- Written by Belinda Elliott
- Category: Community
- Published: 22 April 2019
WHRO staff and guests had the privilege of hearing from journalist Hari Sreenivasan recently. Sreenivasan is the Anchor of PBS NewsHour Weekend and a senior correspondent for the nightly program. He was this year’s guest speaker for WHRO’s annual Hunter B. Andrews Society Dinner -- an event that recognizes some of WHRO’s Leadership Circle members.
Sreenivasan shared about his distinguished career during a staff meet-and-greet session. He got his start in media at his high school radio station before becoming interested in working in television. While pursuing a Communications degree in college, he talked his way into an internship with a television station -- something typically reserved for upperclassmen. After college, he worked as a reporter and anchor in Washington, California and North Carolina, eventually rising to join national news stations.
Prior to joining NewsHour, he reported for the CBS Evening News, The Early Show and CBS Sunday Morning. Before that, he served as an anchor and correspondent for ABC News, working extensively on the network's 24-hour digital service ABC News Now. Sreenivasan also reported for World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, Nightline with Ted Koppel, and anchored the overnight program World News Now.
He is quick to point out the advantages of reporting for public media over working at commercial stations. “We have the luxury of time in public media to be able to go out and report things in a way that commercial markets and commercial television just doesn't afford anymore,” he explained. “My standard story at the NewsHour is are going to be six to eight, maybe 10 minutes. That's a mini documentary if I was on ABC or CBS.”
He also said public media viewers are a unique group. “I would say that the public media audience has a greater tolerance for cognitive dissonance, meaning that they can watch something that they don't agree with without throwing something at the TV.”
Having been in the business for more than 20 years, Sreenivasan has witnessed the effect that technology has had on journalism. With the Internet and social media, information is more abundant than ever, but he said he worries over the lack of media literacy he has seen. Not every piece of information online has been verified for accuracy, which leads to the distribution of misinformation.
However, he has seen the Internet bring positive changes as well. He noted that journalists, as well as the public, now have easier access to experts, and the barriers to entry for new journalists is lower than ever.
His advice to budding journalists? Start producing work. Whether students are looking to write or shoot video, he suggests they start publishing on social media platforms to gain experience and build an audience. He also advises that finding a good editor is crucial.
“Shooting video or writing things down doesn't automatically make you a good journalist,” he said. “You need another set of eyes to help you refine your work.”
Sreenivasan also discussed WHRO’s upcoming journalism initiative scheduled to launch later this year. With plans to do more local, in-depth reporting, the station looks forward to continuing to bring valuable news and information to the surrounding community.
“I'm glad you guys are investing in local journalism,” he told staff members, “because that's really the biggest gap that journalism is facing right now is on the local level. There’s no substitute for good local journalism.”