CHICAGO’S PUBLIC RADIO AND TELEVISION NEWSROOMS TEAM UP
Technology enables innovative partnership between WTTW and WBEZ
For immediate release
Chicago, IL - March 28, 2016
WTTW and WBEZ are pleased to announce that starting this week their news operations are joining forces. Under an unprecedented collaboration for the two public media organizations, Chicago Tonight, WTTW’s nightly news and public affairs series, and WBEZ (91.5 FM) can now seamlessly access each other’s reporters and correspondents.
A newly installed robotic camera in the WBEZ newsroom at Navy Pier enables WBEZ reporters to report live on Chicago Tonight during its 7:00 p.m. program. In addition, a new high speed fiber line allows WTTW hosts and correspondents to join the conversation live on WBEZ’s news and talk programs. The partnership, which officially kicks off this week, facilitates guest appearances and reporter debriefs, as well as cross-promotion of stories.
“We hope this technology is just the first step in a creative and organic collaboration between our two newsrooms that will benefit both audiences,” said Mary Field, executive producer of Chicago Tonight. “This partnership is about extending the reach, breadth and depth of the high quality journalism and programming being produced by both institutions.”
WBEZ and WTTW journalists have reported on each other’s stations before, but the new setup allows for easier and more spontaneous collaboration. In the future, the partnership could include joint reporting on issues of importance to the Chicago region, including election night coverage, as well as online collaborations.
“There’s so much shared genetics. Our audiences and our organizations are all mission driven. Everything about this makes so much sense,” said Ben Calhoun, vice president of content and programming for WBEZ. “We’re incredibly excited to be teaming up this way– it feels like such a natural win-win for everyone. Bottom line, we’ll both be able to serve our audiences and the public good even more forcefully, and that’s the core of who we are.”
WTTW is a premier public media organization committed to creating and presenting unique television and digital media content across four distinct television channels – WTTW11, WTTW Prime, the Spanish-language channel WTTW Vme, and WTTW Create/WTTW WORLD, and on wttw.com. Recognized for award-winning local and national productions such as Chicago Tonight, Check, Please!, and MEXICO – One Plate at a Time, WTTW presents the very best in public affairs, arts and culture, nature and science, history and documentary, and children’s programming to 2 million weekly viewers across a four state area. Visitors to wttw.com can connect with others in the community and access a full library of local and national video content for kids and adults, interactive features, event and membership opportunities, and robust microsites dedicated to WTTW and PBS series and specials. Connect with WTTW on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
About CHICAGO TONIGHT
WTTW’s flagship nightly newsmagazine Chicago Tonight celebrated 30 years on the air in April 2014. Airing weeknights at 7:00 pm and online at wttw.com/chicagotonight, the award-winning series hosted by Phil Ponce covers Chicago stories in politics, arts, science and technology, health, business, architecture, education, history, and more. The website presents original reporting, extensive video, a comprehensive archive of Chicago stories and other special features. Audiences can connect with Chicago Tonight on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
WBEZ 91.5 FM is the region’s premier public media service and Chicago’s exclusive station for NPR programming. Our mission is to amplify conversations that matter by telling thought-provoking stories that entertain, capture emotion and inspire action. WBEZ produces two local shows The Morning Shift and Worldview, and successfully launched three nationally acclaimed programs: This American Life, Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me! (a co-production with NPR), and Sound Opinions. WBEZ Chicago is extending the public radio experience through a suite of digital products which enhances the current listener experience, while reaching new audiences. For more information, please visit www.wbez.org.