Award-winning journalist Stephanie Sy named anchor of Cronkite School-based PBS NewsHour West

Friday, August 16, 2019

PBS NewsHour executive producer Sara Just announced Stephanie Sy as anchor of PBS NewsHour West, which will operate from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Sy, who will also be a PBS NewsHour correspondent, most recently served as anchor/correspondent at Yahoo News and for the past 15 years has served in anchor and correspondent capacities at CNN International, Al Jazeera America, ABC News, CBSN and PBS NewsHour Weekend. 

Additionally, Richard Coolidge, who has served as a senior content producer and managed station and partner editorial collaborations for NewsHour since April 2015, will lead the editorial operation in Phoenix as senior producer of PBS NewsHour West.

“I am delighted to welcome Stephanie Sy to our team as we expand the NewsHour and launch PBS NewsHour West,” Just said. “Stephanie’s nearly two decades of experience reporting in the field, domestically and overseas, on digital and broadcast platforms and at the anchor desk, give her tremendous range and depth.”

Just said she was equally delighted to have Coolidge oversee PBS NewsHour West.

“We will miss him in Washington, where he is a natural and widely respected leader and skilled problem solver, but we are thrilled to have his steady hand at the wheel in Arizona,” Just said. “Richard’s work with our PBS stations and partner editorial collaborations has been key to furthering the mission and reach of the PBS NewsHour.”

Sy added, “The role PBS NewsHour plays in the American landscape is more relevant and needed today than ever before. It's a privilege to be on NewHour's team of distinguished journalists, led by the incomparable Judy Woodruff, who has tirelessly held up this gold standard in journalism. I look forward to reporting from Phoenix and the region with the thoughtfulness and integrity that are NewsHour's signature.”

Announced earlier this year and slated for broadcast launch this fall, the opening of the bureau at the Cronkite School will allow for NewsHour’s nightly broadcast to better serve audiences in the West and online, and to continue its expansion into a 24/7 news operation. When news warrants, the PBS NewsHour West team will update PBS NewsHour’s 6 p.m. Eastern time zone broadcast for audiences in the West as well as late broadcasts on radio, television and streaming platforms. Woodruff, who has more than four decades of reporting experience at PBS, CNN, and NBC, will continue to serve as primary anchor of the nightly broadcast and managing editor of NewsHour. 

Several factors played into the PBS NewsHour’s decision to open PBS NewsHour West at ASU. The university, with its own pre-eminent journalism program, is committed to public broadcasting and serves as the home to Arizona PBS. The bureau will also allow for NewsHour to work more closely with PBS stations and other media partners on the West Coast, where more than 20% of NewsHour’s audience resides.

“We are excited to partner with the PBS NewsHour to give viewers and readers more and deeper coverage of issues in the West while at the same time providing fantastic new opportunities for our students,” said Christopher Callaha, Cronkite School Dean and Arizona PBS CEO. He noted that PBS NewsHour West will work with students at Cronkite News and the new Howard Center for Investigative Journalism to provide important content to NewsHour viewers nationwide.

The opening of PBS NewsHour West is made possible with the generous support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Under the leadership of Just, who joined as executive producer in September 2014 after more than 25 years at ABC News, PBS NewsHour has seen growth and expansion across platforms. The NewsHour’s nightly broadcast audience for the current television season (Oct. 2018–June 2019) is up 26% compared with the 2013-14 television season at 1.07 million viewers per minute. NewsHour’s website during that same period reached 40 million users, up 45% compared with four years earlier. 

On broadcast, NewsHour reaches 2.6 million total viewers nightly and 19.2 million monthly. Across digital platforms — website, app, Apple News, podcasts and YouTube — NewsHour reaches an audience of nearly 21 million monthly. In addition to the launch of PBS NewsHour West and its team of up to six individuals based in Phoenix, Just announced in late 2018 the move to expand and transform PBS NewsHour online with the addition of nine new full-time digital positions.