Anchor times three

KVIA Channel 7 is getting some national attention for an unusual, and innovative, change to its 10 p.m. newscast. 

Last June, the station introduced a three-anchor format, adding reporter and anchor Saul Saenz to anchors Erik Elken and Stephanie Valle. KVIA also made a commitment to in-depth reporting in its late news.

All that got the attention of Andrew Hayward, a former president of CBS News, now a professor at Arizona State’s Cronkite School of Journalism.

Writing in the newsletter of the Knight-Cronkite News Lab, Heyward says that news director Brenda de Anda-Swann came up with the unique format.

As she told Heyward, “We have to give people a reason to stay up late, and we cannot do that doing the same newscast that we’ve been doing.”

Heyward also credits general manager Kevin Lovell, who supported De Anda-Swann’s vision for a nightly segment called “ABC-7 Xtra” that explores an issue in depth, with reporting by any one of the three anchors. Saenz hosts a Sunday night program of the same name that the station started in the 1990s.

Heyward also reports that ratings for KVIA’s late news are up since the new format started – double-digit increases year over year by last November, according to Comscore.

Benito’s birthday

Benito Juárez, considered by many to be Mexico’s greatest president, was born on this date, March 21, in 1806. The first president of Mexico of indigenous origin, he served as president from 1858 until his death in 1872.

Now a monument being created to honor Juárez is one step closer to completion, thanks in part to a $5,000 donation by former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura.

The work by sculptor Ethan Houser will be placed at the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso.

Updating that breakfast

Thanks to a sharp-eyed reader, we know where Weck’s will open its first El Paso restaurant. There’s a Weck’s sign in the old Souper Salad location at North Mesa and Resler, just off Interstate 10.

The New Mexico chain is famous for its big breakfasts and brunches. Can’t wait to try the New Mexico Eggs Benedict, with carnitas and red and green chile sauce on top of poached eggs and an English muffin.

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