MSNBC shifts focus from reporting to commentary

WASHINGTON: Beginning this summer, "America's News Channel will begin showing a lot less news.

WASHINGTON: Beginning this summer, "America's News Channel will begin showing a lot less news.

MSNBC is shifting to a more commentary-oriented format beginning July 15. The News with Brian Williams, the network's signature evening news broadcast, will move to sister network CNBC, clearing the way for veteran talk show host Phil Donahue's new program. Similarly, talk-oriented shows by former Presidential candidate Alan Keyes and anchor Ashleigh Banfield will follow.

Network chief Erik Sorenson told USA Today that the move was made to accommodate an increasing number of viewers who monitor the news throughout the day at work. Such viewers, he said, have no need for recaps in the evening, and are looking instead for analysis. "They got the pithy, now they want the punditry, he said.

MSNBC, the third-rated all-news channel behind Fox and CNN, has long been considered fertile ground for PR professionals, who will need to adjust their approach if they wish to continue working with the network, predicted Geek Factory CEO Peter Shankman.

"It'll be a little less product heavy and a little more expert heavy," he said. "If you have an expert in, say, the tech category, you'll probably have a better shot pitching him as an independent expert than you would pitching a product."

CNN executives reacted positively to the news, stressing that CNN would now be the only top-rated all-news network to focus on reporting breaking developments.

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