PBS, WNET to offer specials focusing on Newtown tragedy

By Andrew Lapin

With short turnaround, PBS and New York’s WNET will offer two programs in the next two days focusing on the aftermath of the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn.

On Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. EST, PBS will air the one-hour special After Newtown, a partnership between Washington Week and Need to Know hosted by Gwen Ifil. The program, which will also pool resources from Frontline, the NewsHour and NOVA, will address issues like gun laws, mental illness and the ways communities respond to tragedy, according to a PBS press release. It will also be streamed online.

WNET’s three-hour block What Next After Newtown: What Our Country and Communities Can Do will air the following night, split into six half-hour broadcasts to give stations programming flexibility. Each of the six broadcasts will tackle a different angle of the tragedy, with topics to include violence in the media, accessibility of weapons, school security and public policy surrounding mental illness. Local stations will contribute segments to the programs, as well.

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