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Season One of  VPM NEWS FOCAL POINT  Debuts  February 24 

FOCAL POINT Team
Front: Angie Miles, Back from L-R: Shawn Freude, Steve Humble, Samantha Willis, Roberta Oster and Adam Hamza. Credit: VPM

VPM NEWS FOCAL POINT– Virginia’s only weekly broadcast dedicated to statewide news – debuts Thursday, February 24 at 8 p.m. on VPM PBS.  

FOCAL POINT’s first episode themed “Virginia’s Voices on Land,” will examine land ownership and usage laws that affect Virginia’s Native American tribes. The feature story invites viewers inside the rural, historic Black community of Brown Grove in Hanover County, which has become one of the state's environmental justice battlegrounds. The show will also provide an update on key issues from the Virginia General Assembly. (Watch the trailer

FOCAL POINT will highlight innovative ideas and the people across Virginia who are developing creative solutions to challenges we all face. Roberta Oster, FOCAL POINT senior producer said, “We have assembled a diverse team of journalists who bring decades of experience researching and reporting complex stories from around the nation and the world. Our team is committed to VPM’s ethic of balanced reporting and truth in journalism.”  

The program will examine the impact of public policy on the lives of actual Virginians. VPM wants to share stories about people who are grappling with tough problems at home and in their communities. “We hope people will think about the issues we present, share their feedback and join us in getting to know our neighbors in every part of the state,” said FOCAL POINT anchor and producer, Angie Miles.  

"Our feature on Brown Grove and our other stories this season reflect our commitment to nuanced, community-focused reporting and storytelling," said Samantha Willis, FOCAL POINT editorial producer. "We envision our show serving as both a portal allowing viewers to step into other Virginians' lived experiences, and a mirror that reflects them, their viewpoints and the critical issues in their communities."   

Meet the FOCAL POINT team:  

  • Senior producer Roberta Oster is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who served as a producer for two decades at NBC “Dateline,” CBS and ABC Network News. She taught journalism at Tufts and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and was awarded a Knight Professional Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University.
     
  • Anchor and producer Angie Miles has 25 years of experience as an anchor and reporter at WTVR CBS 6 and WWBT NBC12 in Richmond. She is also a literacy educator, founder of a literacy nonprofit called HAPPY Reading and she taught broadcast news at VCU. 
     
  • Editorial producer Samantha Willis is a ten-year veteran of broadcast, print and digital journalism, and an award-winning writer. Previously, Willis served as digital content manager at WRIC ABC 8News in Richmond and arts editor at Richmond Magazine

Other team members include: 

  • Mary Arritt, community engagement manager  
     
  • Bryant Dameron, producer/director 
     
  • Shawn Freude, executive producer 
     
  • Adam Hamza, associate producer 
     
  • Steve Humble, VPM chief content officer 
     
  • Craig Keeton, director, VPM studios & production services  
     
  • Keyris Manzanares, multimedia reporter and bilingual journalist  
     
  • Angela Massino, production manager - podcast producer and digital content strategist 
     
  • Emmanuel Tambakakis, videographer/editor  
     

VPM NEWS FOCAL POINT will be available on-demand in the PBS Video App. Digital stories from the program will be posted on VPM.org and shared on VPM’s Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.