to take part in a half-hour question and answer session with the panel, which will also stream via the social media live streams. Beat the Press is a five-time winner of the National Press Club Arthur Rouse Award for Media Criticism and cinched a New England Emmy Award in the Interview/Discussion category in 2018.
About WGBH News
WGBH News is among the fastest growing local news providers in greater Boston and draws on the talent of a multi-platform newsroom that includes 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s Local NPR, television and digital reporting. The WGBH newsroom continues to invest in substantive local coverage and has established dedicated desks for innovation, higher education and politics as well as unique partnerships to expand on that commitment, including with WNYC’s The Takeaway, PRI’s The World, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, and The GroundTruth Project.
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur and more than a dozen other primetime, lifestyle and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black and High School Quiz Show. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s Local NPR®; 99.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of programs for public radio (among them, PRI’s The World®), a leader in educational multimedia (including PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content), and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. Find more information at wgbh.org.