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What's different about CBS News Detroit's TV broadcast, launching Monday evening


Metro Detroit has a new television news show starting Monday night.

Announced last year, WWJ-TV (Channel 62) has launched CBS News Detroit as a “streaming-first” news platform that, starting Monday, will also air on television and streaming weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m. After the first 30 minutes on-air, the newscasts continue on the streaming side of the platform on the website and the CBS News app.

President and general manager Brian Watson says a few things will set this new broadcast apart from what Metro Detroit television news viewers are used to seeing.

"We've done our homework. We've partnered with various outside companies to do market surveys with Detroiters to gauge what their satisfaction level is with the existing news products, what they would like to see more of, what they would not," he said, adding that it's no secret that local news viewership is declining.

"Basically we've mapped out this white space that's not being served ... not only the viewers that are watching local news and may, to one degree, may be very loyal to a station, but also who might station-hop, to viewers that may have left local news."

The on-air evening news team includes anchors Shaina Humphries and Jeff Skversky, sportscaster Ronnie Duncan and meteorologist Ahmad Bajjey.

Humphries’ hire was announced over the summer. The Emmy Award winner most recently worked on an evening newscast in Philadelphia. Skversky is a former sportscaster, also from the Philadelphia market. Duncan has led WNEM’s coverage of the Flint water crisis and other breaking news coverage and was also a sports anchor and reporter for the Fox affiliate in Philadelphia.

Dearborn native and Central Michigan University grad Bajjey has spent the past decade as a meteorologist for WEYI and WSMH mid-Michigan.

Watson said these on-air reporters and anchors will be working in Southfield out of what they call a "working newsroom" in Southfield rather than a "studio," as well as across the region. Their reporters are positioned to have their pulse on what is happening because they're embedded full-time in the communities they cover.

"Some of the key differences are commitment to community journalism," he said. "(Our reporters) won't cover one particular township one day and then crisscross to cover the other side of the Detroit market. We feel like if they cover the one area, they will have a better finger on the pulse of what's important to those communities, they will become the trusted and familiar face of our news operation, and they will get the jump on stories."

Watson says the visuals of CBS News Detroit's broadcasts will be different than what viewers are used to.

"It is an all-in-one newsroom where the producers, the anchors, the assignment editors, the E.P.s ... everybody is in one working newsroom and you see it all there," Watson said. "It's not a studio down the hall from the newsroom where the news is assembled and then carried in a polished script to the studio where the anchors read it.

"It's all happening in real time. We want to convey a sense of authenticity to news and how it is communicated, but then we're also proud of the set itself," he said. "It's a nod to Detroit. We really wanted to pull from some of the industrial and innovative architecture design of Detroit and we incorporated that into our newsroom design as well."

While the evening broadcasts kick off this week, CBS News Detroit will add morning and afternoon broadcasts to the schedule along with live streaming-only broadcasts.