2023 Excellence in Newsletters, Portfolio finalist

PBS NewsHour

About the Project

The PBS NewsHour’s newsletters underscore a long-held newsroom goal to cut through the noise.

Our two tentpole emailers, dedicated to the latest in politics and science news, are weekly efforts to provide valuable information in ways that go beyond the headlines.

Here’s the Deal, our most-read newsletter with 170,000 subscribers, breaks down what’s happening on Capitol Hill in a way that is easy to understand. Our mission involves thinking through how these goings-on in Congress affect you. This means diving into the details tucked into a large, landmark piece of legislation. We also elevate the voices of those who would be directly impacted by legislation being pushed through both chambers. We, too, talk with rising stars in the world of politics, like Maxwell Frost, who later became the first Gen Z member of Congress. It also means reminding people, even in a Congress that’s often deadlocked on certain issues, there are a number of laws passed each year worth knowing about.

SciSquad is our curated newsletter devoted to the latest in health and science. Sent over the weekends, it’s a way for us to provide concise takeaways, tips and news you can use related to the major science stories in the past week. For example, news of heat waves in the U.S. Europe was an opportunity to lay out the symptoms for heat exhaustion and stroke. SciSquad also takes the time to show how people participate in citizen science by documenting what they see in their communities.

When building our newsletters, we also keep the work of librarians, archivists or museum guides in mind. They are equipped to find and explain information (or direct people to resources) in ways we try to emulate in all our newsletters. Instead of the email being a curation of the NewsHour’s own content, we place an emphasis on treating this product as a resource to the best available information out there. This means pointing people to primary sources or great reporting from other newsrooms, big and small. We will list a page number to a large bill, so people can see the legislation language themselves. We will let you know if you need to scroll down a numbers-filled report or website. We’re here to help.