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Concord-based NH1 hires Kevin Landrigan in its aim to “own politics in New Hampshire”

Last modified: 8/19/2014 12:57:45 AM
Longtime political reporter Kevin Landrigan may have been laid off from the Telegraph’s now-shuttered State House bureau Friday. But this week, it’s a whole new story.

Bill Binnie’s New Hampshire 1 News announced yesterday that it has hired Landrigan and CNN political editor Paul Steinhauser for its new political team. The network is scheduled to launch regular evening newscasts on WBIN-TV by mid-September.

“At a time when places are cutting back on coverage, we are doubling down,” said NH1 News Director Robb Atkinson. “We want to own politics in New Hampshire.”

The new media company, owned by the Seacoast businessman and former U.S. Senate candidate, operates out of the former Walker School building that Binnie bought from Concord for $900,000. NH1 Media Center is headquartered at the building.

Landrigan, who worked at the Telegraph for 26 years, will be NH1’s chief political correspondent covering State House politics, Atkinson said. “We think there is a real need for covering State House politics aggressively,” he said.

Steinhauser, who is leaving CNN after 28 years, will be news anchor and political director at the news group effective Jan. 1.

Both hires give the new political team credibility, political scientists said.

“These are good hires and it’s exciting to see a new outfit get in when others are abandoning the field,” said Dante Scala, professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire. “There’s demand for political news.”

They also said competition among news groups can be a good thing for political coverage.

“Competition tends to make people do their work better,” said Wayne Lesperance, political science professor at New England College. “I think this is an added welcome voice. For those who are consumers of news, this is a good thing.”

But, it doesn’t come without obstacles. Lesperance said although these hires help, one immediate challenge is to be taken seriously right out of the gate.

“They have a big test ahead of them,” he said. “They have got to establish the brand.”

NH1 plans to broadcast nightly newscasts at 5, 5:30 and 6 Monday through Friday, as well as at 10 every night on WBIN – Comcast Channel 18 in the Concord area. The coverage will include politics and also statewide news and weather, reported from the station’s seven bureaus across the state, Atkinson said. In addition to newscasts, the group will run a website, create podcasts and broadcast via radio. By 2015, the news network plans to launch four hours of news coverage in the mornings and an hourlong newscast at noon.

“We’re covering all things New Hampshire,” Atkinson said. “Obviously when you think New Hampshire, you think politics. We want to be that premiere source.”

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at amorris@cmonitor.com.)


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