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WNET Launching Local Newscast Online

The public broadcaster WNET is launching a local New York newcast online called MetroFocus, reports the NY Times, and may make the program into a regular on-air news program.

The online version launches around Memorial Day.

WNET is parent to New York-area PBS stations WNET and WLIW.

Reports the Times:

The new venture…is envisioned as a half-hour television show and, eventually, a mobile application as well. The expansion to television specials or a monthly or weekly show, appearing on both television stations, could come as soon as the fall, and a daily version is expected to follow later.

Neal Shapiro, WNET’s president and chief executive, said in an interview that “MetroFocus” would fill a gap, both at WNET and in the news world.

“One of the futures of public television is making local connections,” he said. “We’ve done a great job of being a national producer; we can do a much better job of being a local producer.” He said the rollout to television would depend partly on fund-raising, and also what is learned from the Web site.

The program won’t likely cover sports and traffic, says Laura van Straaten, the project’s editor in chief and executive producer. Everything else is fair game.

van Straaten

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.