Bill and Melinda Gates to Save World Health One TV Show at a Time

image002.jpgDespite the dire financial crisis currently enveloping this country, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation still has more money than it knows what to do with. (Considering the organization gives its dollars to only the worthiest of sources, even our cynical asses admit this is a good thing.)

The latest recipient: The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, which will get $3.5 million over the next three years to develop a production unit focusing on issues in global health. Correspondents around the world will produce 40-50 documentary-style reports on topics including malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, measles and neglected diseases.

The show’s executive producer, Linda Winslow, gave the following explanation in a statement:

“Health stories and international reporting have always been important to The NewsHour and our audience. Thanks to the support of the Gates Foundation, we now have the resources to give global health the attention it deserves.”

The grant will supplement the show’s current coverage of domestic health and health policy, which is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


ARLINGTON, VA — The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer announced today that public broadcaster WETA, its co-producer, has received a three-year, $3.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish a dedicated NewsHour production unit to report on important global health issues. The NewsHour currently maintains a domestic health and health policy reporting unit supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Gates Foundation grant will enable The NewsHour to significantly expand its broadcast and online coverage of major global health issues affecting developing nations, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, measles and neglected diseases. The NewsHour will also report on how global health challenges are being addressed from both scientific and public policy perspectives.

Over the three-year life of the grant, NewsHour correspondents will travel around the world to produce approximately 40-50 documentary style reports on major global health issues. These reports will air on The NewsHour’s daily PBS broadcast and will be distributed via The NewsHour’s digital platforms, along with original web-based global health content. The NewsHour will also launch a targeted outreach effort to put its reporting in front of policymakers, scientists, medical professionals and others in the global health community.

“Health stories and international reporting have always been important to The NewsHour and our audience,” said Linda Winslow, Executive Producer of The NewsHour. “Thanks to the support of the Gates Foundation, we now have the resources to give global health the attention it deserves.”

“In recent years we have seen extraordinary progress against some of the greatest health problems in developing countries, and many compelling stories have yet to be told,” said Joe Cerrell, Director of Global Health Policy and Advocacy at the Gates Foundation. “This new effort will build on The NewsHour’s tradition of thoughtful, thorough coverage of critical global health issues.”

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer is seen five nights a week on more than 315 PBS stations across the country (check local listings) and is also available online, via public radio in select markets and via podcast. The program is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, in association with WETA, Washington, DC and Thirteen/WNET in New York. Corporate funding for The NewsHour is provided by Chevron, Pacific Life, Vestas and Grant Thornton, along with major funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.