After 36 years as a staple of MTV’s ever-diminishing music-focused programming, MTV News has been shut down amid layoffs and restructuring at its parent company, Paramount Global. Since launching with the Kurt Loder-hosted The Week in Rock in 1987, MTV News helped chronicle, and define, decades worth of iconic pop culture and political moments.
For younger viewers, MTV News and its stable of correspondents such as Tabitha Soren, Alison Stewart, SuChin Pak, and, later, Gideon Yago, were a potent alternative to traditional network news programs, particularly during the youth-led alternative movement of the 1990s.
The channel made headlines in 1994 when it hosted a town hall about violence in America with then-President Bill Clinton. A female audience member asked Clinton, “Mr. President, the world’s dying to know, is it boxers or briefs?,” to which he replied, “Usually briefs. I can’t believe she did that.”
Future town halls featured President Barack Obama and Bill Gates discussing the issues of the day with teens and 20-somethings just beginning to vote or become involved in activism. And for many, Loder’s breaking news bulletin announcing the death of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain on April 8, 1994, was a “where were you when it happened?”-type of moment (Loder, who was a veteran rock journalist, became something of a pre-internet celebrity himself and appeared on shows such as The Simpsons and Kenan & Kel).
“I was a nobody with a love for pop culture and a 1-chip miniDV camera before that place gave me a ticket backstage to the world,” Yago wrote on Twitter today (May 9). “Some of my best friends, greatest experiences and most treasured memories were spent there. RIP to MTV News.”
In recent years, MTV News underwent a number of leadership and strategic overhauls. SPIN profiled the behind-the-scenes tumult of a 2016 reboot, which lasted only a year-and-a-half.