HARLINGEN, Texas – An award-winning 24-hour TV news service is launching in the Rio Grande Valley on October 16.
Spectrum News 1 is promising to offer “high-quality, hyperlocal news, politics, weather and original local content” exclusively to Spectrum subscribers, both on cable and various digital platforms.
Currently offering 24/7 news in Austin and San Antonio, Spectrum is adding reporters in South and West Texas, as well as Dallas-Fort Worth and Wichita Falls. Including Austin and San Antonio, the 24-hour news channel will have more than three dozen journalists embedded in communities across Texas.
Cater Lee, vice president for news and content for Spectrum News 1, said the reporters will be assigned to cover specific beats that address the deeper needs and interests of Texans.
“Spectrum News has been covering the Austin and San Antonio regions since 1999, and we are excited to bring our award-winning hyperlocal news and content to our customers across the state,” Lee said.
“Our journalists do more than report on the news; they live, work and are actively engaged in the communities they serve. This deeper understanding allows us to better cover the stories that take place every day in Texas neighborhoods.”
In an interview with the Rio Grande Guardian, Lee said Spectrum News 1’s programming will feature a robust lineup of local news and headlines, in-depth coverage of politics and public affairs, targeted, hyperlocal community news and general-interest content, as well as area-specific weather reports and sports coverage.
She said this commitment to providing a high-quality news content helps Spectrum stand out.
“Spectrum has grown so much across the country in so many households and on so many devices that we saw an incredible opportunity to super serve Spectrum customers in Texas,“ Lee said.
“Really we have a whole different outlook on how we do local news because we are measured in different ways. We really look at local news with a proactive approach, very similar to the way you do it,” Lee said, referencing the Rio Grande Guardian’s approach to news gathering.
“We are out there with beat reporters who are connected deeply to the local communities that they serve. So, we look at it differently. We put boots on the ground in a community and we really rely on them to become community experts and to really do a deep dive.”
Lee said Spectrum long ago discarded the old, traditional, way of doing local news.
“That is, a reporter came in, an assignments editor is listening to scanners and listening to what is happening, the breaking news of the day and spending reporter X to go cover this crime, and reporter Y to go cover this gas leak or accident or whatever. We don’t look at it that way at all. In fact, we don’t do that,” Lee said.
“Our multi-media journalists are embedded into the communities, they are out there becoming community experts, going to meetings, getting sources, doing enterprise reporting and that really is our mission. And I think that is how we have been able to connect with the viewers at a time where, as we know, local journalism is challenged. And so we are really proud of that and our goal is just to be very different than, you know, your average local news provider.”
Lee oversees news operations in California and Texas. She helped launch Spectrum’s news service in the Los Angeles area two years ago. She told the Rio Grande Guardian that Spectrum’s news teams endeavor to gain the trust of the communities they are in and have a vision of being part of the fabric of a community.
“It doesn’t mean we don’t cover breaking news. Not at all. Because we do. But, for sure, we have drifted away from the crime de jour, from the chasing scanners, press releases. We pre-plan in many, many cases what is going to go in our shows. It is that proactive versus reactive approach,” Lee said.
“So, we are now looking at communities across the state of Texas where there are Spectrum customers and that includes San Antonio, Austin, Waco, Dallas-Fort Worth, Wichita Falls, Corpus Christi, El Paso, and the Rio Grande Valley. That is a lot of customers. And so what we have done is put boots on the ground, journalists covering beats that get into the issues that people in Texas are interested in and care about.”
Asked how news reports from the Valley will fit in with stories from other parts of Texas, Lee said: “If you are a Spectrum customer in the Rio Grande Valley, you are going to see hyper local weather, you are going to see hyper local headlines, you are going to see some stories that absolutely are issue-driven and about the issues people there care about. And then you are also going to see a combination of storytelling that I believe are issues and perspectives that all Texans care about.”
Lee said veteran Dallas reporter Brett Shipp and Texas native Charles Divins are joining Spectrum News 1 as anchors.
A veteran journalist, Shipp has more than 30 years of experience in local news, including 22 years as an investigative reporter with WFAA-TV in Dallas. One of the most decorated television reporters in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, his investigative reporting has earned him several career accolades including three Peabody Awards and multiple regional Emmy Awards. Shipp left WFAA in 2017 to make a brief run for Congress before starting his own media company, Brett Shipp Media.
Divins, a Dallas native, returns to his Texas roots and joins Spectrum News 1 after six years as morning anchor at WDSU-TV in New Orleans. Prior to WDSU, he was the host of NBC’s LXTV “1st Look” and KNBC’s “YourLA” in Los Angeles, and he also served as a co-host of the nationally syndicated morning show, “Daily Buzz.”
Spectrum News 1 Political Anchor Karina Kling and Political Reporter Reena Diamante will be on the ground in Austin to cover the state capitol, and D.C. Bureau Reporter Margaret Chadbourn will cover the congressional delegation and Capitol Hill in Washington.
The network’s political programming will include the nightly political show, “Capital Tonight,” which Kling anchors, at 7 p.m., and its exclusive weekly public affairs program, “In Focus,” hosted by Dr. Nicole Cross, on Sundays at 9:30 a.m.
More information about the different shows on Spectrum News 1 is contained in a news release from Spectrum. It states:
Every Monday through Friday starting at 5 a.m., viewers will be able to tune in to “Your Morning on Spectrum News 1” for the top stories of the day with Divins and anchor Alex Stockwell, and weather reports from meteorologists Ricky Cody and Dan Robertson.
Anchor Dr. Nicole Cross will deliver a refreshed look at the day’s news weekdays on “Your Afternoon on Spectrum News 1” at Noon, with meteorologists Mary Wasson and Adrienne Vonn providing midday forecasts.
Veteran anchor Shipp will join Dr. Nicole Cross as co-anchor of “Your Evening on Spectrum News 1” to deliver Texans the top local news and hyperlocal content of the day, every weekday at 5 p.m. Shipp also will anchor the 9 p.m. newscast.
Providing local weather reports at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. will be Chief Meteorologist Burton Fitzsimmons and meteorologist Emily Borchard. The network also will provide coverage of local high school, college and professional sports with sports anchor Travis Recek.
Todd Boatwright will recap the top news of the week on Saturdays and Sundays on “Your Weekend on Spectrum News 1” at 7 a.m., while Stef Manisero will deliver the evening news on Saturdays and Agustin Garfias will anchor on Sundays at 5 p.m. Meteorologist Lauren Due will deliver the weather reports on Saturdays and Sundays.
Spectrum News 1 will be available exclusively to Spectrum video customers on channel 1. Spectrum’s award-winning local news and original content also is available on the recently launched Spectrum News App, available to all Spectrum residential customers including internet-only. The Spectrum News App combines reporting from existing newsrooms, original content by dedicated digital journalists, and curated content from partner news organizations. The app also showcases the linear feeds of all Spectrum News networks, giving customers the ability to read, watch or listen anytime, anywhere, based on their geographic preferences.
About Spectrum Networks
Spectrum Networks is a series of 24/7 news and sports networks owned and operated by Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR), a leading broadband connectivity company and cable operator serving more than 30 million customers in 41 states. Spectrum Networks carry distinct, comprehensive, and exclusive local programming on over 30 networks across Charter’s footprint. More information on Spectrum Networks is available at spectrumlocalnews.com.
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