|File:Washington Journal logo C-SPAN 200.jpg|
|Genre||News and public affairs|
|Opening theme||Trumpet Concerto No. 2|
|Ending theme||Trumpet Concerto No. 2|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Production location(s)||Washington, D.C.|
|Running time||180 minutes|
|Original release||January 4, 1995 – present|
Washington Journal is an American television series on the C-SPAN network in the format of a political call-in and interview program. The program features elected officials, government administrators and journalists as guests, answering questions from the hosts and from members of the general public, who call into the studio or submit questions via e-mail and social media.
The three-hour program airs every day of the year beginning at 7 a.m. Eastern Time, except when special events or coverage of Congress preempts all or part of the program. The audio of the program also airs on WCSP-FM as a simulcast with the television broadcast.
Background and production
Washington Journal's antecedent is the C-SPAN daily call-in, a fixture of the network since 1980. The inaugural Washington Journal program aired on January 4, 1995, and the program continues to be shown on C-SPAN in its original time slot. Saturday and Sunday editions were originally just two hours long; on January 20, 2001, they were expanded to a full three hours.
Simulcasts of Washington Journal on C-SPAN's radio station, WCSP-FM, began on October 9, 1997; it was the first program to be broadcast on the station. One hour of the Sunday edition of Washington Journal is also simulcast on BBC Parliament in the United Kingdom, preceded by America This Week, an hour of recorded C-SPAN programming.
At the beginning of each program, the host reads noteworthy articles and editorials from current newspapers and periodicals as viewers discuss a timely topic chosen by C-SPAN. The program occasionally features "open phones" segments when callers may discuss any topic of their choosing. In multiple segments following, the host interviews guests invited to discuss a specific political or legislative issue, and takes calls from the public. Most guests appear in C-SPAN's Washington or New York City studios, while some guests are interviewed from remote locations.
The program is noted for the participation of its viewers who may call in, submit questions and comments via e-mail or, since March 5, 2009, Twitter. As facilitators of conversation between the public and C-SPAN guests, Washington Journal hosts do not offer their own perspective on issues, and leave more pointed questions to callers, though they will occasionally ask for clarifications from callers and guests. Consistent with its emphasis on reflecting a wide variety of viewpoints, C-SPAN aims to take approximately 60 calls in each program, and roughly 20,000 calls per year.
In the early days of Washington Journal, callers were not screened by ideology. This was changed at the recommendation of University of Maryland professor John Splaine, hired by C-SPAN to ensure the network's objectivity, who noticed that C-SPAN received a disproportionate number of calls from conservative viewers. Washington Journal producers now set up separate phone lines by party affiliation (Democrats, Republicans and Independents) and take alternate calls from each line. In some cases, a dedicated call-in line is made available for the international audience (outside the U.S. and Canada), or for a particular group of callers. For example, a program about college tuition may have a line for students and recent graduates. In the fall of 2006, Washington Journal recorded two shows in New Orleans and set up a call-in line for locals to tell their stories from Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
The show is hosted from C-SPAN's Washington, D.C. studio overlooking the Capitol Building and is hosted by a revolving set of hosts. In November 2009, C-SPAN named veteran television news producer Michele Remillard as executive producer of Washington Journal.
The Washington Journal theme music is Concerto for Trumpet, no. 2 by Johann Melchior Molter (1696—1765), played at various points during each broadcast. The theme is used as introductory music, as an interlude during transitions, and is played again as the program concludes. Video simulcast of the C-SPAN Radio studio has been shown during transitions at the top of an hour, with the radio host reading the day's news headlines. Washington Journal is on 7 days per week 365 days per year there is no interruption for holidays and unlike most call in shows Washington Journal uses no delay nothing is bleeped if a caller does use obscene or racial language they are cut off at that point There is one rule for callers and it is on the honor system that you allow 30 days between phone calls.
Notable guests and events
For several days following the September 11 attacks, Washington Journal began at 6 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. Following Hurricane Katrina, Washington Journal frequently featured discussions on the issue of New Orleans' recovery. On August 21 and 22, 2006, a remote broadcast was set up in the city to interview key players, including U.S. senators David Vitter and Mary Landrieu, and local homeowners.
Among C-SPAN's primarily anonymous callers, recording artist and entertainer Cher made waves by calling into the show on October 27, 2003. Although intending to call anonymously, host Peter Slen correctly guessed her identity, which she reluctantly admitted. She called again on May 28, 2006, and waited on hold for her call to be taken. Cher subsequently appeared on the program on June 14, 2006, to speak about Operation Helmet, a nonprofit organization providing helmet upgrades for U.S. soldiers.
- Steve Scully, political editor and senior producer
- Brian Lamb, C-SPAN Chairman and CEO
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