Why we didn’t broadcast the first Jan. 6 committee hearing live

Thursday’s coverage of the first hearing of the Jan. 6 select committee was described as a “primetime” news event. Of course, it wasn’t primetime here in Alaska. It was at 4 p.m., which is when the KTOO news team presents its freshest local and statewide news on the radio.

So we didn’t take NPR’s live coverage of the event, and it felt like maybe we were the only station in the country that didn’t. After learning that Fox News refused to air the hearing and described it as “propaganda,” I did feel weird about my decision.

But it’s Celebration here in Juneau — a crucial community event that we haven’t gotten to enjoy for four years. Unlike the Jan. 6 hearings, coverage of Celebration can’t be found on every channel or platform. You can only get it from KTOO. That’s why, yesterday, our audiences had to actively walk away from KTOO to get to national coverage.

That said, next week there are more hearings from the House’s investigative committee. These will happen not in primetime, but in real time — which in Alaska will be 6 a.m. We will bring you that live coverage from NPR during Morning Edition, which means we’ll have to forgo local news on the radio for several hours for three days next week.

That doesn’t mean we won’t be covering the community in the ways you rely on, but it does mean that you might have to wait for the afternoon newscasts or find our stories on KTOO.org instead of hearing them on the air over breakfast.

All this to say, we think carefully about our programming decisions, especially when the stakes are this high. Sometimes it’s like choosing between apples and oranges, and sometimes it’s like picking your favorite child. Knowing that it’s impossible to give everyone what they want, we always welcome your feedback on the coverage decisions we make. We are here to serve you.

Jennifer Pemberton

Managing Editor, KTOO

I bring stories from the community into the KTOO newsroom so that all of our reporting matters. I want to hear my community’s struggles and its wins reflected in our coverage. Does our reporting reflect your experience in Juneau?

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