PBS NewsHour producer Jason Kane took home an Emmy for “The End of AIDS?” in the News & Documentary category.
By Mary Follin, GW Alumni News
What’s the best way to score a job at PBS NewsHour and become an Emmy-winning producer? Start pretending you’re a journalist in high school. At least, that’s what Jason Kane, BA ’07, did, and it’s been a winning strategy for him.
“I learned early that calling myself a journalist gave me a pass to ask nosy questions and go places other people couldn’t,” Jason says.
After leveraging his position at his Hilliard, Ohio school newspaper to secure backstage passes and interview famous people, Jason was hooked. So much so that upon graduation from GW, Jason called himself a “foreign correspondent” and drained his life savings to buy a ticket to Kenya. Once there, he spent a few months in conflict zones and collected stories from genocide survivors, traditional healers, and government officials.
After a short stint at The Winchester Star in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Jason moved to PBS NewsHour in 2010, where he currently focuses on health reporting.
“I shepherd stories from the pitch process to air,” he says. “PBS viewers come to us for depth and context rather than breaking news, so I often spend days or weeks — sometimes even months — on a project.”
As a health producer, Jason has covered the Affordable Care Act, drug addiction from Appalachia to Tanzania, advances against HIV, and most recently, setbacks in the fight against HIV.
On Oct. 5, PBS NewsHour’s six-part series “The End of AIDS?” was named the recipient of a News & Documentary Emmy Award. As the producer on the series, Jason was pleased about the nomination, but didn’t expect to win, since the competition was steep.
“We toasted the nomination at a PBS pre-party, enjoyed the spectacle and journalistic star-gazing and walked the faux red carpet,” he says. “To say the least, we were caught off guard when they announced our big win.”
He is proud of the winged, golden statue that sits on his shelf at home, but he’s far more excited that the award has brought more attention to a global problem not yet fully resolved.
Jason is thrilled to be living in the Washington, D.C., area, producing one of America’s most influential news programs in the squat brick building next to the Weenie Beenie hotdog stand in Arlington, Virginia. “I’ve lived and worked in nearly every part of Washington since I moved here in 2004, but GW will always feel like the center of Washington to me.”
Jason says GW is where he found his journalistic voice, forged some of his closest friendships and met some of his key mentors. He credits the legendary journalism professor Steven Roberts with encouraging his journalistic aspirations and opening professional doors. He also fondly recalls looking out his dorm window each night and seeing the Washington Monument nearby.
“I knew back then that this is the city that would become my home for the long-run,” he says. “These days, when I’m driving through Foggy Bottom on my way to an interview or an event, I love that this slice of the city was my first and most lasting impression of D.C.”
This article originally appeared on the GW Alumni News blog.